Press release

Your chance to cut motoring red tape

Your chance to reduce the number of badly thought out and obsolete motoring regulations.

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


Life is about to get easier for road users, businesses, and local authorities as Roads Minister Mike Penning today pledged to slash unnecessary red tape.

Over 400 Whitehall road transport regulations have been placed on the Red Tape Challenge website - a government-wide site aimed at reducing bureaucracy - for 4 weeks. It asks everyone whether they think that a regulation is well-designed and provides vital protections, or is badly designed, badly implemented or simply a bad idea.

Prime candidates for being scrapped include:

  • the requirement for motorists to have a paper or electronically issued motor insurance certificate - getting rid of this requirement could reduce admin costs for businesses and cut bureaucracy for many people
  • regulations specifying that bus companies have to wait 48 hours before they can throw away perishable items that have been left on the bus
  • rules specifying the procedure that councils must go through when installing speed humps - this includes the minimum (and maximum) heights and the minimum number of lights that must be installed nearby

Mike Penning said;

We are calling on everyone: consumers, businesses and volunteer groups to get involved and help reduce the number of badly thought out and obsolete regulations in our country.

Is it right that we tell car owners they must have a bit of paper to prove they have insured their car? Or that a bus company has to keep the box of eggs you left on the bus for a full two days before they can throw them away? And what about us telling your local authority how high and long a speed bump should be? Enough of the form filling!

By getting government off people’s backs we can free businesses to compete, create jobs and unleash a private sector-led recovery. We will also give people the opportunity to play a greater role in their community and build a stronger society.

The review also targets a number of arcane and obsolete regulations on the statute books that could run the risk of eroding public confidence in regulations. For example, there are regulations in force dating back to the 2007 foot and mouth crisis allowing milk tanker drivers to work longer hours. There are also regulations that still exist allowing road closures for the 1994 Tour de France.

Experienced ‘sector champions’ will be providing expert knowledge during the Red Tape Challenge on the issues faced by those on the shop floor.

Motorists’ champion Edmund King, AA president and Visiting Professor of Transport at Newcastle University, said:

Good road transport should be about getting from A to B in an efficient, economic, safe, and sustainable manner. It should not be about filling in forms from A to Z or complying with historic, bureaucratic, and irrelevant regulations. The AA supports this initiative to cut red tape whilst maintaining a flexible framework to enable safe and reliable journeys.

Freight champion Theo de Pencier, CEO of the Freight Transport Association, said:

There are few industries as tightly regulated as the freight industry, so cutting those regulations that are clearly superfluous, pointless and downright barmy will allow companies in the sector to focus on doing their job properly in as safely and efficiently a manner as possible, saving time and cost in the process.

Car lease and rental champion John Lewis, Chief Executive of the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association said;

In the recent past the UK has had some prolific legislators in government who spent far too much time and energy using legislation to place overbearing controls on the UK Motorist with a never ending stream of regulations that stayed in place for years even if their original purpose was out-dated.

This challenge gives people and businesses a four week opportunity to challenge what they believe is transport red tape and to put forward logical arguments for removing unnecessary and irrelevant regulations, which will get listened to. Let’s make the most of it.

The overall aim is to remove barriers to economic growth and increase individual freedoms. The presumption is that regulations will go, unless it can be justified why a regulation should be kept.

Notes to editors

The Red Tape Challenge was launched by the Prime Minister on 7 April, giving the public a chance to have their say on the more than 21,000 regulations that affect their everyday lives.

Go and have a look at the The Red Tape Challenge website

The first 5 themes of the Red Tape challenge campaign are:

  • retail
  • hospitality, food and drink
  • road transportation
  • equalities
  • health & safety

The campaign will also have 6 cross-cutting themes that affect all businesses and are open throughout the whole of the campaign. The 6 cross-cutting themes are:

  • employment law
  • pensions
  • company law
  • equalities
  • health and safety
  • environment legislation

For each sector theme, there is an experienced ‘sector champion’ who will provide expert knowledge on the issues faced by those on the shop floor. The champion acts as an intermediary between the sector and government and help to direct the web-based debates and discussions.

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Published 20 May 2011