* In the current Parliamentary Session, the following Public Bill Committees have concluded their consideration of the Bill earlier than scheduled: Criminal Finances, Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts), Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs), Neighbourhood Planning, Savings (Government Contributions), Technical and Further Education, Commonwealth Development Corporation and Children and Social Work.
Aims of the Bill
The Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill 2017 introduces a set of transport policies to modernise the transport system for businesses and passengers. The bill makes policies for:
automated vehicles (AV)
electric vehicle infrastructure
air traffic control regulations (NATs)
road vehicle testing
misuse of lasers
courses offered as an alternative to driving fixed penalty notices
Different parts of the Bill extend to the various nations of the UK. Parts 2 (electric vehicles) and 3 (civil aviation) and clause 22 (laser offence) extend to the whole of the UK. Part 1 (automated vehicles), clause 21 (vehicle testing and fees) and clause 23(1), (3) and (6) (alternative courses for road traffic penalties) extend to the whole of Great Britain. Clause 23(2) (alternative courses for road traffic penalties) also extends to Northern Ireland.
The Bill and the Explanatory Notes are available on Parliament’s dedicated Bill page, along with five impacts assessments looking at the Bill as a whole and four key aspects.
On its dedicated Bill page, the Department for Transport has collated background policy documents that feed into the Bill.
Insurance for automated vehicles
The application of ‘intelligence’ to cars is gathering pace and there is a strong push by manufacturers to develop automated vehicles which will drive themselves. Currently, insurance law is driver-centric: all (human) drivers have to have insurance in order to provide compensation for third parties for personal injury or property damage due to a driving related incident. The Government’s view is that such principles need to be extended to cover automated vehicles when the car is the driver and the ‘driver’ is sometimes a passenger.
The intention behind the legislation is to emphasise that if there is an insurance ’event’ (accident) the compensation route for the individual remains within the motor insurance settlement framework, rather than through a product liability framework against a manufacturer.
The Government believes that answering the insurance questions sooner rather than later will encourage manufacturers to develop transport technology in the United Kingdom with the confidence that they can exploit market opportunities.
Since 2009 UK governments of all parties have sought to provide a framework in which electric vehicles, or ‘ultra low emission vehicles’ (ULEVs) can grow. The decarbonisation of both private cars and goods and passenger carrying vehicles is seen as critical to helping the UK achieve its climate change obligations and to improving air quality, particularly in cities such as London.
The measures in the Bill are intended to help deliver the aim in the Conservative Manifesto commitment for almost every car and van to be a zero emission vehicle by 2050. Taken together, the proposed powers would allow Government to regulate if necessary in the coming years, to improve the consumer experience of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, to ensure provision at key strategic locations like Motorway Service Areas (MSAs), and to require that charge points have ‘smart’ capability.
The Air Travel Organisers’ Licence (ATOL) is a consumer protection scheme for package holidays that include a flight. It is managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport. If an ATOL-licensed firm goes out of business, the CAA can refund protected consumers or, if they are already on holiday, ensure their safe repatriation home.
In recent years, there have been significant changes in the travel market. In particular, consumers are using the internet to ‘mix and match’ or ‘dynamically package’ the components of their holiday. In order to meet the needs of the modern consumer, the ATOL scheme was updated in 2012. Following a consultation in 2016, the Government believes that further legislative change is now needed. The measures in the Bill are intended to ensure that ATOL keeps pace with innovation in the travel market and align the scheme with a revised EC Directive on package travel and linked travel arrangements (2015/2302/EU), which must be implemented by 1 January 2018.
Air Traffic Services
NATS Holdings Ltd. (NATS, formerly National Air Traffic Services) is an air navigation service provider in the UK, responsible for providing air traffic services within UK and Eastern North Atlantic airspace. NATS is split into two main business units that provide distinct services. One, NATS (En-Route) plc (NERL), provides en-route air traffic control services and a centralised approach service at the London airports. NERL provides these services pursuant to a licence granted to it by the Secretary of State for Transport under the Transport Act 2000, as amended. It is economically regulated under that licence, by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The measures in the Bill are intended to modernise the licensing framework by updating the CAA’s regulatory powers, giving the CAA access to a wider range enforcement tools when regulating NATS, and updating the Government’s powers to extend the licence notice period, thereby promoting NATS’ ability to arrange more efficient financing.
Vehicle testing and fees
The Bill introduces a power for the Secretary of State to designate premises for vehicle testing and cap testing station fees. The Government believes that these changes are necessary to plug the gap in the law and allow authorised testing facilities to charge a pit fee on a statutory footing rather than on a contractual basis.
Shining a laser at a vehicle
The Bill would change the law so that an offence is committed when the actions of an offender result in a pilot, driver, or captain being dazzled or distracted by a laser.
The Bill would provide a specific legal basis for charging for diversionary courses. The Government’s view is that road traffic offenders would not notice any difference as the same range of courses would be offered as before, on the same conditions, for the same fee. The change is a purely technical one, to remove any doubt as to the legal basis for charging.
Follow the progress of the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill
The Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill was presented to the House of Commons on 22 February 2017 and had its second reading debate on Monday 6 March 2017.
This Bill has now been committed to a Public Bill Committee which will hold its oral evidence sessions on Tuesday 14 March 2017. The Public Bill Committee must conclude by Thursday 23 March 2017.
Guidance on submitting written evidence
The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration. Once the Committee has dealt with an amendment it will not revisit it. The order in which amendments are taken in Committee will be available in due course under Selection of Amendments on the Bill documents page.
Deadline for written evidence submissions
The Committee is expected to meet for the first time on Tuesday 14 March 2017; it will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage on Thursday 23 March 2017. Please note that when the Committee concludes its consideration of the Bill it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can conclude earlier than the expected deadline of 5.00pm on Thursday 23 March 2017.
What should written evidence cover?
Your submission should address matters contained within the Bill and concentrate on issues where you have a special interest or expertise, and factual information of which you would like the Committee to be aware.
Your submission could most usefully:
It is helpful if the submission includes a brief introduction about you or your organisation. The submission should not have been previously published or circulated elsewhere.
If you have any concerns about your submission, please contact the Scrutiny Unit (details below).
How should written evidence be submitted?
Your submission should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that submissions sent to the Government department in charge of the Bill will not be treated as evidence to the Public Bill Committee. Submissions should be in the form of a Word document. A summary should be provided. Paragraphs should be numbered, but there should be no page numbering.
Essential statistics or further details can be added as annexes, which should also be numbered. To make publication easier, please avoid the use of coloured graphs, complex diagrams or pictures. As a guideline, submissions should not exceed 3,000 words.
Please include in the covering email the name, address, telephone number and email address of the person responsible for the submission. The submission should be dated.
What will happen to my evidence?
The written evidence will be circulated to all Committee Members to inform their consideration of the Bill.
Most submissions will also be published on the internet as soon as possible after the Committee has started sitting.
Those making a submission to a Bill Committee should note the following:
- Committees publish most of the written evidence they receive on the internet (where it will be accessible to search engines).
If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so and explain your reasons for not wishing its disclosure. The committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the committee, please contact the clerk of the committee to discuss this. The Scrutiny Unit (details below) will be able to provide you with contact details for the clerk.
- A Committee is not obliged to accept your submission as evidence, nor to publish any or all of the submission even if it has been accepted as evidence. This may occur where a submission is very long or contains material to which it is inappropriate to give parliamentary privilege (see Guide for Witnesses ( PDF 1.25 MB) for further information on parliamentary privilege).
- Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a submission, in which case it should be clearly referenced, preferably with a hyperlink.
You should be careful not to comment on matters currently before a court of law, or matters in respect of which court proceedings are imminent. If you anticipate such issues arising, you should discuss with the clerk of the committee how this might affect your submission.
- Once submitted, no public use should be made of any submission prepared specifically for the committee unless you have first obtained permission from the clerk of the committee. If you are given permission by the committee to publish your evidence separately, you should be aware that you will be legally responsible for its content.
- Evidence which is accepted by the Committee may be published online at any stage; when it is so published it becomes subject to parliamentary copyright and is protected by parliamentary privilege.
- Once you have received acknowledgement that the evidence has been published you may publicise or publish your evidence yourself. In doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee, and you should be aware that your publication or re-publication of your evidence may not be protected by parliamentary privilege.
- Public Bill Committees do not investigate individual cases of complaint or allegations of maladministration.
- The personal information you supply will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 for the purposes of attributing the evidence you submit and contacting you as necessary in connection with its processing.
- The Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act.
- If you have any queries or concerns about the collection and use of this information please advise the committee team providing your full contact details.
Scrutiny Unit contact details
Telephone: 020 7219 8387
Address: Ian Hook
Senior Executive Officer
House of Commons