Press release

Government slashes motoring red tape

Drivers are to be released from reams of red tape currently required by government.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Drivers are to be released from reams of red tape currently required by government, Transport Secretary Justine Greening announced today (15 December 2011).

As a result of the Road Transport Red Tape Challenge - the government wide process to get rid of unnecessary, burdensome and overcomplicated regulation - the Department for Transport is:

  • scrapping the regulation requiring motorists to hold a paper counterpart to their driving licence by 2015 - saving drivers up to £8 million
  • improving the regulation surrounding the notification process for vehicles that are not in use on the road (Statutory Off Road Notification or SORN) - once drivers have notified the DVLA that their vehicle is SORN, they will no longer have the burden of annual SORN renewal
  • only issuing hard-copies of V5C vehicle registration certificates for fleet operators when needed, with the potential to be rolled out to private motorists
  • introducing a limited exemption from drivers’ hours rules so that those who also drive as Territorial Army reservists in their own time can continue to do so

Following a vigorous process of challenge, both by the public and within Whitehall, a total of 142 road transport regulations will now be scrapped or improved.

Justine Greening said;

Motorists shouldn’t have to keep numerous bits of paper just to prove they can drive and have bought insurance - we live in digital age and we need to embrace that.

Reducing the number of rules and regulations in our life is absolutely vital to removing barriers to economic growth and increasing individual freedoms. This whole process just proves that there’s so much sitting on our statute books that at the very least needs a good spring clean or can be scrapped entirely.

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said:

I’m delighted that so many motoring regulations will be scrapped or improved, particularly those that affect business.

The Red Tape Challenge has built up real momentum since it was launched in April. Overall, of over 1200 regulations considered so far, we have agreed to scrap or improve well over 50%.

We have already published regulations covering 12 themes, and there are 13 themes to come, so there remains huge scope for reducing the burden of regulation on business and individuals even further.

Other proposed changes to road transport regulations include:

  • removing the need for an insurance certificate. The Department for Transport will work with the insurance industry on removing the need for motorists to have to hold an insurance certificate
  • abolishing the requirement for drivers to prove they have insurance when applying for tax meaning 600,000 more people will be able to tax their car online. This has been made possible by new checks of existing databases for insurance under new continuous insurance enforcement rules. The DVLA’s records are compared regularly with the Motor Insurance Database (MID) to identify registered keepers of vehicles that appear to have no insurance
  • we will look at experience in other countries on driver Certificates of Professional Competence (CPC), the qualification for professional bus, coach and lorry drivers, in particular to see if we could remove the need for some sectors, such as farmers who drive stock to market, from needing a CPC
  • local authorities will now have to ensure business interests are properly considered as part of any future proposed Workplace Parking Levy scheme - they must show they have properly and effectively consulted local businesses, have addressed any proper concerns raised and secured support from the local business community
  • abolishing the regulations on the treatment of lost property on buses - bus companies currently have to wait 48 hours before they can throw away perishable items left on the bus

Notes to editors

The Red Tape Challenge was launched by the Prime Minister on 7 April. It gives the public the chance to have their say on some of the 21,000 regulations that affect their everyday lives.

Measures agreed as part of the Road Transport Red Tape Challenge are listed in the consultation

These proposals are as a result of the Road Transport Red Tape Challenge theme which was launched 20 May 2011, as part of a government-wide initiative aimed at reducing bureaucracy.

Within the Road Transport Red Tape Challenge, the department placed over 400 regulations online. After removing those that have already lapsed, 376 remain - of which 142 will be scrapped or improved.

  Keep as is Improve Scrap Moved
Number 226 84 58 8
Percentage 60.1% 22.3% 15.4% 2.1%

Moved regulations predominantly relate to another theme, and will be resolved in a different part of the red tape challenge.

The road transport theme launched on 20 May and attracted 2,097 comments to the Red Tape Challenge website, many from members of the public and businesses. The department also received a number of written submissions from trade associations and professional bodies.

Under continuous insurance enforcement it is an offence to keep an uninsured vehicle, rather than just to drive when uninsured. The DVLA’s records are compared regularly with the Motor Insurance Database (MID) to identify registered keepers of vehicles that appear to have no insurance. Vehicle keepers then receive a warning letter and if they fail to take action face a fine, court action or having their vehicle clamped, seized or destroyed. All drivers can check their vehicle is recorded on the MID for free.

The Maritime and Rail Red Tape Challenge was launched on 10 November 2011

The Red Tape Challenge process does not include legislation or regulations falling within the responsibilities of the devolved administrations, tax and fees legislation or national security matters. The breakdown of the 21, 851 ‘live’ statutory instruments is as follows:

a. Assigned to RTC themes 10960
b. Commencement/ appointed day orders 2868
c. Devolved/ crown dependencies orders 3555
d. Tax and fees 4268
e. National Security 200
f. Misc. (SIs on Machinery of Government,General Synod, international requirements etc) c.2000

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Published 15 December 2011