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About the Non Departmental Public Bodies

Executive Advisory Tribunal Other

Executive non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs)

The Department sponsors the following executive non-departmental public bodies.

British Transport Police logo British Transport Police Authority (BTP Authority)

BTPA is the independent body responsible for ensuring an efficient and effective British Transport Police force for rail operators, their staff and passengers in England, Scotland and Wales. It is based as much as possible on the set up of a local Police Authority, but it also takes into account the national structure and industry served by the Force. The fifteen members of the police authority oversee the police force, set its targets and allocate funds for its budget.

The BTP Authority was established on 1 July 2004 under the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003. The Authority, which is classified as an executive NDPB of the Department, has a statutory duty to maintain an efficient and effective police force for the railways.

The British Transport Police Force is funded by the rail industry and the Authority is responsible for setting its annual budget. The Chair of the Authority and other members, consisting of a mix of industry and non-industry members, are appointed directly by the Secretary of State.

BTPA has 15 members representing a mix of passenger and industry interests. They are supported by a Secretariat based in London.

Passenger focus Passenger Focus

Passenger Focus is the operating name for the new Rail Passengers Council (RPC) which was established on 24th July 2005 by the Railways Act 2005. The RPC works on behalf of rail passengers across Great Britain and is a body corporate, executive Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) sponsored by the Department for Transport. The duties and constitution of the RPC are principally set out in the Railways Act 1993 and in the Railways Act 2005.

Passenger focus has 13 board members and over 50 staff working out of two offices in London and Manchester.

Railway Heritage Committee Railway Heritage Committee (RHC)

The role of the RHC is to identify railway records and artefacts of future value to the nation, in the general interest of the public, for research and scholarship and to ensure they reside in good condition, in appropriate locations. Once identified, the RHC has the function of designating those records and artefacts (or classes of record or artefact) which are historically significant and should be permanently preserved. Once designated, the owner of artefacts and records may only dispose of them once they have sought permission from the RHC.

Sponsorship of the RHC transferred to the Department for Transport on 21 November 2005 from the Strategic Rail Authority, when it became an executive Non-Departmental Public Body directly accountable to the Secretary of State for Transport.

The Railway Heritage Committee is currently chaired on an Acting basis by Peter Ovenstone, otherwise Company Secretary of the Heritage Railway Association.

railway heritage committee Renewable Fuels Agency

The Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) is leading the world in the field of biofuel regulation, by providing regular carbon and sustainability reports on the state of the the UK Renewable Transport Fuel Obiligation (RTFO). The agency came into being in April 2008, along with the RTFO which it administers.

Under the obligation major fossil fuel suppliers are obliged to ensure that a significant proportion of all road transport fuel is made up of biofuel. For the year 2009/2010 the target of the RTFO is that 3.25% of all road transport fuel shall come from biofuel sources, increasing to 3.5% in 2010/11.

As well as targets on biofuel volume, there are of course targets on environmental and social sustainability criteria linked to biofuel source crops.

The RFA requires monthly reports from fuel supply companies as part of the RTFO. Based on these reports, tradable Renewable Transport Fuel (RTF) certificates are issued to biofuel suppliers. Fuel suppliers are encouraged to report on the specific type and origin of biofuel source crops  Penalties may be imposed on companies which fail to report fuel supply data.

The RFA is an executive non-departmental public body funded by the Department for Transport but it is led by an independent board.

The RFA was set up on October 26, 2007, and is based in Hastings, East Sussex.

Advisory non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs)

The Department sponsors the following advisory non-departmental public bodies.

Commission for Intergrated transport Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT)

The Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT) is an independent body advising the Government on integrated transport policy. CfIT takes a broad view of integrated transport policy and its interface with wider Government objectives for economic prosperity, environmental protection, health and social inclusion. Physical integration - the principle of ensuring transport modes operate in conjunction with one another, is just one vital element of the bigger transport picture. The Commission provides expert advice supported by independent research.

CfIT was established in 1998 as a result of the Integrated Transport White Paper 'to provide independent advice to Government on the implementation of integrated transport policy, to monitor developments across transport, environment, health and other sectors and to review progress towards meeting our objectives'.

Following an independent review of CfIT in 2003, the Commission's remit is as follows:

Providing policy advice via evidence based reports on:

  • Future policy options, so-called 'blue-sky thinking' on future strategic issues
  • Policy issues spanning departmental boundaries (i.e. environment, social, etc.)
  • Best practice amongst local authorities/delivery agencies to encourage improved performance and to highlight barriers to best practice
  • Comparisons with European/International policy initiatives and dissemination of best practice
  • The impact of new technology on future policy options
  • Specific issues as requested by the Department for Transport (DfT)

Information about the CFIT members:

DPTAC Disabled Persons' Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC)

DPTAC was set up under the Transport Act 1985 to advise the Secretary of State for Transport on the transport needs of disabled people. The Committee also has a non-statutory role to advise on access to the built environment and on planning issues. Its membership is limited to 20 (plus chair) and at least half the members must be disabled people.

The aim of DPTAC is to ensure that all disabled people can go where everyone else goes and that they can do so easily and without extra cost. 


The Department sponsors the following tribunals.

Traffic Commissioners and Deputies

The eight Traffic Commissioners are appointed by the Secretary of State for the Transport and have responsibility in their area for:

  • The licensing of the operators of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and of buses and coaches (Public Service Vehicles or PSVs).
  • The registration of local bus services.
  • Granting vocational licences and taking action against drivers of HGVs and PSVs.

The Traffic Commissioner for Scotland is also responsible for dealing with both appeals against decisions by Scottish local authorities on taxi fares, with appeals against charging and removing improperly parked vehicles in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Commissioners are statutorily independent in their licensing functions. When necessary, they hold Public Inquiries, in particular to consider the environmental suitability of HGV operating centres and the possibility of disciplinary action against operators who have not observed the conditions of their licences.

Public corporations

The Department sponsors the following public corporations:

Trinity House Trinity House Lighthouse Service (THLS)

Under part VII, Section 193 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 THLS is responsible for the provision and maintenance of marine aids to navigation around the coasts of England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. It also marks wrecks and has wreck removal powers. It is funded by light dues collected at ports around the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Northern Lighthouse Board

The Northern Lighthouse Board's aim is to provide reliable, low-maintenance and cost effective networks of aids to navigation, backed by a safe, efficient, economic and professional support organisation.

Their principal concern is with safety: the safety of the mariner at sea; the safety of our own people employed in or around some of the world's most dangerous coastlines; and the safety of environment in which we, and those who come after us, must live and work. 

Office of Rail Regulation (ORR)

The Office of Rail Regulation is the independent safety and economic regulator for Britain's railways.

The ORR is led by a Board appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport.

The Board contains a mix of executive and non-executive directors. Anna Walker is the non-executive chairman. The Board is responsible for setting ORR's strategy and overseeing its efficient, effective and economic delivery. Further information

Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership

The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership is an action and advisory group, established in 2003 to take a lead in accelerating the shift to low carbon vehicles and fuels in the UK and to help ensure that UK business can benefit from that shift.

The LowCVP is a partnership of over 300 organisations from the automotive and fuel industries, the environmental sector, government, academia, road user groups and other organisations with a stake in the low carbon vehicles and fuels agenda.

BRB (Residuary) Ltd BRB (Residuary) Ltd

BRB (Residuary) Ltd is a limited company which was created in 2001 as a subsidiary of the Strategic Rail Authority to manage the majority of the remaining property, rights and liabilities of the British Railways Board. Those responsibilities include the management of a diverse property portfolio and the settlement of industrial injury claims submitted by former British Railways employees. Following the decision to wind-up the SRA the company has been transferred to the Department for Transport and is now a wholly owned subsidiary company. By virtue of a Transfer Scheme made under the Railways Act 2005, BRBR has also taken ownership of a number of companies previously owned by the SRA. As such, BRBR is responsible for managing these companies.

The company is funded through a combination of income earned on property activities and departmental subsidy. BRBR is classified for government accounting purposes as a Public Corporation.

Trust Ports

Trust ports are independent statutory bodies, each governed by its own, unique, local legislation and controlled by an independent board. Their common feature is their unique status as trusts. There are no shareholders or owners. Any surplus is ploughed back into the port for the benefit of the stakeholders of the trust. The stakeholders are all those using the port, employees of both the port and its users and all those individuals, organisations and groups having an interest (not necessarily pecuniary) in the operation of the port.

Civil Aviation Authority Civil Aviation Authority

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which is a public corporation, was established by Parliament in 1972 as an independent specialist aviation regulator and provider of air traffic services. Following the separation of National Air Traffic Services from the CAA in 2001, CAA is the UK's independent aviation regulator, with all civil aviation regulatory functions (economic regulation, airspace policy, safety regulation and consumer protection) integrated within a single specialist body. The CAA's costs are met entirely from its charges on those whom it regulates.  

Review of the Renewable Fuels Agency

A review of the Renewable Fuels Agency to consider value for money, developments in Europe and clarify the relationship with the department sponsor.

23 November 2010