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Automatic Number Plate Recognition

Volume 501: debated on Thursday 26 November 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what statutory basis there is for the use of the automatic number plate recognition technology. (300513)

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency uses automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems to identify offences relating to the use of unlicensed vehicles in contravention of Section 29 of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994. Evidence relied upon to pursue penalties for these offences is gathered using systems that have been type approved in line with Section 20 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

The Highways Agency uses data from ANPR cameras to help with the effective management of traffic on the strategic road network. The statutory basis for this is covered in the Highways Act 1980 and the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the governance system of the use of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition system. (300514)

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) uses a range of measures to maintain high levels of compliance with vehicle licensing requirements, including the use of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology. DVLA's compliance approach is kept under review by the Vehicle Excise Duty Collection and Enforcement Governance Board, which meets every quarter.

Data from the Highways Agency's ANPR cameras are scrambled at source into a non-unique code which can apply to more than one vehicle simultaneously. It is understood that this process renders the data as non-personal under the Data Protection Act 1998.

In addition, the Highways Agency operates a system of Information Asset Owners to ensure that data are held and used in accordance with current legislation, namely the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with Cabinet Office data handling guidance issued in 2008.

Data gathered by ANPR cameras are stored at the Highways Agency National Traffic Control Centre (NTCC). The Highways Agency's Information Asset Owner (IAO) has ensured that the information is accredited to Information Security ISO27001 standards. In September 2009 Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) conducted a review of procedures at the NTCC and confirmed that standards still met the requirements of ISO27001.