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Written Answers

Volume 690: debated on Tuesday 27 March 2007

Written Answers

Tuesday 27 March 2007

Ascension Island

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will publish in the Official Report a copy of the resignation statement made by the councillors on Ascension Island following the visit by officials of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 14 and 15 March; and whether the Government will also publish any response they have made to this statement. [HL2891]

A copy of the resignation statement released by the councillors on 20 March 2007 will be placed in the Library of the House. The Government do not intend to respond to the statement. The acting governor will respond to individual letters of resignation received from the councillors.

Bangladesh: Elections

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What requests they or the European Union have received from the Government of Bangladesh for technical or financial assistance in connection with their drive against corruption or their preparations for the forthcoming elections. [HL2800]

Our high commission in Dhaka and the Department for International Development (DfID) office in Bangladesh are in regular contact with the caretaker Government of Bangladesh and the responsible institutions regarding election assistance and the Government's drive against corruption and abuse of office. DfID allocated £1.1 million of funding in support of the now postponed parliamentary elections and has a £150 million programme in support of good governance which specifically targets corruption. We are not aware of any formal requests for assistance to the European Union from the Government of Bangladesh.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What information they have received from the Government of Bangladesh about the planned date of the elections. [HL2801]

The caretaker Government of Bangladesh have made no commitment to a specific date for elections. We have encouraged the caretaker Government to make a public commitment to a roadmap for holding elections, which we believe would be in the best interests of the country and its people.

Banks

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will make an assessment of the extent to which United Kingdom commercial banks are assisting ordinary customers by adherence to the European Union regulation that cross-border transactions should be treated as transactions within the single market and not as payments abroad, as they were treated before 1 January 2007. [HL2779]

Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 on cross-border payments in euros eliminates the difference of price between cross-border euro and national euro payments. This regulation has little practical impact in the UK given that the UK has chosen not to join the euro. In addition, the UK has chosen not to apply this regulation to sterling.

Currently, the UK banking industry is working closely with the European Payments Council to create a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). This should enable cross-border euro payments, such as credit transfers, direct debits and card transactions to be made more cheaply, easily and efficiently.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to consult the United Kingdom commercial banks on a nationwide scheme to cancel all charges on current accounts in credit except the cost of chequebooks and cheque clearing. [HL2780]

The Government have no plans to consult on such a scheme. The issue of bank default charges is currently subject to an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The OFT is an independent competition and consumer protection authority and considers cases on the basis of the objective information it collects.

Botswana: Elephants

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will offer to the Government of Botswana assistance in translocation of elephants to peaceful countries in Africa which wish to replenish elephant populations depleted by war and poaching. [HL2681]

Chad: Refugees

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they will make to ascertain the willingness of Chad and the Central African Republic to accept a United Nations military force on their territories to prevent cross-border raids and to make possible the delivery of relief and medical aid for refugees and displaced people. [HL2848]

We continue to work with the UN and other member states to seek to address any concerns raised by the Governments of Chad and the Central African Republic about the possible deployment of a UN peacekeeping force. We continue to urge the Government of Chad to improve regional security and work actively with non-governmental organisations operating in eastern Chad.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials pressed the Chad Foreign Minister, Alimat Allami, on 20 February to implement and abide by the terms of the Tripoli agreement which calls for a ceasefire between Chad and Sudan, and not to support armed movements, which destabilise the region.

Court Martial: Disclosure

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In connection with the recent acquittal of six defendants at the court martial arising from the death in Basra in 2003 of Mr Baha Mousa and related matters, whether they will publish in full the observations of Mr Justice McKinnon. [HL2724]

Copies of the Judge Advocate's summing up in this case have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. On 13 February 2007, the Judge Advocate directed that his ruling at the close of the prosecution case should not be reported until after the conclusion of this trial.

The trial includes the sentencing stage. Corporal Payne, who has pleaded guilty to an offence of inhuman treatment of persons, is scheduled to be sentenced by the Court Martial Board on 30 April 2007. A copy of the judge's ruling will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses as soon as this soldier has been sentenced.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the document entitled 1QLR Internment procedure, dated 9 July 2003, as disclosed at the recent court martial of members of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment and others. [HL2725]

Corporal Payne, who has pleaded guilty to an offence of inhuman treatment of persons, is scheduled to be sentenced by the Court Martial Board on 30 April 2007. In these circumstances, it is inappropriate to publish, at the present time, any document concerning internment procedure, as to do so may risk prejudicing the outcome to those proceedings.

Court Martial: Public Interest

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In connection with the recent acquittal of six defendants at the court martial arising from the death in Basra in 2003 of Mr Baha Mousa and related matters (a) what assessments were made and by whom of the likelihood of conviction on each charge; and what record was made of such assessments; (b) what assessments were made and by whom of the public interest in laying each charge; and what record was made of such assessments; (c) what communications passed between (i) the chain of command and the Army Prosecuting Authority; and (ii) the Attorney-General's Office and the Army Prosecuting Authority; in relation to these matters; and what record was made of such communications. [HL2723]

This case was reviewed by senior prosecutors of the independent Army Prosecuting Authority (APA), who consulted me as is usual in the most serious and sensitive cases. The decision to charge the defendants was made by the APA prosecutors, following advice from one of the most senior and experienced criminal counsel in the country.

In reaching their decision, the APA military prosecutors, who have operational service experience, applied the evidential and public interest tests set out in the Code for Service Prosecutors. The APA prosecutors were satisfied that there was sufficient evidence and that it was in the public interest to prosecute each defendant on each charge. The APA files contain written records of their and counsel's assessments of this case.

The communications the APA had with the chain of command and with the Attorney-General's office took the form of correspondence, telephone calls and meetings. Copies of the correspondence have been retained together with case file records of matters affecting the case. Notes were also made of my meetings with the APA.

Court Martial: Witness Statements

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In connection with the recent acquittal of six defendants at the court martial arising from the death in Basra in 2003 of Mr Baha Mousa and related matters (a) whether they will identify the accused, specifying the offences with which each was charged and the outcome of each charge; (b) whether each of the accused made a statement under caution; and, if so, whether such statement was put to the court in evidence; and (c) who made sworn witness statements, specifying whether such witness statements were put to the court and whether the witnesses were examined and cross-examined. [HL2721]

The men who were directed by the Army Prosecuting Authority to stand trial were:

Corporal Donald Payne—charged with three offences: (i) inhuman treatment of persons; (ii) manslaughter; and (iii) perverting the course of justice. He pleaded guilty to the first charge; the Judge Advocate dismissed the other two charges against him at the close of the prosecution case.

Sergeant Kelvin Lee Stacey—charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, alternatively common assault. The Court Martial Board dismissed the assault occasioning actual bodily harm towards the end of the prosecution case. The Judge Advocate dismissed the common assault charge against him at the close of the prosecution case.

Colonel Jorge Emmanuel Mendonca—charged with negligently performing a duty. The Judge Advocate dismissed the charge against him at the close of the prosecution case.

Lance Corporal Wayne Ashley Croweroft—charged with inhuman treatment of persons. The Judge Advocate dismissed the charge against him at the close of the prosecution case.

Private Darren Trevor Fallon—charged with inhuman treatment of persons. The Judge Advocate dismissed the charge against him at the close of the prosecution case.

Major Michael Edwin Peebles—charged with negligently performing a duty. The Court Martial Board returned a not guilty verdict at the end of the trial.

Warrant Officer Mark Lester Davies—charged with neglecting to perform a duty. The Court Martial Board returned a not guilty verdict at the end of the trial.

All seven accused made statements under caution, which were all put to the court in evidence.

Schedules providing details of the prosecution witnesses who made signed witness statements; specifying whether such statements were put to the court; and whether the witnesses were examined or cross-examined have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In connection with the recent acquittal of six defendants at the court martial arising from the death in Basra in 2003 of Mr Baha Mousa and related matters, how many witness statements were taken in translation and whether any procedural flaws were identified in them. [HL2722]

Nine of the detainees, through the assistance of interpreters, provided the Royal Military Police with a total of 22 witness statements, which were recorded in Arabic. These statements were translated into English. The Army Prosecuting Authority has reported that there were some minor translation errors, but these caused no significant difficulty during the trial.

Debt: Forced Entry

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the remarks by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Wales), Nick Ainger, on 5 March (Official Report, col. 1359) stating that “apparently, between July 2005 and February 2006, six forced entries have been carried out”, in each case, what was (a) the origin of the debt; (b) the amount of the original debt; (c) the amount for which the debt was enforced; and (d) the amount recovered as a result of the forced entry. [HL2748]

I refer the noble Lord to the letter placed in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 March 2007 by my honourable friend Vera Baird, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs. From information Her Majesty's Courts Service has received from 27 areas, forced entries were attempted in six areas between July 2005 and February 2006 but no forced entry actually took place. In the majority of cases the threat of forced entry coupled with the attendance of police was sufficient, though in some cases open premises were entered to arrest defaulters.

Enforcement Services Commission

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What detailed costing estimates they have made for the Enforcement Services Commission, as proposed in the current Regulation of Enforcement Agents consultation paper. [HL2747]

The Regulation of Enforcement Agents consultation paper (CP2/07) sets out indicative costs which are based on the figures detailed in the Green Paper Towards Effective Enforcement. All the cost estimates included in the consultation paper are currently being reviewed and updated estimates will be provided in due course.

Euro

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the current trends in the economy that prevent the United Kingdom joining the euro-zone. [HL2734]

The Government's policy on membership of the single currency is unchanged. It remains as set out by the Chancellor in his Statement to the House of Commons in October 1997, and again in the Chancellor's Statement on the five tests assessment in June 2003.

Government: Law Officers' Advice

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith on 5 March (WA 2), whether the advice of the law officers, or the fact that the law officers have been consulted, has been disclosed outside government during the past decade; and, if so, on which occasions.[HL2626]

The law officers have consented to the disclosure of their advice on the following occasions in the past decade. The Government disclosed the advice of the law officers to the other parties in the course of legal proceedings (R v Secretary of State for Transport ex parte Factortame and Others) and it was quoted from in the Divisional Court judgment of 31 July 1997. The Attorney-General's advice of 7 March 2003 on the legality of military action against Iraq was published following a partial leak in 2005. Additionally, on occasion the law officers have consented to more limited disclosure of their advice (eg to counsel acting for the Government). (This does not include those rare occasions when the existence of law officers' advice has been inadvertently referred to without their consent.)

Iraq: Basra

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have submitted their report to the Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, on the reasons for, and the circumstances behind, the British military attack on 4 March on the National Iraqi Intelligence Agency Basra headquarters; and, if so, what response they have received from the Iraqi authorities. [HL2781]

We are working both with the multinational forces and the Iraqi authorities to clarify the circumstances of this incident. We expect to reach shared conclusions on any lessons to be drawn from it in due course.

Iraq: Foreigners

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have responded to the Iraqi Prime Minister's recent reference to interference by foreigners in Iraq; and, if so, how. [HL2733]

The Iraqi Government want to see all their neighbours, and other states in the region, making a positive contribution to security, reconciliation and economic development in Iraq. We fully support that and share the Iraqi Government's concern that some of her neighbours have not provided such unambiguous support in recent years.

We welcome the clear commitment made by all those attending the 10 March meeting in Baghdad to support Iraq's sovereignty, independence, national unity and territorial integrity. We welcome the agreement to establish three working groups, one of which will address border security, and to hold a follow-up meeting at ministerial level.

Israel and Palestine: Quartet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will take the opportunity provided by the formation of the unity government in Gaza to reiterate the case for complying with the principles set out by the quartet, including the cessation of terrorist attacks and the recognition of Israel's right to exist. [HL2760]

As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary said in another place on 20 March, “We welcome the formation of the Government of national unity and we hope to see them move clearly in the direction of respect for the Quartet principles. We will judge not only their platform, but their actions in that respect”. (Official Report, col. 676). As we have made clear, we have always been willing to work with a government based on the quartet (EU, US, UN and Russia) principles. Now is the time for Hamas to demonstrate a commitment to peace. All members of the national unity Government (NUG) should support Palestinian President Abbas in taking forward the peace process with Israel. We want to see the NUG reinforce and extend the ceasefire, and bring law and order to Palestinian streets. We also want to see them help the early release of the abducted Israeli soldier Corporal Shalit.

Manchester

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their assessment of the contribution which Manchester makes to the growth and prosperity of the economy of the north-west of England; and how this compares to the contribution made by other parts of the region. [HL2749]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, National Statistician, to Lord Morris, dated 27 March 2007.

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Question about the contribution that Manchester makes to the growth and prosperity of the economy of the North West of England and how this compares to the contribution made by other parts of the region. (HL2749)

The Office for National Statistics publishes regional gross value added using official statistical geographies known as Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics (NUTS)1. Greater Manchester is one such NUTS area and its statistics can be compared to the other North West areas: Cumbria, Cheshire, Lancashire and Merseyside.

The measure of economic growth used by the ONS is growth of gross value added (GVA). Table 1 shows GVA for the North West and for each NUTS2 area within the North West. The latest available estimates are for 2004. This table indicates the level of economic activity in Greater Manchester as compared to the other North West areas. Table 2 shows annual growth for 2003 and 2004 in GVA for the same areas.

Regional GVA figures are only produced at current prices and do not allow for changes in prices over time (inflation) or differences in regional price levels (purchasing power). They do not, therefore, show growth in real or volume terms.

The full range of published regional GVA estimates are available on the ONS website: www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/Product.asp?vlnk=14650.

1 The Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics (NUTS) provides a single uniform breakdown for the production of regional statistics for the European Union. There are three levels of NUTS in the UK. These are:

NUTS1: Government Office Regions and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

NUTS2: 37 areas—individual and groups of counties and unitary authorities.

NUTS3: 133 areas—generally groups of unitary authorities or districts, also known as local areas.

Table 1

North West Regional Gross Value Added1

2003 (£m)

2004 (£m)

North West

96 828

102 366

Cumbria

6 047

6 440

Cheshire

17 361

18 183

Greater Manchester

38 109

40 457

Lancashire

19 215

20 285

Merseyside

16 096

17 001

1 GVA at current basic prices

Table 2

North West Regional Gross Value Added1 Percentage Change

GVA percentage change

2003

2004

North West

5.4%

5.7%

Cumbria

6.6%

6.5%

Cheshire

4.2%

4.7%

Greater Manchester

5.8%

6.2%

Lancashire

5.1%

5.6%

Merseyside

5.7%

5.6%

1. GVA at current basic prices.

Note: The percentage change in Table 2 does not take account of changes in population which can be seen in Table 1 of your previous question (HL2635).

Murder: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many murders of the security forces in Northern Ireland since 1969 have yet to be solved; and whether they are committed to seeking convictions in each case.[HL2630]

Since 1969 there have been 976 murders of security forces personnel in Northern Ireland. These victims were murdered as a result of 782 distinct incidents of which 537 incidents remain “unsolved”.

PSNI is fully committed to obtaining convictions in each and every case.

Police: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether there are circumstances in which the Police Service of Northern Ireland will not attend the scene of a crime; and, if so, what are those circumstances. [HL2739]

I have been informed by the PSNI that its call grading policy (which is currently under review) grades calls into four categories as follows:

emergency response;

normal response;

scheduled response; and

no attendance

PSNI's policy in respect of a call in which no attendance is appropriate is defined as:

an attendance of an officer is not required and the incident can be concluded by the person taking the call or the incident should be dealt with by an outside agency.

Further guidance on such calls states that they are to be resolved by telephone, using a problem-solving approach appropriate to the callers needs. Where the scenario of a call relates to a minor crime report where no investigation is possible, no attendance is required.

The PSNI will therefore attend all crime scenes except where it relates to a minor crime report where no investigation is possible.

Post Offices

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have any plans to enable additional business opportunities for individual sub-post offices; and, if so, what are those plans. [HL2971]

The Government support Post Office Ltd's management in its efforts to develop its range of financial service products, building on the company's success in this area and the Government's investment, which included £500 million for the Horizon project to bring computer systems into every post office throughout the UK.

Sub-postmasters and mistresses are private business people, contracted as agents on behalf of Post Office Ltd, and as such are free to develop their associated retail business and to enter into contracts with anyone they choose as long as the products provided are not in direct competition with key Post Office products.

Questions for Written Answer

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 19 February (WA 197), whether they will answer the Question on what steps they are taking to avoid long delays in answering Questions concerning the Department of Health. [HL2202]

We endeavour to answer all Parliamentary Questions as quickly as possible. The department received more than 10,000 Parliamentary Questions in 2006 and we have established processes in place to deal with them. We are seeking to improve continuously on our performance and have set up an internal review to look at our processes, information technology, management and training.

Railways: Eurostar Kent Coast Services

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In respect of the suspension of the Eurostar Kent coast services from Waterloo on 16 and 17 March, (a) for how long the services were suspended; (b) what was the cause of the suspension; (c) at what management level the decision to suspend the rail services was made and whether the decision was subsequently reviewed at more senior management levels; and (d) what action is being taken to prevent such situations recurring. [HL2828]

The decision to suspend services is an operational matter for Network Rail as the owner and operator of the national rail infrastructure. For a response to his Question, the noble Lord should contact Network Rail’s chief executive at the following address: John Armitt, Chief Executive, Network Rail, 40 Melton Street, London, NW1 2EE.

Railways: Intercity Services

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will separate statistics on intercity train services operated by First Great Western from the local and suburban services operated by that company in the public performance measure so that direct comparisons can be made with other intercity operators. [HL2838]

On 1 April 2006 the separate First Great Western, First Great Western Link and Wessex Trains franchises were combined to form the new Greater Western franchise. The former First Great Western provided intercity train services.

Nationally, performance data are published at a franchise level and not broken down in a more disaggregated level as it is at this level that the train operating companies are monitored. In February 2007 (the latest data available) First Great Western’s performance was 83.4 per cent (measured in the moving annual average of the public performance measure). I am not aware of any plans by Network Rail to change the method by which it records train operating companies’ performance.

Railways: RIDDOR

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the estimated cost to the railway industry of compliance with the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). [HL2782]

I am not aware of any estimate of the cost to the railway industry of compliance with the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).

Sudan: Darfur

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action the United Kingdom ambassador to the United Nations, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, had in mind when he indicated that, in relation to the Government of Sudan's actions in Darfur, the United Nations Security Council should respond to continued provocation and that the council should consider further sanctions. [HL2872]

The situation in Darfur remains appalling. There are continued attacks on civilians, peacekeepers and the humanitarian agencies. The arms embargo on Darfur continues to be violated. No side is making a serious effort to find a peaceful settlement to the conflict and President Bashir has gone back on his Government's commitments at Addis Ababa, in particular with regard to the UN support package for the African Union Mission in Sudan.

We believe that the UN Security Council should impose further measures on those responsible for violating UN Security Council Resolution 1591 and we will be taking this forward with our Security Council partners in the coming days.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their latest estimate of fatalities, casualties and displaced people in Darfur. [HL2873]

No reliable figures exist for the total number of persons who have died or been injured across Darfur as a result of the conflict there. However, a frequently quoted, and plausible, figure for the number of deaths is 200,000.

The UN estimates that there are currently 2,060,000 displaced people in Darfur and a further 220,000 living as refugees in neighbouring Chad.

Every death, injury, displacement or rape in Sudan is a tragedy. That is why we are pressing the Government of Sudan and the rebel groups to stop the fighting, to agree to the deployment of the UN-African Union hybrid force in Darfur, to commit to and implement the Darfur peace agreement, and to ensure full humanitarian access for the UN and non-governmental organisations in Darfur.

Sudan: International Criminal Court

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they have made to the Government of Sudan about their decision to suspend co-operation with the International Criminal Court. [HL2871]

The Government welcome the fact that the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor's investigation has got to the point at which he is able to ask for the issuing of summonses against two individuals. It is now for the ICC judges to decide whether to approve this request.

The UK has made clear to the Government of Sudan that, as required by UN Security Council Resolution 1593, they must co-operate fully with the ICC in any action the court decides to take. We will monitor the actions of the Government of Sudan extremely carefully. My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, Ian McCartney, made this point to the Sudanese Justice Minister when they met in Geneva on 13 March.

Taxation: VAT Carousel Fraud

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What estimate they have made of the number of criminal groups involved in missing trader and carousel fraud. [HL2651]

Unfortunately the requested information cannot be disclosed as to do so would undermine the measures introduced by HM Revenue and Customs to counter Missing Trader Intra-Community fraud and as such prejudice the assessment and collection of tax.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What estimate they have of the total funds being investigated in current prosecutions of mobile phone operators in missing trader and carousel fraud. [HL2652]

HMRC has a duty to protect tax revenues and does so through a multi-faceted strategy using a range of interventions. The investigation of MTIC fraud is directed on the basis of perceived risk and not limited by specific products or sectors. Although the majority of all MTIC fraud seen so far has been perpetrated using mobile phones and computer chips, a wide range of other goods have been, and continue to be, used.

Ongoing prosecutions, resulting from HMRC's criminal investigations, involve some £2.5 billion of VAT. However, this figure is dynamic and changes as further evidence comes to light, and new cases are adopted and current ones completed.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the Serious Fraud Office and the police are involved in tracking down missing trader fraud and carousel fraud; and how many companies are currently under investigation. [HL2653]

MTIC fraud is an attack on the taxation system and, as such, is an assigned matter to HM Revenue and Customs. However, the police have conducted investigations that touch on MTIC fraud—for example, into money laundering—and have worked with HM Revenue and Customs in support of their investigations. HM Revenue and Customs also works closely with the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Details of the investigations and prosecutions conducted each year by HM Revenue and Customs are published in the departmental annual report and, prior to the creation of HM Revenue and Customs, were published each year in the annual reports of both the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise. Copies of the annual reports are available in the Library of the House. Where the specific information requested is not published, it is not collated in that format.

Transport: Heavy Goods Vehicles

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 16 March (WA 160) on the introduction of the UNECE Regulation 48, whether they will provide a breakdown of the time from the agreement by the European Community to the drafting of the regulatory impact assessment, the statutory public consultation and the drafting of the statutory instrument; and why these processes cannot proceed in parallel. [HL2827]

The UNECE Regulation 48 amendment was adopted in March 2006. Work on a public consultation document and regulatory impact assessment is underway and instructions about draft amendments to the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations are currently in hand. Statutory consultation, once issued, will be open for three months. The amending instrument will then need to be approved by Parliament.

The current timetable of work will ensure that, pending parliamentary approval, regulations are ready to enter into force from 10 October 2009, the earliest date we are permitted to refuse to register heavy vehicles not fitted with reflective tape.