Transport Committee Press Notice

Closure of DFT internet sites

Transformational Government or quiet vanishing act?

The Transport Committee has today raised the alarm about Government information vanishing from the public domain. The Government is planning to close down a large number of web-sites, including 36 sites owned by the Department for Transport. The Committee is concerned that some of the information currently available on these sites will cease to be available.

The Committee expressed its concerns to the Secretary of State for Transport, and received a reply which has today been posted on its website ( However, the Committee remains concerned about the continued availability of important documents across Government.

The Chairman of the Transport Committee, Hon Mrs Gwyneth Dunwoody MP, said "it is essential that access to Government papers, for example policy papers or research documents, is not reduced. MPs increasingly depend on open, electronic access not only to the very latest Government documents but to papers which might be a few years old."

"This is a cross-Government initiative which should cause concern for all MPs as well as others who rely on easy access to Government papers."

"We recognise the need to ensure that Government information on the web is relevant and well-organsied, but it would be a real pity if the wealth of Government information available on the internet were significantly reduced as part of this rationalisation exercise. It is worrying that the scheme has emerged quietly and without any consultation.

"The Government's customer focus is admirable, but it should not drive their internet publication policy at the expense of other users such as Parliament, local government, journalists, academics and others who need ready access to policy documents.

"We need a cast-iron guarantee from the Government that any policy paper, research, or information document made available on the internet will remain on the internet. Material should never be removed unless there is a particular, and very good reason for doing so."

Note to Editors:

On 10 January 2007 the Cabinet Office released a list of Central Government websites, including 36 owned by the Department for Transport, which are due to close, according to the CIO Council, 'in order to make access to information easier for citizens and businesses'. The relevant Cabinet Office Press Notice (CAB/01/07) states that 'information of continuing relevance from closed sites will transfer to and'.

The Government's response to the Committee's concerns is available here.

The Membership of the Transport Committee is as follows:




Mrs Gwyneth Dunwoody (Chairman)

Crewe and Nantwich


Mr David Clelland

Tyne Bridge


Mr Jeffrey M Donaldson

Lagan Valley

Democratic Unionist

Clive Efford



Mrs Louise Ellman

Liverpool Riverside


Mr Philip Hollobone



Mr John Leech

Manchester Withington

Liberal Democrats

Mr Eric Martlew



Mr Lee Scott

Ilford North


Mr Graham Stringer

Manchester Blackley


Mr David Wilshire



Press Notice 26/2006-07 13 March 2007