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Red Tape Challenge

Volume 548: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2012

Last November, the Department for Transport launched the rail transport theme of the red tape challenge—part of the Cabinet Office’s project to review all of the outstanding regulations currently on the statute book. Following a rigorous process of challenge, stakeholder discussion and public consultation, I am now pleased to be able to announce the results.

The Department put forward every secondary regulation relating to rail transportation for public discussion under the rail transport red tape challenge. Some 198 of these were judged still to be live with a further 23 being identified as already “lapsed or spent”. Of these 221, I propose to scrap, merge, simplify, amend or improve 88 (40%).

The detailed breakdown I propose is:















* Moved regulations predominantly relate to another Red Tape theme and will be resolved in a different part of the Challenge.

Among the measures being pursued, we intend to:

harmonise and simplify the process for obtaining an operating licence;

reduce regulatory burdens and costs on historic cableways;

merge a number of instruments to make regulations easier to understand; and

remove a significant number of lapsed or redundant instruments.

The full list of regulations, including further information on the actions we are intending to take, is available on the Department’s website at:

Overall, this represents an important step forward in removing unnecessary regulatory burdens. Some elements of this programme will mark a major shift in the way the Department does business.

The outcomes also need to be viewed against the backdrop of the Government’s wider efforts to put an end to the micro-management that occurred under the last Government in relation to matters such as franchise management. Both our franchise reform programme and our Command Paper “Reforming Our Railways: Putting the Customer First” seek to transfer more decisions from Whitehall to the professionals who run our railways as part of our efforts to deliver a more financially sustainable and customer-focused railway.

The Department is already implementing the results of the roads transport red tape challenge (see: and aviation transportation, the final transport theme, is now open for public comment until 26 July.