Transport Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 9th November 2000.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Whitty Lord Whitty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions 6:15 pm, 9th November 2000

My Lords, I am slightly surprised at this amendment. First, Clause 110 does not bear the slightly sinister implications suggested by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith. It does not define or redefine the local authorities' bus powers in relation to the operators; nor does it introduce additional powers.

The provision deals with the bus strategy dimension of the local transport plans. It is surely the local authorities which should decide what should and should not be contained in that strategy. Of course, they are required to consult and take into account the views of the customers, operators, businesses and others who are concerned with the provision of transport. But at the end of the day it is what the local authority considers right that is important. Therefore I do not see it being logical to delete that requirement in the way that Amendment No. 5 seeks to do.

Moreover, the amendment sweeps away the useful provisions in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), which are rather more specific requirements on the local authority in its bus strategy than the broad-ranging,

"social and economic well-being of their area".

As with an earlier amendment, other government legislation requires that to be taken account of in any case. So Amendment No. 5 will neither improve the Bill nor be a logical expression of what we want local authorities to do. I hope therefore that the noble Lord will not press the amendment.