Research briefings

This page provides access to research briefings produced by the House of Commons Library, the House of Lords Library and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). You can filter the research briefings by date, type, or one of 350 topics. Pick your options from the dropdown menus.

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    • Commons Briefing papers: Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
    • Lords Library Notes: Authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
    • POSTbriefs: Responsive policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on mini-literature reviews and peer review, typically commissioned by select committees and library research services.
    • POSTnotes: Proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board.
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    Topics: Research material can be filtered by subject using the topic terms. The topics are arranged in a taxonomy (a hierarchical classification) and can be further filtered using sub-topics.

Displaying 21-40 out of 46

Trends in Transport
Published Friday, June 5, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0496
Transport is a key driver of economic growth. It links people to their workplaces and connects businesses. It also affects health, the environment and societal wellbeing. This POSTnote looks at why transport is changing, outlines current trends across and within transport sectors and considers the planning of transport networks.
The Royal Navy's surface fleet: in brief
Published Friday, November 29, 2013 | Commons Briefing papers SN06770
The Royal Navy is in the middle of an ambitious programme to upgrade its surface fleet with new destroyers, frigates and at least one operational aircraft carrier.
Military Search and Rescue to end in 2016
Published Thursday, April 25, 2013 | Commons Briefing papers SN06617
The Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy will no longer provide a Search and Rescue Helicopter service in the UK after March 2016. A wholly civilian service run by Bristow Helicopters Ltd and managed by the Department for Transport will provide the Search and Rescue Helicopter capability for the UK.
Shipping: HM Coastguard
Published Tuesday, April 9, 2013 | Commons Briefing papers SN00186
This note looks at the changes to the Coastguard service over the past few years and the recent privatisation of helicopter Search and Rescue.

Topic: Shipping

Antarctic Bill - Committee Stage
Published Thursday, January 17, 2013 | Commons Briefing papers SN06528
The Antarctic Bill is presented as a Private Member’s Bill by Neil Carmichael MP. This note sets out the issues discussed in the Bill Committee on 21 November 2012. These included: the timing of the enactment of the provisions relating to the liability annex, compatibility with existing shipping liability provisions, and the wider issue of the future of the British Antarctic Survey.
Ports: privatisation of trust ports
Published Wednesday, January 2, 2013 | Commons Briefing papers SN00010
This note sets out the legislative procedure put in place by the previous Conservative Government to allow for the privatisation of trust ports; how this was implemented in the mid-1990s; and the possibility of more trust ports being privatised in the future. It also gives information about the proposed privatisation of the Port of Dover, which has been the subject of much controversy and was finally rejected by the Government in December 2012.

Topic: Shipping

Shipping: Marine Navigation (No. 2) Bill (Bill 19 of 2012-13)
Published Thursday, December 13, 2012 | Commons Briefing papers SN06437
On 17 May 2012 the Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, Sheryll Murray, was drawn twelfth in the Private Members Bill ballot. On 20 June Ms Murray introduced the Marine Navigation (No. 2) Bill in the House of Commons. The Bill and accompanying Explanatory Notes were published on 12 October. The Bill received Second Reading in the House of Commons on 19 October; Committee stage on 7 November, Report stage and Third Reading on 30 November and is awaiting Second Reading in the Lords. The Bill has support from both the Government and the Opposition.

Topic: Shipping

Preventing and prosecuting piracy at sea: legal issues
Published Tuesday, February 28, 2012 | Commons Briefing papers SN06237
The resurgence in piracy at sea, particularly hijackings off the coast of Somalia, has prompted a range of efforts to tackle it. These throw up a series of legal issues including the use of force by governments and private armed security guards, and transferring of suspects for trial or imprisonment. Library Standard Notes covering related issues include: Piracy at sea: overview and policy responses; Somalia: recent political, security and humanitarian developments; and Does Somali piracy have any ‘developmental effects’?.
Piracy at sea: overview and policy responses
Published Tuesday, February 28, 2012 | Commons Briefing papers SN03794
This note gives a brief overview of the problems facing UK and world shipping from piracy and armed robbery at sea and summarises the actions being taken by the UK Government and international organisations to tackle the problem.

Topics: Africa, Shipping

Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T)
Published Tuesday, February 7, 2012 | Commons Briefing papers SN00478
Trans-European Networks (TENs) are infrastructure networks in transport, energy and telecommunications. This note is only concerned with the transport networks (TEN-T). It gives information on the background to the scheme, its financial aspects; the priority projects it supports; and the European Commission’s plans for reform.
Privatisation of RAF/Royal Navy Search and Rescue
Published Friday, December 16, 2011 | Commons Briefing papers SN05861
Ports: policy since 1997
Published Friday, November 11, 2011 | Commons Briefing papers SN03037
This note gives details of ports policy, including the National Policy Statement, and approvals for new container ports since 1997.

Topic: Shipping

Ports: security
Published Wednesday, June 8, 2011 | Commons Briefing papers SN03106
This note gives details of port security programmes and policies initiated by both the IMO and the European Commission and includes information on the American programme to compel international ports to scan all goods heading to the US.

Topics: Shipping, Terrorism

British Waterways
Published Tuesday, April 26, 2011 | Commons Briefing papers SN03184
This note gives the present and previous governments' policies towards British Waterways; information on Defra's 2004-05 policy review of BW in which concluded that it was largely doing a good job; and summarises the pressing issues of recent years - the funding of BW, the effect of cuts to its budget, and its future institutional status.
Marine litter: 'continents' of rubbish
Published Thursday, July 1, 2010 | Commons Briefing papers SN05622
A large amount of plastic is accumulating in large areas of the sea. These areas have been dubbed 'great garbage patches' or 'plastic continents'. The long term environmental impacts of marine plastic pollution are unknown. There are concerns that it may lead to chemical contaminants entering the food chain, although more research is required.
Shipping: safety on the River Thames and the Marchioness disaster
Published Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | Commons Briefing papers SN00769
This note looks at the safety issues on the River Thames that came to light as a result of the Marchioness disaster in 1989 and measures taken to deal with them.

Topic: Shipping

Shipping: Marine Safety Act 2003
Published Monday, June 14, 2010 | Commons Briefing papers SN02156
This note briefly explains how the Marine Safety Act 2003 came into being and those problems it was designed to address.

Topic: Shipping

Shipping: jet skis
Published Monday, June 14, 2010 | Commons Briefing papers SN00268
This note explains the law governing the use of jet skis.

Topic: Shipping

Science in the New Parliament, 2010
Published Saturday, May 1, 2010 | POSTbriefs POST-Report-12
After every general election, POST produces a special briefing highlighting some of the main science-based issues that the new Parliament is likely to encounter.
Transport Policy in 2010: a rough guide
Published Friday, March 19, 2010 | Commons Briefing papers RP10-28
This paper gives an overview of transport policy in the UK in 2010. It examines a range of issues related to transport policy, including policy-makers, spending on and sources of funding for transport, the transport policy of the main political parties, and the challenges in formulating transport policy in 2010.

Displaying 21-40 out of 46

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The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.

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The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.


The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.

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