§ 3.25 p.m.
§ Lord Lucas of Chilworth rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 5th July be approved.
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move the draft International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs Act 1976 (Amendment) Order 1983.
§ The business before your Lordships this afternoon concerns an international agreement of some importance, particularly to the sector of the United Kingdom road haulage industry concerned with the transport of perishable foodstuffs. This is the agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs and on the special equipment to be used for such carriage (known as the ATP Agreement). It lays down standards for the vehicles used for carrying perishable foodstuffs on international journeys and provides for the testing of vehicles and the issue of certificates of compliance with the standards. Certificates issued by the competent authority of one contracting country are accepted by those of other countries who are party to the agreement. Twenty countries, including the United Kingdom, who ratified the agreement in 1976, are now party to the ATP Agreement.
§ The agreement has recently been amended to allow for the issue of a certification plate and its acceptance as an alternative to a paper certificate. The purpose of the Order in Council which I am introducing to your Lordships this afternoon is to make consequential amendments to United Kingdom domestic legislation so that the amendment to the agreement can be implemented in the United Kingdom. United Kingdom operators will then be able, if they so wish, to obtain a certification plate to affix to the equipment 1379 instead of a paper certificate. It is anticipated that the plate will be found particularly useful for containers, trailers or semi-trailers, which often travel unaccompanied and where a paper certificate might be inconvenient to carry.
§ Unless your Lordships particularly wish it, I shall not trouble the House with the details of the amendments which the Order in Council will make to the 1976 Act. Briefly, what it does is to include references to a certification plate wherever the Act makes reference to a certificate, thus enabling plates to be issued by the testing bodies, for regulations to be made prescribing the form and layout of the plates and for the provisions as to offences and penalties to apply similarly in the case of certification plates as they do in the case of certification documents. The necessary amending regulations will be laid before Parliament as soon as possible after the order becomes operative.
§ The proposed order entials only minor changes to present legislation, but the Government believe these to be of real practical use, and I understand that the introduction of certification plates is generally welcome to the United Kingdom road haulage industry and others who have interests in this matter. Like the ATP Agreement itself, the purpose is to facilitate the international carriage of perishable foodstuffs. Accordingly, I hope it will be welcomed by your Lordships, and I commend the order to the House.
§ Moved. That the draft order laid before the House on 5th July be approved.—(Lord Lucas of Chilworth.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.