Department for Transport

The Department for Transport (DfT) is the government department responsible for the English transport network and a limited number of transport matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that have not been devolved. The department is run by the Secretary of State for Transport, currently (since 24 July 2019) Grant Shapps.

Department for Transport
Welsh: Adran am Drafnidiaeth
Department overview
Formed29 May 2002 (2002-05-29)
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom
HeadquartersGreat Minster House, Horseferry Road, London, UK
Annual budget£2.9 billion; 2019-2020 ($3.87 billion) [1]
Minister responsible
Department executive
Child agencies
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Government control of transport and diverse associated matters has been reorganised a number of times in modern history, being the responsibility of:[2]

The name "Ministry of Transport" lives on in the annual MOT test, a test of vehicle safety, roadworthiness, and exhaust emissions, which most vehicles used on public roads in the UK are required to pass annually once they reach three years old (four years for vehicles in Northern Ireland).


The Department for Transport has six strategic objectives [3]:

  • Support the creation of a stronger, cleaner, more productive economy
  • Help to connect people and places, balancing investment across the country
  • Make journeys easier, modern and reliable
  • Make sure transport is safe, secure and sustainable
  • Prepare the transport system for technological progress and a prosperous future outside the EU
  • Promote a culture of efficiency and productivity in everything it does

The department "creates the strategic framework" for transport services, which are delivered through a wide range of public and private sector bodies including its own executive agencies.[4]


The DfT Ministers are as follows:[5]

Minister Rank Portfolio
The Rt Hon. Grant Shapps MP Secretary of State Overall responsibility for the department; oversight of all areas; corporate.
Chris Heaton-Harris MP Minister of State for Transport EU Exit planning; rail; cycling and walking.
George Freeman MP Minister of State for Transport Transports technology and innovation; Future of Mobility Grand Challenge; decarbonisation and environment; Office for Low Emissions Vehicles; Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles; spaceports and freeports; devolution and housing; East-West connectivity.
Nus Ghani MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Maritime; skills and apprenticeships; Year of Engineering (legacy); accessibility (all modes); Lead Minister for Secondary Legislation; Shadow roads Minister in the Commons.
Paul Maynard MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Northern Powerhouse Rail; HS2; Crossrail; East West Rail; TransPennine route upgrade; aviation (including Heathrow expansion).
The Rt Hon. Baroness Vere of Norbiton Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Roads; security; freight (including EU Exit and rail); drones; taxis and buses; light rail; community transport; all Lords business.

The Permanent Secretary is Bernadette Kelly.

2017 judicial review

Following a series of strikes, poor performance, removal of access for the disabled and commuter protests relating to Govia Thameslink Railway a group of commuters crowdfunded £26,000 to initiate a judicial review into the Department for Transport's management and failure to penalise Govia or remove the management contract. The oral hearing to determine if commuters have standing to bring a judicial review was listed for 29 June 2017 at the Royal Court of Justice.[6][7]

The attempted judicial review was not allowed to proceed, and the commuters who brought it had to pay £17,000 in costs to the Department for Transport.[8][9]

Executive agencies

Non-departmental public bodies

The DfT sponsors the following public bodies:

Transport data

The DfT maintains datasets including the National Trip End Model and traffic counts on major roads.


The devolution of transport policy varies around the UK; most aspects in Great Britain are decided at Westminster. Key reserved transport matters (i.e., not devolved) are as follows:

Scotland Reserved matters:[10]

Northern Ireland Reserved matters:[11]

The department's devolved counterparts in Northern Ireland are:

Wales Under the Welsh devolution settlement, specific policy areas are transferred to the National Assembly for Wales rather than reserved to Westminster.

See also


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