Transport Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:00 pm on 9th November 2000.

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Photo of Lord Whitty Lord Whitty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions 8:00 pm, 9th November 2000

My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 28 I wish to speak also to Amendment No. 29.

Both these new clauses have been prepared in response to Liberal Democrat amendments which were withdrawn at Report stage on the understanding that the Government would bring forward our own amendments at Third Reading. We were sympathetic to the objectives of the Liberal Democrat amendments.

In the case of quiet lanes and home zones we have, I hope, achieved the essential objectives of the Liberal Democrat amendment, though with some significant differences. I think that we would agree that in terms of achieving the road safety targets which the Government set themselves in the road safety strategy, the creation of home zones in urban and residential areas and tackling the problems of speed in our rural lanes and villages are an important part of that.

Amendment No. 28 would give legal status to the concept of home zones. It gives the appropriate national authority power to make regulations which in turn would enable local traffic authorities to make use orders and speed orders. Use orders will be particularly valuable in home zones because they will give legal status to uses of the road for purposes other than the traditional one of "passing and repassing". Speed orders would enable the local traffic authority to introduce speed limits in individual quiet lanes and to reduce speed limits below the current levels.

Amendment No. 29 which concerns the rural road hierarchy is slightly less complex. It embraces the essence of the amendment tabled by the Liberal Democrats at an earlier stage. It commits the Secretary of State to undertake a review of all the considerations required to implement the rural road hierarchy; to address the problem of speed which is a hazard and inflicts environmental pollution on much of our countryside and, after consultation, to publish a report within 12 months. I believe that these amendments will make a major contribution to road safety. I beg to move.