Transport Bill

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

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Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour 6:15 pm, 9th November 2000

My Lords, I support the principle behind these amendments, as I did on Report.

The noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, has a point about the pre-Budget announcement yesterday. I was overwhelmed by the paragraph on introducing a green transport package where the first measure was a proposal to remove VAT from the purchase of cycle helmets. I am a cyclist and usually wear a helmet, and that provision will no doubt help me. But I am not sure that it is in quite the same league as sorting out the problems of yellow box junctions and buses. I cycle round London a lot and am really irritated by cars which stop in yellow box junctions. It is dangerous for cyclists and everyone else. But, more importantly, it stops the buses running.

The noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, mentioned the plight of the bus industry--he is right to do so--but there is also the plight of the customers to be considered. The customers are not using the buses and therefore the industry cannot deliver the central plank of the Government's transport policy; that is, to get more people out of their cars and on to buses. I urge my noble friend, therefore, to see whether he can find a way of getting the same enforcement measures for yellow box junctions as for bus lanes. I am convinced that if people were fined £30 or £60 if they stopped in a yellow box junction and stopped the bus going through, they would not do it again. So I support the amendment.