The National Traction Engine Trust

ACCESS TO RECORDS HELD BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES

James Fairchild

We recently received a question from a member club concerning access to vehicle licensing records held by local authorities (such records being pre-computerisation at DVLA in the early 1980s); specifically that such records may be disposed of, or have access to them curtailed, or stopped, due to various budget cuts. After consideration, it was agreed that this issue is peripheral to FBHVC's core aims, and as such we do not propose to contact any councils, and in any event we ourselves would be unable to act as a repository. The Kithead Trust do excellent work in conserving and allowing access to certain records, although we do not know whether they are able or willingto take further records.

If there are members or others concerned about loss of records, a good approach may be for member organisations (or their regional/local branches) to contact councils in their area to find out whether there are any records that may be at risk of disposal (potentially not just vehicle licensing records, but other road/vehicle related information also) and then at a local level lobby your elected council members to either try to get a change of heart, or to get agreement for the records to be transferred elsewhere. Do note though that we cannot assume that organisations such as the Kithead Trust would be prepared to take extra material (and almost certainly would not have the resources to provide a van and two people to spend a day loading and transporting them) and that if someone does want their local records to survive they may have no alternative but to store them locally with a club/branch of a club. In many cases, this will mean a member’s garage or spare bedroom. For this reason, we do urge people to think about the practicalities before making the initial approach. Yes, 'someone' ought to do it - but who is that someone if not yourself?

Originally published in FBHVC Newsletter No 2

The FBHVC represents over 250,000 historic vehicle enthusiasts.

05 Apr 2011