§ Mr. Chope
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles are outside the vehicle registration system; and how many of these will be brought back into the system through the measures set out in the Regulatory Impact Assessment for the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) (No 3) Regulations 2003. 
§ Mr. Jamieson
[holding answer 27 October 2003]These are currently 2.1 million vehicles on the vehicle record with no current keeper details, although not all of these will be in use on our roads.
As I announced on 22 May, I have set the DVLA tough new targets in relation to Continuous Registration, which have to be achieved by 2007. One objective is to halve the number of vehicles outside the system, either by relicensing them or by removing them from the road.
The purpose of the regulations is to stop further seepage out of the system by making keepers of vehicles responsible for taxing them until the DVLA are informed that the vehicle has been sold or taken off the road. This will be assisted by enhanced checking procedures for the identity of new keepers when DVLA is informed of a change of keeper.
In addition, as a result of the publicity that will accompany the new arrangements, it is anticipated that many unlicensed vehicles will be brought back onto the register by their keepers relicensing them.
Vehicles outside the system will be dealt with through enhanced enforcement measures—mainly wheel clamping and removal—undertaken by the DVLA. Since April 2002 local authorities can now take on the powers of DVLA in clamping unlicensed vehicles. 14 authorities have these powers already, three are being inducted into their use currently and a further 27 are in talks with DVLA about taking on these powers. This will complement DVLA's own wheel clamping capacity and will ensure that vehicles currently outside the system are properly dealt with.