On Thursday 08th February, the UK Government launched its much awaited consultation on the use of section 19 and 22 permits. This sets out how it intends to change its guidance following its reinterpretation of how the EU regulations (1071/2009) on passenger service vehicle (PSV) operators should be applied in England, Wales and Scotland.
For our members in Northern Ireland, who have already been through the unsettlement of a similar consultation process, this consultation offers some hope that guidance does not need to be as onerous as that which has been proposed by their government. CTA will be working to ensure that this matter is re-examined in Northern Ireland.
Our team are going through the consultation document now and once we have a more in-depth analysis next week we will share it with members, but here are my initial thoughts:
We’ve known this was coming for over six months and there will be mixed feelings amongst our membership about the launch. We know some of you will be relieved it’s finally underway, as the uncertainty has been as debilitating for your organisations as the actual proposed changes. Others will feel uncomfortable engaging in a discussion about reforms they disagree with. There are also some members who think the best thing they can do is to make the changes and see what opportunities this presents. We know the people who have waged this campaign against the CT sector are clearly spooked by the prospect of you having the same licenses as them, so there may be some benefits which we need to explore as a sector.
Whatever your viewpoint, the consultation is now here and we need to work together on it like we did on the Transport Select Committee Inquiry in the autumn. This was a great example of our sector working collaboratively, with most of the 300 responses supporting our sector and a third of these being based on CTA’s template and guidance. It is important that we do the same again.
To this end, in the next month I am prioritising getting out to the different forums we have through which CTA members’ views are represented, so we can test and refine ideas before we issue guidance to support your responses.
- Our Scotland Committee will meet next Tuesday, 13th February.
- Our Wales Committee will meet on 27th February.
- We are arranging a meeting of our Policy Committee, which has members from across the UK, to take place in the next four weeks.
I know the Department for Transport intends to run its own events, and my Country Director colleagues are working with their devolved national governments to see what they can do, so we don’t intend to duplicate this work. However, I am open to invitations to other forums where groups of our members will be gathering and I will reach out to Mobility Matters to see if they would like to join in anything we are planning.
I should also let you know that we will be working with other voluntary sector umbrella bodies, such as NCVO, to ensure other parts of Government and the voluntary sector are alert to the risks to community transport and the people who rely on our services. We’re also bringing together national charities, like Age UK, who have local branches that run transport to see what we can achieve through our respective networks in Westminster.
I’ve set out some of the early stages of what we’ll do in the next 12 weeks and we will have more to say once we’ve analysed the document in greater depth.
However, please don’t hesitate to contact us with your initial thoughts on what is being said or asked in the document. You can email us via firstname.lastname@example.org