§ Miss McIntosh
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received712W on the impact of the proposed levy charge imposed at freight terminals on rail freight operators who inadvertently bring illegal immigrants into the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mrs. Roche
The power to levy a civil penalty on rail operators who bring clandestine entrants to the United Kingdom concealed in rail freight wagons is contained within section 39(3) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. This stipulates that powers to impose the charge are to be introduced by regulation and that the Secretary of State must consult those appearing to him to be likely to be affected by the imposition of penalties prior to their introduction.
The formal consultation process began on 13 November 2000,with the issue of draft regulations, code of practice and regulatory impact assessment, and ended on 25 December2000. This was preceded by informal consultation during which representatives of the industry were invited to comment on an initial draft of the code of practice.
We are now considering the draft regulations and code of practice in the light of the issues raised during the consultation process. Copies of a report detailing these contributions and the response of the Home Office to them will be placed in the Library in due course.