Road Safety Bill [HL]

– in the House of Lords at 8:43 pm on 26 October 2005.

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House again in Committee.

[Amendment No. 145 not moved.]

Photo of Viscount Simon Viscount Simon Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 8:52, 26 October 2005

moved Amendment No. 146:

After Clause 39, insert the following new clause—

"DRIVERS' HOURS

Schedule (Drivers' hours: enforcement) contains amendments about the enforcement of the provisions about drivers' hours."

Photo of Viscount Simon Viscount Simon Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

I shall speak briefly to this amendment standing in my name, which is grouped with Amendment No. 170. When this Bill was first before Parliament, it contained the exact words of those two amendments—word for word. The election was called and it fell by the wayside. I have tabled those amendments again because I would love to know what happened. I beg to move.

Photo of Baroness Crawley Baroness Crawley Government Whip, Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

I have good news for my noble friend. Those amendments seek to reintroduce various provisions relating to the enforcement of drivers' hours rules that were included in Schedule 5 of the previous Road Safety Bill introduced last November, as my noble friend rightly said. We certainly needed to modify the existing enforcement framework for drivers' hours rules in order to reflect the imminent introduction of new technology for recording drivers' activities—the digital tachograph—and to tighten-up existing powers in the light of experience.

So, in principle the Government support this amendment. However, the changes that they seek have been put in place. They had to be in place by early August when we expected the first digital tachograph equipment in vehicles to enter service. Because of that, the Government decided to achieve these changes through secondary legislation instead, using its powers under the European Communities Act 1972. Regulations to that effect, based on Schedule 5 of the previous Bill mentioned by my noble friend, were laid before Parliament on 13 July and came into force on 5 August. I hope, in view of this explanation, that the noble Viscount will withdraw his amendment.

Photo of Viscount Simon Viscount Simon Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

I am so glad that my noble friend foresaw that I was to table an amendment to this effect. I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

moved Amendment No. 147:

After Clause 39, insert the following new clause—

"STATIONARY VEHICLES

Within one year of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall introduce regulations to prohibit vehicles, stationary for more than two minutes, from having their motors running."

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

This is a probing amendment to see whether the Government will look with favour on some kind of regulation that would require drivers to switch off their engines if they are stationary for more than, say, two minutes. Often outside the House one sees people sitting in their cars with the engines running. I passed one this morning somewhere north of Hyde Park. The driver was asleep in his car, with the seat tipped back and the headlights full on, with the engine running. I believe that in Switzerland it is standard practice that if one is stuck in a traffic jam for more than two minutes—I am sure one never is in Switzerland—one has to turn off the engine, which is good for global warming, good for local pollution and saves energy. I think it is a very good idea. I am interested to hear what my noble friend has to say. I beg to move.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

I am not sure that this is a matter for legislation. It is important to turn off the engine when one can for the reasons explained by the noble Lord, but this is much more a matter for driver training. That is why I return to the need for a compulsory driver improvement training scheme, as that could be covered.

Photo of Viscount Simon Viscount Simon Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

I have a vague recollection—I have no idea whether I am right or wrong—that Westminster City Council already has such a by-law in place.

Photo of Baroness Crawley Baroness Crawley Government Whip, Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Berkeley for raising this issue and to other noble Lords who have contributed to this short debate. I have listened with great interest and, of course, the Government are very much aware of the impact that road transport can have on the environment. Like my noble friend, we are concerned to minimise that impact as far as practicable and to deliver clean air as quickly as possible. It is a high priority for us.

Emissions can often be prevented by turning off the engine when a vehicle is stationary for more than two minutes. Publications issued by the department already advise drivers to switch off their engines whenever it is safe to do so. The noble Lord should also be aware that under Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations it is already an offence to cause emissions by leaving a vehicle's engine running while stationary. The offence carries a maximum fine of £1,000. These requirements are predominantly enforced by the police. But we have also introduced regulations in England that enable local authorities to issue fixed penalty notices in relation to any vehicle with an engine running unnecessarily.

These offences do not apply when a vehicle is in traffic, where I consider there could be real practical difficulties of enforcement and resources. Our view is that powers already exist under the Road Traffic Act to make regulations that would achieve the objectives behind this amendment. I agree with the noble Earl that this is not for legislation and that the current mix of existing regulatory controls, combined with voluntary action backed by Government and local authority advice in relation to traffic-related conditions is the most effective means for controlling the situation, which my noble friend and others have described. We therefore believe that we are already doing a great deal. Enforcement and fines exist. A proper mix of voluntary and statutory initiatives is the way forward. In view of this explanation, I hope that the noble Lord will withdraw his amendment.

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour 9:00, 26 October 2005

I am grateful to the Minister for her explanation. She is quite right—as is the noble Earl, Lord Attlee—that the key is probably not to put this measure in primary legislation. I am pleased that the powers exist already.

As in so many other instances today, it would be nice to know how many people have been convicted or fined for these offences. I suspect that the Minister will say that the Government do not collect the figures. A time must come soon when the department does collect figures such as these and many of the others we have talked about today, but that is probably a subject for another day. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

moved Amendment No. 148:

After Clause 39, insert the following new clause—

"POWER TO REQUIRE INFORMATION RELATING TO ROAD SAFETY MANAGEMENT

(1) The appropriate national authority may direct a local traffic authority to provide it, within a specified period, with specified information connected with any aspect of the performance of their duties under sections (Duty to reduce road danger) and (Arrangements for road safety management).

(2) The information that may be specified in such a direction—

(a) must be information which the authority have in their possession or can reasonably be expected to acquire; and

(b) includes, in particular, information relating to—

(i) the management of road safety in relation to a local traffic authority's road network; or

(ii) the use of their road network, or the risks imposed or faced by different kinds of traffic.

(3) A direction under this section may be given to two or more local traffic authorities or to local traffic authorities of a description specified in the direction.

(4) A direction under this section given to a London authority must be copied to the Mayor.

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

In speaking to Amendment No. 148, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 149 to 151. The amendments are self-explanatory, so I do not need to waste too much of the Committee's time on them. They seek a holistic, joined-up approach to road safety policies and management which is equally applicable to all types of road users. As we know, that includes pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, car and lorry drivers and anyone else we can think of. Many of these steps are taken already, but I know that all the road safety experts believe that the idea of a totally joined-up approach to road safety is very important. I hope that the Government can either aspire to one quite soon or, even better, tell me that it exists already. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

I am grateful to my noble friend for the way in which he has introduced the amendment. I can give him the assurances he requires. He will recognise that local authorities are accountable in a number of ways. Local highway authorities in England are already required to prepare and submit five-year local transport plans. These include a road safety strategy in which each authority must set out its overall approach to delivering road safety in its area. The road safety strategy should articulate the road safety situation in an authority's area and demonstrate how a range of interventions can address the casualty problem. The strategy should show how the needs of all road users—occupants of motor vehicles, motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists—are to be addressed. Each local highway authority is also required to set targets for casualty reduction in its local area. The Department for Transport's guidance on local transport plans for the period 2006–11 now requires highway authorities to produce and publish a speed management strategy, which I know my noble friend will approve of, as part of their overall approach to delivering road safety in their area.

Ultimately, it is for local highway authorities to determine how they deliver road safety in their local areas. They already provide the department with a great deal of the information sought by my noble friend's amendments. It is not the department's place to be overly prescriptive about the way in which authorities operate, but I hope I have given my friend the assurances which he sought.

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

I am extremely grateful to my noble friend for those assurances. At this late hour, I shall read them with great interest. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 149 to 151 not moved.]

Photo of Lord Bradshaw Lord Bradshaw Spokesperson in the Lords, Transport

had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 151ZA:

After Clause 39, insert the following new clause—

"STOPPING UP AND DIVERSION OF CROSSINGS

(1) Section 47 of the Transport and Works Act 1992 (c. 42) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (2) for "footpath or bridleway" substitute "road".

(3) After subsection (2) insert—

"(3) In this section "road" means any highway or other road to which the public has access.""

Photo of Lord Bradshaw Lord Bradshaw Spokesperson in the Lords, Transport

I will read carefully what the Minister said concerning Amendments Nos. 140, 141, 142, 143 and 144. I will raise the matters in these two amendments with him in discussion before we return to the matter on Report.

[Amendment No. 151ZA not moved.]

[Amendments Nos. 151ZB and 151A not moved.]

Photo of Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen Labour

moved Amendment No. 151B:

After Clause 39, insert the following new clause—

"DRIVER FATIGUE: CONSULTATION

(1) The Secretary of State shall consult regarding the impact of driver fatigue on road safety.

(2) In undertaking such consultation, the Secretary of State shall have regard to—

(a) what measures might be introduced to mitigate driver fatigue on the basis of the latest available evidence;

(b) the impact of untreated sleep disorders on driver safety and ways of raising driver awareness of the risks presented by such conditions; and

(c) the timely provision of services through the National Health Service to treat sleep disorders.

(3) The Secretary of State shall each year place in the Library of the House of Commons and in the Library of the House of Lords information relating to the proceedings of this consultation and his response to it."

Photo of Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen Labour

I shall be brief. I mentioned on Second Reading that RoSPA welcomed the proposals in the Bill for the trunk road rest areas, and I outlined some of the drivers most likely to be affected by driver fatigue. These included young male drivers, truck drivers, company car drivers and shift workers. However, I did not mention those who are affected by sleep disorders, because, I will be quite honest, I was not aware of the amount of drivers affected by such disorders. After Second Reading I was contacted by the co-ordinator of the working group on sleep disorders, and, after talking to her and to my noble friend Lord Berkeley, I am pleased to associate myself with them and move this amendment.

Excessive sleepiness is a major contributor to fatal road accidents. Untreated sleep disorders are a serious problem, and are generally not recognised among the population. Indeed, an estimated 80 per cent of those suffering from such disorders do not recognise that they have a medical condition that can and should be treated, just as any other medical condition would be. Our belief is that raising awareness of this condition, and in particular the danger it creates for drivers suffering from it, must be a key part of any road safety strategy. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

I am grateful to my noble friend for introducing this amendment. The Government fully share her concern and that of RoSPA about driver tiredness contributing to accidents.

This is a serious issue. We do not need consultation on the appropriate measures, as suggested by the amendments, because we have carried out research in recent years that has given us the data needed to inform the department's advice to drivers and our ongoing publicity campaigns. Results from that research suggest that up to 10 per cent of accidents on the road network are sleep-related in one way or another, which is a truly shocking figure, and that up to 20 per cent of accidents on motorways and similar roads result from drivers' sleepiness. We estimate therefore that there are some 300 fatalities a year involving a sleeping or nodding driver.

The department has evaluated a practical method to enable drivers to overcome sleepiness. We put all this research on our website. We know that sleep does not normally occur suddenly or without warning, and this is true for those with most sleep disorders too. Drivers who try to stay awake by opening the window or turning up the radio before they start to close their eyes are taking risks. That is not to say they are not to be commended for being aware of the condition they are in, but it is not a sufficient strategy to overcome the problem. Relying on cold air or the radio to stay awake is a pretty forlorn strategy.

Research tells us that the most effective remedy is to stop somewhere safe—not, I hasten to add, on the hard shoulder of a motorway, which is one of the most unsafe places to stop anywhere in the country—and have a couple of cups of coffee or other caffeinated drink, followed by a sleep of about 15 minutes to give the caffeine a chance to kick in. This is our considered advice on the basis of our research. As will be recognised, we have service areas about every 30 miles on our motorways, and we are seeking to increase the places where people can stop and possibly partake of a coffee they have brought with them in a flask or something. Those measures will help to combat fatigue and thus driver sleepiness and they will reduce accidents.

In the light of all that knowledge, our aim is to change driver behaviour. We do not think that we need to consult on it; we know what needs to be done. However, sleep disorders are a particular feature and can be a medical condition. They can be a risk to road safety, and drivers are obliged to make them known to the DVLA so that a medical investigation is carried out and a decision taken on whether the driver should retain his or her licence or hold a licence subject to medical review after a short period.

As part of the department's ongoing research programme into various aspects of the medical fitness to drive, a workshop on driving and the medical aspects of excessive daytime sleeping was held in 2002 and those themes emerged from it. So we are fully seized of the necessity for action in this area. We do not intend to be anything other than unremitting in our campaign to make drivers aware of the dangers of sleepiness.

Photo of Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen Labour

I thank my noble friend for that reply. In the light of it, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

moved Amendment No. 151C:

After Clause 39, insert the following new clause—

"RETROSPECTIVE LEGISLATION

When negotiating with the European Union, the Secretary of State shall have regard to the need to avoid retrospective legislation concerning the construction and use of historic vehicles which would tend to prevent their use for non-commercial purposes."

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

The Minister has been praying in aid EU directives that will do wonderful things for us—no doubt some will. However, once a directive has been passed it is very difficult to undo it. Additionally, our civil servants have a bad habit of gold-plating the UK regulations.

It is sensible that most people have a pastime other than work. Many people collect and use historic vehicles—cars, buses and lorries. I am one of them. UK legislation has always strived not to be retrospective. Wherever possible, new UK regulations apply only to new vehicles, and only when there is an imperative safety case is it retrospective. My concern and that of many historic vehicle clubs is that EU legislation will be agreed that makes it impractical to use historic vehicles on our roads. My amendment seeks to ensure that Ministers will take that into account when negotiating with EU and other European organisations. What assurances can the Minister give us that this important recreational activity will not be inadvertently terminated or be made very much more difficult by legislation coming from Europe? I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

I support this amendment very strongly. I own an old car—a 1931 Lagonda. The insurance is very cheap because we are all very safe drivers in these things. We cannot afford to go fast. A few years ago the Government kindly said that we did not have to pay vehicle excise duty. There is no need to include these cars in any new legislation coming from Europe or anywhere else. We do not do very much mileage each year. These cars are a source of great fun. I suggest that they are really very safe vehicles taking into account the way in which they are driven. So I fully support this amendment.

Photo of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu Lord Montagu of Beaulieu Conservative

Perhaps it is unnecessary for me to declare an interest in old cars, since it has been there for 50 years. In those 50 years I have been involved in many committees and other think tanks to try to keep vintage cars on the road. All governments have been very sympathetic towards our cause. However, there are considerable problems with retrospective legislation. If someone in Spain said that everyone has to have four traffic indicators, it would completely ruin those cars. The policy followed by successive governments is that the original specification when they were new is good enough. I hope that this issue can be explored.

Old cars are a very popular hobby involving 300,000 people. Some of your Lordships may be watching the London to Brighton run in two weeks' time. We are asking the Minister to support the hobby and to preserve the right to have one's car on the road. It would much appreciated as it would do enormous damage to the hobby if such a proposal were not followed.

Photo of Baroness Crawley Baroness Crawley Government Whip, Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

I thank noble Lords for their contributions. While I am on my feet, I want to thank the noble Lord, Lord Montagu, for all his work over many years in this area. All sides of the House are proud of the work that he has done.

I hope to reassure noble Lords that there is nothing to worry about. We know of no European legislation or proposals that adversely affect the private use of historic vehicles. As the noble Earl said, virtually all proposals concerning the technical standards required of vehicles applied to new vehicles entering service after a specific date. We would not expect any suggestion for retrospective application of technical standards to vehicles unless there were unusual and robust safety or environmental considerations. It is particularly difficult to envisage any such circumstances that would be considered proportionate for the relatively small number of historic vehicles that are used privately.

Section 43(3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 already requires the Secretary of State to be satisfied that no undue hardship or inconvenience will be caused by the application of new construction and use regulations if they are applied to vehicles registered earlier than a year after the new regulations were made.

Both the European Commission and the Government would have to justify any provision in a regulatory impact assessment. The Government already undertake such assessments whenever new vehicle standards are proposed, including anything that might affect historic vehicles. We would not support any proposal that could not be justified on the grounds of proportionality or cost-effectiveness. I hope that the noble Earl will feel reassured and withdraw his amendment.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

I thank the Minister for her extremely helpful reply. I hope that she will make sure that when officials are doing their duties in Brussels and elsewhere they read the Minister's words. I am much happier with her response to this amendment than my amendment about inspection reports. I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 40 agreed to.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

moved Amendment No. 152:

After Clause 40, insert the following new clause—

"INTERPRETATION: HIGHWAYS ACT 1980

(1) In section 329 of the Highways Act 1980 (c. 66) (further provisions as to interpretation), for—

(a) the entry relating to "bridleways" after the word "foot" insert "or human transporter";

(b) the entry relating to "cycle track" after the words "pedal cycles" insert "or human transporter";

(c) the entry relating to "footpath" after the word "foot" insert "or human transporter";

(d) the entry relating to "footway" after the word "foot" insert "or human transporter";

(e) at end insert—

"human transporter" means a self-balancing electric device with two driven wheels in a transverse line and a maximum unladen weight not exceeding 50 kilograms and speed limited to 13 miles per hour irrespective of gradients less than 10%."

(2) Nothing in the Highways Act 1835 (c. 50) shall prevent a person from using a human transporter as defined in section 329 of the Highways Act 1980."

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

In moving Amendment No. 152, I shall also speak to Amendments Nos. 153 and 154.

The amendment concerns a device known as a human transporter. Its marketing name is Segway. It is a self-balancing, two-wheeled, electric human transporter device. I had to spend some time defining the amendment, and to my chagrin, I realise that there is a cross-referencing error, which I am sure the Minister will not hesitate to point out.

Its overall dimensions are no larger than a slightly portly adult. It has the ability to emulate human balance—I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham, will respond to the amendment. It does this with the aid of very clever gyros made by British Aerospace. It can carry a reasonable amount of shopping or a bag. I consider that I am fit but I find just walking back to Pimlico carrying a laptop fairly strenuous. This device would allow me to get back to Pimlico without any effort. It would also avoid the need to use a private car or a taxi.

I know that several noble Lords have tried out the device recently. What I find extraordinary is the very fine quality of the controls. To move forward, it is necessary only to lean forward; to slow down or go backwards, you just lean backwards; to turn, you turn a twist grip, and the device can neutral turn. The controls are very clever. It can neutral steer in its own length. The performance level of the Segway—in other words, how fast it can go—can be altered by the manufacturer or by the user to prevent it going too fast for him.

Empirical data gathered by Segway indicate that owners use the device to replace cars for journeys of between two and 11 kilometres. These very short car journeys are the most polluting because the cars' catalytic converters and other systems will not be hot enough to function properly.

Resistance tends to come from groups who refuse an opportunity even to test the machine. One of the most important and respected pedestrian advocacy groups, City Streets in New York, took a very positive position on the use of the Segway after its members tried it out for themselves. I take it that all those who have advised the Minister on the merits of this machine have tried riding it, although I am not convinced that they have.

The Segway is in use in many European countries but there is a legislative difficulty: it is not appropriate to use it in the road because it goes too slowly. However, it cannot be used on the footpath, where it belongs, because our highways legislation allows only pedestrians or invalid carriages to use the footpath. The Segway is designed for fully able-bodied people; it is not an invalid carriage. Thus it is a matter for central government and primary legislation if we want to take advantage of it.

When Segway discussed the device with the UK Government it was met with the response, "I am terribly sorry but you cannot use it in the road because it is not a proper motor vehicle, and you cannot use it on the footpath because it is not a pedestrian or invalid carriage. To alter that would require primary legislation. I am so sorry". I hope that the Minister will be a wincy bit more positive tonight.

When drafting the amendment I noticed that only one very small provision of the Highway Act 1835 is still extant. It is hardly worth keeping. Amendment No. 154 suggests removing that tiny bit of legislation. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Rogan Lord Rogan UUP

I support the noble Earl, Lord Attlee. I first experienced the Segway human transporter on a visit to South Africa about 12 months ago. I used it extensively and enjoyed it. As an able-bodied person I was able to use it. I found it extremely interesting. I strongly support the amendment of the noble Earl, Lord Attlee.

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

I tried this machine out at lunchtime in your Lordships' car park, along with a few other noble Lords. It was remarkably easy to use. When it was in high speed mode you travelled along the footpath at quite a rate. You could also go more slowly. I persuaded the noble Baroness, Lady Gardner of Parkes, to try it.

Noble Lords:

Oh.

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

I do not think that is a source of amusement. She was quite frightened to start with but she asked me to tell the Committee—she is very sorry that she cannot be here tonight—that by the end of her trial she was rather taken by the device. A few other noble Lords tried it as well. It is a great shame that officials in the Department for Transport have not tried it and neither have Ministers, but it is there. It is useful for some people. I prefer a bicycle because it gets weight off and I get some exercise, but it is a useful device. It is rather like a motorised scooter and probably rather more convenient.

As the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, said, the device is illegal because no one can work out where it should be used. If it had wings it would probably fly, but then the civil aviation Act would not apply to it. It is important, for if the Government do nothing, they become a bit like King Canute. This thing is here, and being used by Italian police for chasing people. This morning, one of the people who had this machine said that he regularly uses it to cycle through Hyde Park, on going to work every day. He was stopped for riding it on the cycle track by a policeman who was driving a police car. That was all right; the policeman can do anything he likes. Yet this poor man, who was not hurting anybody, gets stopped. I do not think he was arrested, but it is pretty stupid.

So my message to my noble friend is: can we please take this seriously? It has arrived. I do not know whether it should be on the road, the pavement or the cycle track. There will be all kinds of representations from people, but we have to try to fit it into our transport system so that it can be used safely, along with everything else. I urge the Minister to get moving on this, so that people do not start getting arrested for using it, which will look awfully stupid for the British Government.

Photo of Lord Tanlaw Lord Tanlaw Crossbench

My Lords, I, too, support the noble Earl, Lord Attlee. I have a declared interest in electric vehicles for disabled people. We have the same problem in driving on the road, which was solved by putting a rotating orange lamp on the top. If owners of the Segway had such a lamp on the top and went on the main road they would not be infringing the law at all. I seriously suggest that there could be a way of dealing with this without having to go into all sorts of extraordinary legislation for a specialised vehicle.

Photo of The Earl of Liverpool The Earl of Liverpool Conservative

My Lords, I suspect my noble friend Lord Attlee will be much encouraged by the support he has received this evening. I should like to add my name to that.

I was in Lexington, Kentucky a month ago and managed to speak to a police officer there who patrolled the streets on a human transporter. He said he found it an excellent way of patrolling farmers' markets and such street activities, and that it was a good public relations tool. He also said that he had used it to arrest and detain a thief trying to make a getaway in a stolen car. I must say I found that slightly hard to visualise, but he nevertheless assured me that he had managed it. Needless to say, his chief of police was delighted, strongly supported their use and has ordered a further three for use by the Lexington police force. As the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, said, the Italian police are using them quite extensively, and I believe our own police force are carrying out evaluation tests at the moment.

In America, they can be legally used in 42 States. In Europe, they are receiving generally favourable support, particularly in France, Italy, Portugal and Greece. The German police are currently conducting a pilot which should lead to a change in their legislation. In May 2003, Luciano Caveri, then chairman of the European Parliament committee on regional transport and tourism, said:

"I have to admit that the Segway has positively impressed us for its maneuverability, its safety features and for the implications that a broad use could have on the environmental and traffic conditions of many of our cities. For this reason—on behalf of my colleagues of the Transport Committee—I would like to invite formally the responsible Member States bodies to authorize explicitly and as soon as possible the use of the Segway Human Transporter on European pavements".

I do not normally support everything that comes out of the EU, but I am particularly pleased to be able to quote that tonight, as I believe that they could provide part of the transport solution for the shorter journeys in our cities. Furthermore, I can even visualise park and ride with one option being the ability to rent a human transporter for the last leg of one's journey.

Because they are not cheap—costing upwards of £2,500—and have a top speed of just 13 mph, they are most unlikely to be used by antisocial or aggressive users. In any event, I understand that would-be owners are required to undergo training prior to use, at which time considerate use would be given a high profile. So I strongly support my noble friend's amendments, and those of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley. I hope they will receive a sympathetic ear from the Government.

Photo of Viscount Simon Viscount Simon Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 9:30, 26 October 2005

The first two amendments appear exceedingly good. I wanted to try out the Segway at lunchtime today, but unfortunately another appointment suddenly came up. It sounds like a marvellous machine. However, Amendment No. 154 was slightly dismissed as being fairly irrelevant. I have received an email from a retired police officer who is an expert in such matters. I shall read his comment on the amendment:

"Is this a precursor to moving to the European system of driving on the right or just anarchy on our roads?".

I leave it at that.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

I confess that I have forgotten what that section of the Highways Act does.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

Let me enlighten the Committee about that section—not that I am hanging the whole of my argument on it; very far from it. If we repealed that section of the 1835 Act we would allow horses on pavements as well, which would lead to some interesting issues for pedestrians. There is some merit in the 1835 Act in protecting the pavement for pedestrians. I am in great danger of appearing a killjoy of antique vintage in my inability to share the enthusiasm that has been expressed on all sides of the Committee. I share it in one obvious sense, in that I can see that the form of transport has great potential. I recognise the strong advocacy of it. I was a little shocked to hear it suggested that I would be advised by officials who would not know one end of the machine from the other. It might be that Ministers do not have the privilege of getting close to such machines, but I reassure noble Lords that officials have a close acquaintance with the human transporter.

Obviously, there is a safety issue here. I heard what the noble Earl, Lord Liverpool, said, and the noble Lord, Lord Rogan, also mentioned its use by police. Let me be clear: we will not be able to justify a machine because it is of particular use to the police. They are entitled to avail themselves of all sorts of technology to deal with criminals that we would not give to the ordinary citizen. I hear the point that the machines can be extremely useful for law enforcement, but so can mountain bikes ridden by a policeman in pedestrian precincts. But we would not then say that because a policeman is empowered to use such machines safely in a pedestrian precinct that opens the way for all mountain bikes to be deployed in the same way by an ordinary member of the public. I am not going to accept the argument about police use, although I commend the machines on that feature. I hear that certain sections of the British constabulary are availing themselves of the opportunity to try them out, and that fills my heart with great joy if it aids in dealing with crime.

There is a safety issue in the use of these machines our pavements. First, a machine that can travel at 12 mph needs some careful handling and could be a threat to other pedestrians. Not all pedestrians are as adroit and competent as your Lordships undoubtedly are. After all, from what I hear everyone managed the technology of the new machine almost as soon as they were introduced to it. That speaks volumes for our youthfulness and ability to learn. However, other pedestrians have all sorts of incapacities that make them a good deal less mobile. Our pavements are used by many people with limited walking ability and a limited ability to get out of the way of a machine moving at a speed even approaching 12 mph. There is a question of where this machine should be used.

I am not going to appear a killjoy; I am delighted to hear of its development, and I can see ways in which it will add to the advantage of all of us. I cannot, however, accept the amendments at this stage. We would need the fullest consultation before we introduced primary legislation to make arrangements for this machine. I am not at all clear that it should be used on the pavement. We may have to start thinking of designated track ways.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

The noble Baroness is helpful, as ever. I cannot go "snap" on that, either. We could have dedicated avenues for these machines, so that we separate them from pedestrians. Suffice it to say that of course I welcome the enormous enthusiasm displayed here today. The department is fully acquainted with the issue and does not seek to restrict such an exciting development. However, it would be premature to abrogate all legislation which protects our pavements and gives safety to our pedestrians—most of all, the 1835 Act.

Photo of Lord Swinfen Lord Swinfen Conservative

Does the Minister recall that there was a time when a man had to walk in front of a car with a red flag? He seems to be saying "This is a new idea, so it cannot work". Let us hear him say "This is a new idea; let us see how we can make it work".

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

I am enormously grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Swinfen. He has just won for me a wager with my officials that somebody was going to mention the man with the red flag.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

I am grateful to all noble Lords who have contributed to the debate, except for the Minister, at whose response I was not surprised, therefore I cannot be disappointed. My noble friends on the Front Bench were much wiser, because they kept quiet—no doubt because they can see which way the wind is blowing.

I remind the Minister of the history of citizens' band radio. At one point they were illegal, and then everyone started using them. The Government then, reluctantly, had to make them legal. That is the situation we could end up with—people using them in such large quantities that it becomes impractical to do anything about it. We would then have let the law come into disrepute.

The Minister talked about safety, as I expected him to. What is he doing about people roller-skating at high speed on footpaths? They cannot stop themselves—they are a kinetic time bomb. Whereas, on a Segway, you just lean back and it stops very quickly indeed—probably faster than one could stop when running.

I am grateful for being reminded what the 1835 Act covers. The way in which that legislation works is extremely old-fashioned. I was very surprised that it has not been incorporated into some later legislation. That is a minor matter, just something I picked up.

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

I thank the noble Earl for giving way. How and when does the department intend to evaluate this machine and come up with a solution as to where it can be operated legally. If it is not to be permitted on a footpath, is it on a road with a flashing yellow light on one's head, or whatever? These machines will be used, as many noble Lords have said. It would be much better if the department came up with a policy that everybody accepted, preceded by consultation, than if it were just left like the CB radio. Perhaps he could give us some idea as to what the process is, and the timescale.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

I cannot do so with any precision. Let me make the obvious point. As the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, suggests, certain decisions will need to be taken in the near future. This debate enables us to take the issues forward. The department is all too well aware of the public interest in this machine, and also public concern about the safety aspects to which I have given voice. This debate has been extremely helpful in sharpening the minds of the department towards the issue, and of course we have to address a new safety issue on our streets.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

As I said, I am not completely surprised by the position of the Minister, but I am sure that we will have to return to the issue on Report. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 153 not moved.]

Clause 41 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 154 not moved.]

Clause 42 agreed to.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

moved Amendment No. 155:

After Clause 42, insert the following new clause—

"REMOVAL OF VEHICLES BY POLICE CONTRACTED RECOVERY SCHEMES

In section 99 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (c. 27) (removal of vehicles etc.), after subsection (2)(c) insert—

"(d) may, subject to paragraphs (e) and (f), provide for Police Contracted Recovery Schemes;

(e) any regulations for a scheme under subsection (2)(d) shall provide that—

(i) all appointed recovery operators are accredited to an International Standards Organisation standard;

(ii) a person whose vehicle falls within subsection (1) is, subject to sub-paragraph (iii) or (iv), given the opportunity to arrange removal himself;

(iii) sub-paragraph (ii) shall not apply if a constable believes safety or other road users would be compromised and the customer is unlikely to be able to arrange for the vehicle's removal before the appointed recovery operator;

(iv) sub-paragraph (ii) shall not apply if the road on which the vehicle is permitted to rest is a special road and the customer is unlikely to be able to arrange for the vehicle's removal within a time specified in the regulations or one hour, whichever is the greater;

(v) if a person whose vehicle falls within subsection (1) arranges removal of the vehicle himself and his choice of recovery operator arrives before the appointed recovery operator, he shall be under no obligation to the appointed recovery operator or the authority;

(vi) neither the authority, the chief police officer or the police authority may benefit from a preferential scale of charges or free services from an appointed recovery operator;

(vii) when a vehicle has been abandoned by the owner or registered keeper the authority shall pay the appointed recovery operator the charges prescribed under section 102 of this Act;

(viii) an appointed recovery operator shall not be required to give any financial or other consideration for being appointed;

(ix) the police authority may make a financial charge, as prescribed, against the person whose vehilce falls within subsection (1), for despatching the appointed recovery operator, and such a charge may be collected by the appointed recovery operator;

(x) any scheme must allow for competition, new operators joining the scheme, and aim to have operators no further than a prescribed distance from each other;

(xi) no person shall be appointed under a police contracted recovery scheme if he is not of good repute as defined in sub-paragraph (xii);

(xii) a person is of good repute if he meets similar requirements to paragraphs 1 to 6 of Schedule 3 to the Goods Vehicle (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995;

(xiii) appointed recovery operators shall not charge more than the amount prescribed under section 102 for removing a vehicle weighing no more than 3,500 kilograms unless approved by the chief officer of police on each occasion;

(xiv) appointed recovery operators shall not charge more than the amount prescribed under section 102 for removing a vehicle weighing more than 3,500 kilograms unless there are unusual difficulties requiring extra facilities, but rates shall not exceed those published under sub-paragraph (xv); and

(xv) appointed recovery operators shall publish their scale of charges in such form as may be prescribed in one or more local papers;

(f) before making any regulations under subsection (2)(d) the Secretary of State shall consult such organisations as he considers necessary and in particular the authorities empowered by regulations under section 99(1).""

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

The hour is late and I will not weary the Committee with the detail of why the amendment is so vital. Suffice it to say that the amendment concerns provision of vehicle recovery services, particularly those organised by the police. There are several problems on which I could elaborate. One is the congestion caused due to breakdown, but there is another serious problem about police-organised recovery schemes. Recovery operators pay a substantial fee to be on the list. It is not a bribe because it is open, but I doubt whether the average motorist is aware of it. Of course, the motorist pays in the end. Even worse, the police frequently organise their scheme so that their own vehicle recoveries are undertaken for free—and guess who pays for that.

It will not have escaped the Minister's notice that I moved exactly the same amendment during the passage of the then Police Reform Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Rooker, gave a helpful reply by saying, "Yes, there is a problem and we're working on it", or words to that effect. Will the Minister give us an update and tell us what has been done since his noble friend gave such a helpful reply? I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

I hope that I can be more helpful to the noble Earl than he suggested I was on the previous amendment. We do not think the amendment necessary. After all, police have been removing vehicles under the Act for more than 20 years and have not felt the lack of regulations relating to their contractual arrangements. We would not wish to introduce a new regulatory burden without a proven need, and do not see that need. That is not to say that the present arrangements are perfect; the noble Earl will identify areas where they fall down. However, we recognise that we must take into account a wide range of interested parties, including drivers whose vehicles might be removed, their insurers and the operators who might remove the vehicles.

I assure the noble Earl that a working party of the Home Office, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the insurance industry, the operators and the Highways Agency is engaged in conversation and consultation, with regular meetings and recently a most successful workshop on the issue. I am happy to take the opportunity to update the report that my noble friend Lord Rooker gave on the matter. Active work is going on and the issue is being addressed.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

I am grateful for the Minister's response. We do not have time to pursue the matter now, but I may return to it at a later stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

moved Amendment No. 156:

After Clause 42, insert the following new clause—

"REGULATIONS CONTROLLING DISPLAY OF ADVERTISEMENTS

(1) Section 220 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (c. 8) (regulations controlling display of advertisements) is amended as follows.

(2) After subsection (3), insert—

"(3A) A local planning authority must exercise its powers so as to ensure compliance with the provisions of these regulations in its area with respect to advertising that can be seen by drivers on a special road (motorway) or a trunk road.""

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

I have no notes on this amendment, which concerns advertising on motorways. We have debated the subject before. Most noble Lords believe that it is a serious problem because it distracts motorists from their driving. There is a risk that they will see an advertising hoarding for a very interesting product and try to write down a telephone number. It is an obvious danger. I shall be interested to hear what the Minister has to say. I beg to move.

Photo of Baroness Crawley Baroness Crawley Government Whip, Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip) 9:45, 26 October 2005

Yes, there is a problem, and yes, we are working on it, in the words of my noble friend Lord Rooker. We will, however, resist the amendment because we wish local authorities' enforcement powers to remain discretionary. A duty to enforce in all cases, which the amendment would bring about, irrespective of the nature and circumstances of the breach, would be an additional and unwarranted burden on local authorities.

The Government do not consider that the matter should be subject to specific regulations, but that does not mean to say that we are not concerned about the proliferation of advertisements alongside motorways and we are working on initiatives to ensure that where such breaches occur, adverts are quickly removed; for instance, we have written to all local planning authorities reminding them strongly of their powers to act in such cases and urging them to do so. We intend to contact those companies and advertisers which are displaying advertisements on those sites, setting out the regulations and asking them to remove unlawful adverts, and we are looking at other measures that we may introduce to help local authorities deal with the problem and eradicate unlawful motorway advertising. I hope that that is enough to satisfy the noble Earl.

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

That is all very well, but the problem has been going on for years. When we have local authorities where some of the members probably own land adjacent to motorways and they can get £1,000 per month for having a trailer with a sign on it, being sent a letter by the department saying, "I hope that you'll take that away", is not going to solve the problem. We need much stronger action. I will be interested to see the result of the current initiative but we will return to it again and again to say, "Please remove it", when the farmers who are claiming poverty are receiving £1,000 per trailer per month, which is a good piece of revenue.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

I am a little grateful for the Minister's response. We often say that it is a helpful response; the right description would be a hopeful response. In which cases would it be appropriate for local authorities not to intervene to have an advertising hoarding removed?

Photo of Baroness Crawley Baroness Crawley Government Whip, Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

I am presuming that there are advertisements that would be lawful, as my briefing says that we are requiring local authorities, companies and advertisers to remove unlawful advertisements—which ones exactly, I cannot say at the moment. I will inquire further and write to the noble Earl.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

I was about to suggest to the Minister that she wrote to me. It is important that the farmers do not become used to this useful source of income. Once they have become used to it and many of them start jumping on the bandwagon it will be difficult to stop it. It almost goes back to my point about the CD radios—we would never agree to it in legislation. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Viscount Simon Viscount Simon Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

moved Amendment No. 137:

After Clause 38, insert the following new clause—

"DISPLAY OF PROOF OF THIRD PARTY INSURANCE

(1) Any vehicle used or kept on a public road must display proof of valid third party insurance, in addition to a valid vehicle tax disc.

(2) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about the display of proof of valid third party insurance."

Photo of Viscount Simon Viscount Simon Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

We are debating important issues to do with road safety and connected matters. It is significant that they require additional time and energy by the police service. That time and energy would be wasted if the prosecution procedure faltered for want of adequate and appropriate representation in the courts. I move this amendment in the knowledge that it has the full backing of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. It will allow a more streamlined process to deal with some traffic prosecutions while allowing the CPS to concentrate its efforts on the more serious traffic offenders. I beg to move.

Photo of Baroness Crawley Baroness Crawley Government Whip, Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

While I do not doubt the good intentions behind the amendment tabled by my noble friend, I have to disappoint him. The Government consider that any individual exercising a right of audience before a magistrate should be required to demonstrate their competence to do so. I believe that the amendment is intended to allow a police officer to appear as prosecuting advocate in road traffic cases in order to speed up the case. However, the amendment is not clear about who would be eligible to exercise the right of audience, nor about what would constitute a minor road traffic case. If the case were more complicated than originally thought, the consequence of the amendment might be to introduce an unnecessary delay in the proceedings. Judges have discretion to allow police officers an audience before them. If a road traffic case is straightforward, I expect that a judge would chose to exercise that discretion. For that reason, I ask my noble friend to withdraw the amendment.

Photo of Viscount Simon Viscount Simon Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

I understand what my noble friend said about the imperfections of the amendment. I will seek further advice and may come back on Report. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 158 and 159 not moved.]

Photo of Lord Swinfen Lord Swinfen Conservative

moved Amendment No. 160:

After Clause 42, insert the following new clause—

"CAUSING OR PERMITTING A CHILD UNDER 16 TO RIDE A CYCLE ON A ROAD WITHOUT PROTECTIVE HEADGEAR

(1) Except as provided by regulations, it is an offence for any person to whom this section applies to cause or permit a child under the age of 16 years to ride a cycle on a road unless the child is wearing protective headgear, of such description as may be specified in regulations, in such manner as may be so specified.

(2) Subsection (1) applies to the following persons—

(a) any person who—

(i) for the purposes of Part I of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (c. 12), has responsibility for the child;

(ii) for the purposes of Part II of the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937 (c. 37), has parental responsibilities (within the meaning given by section 1(3) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (c. 36) in relation to, or has charge or care of the child;

(iii) for the purposes of article 5 of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 (S.I. 1995/755 (N.I. 2)), has parental responsibilities in relation to the child;

(iv) (in relation to Northern Ireland) has care of the child or is, otherwise than by virtue of article 5 of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995, legally obliged to maintain the child.

(b) any owner of the cycle, if the owner is above the age of 15 years;

(c) any person other than its owner who has custody of or is in possession of the cycle immediately before the child rides it if that person is above the age of 15 years;

(d) where the child is employed, his employer and any other person to whose orders the child is subject in the course of his employment.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) above is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale.

(4) In this section—

"regulations" means regulations under section (Regulations in relation to section (Causing or permitting a child under 16 to ride a cycle on road without protective headgear)); and

"road has"—

(a) in England and Wales the meaning given by section 192(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988;

(b) in Scotland the meaning given by section 15(1) of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 (c. 54); and

(c) in Northern Ireland the meaning given by article 1(2) of the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 (1995/2994).

(5) In this section and section (Regulations in relation to section (Causing or permitting a child under 16 to ride a cycle on road without protective headgear)) "cycle" means a monocycle, a bicycle, a tricycle, or a cycle having four or more wheels, not being in any case a motor vehicle."

Photo of Lord Swinfen Lord Swinfen Conservative

In moving Amendment No. 160 tabled in my name and in that of the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 161. Dealing with Amendment No. 161 first, it enables the Secretary of State to make regulations as to the working of the new section inserted into the Bill by Amendment No. 160.

The Bill is designed to reduce casualties on our roads. These amendments are aimed at reducing deaths and serious injury to cyclists under the age of 16. It is estimated that 90,000 road-related and 100,000 off-road cycling accidents occur every year in the United Kingdom. Of them, some 53 per cent—that is 100,000—involve children under the age of 16. This causes considerable distress to children and their families and great expense to the National Health Service.

Properly worn cycle helmets have been shown to reduce head injury by up to 87 per cent. Protecting the brain is vital. Even a minor head injury can have distressing consequences, particularly in a child, including nausea, headaches, dizziness, memory problems and extreme tiredness. A more serious head injury can have devastating and permanent consequences, including death. According to Department of Trade and Industry leisure and home accident data published in 2002, an estimated 90,000 children aged 15 and under attend hospital for cycling-related injuries. Of these, nearly a third—26,000—will have sustained a head injury.

Motorcyclists have had to wear a helmet since the 1970s. It has been compulsory for young horse and pony riders to wear a hard hat since 1992. Professional cyclists now have to wear a helmet while racing. That came in in May last year. I understand that the British Medical Association is supporting this amendment, as do charities which look after people who have suffered a brain injury, including Headway, Break and the Child Brain Injury Trust. I beg to move.

Photo of The Earl of Listowel The Earl of Listowel Crossbench

I have put my name to this amendment. I strongly support what the noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, has said. I underline the fact that there has been a revolution in the view of the British Medical Association since its 1999 report on cycle helmets. The summary of evidence in its November 2004 briefing on this subject states:

"The evidence from those countries where compulsory cycle helmet use has already been introduced is that such legislation has a beneficial effect on cycle-related deaths and head injuries . . . Such legislation should result in a reduction in the morbidity and mortality associated with cycling accidents".

A concern in the past has been that children would be discouraged from taking healthy exercise by the introduction of obligatory helmets. That is an understandable concern when there is so much anxiety about obesity in children.

The BMA also finds:

"Recent evidence has indicated that the introduction of compulsory legislation does not have a significant negative effect on cycling levels. Such legislation in the UK should not discourage cyclists and lead to a more sedentary lifestyle with consequent health risks".

It is late. I shall not tire your Lordships much further tonight. This is a very important measure in improving protection for children and in protecting families from the distress that such accidents cause children. I urge the Committee to support at least the principle of the amendment. I hope that the Minister will be able to say that the Government might consider returning with something along the lines of this amendment. I look forward to the Minister's response.

Photo of Baroness Hanham Baroness Hanham Spokespersons In the Lords, Local Government Affairs & Communities, Spokespersons In the Lords, (Also Shadow Minister for Women & Equality- Not In the Shadow Cabinet)

May I intervene briefly on the amendment and ask the movers, because I have not had a chance to speak to my noble friend Lord Swinfen about it, who will be responsible? As far as I can see, under the clause there is a person responsible, but if you were to prosecute this, in law, as things stand at the moment, it is just somebody. It could be a parent; it might be a guardian. It does not say. It might be a schoolteacher, but it does not say. What happens when the child goes out cycling on his own without his helmet on and falls off, which frequently happens? The amendment suggests that the provision relates to somebody, but it does not say who it is.

Photo of The Earl of Listowel The Earl of Listowel Crossbench

I note what the noble Baroness says. I am sure that the amendment is faulty in several ways, but I note that 20 states in the United States now have legislation along these lines and that there is legislation in Norway, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries. So, while I accept that the amendment itself may be faulty, I hope that she may feel able to support the principle in another better-phrased amendment brought forward on Report.

Photo of Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen Labour

I support in principle Amendment No. 160. It seems to me that the saving of one child from death or injury would prove the worth of the amendment.

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

I have a few problems with this matter. Of course it is a good idea to wear crash helmets. I wear one when I am cycling. But making people do it, and with the problems already identified, I think that you must be a little careful. We must also look at the proposal in a proportionate way. Why do we not make all pedestrians wear helmets because they might be run over by a car? We have to stop somewhere. I am looking at the transport statistics. We are talking about 500 child pedal cyclists casualties in 2004 out of a total of 2,800 casualties, so it is not a huge number—although of course any casualty, as other noble Lords have said, is serious. How would we enforce it? Should we make this provision rather than say something to pedestrians about wearing helmets for protection? It they are going to drive one of these people movers, whatever we call them, around should they will have to wear a helmet with a yellow light on top? I am not sure how practical this is and really how much benefit it would bring compared with all the hassle.

Photo of The Earl of Listowel The Earl of Listowel Crossbench

I hear what the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, says. I recall what he said at Second Reading of his own experience of cycling in Oxford and having a high-speed vehicle—I think an ambulance—passing him. I cycled for seven years in central London on a daily basis. In the end I decided that it was unsafe and to stop cycling. It is far more dangerous to be on a bicycle, certainly in central London, than it is to be a pedestrian.

If you look at the evidence from the BMA—and I hope perhaps on Report we might have a doctor speaking—wearing a helmet makes a considerable difference in terms of the level of harm caused to the brain by such accidents.

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour 10:00, 26 October 2005

I believe that wearing a helmet is right. I question whether the provision should be in primary legislation. I think that persuasion is the right way. The Government are doing a great deal to help to persuade responsible parents. I worry about it being in primary legislation.

Photo of The Earl of Listowel The Earl of Listowel Crossbench

I know that it is late. However, there has been considerable progress in recent years in encouraging people to wear helmets. A particularly resistant group has been boys. A noble Lord was telling me earlier how difficult it is to persuade his son to wear a helmet. If it is obligatory by law, it will make it easier for parents to insist that their children wear the requisite headgear. As a young man, I remember seeing friends cycling without proper protection. I shall not tire the Committee further.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

I am grateful for the chance to intrude on the conversation. I congratulate the noble Lords on conducting a mini debate which has helped to elucidate the issues. Perhaps I may say how much I respect the intentions of the noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, and the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, in moving and speaking to the amendment. They are right to focus on accident rates for children. We are all concerned with any deaths but in particular to young people.

I was grateful to my noble friend Lord Berkeley for putting the issue into context. I wish to emphasise how well we are doing on cycling. Cycling deaths are quite a low proportion of total road accidents. We have seen deaths and serious injuries for child cyclists reduced by 47 per cent compared with our baseline which was the average of 1994–98.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

Could that welcome reduction be because they are wearing crash helmets?

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

That is a factor but given his noble friends' due regard for research, they propose the amendment because they do not believe the wearing of cycling helmets meets the safety standards. The wearing of cycling helmets may be a factor. The amendment is before us because young children do not in large numbers wear helmets. Nevertheless, we have got cycling accident rates down. We would say that that is because we have concentrated a great deal of energy on the issues of improving child cyclists' safety. Our programme includes the education of children and their carers about the dangers implicit in cycling, publicity, better child cycle training and improved infrastructure. It also includes the promotion of helmets because we are concerned, as are noble Lords, to see the wearing of helmets increase.

Noble Lords will recognise that I have some difficulty in accepting the notion of the compulsory wearing of helmets. We are concerned to increase cycling. It is healthy for children. It is an excellent way of getting about. We want to encourage it. Increased exercise is a major part of our strategy to deal with child obesity. Cycling is an excellent form of exercise so we want children on their bikes.

The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, said that children are not put off by helmets. We are not convinced of that argument. We are fearful that if we indicate that you cannot get on your bike without a helmet the use of cycles will decrease and that will be our loss in so many ways. We are concerned about that factor. We are at one with the noble Lords who introduced the amendment in seeking to bring home to those who cycle the advantages of wearing helmets and we shall proceed to do that. We will also follow a whole range of strategies for increasing safer use of bikes by children.

We have a big programme on cycle safety rolling out in the coming year. We have common objectives in mind. The question is whether those objectives would be realised through making helmets compulsory. At present we are not convinced of that, but we are keeping a very open mind on it. We regard the issue of such salience and significance that we are looking at every strategy that can be deployed to reduce cycling deaths. So we have an open mind and we will carry out our research. But, for the moment, we are worried that the compulsory use of helmets might reduce cycling, which would be a loss to the nation.

Photo of Baroness Hanham Baroness Hanham Spokespersons In the Lords, Local Government Affairs & Communities, Spokespersons In the Lords, (Also Shadow Minister for Women & Equality- Not In the Shadow Cabinet)

I think that I owe the movers of the amendment an apology. It will teach me to intervene without reading further down the amendment. I see that subsection (2) delineates who would be responsible. I still have concerns about the prosecution aspect, but I apologise profusely for having intervened with entirely the wrong objection.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

I think that the noble Baroness is being characteristically generous. I checked that out as I thought that the amendment was satisfactory in those terms because of the list. But there is a problem with regard to prosecution and who would be prosecuted. So the noble Baroness is not that far out. There are a few problems with regard to the amendment, which I will not go into in any further detail at this late stage. I understand that Members of the Committee have introduced this as a probing amendment to see how far we could go. I hope that I have given an adequate response.

Photo of Lord Swinfen Lord Swinfen Conservative

It would be interesting if the Minister would write to me with the problems that he sees with the drafting of the amendment. I would very much like to see it properly drafted and acceptable. I am very happy to look at who is responsible and who would do the prosecuting. I am delighted with the support that I have received, but I am somewhat disappointed with some of those who have tried to pour cold water on it.

The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, talked about who would enforce the legislation. Who enforces the legislation on the wearing of seat-belts or the wearing of helmets for motorcycle riders? Who enforces the rules on children under the age of 14 wearing hard hats when riding horses and ponies? To a certain extent, insurers will not cover people who are not belted up in their vehicles or who do not wear helmets when riding a motorcycle. Quite obviously, the police can see very easily and will stop and prosecute a motorcyclist riding along the highway without a helmet. School rules will help to ensure that any child cycling to school will wear a proper helmet and that it is properly fitted. If that is not being done today, schools are not taking their responsibility to the child seriously. They are responsible for the child when on school premises.

Persuasion will work with some people, but not all parents are responsible. We know that. We all like to think that we are. Sometimes we allow our children to take greater risks and other people would think that we are being unwise. We all do it from time to time. I know also that we have gradually to let our children widen the bounds and take greater risks. But taking risks that we know could kill them or maim them for life is not, in my view, one of them.

The Minister said that the number of deaths of child cyclists has been reduced by 40 per cent. I am delighted to hear that. It may be that some car users, which are a very nasty weapon to those riding a bicycle, are taking greater care. It may be that the warmer winter weather that we have had in the past few years has played a considerable part in that. It is much more difficult to see a cyclist when the snow is coming thick and fast compared with on a fine, dry, cold evening.

I am all in favour of children taking more exercise—I can understand the Government's fight against obesity—but cycling is not the only form of exercise; there are many others. I well remember at the age of 10 cycling on the roads without a helmet. In those days such things had not been invented; there were no helmets for motorcyclists and many safety precautions in cars had not been invented. We must move forward; we must not be stick-in-the-muds.

I shall read what the Minister and others who have taken part in this short debate have said, but I shall probably return to this matter at the next stage of the Bill. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 161 not moved.]

Photo of Lord Tanlaw Lord Tanlaw Crossbench

moved Amendment No. 162:

After Clause 42, insert the following new clause—

"REPORT ON EFFECT OF ADVANCE OF TIME DURING THE COURSE OF THE YEAR

Within twelve months of this Act receiving Royal Assent the Secretary of State shall prepare and publish a report on the predicted changes in the number of road deaths and serious injuries that would result from advancing the time in Great Britain to two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time during the period of summer time and to one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time during the period of winter time."

Photo of Lord Tanlaw Lord Tanlaw Crossbench

I am pleased to move this amendment on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner, the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, and other noble Lords who sit in different parts of the Chamber. It is a pity it has come at such a later hour, when we should keep our remarks to a minimum. The Minister has been at the wheel for many hours now and has driven the Bill extremely skilfully so far. With this amendment I am asking him to do a major U-turn.

In a few days' time, on the last Sunday of this month, we turn the clocks back one hour, which will immediately result in darker evenings but lighter mornings. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, that will result in death or serious injury to about 450 people between now and this time next year. Therefore, I propose to move the amendment in the names of those as yet unnamed men, women and children who will become new road death statistics in the next six months. That will be entirely due to the maintenance of a darker evenings policy by both this Government and the previous administration after the passage of the British Summer Time Act 1972 and its subsequent orders.

When is a road safety Bill not a road safety Bill? When it pays no attention to road safety. Yet every sentence from every noble Lord who has spoken has included the words "road safety". We are even talking about road safety for Segways, roller blades and skateboards. We are turning our backs on 450 people, including women and children, who will lose their lives simply due to the fact that we run a darker evenings policy.

I am told that this year schoolchildren will be let out later, as I am sure the Minister will know. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents makes it quite clear that the majority of accidents occur around schools. There will be darker evenings as the children come out and, again according to RoSPA, most children are unescorted when they leave school and make their way home. I ask the Minister: is the death rate going to fall this year?

The Meteorological Office has offered its thoughts about the future of this winter. It may be short, but it may be very sharp indeed. Very bad and inclement weather conditions will make driving conditions bad in the dark, around schools and around the homes of the elderly. It has been drawn to my attention that this imposes a curfew on the elderly. When sunset comes they have to leave the library to get home in what remains of the light of day. That is another problem that will occur on the roads this year.

I do not know who is responsible for this. If the Minister says that the Department for Transport is not responsible, which department is? Last week, outside the Chamber, I asked the Minister with responsibility for science—he is head of the weights and measures department—whether he was responsible for making the decisions on lighter evenings. But, no, he is not; he deals only with the timescale. I asked him whether the Home Office was responsible; he was not sure. It would be very helpful if the Minister could tell me who is responsible. I believe that it should be the Department for Transport. Who is responsible? Who do we go to? Who do we ask? I have been asking this question for years in this House and I have never had a sensible answer yet from either administration on either side.

Who is responsible for the clocks? I once rang up the Home Office to ask for the department which was dealing with changing the clocks. There were two ladies in that department. I asked them what they did. They said that they were responsible for changing clocks on the two days of the year on which it is done. I asked them what they did for the rest of the year. They said that they dealt with royal processions or something like that. I would be very interested to know how many people work on this problem in the Home Office or wherever. What do they do for the rest of the year after they have seen me change the clocks back? It is a question to which I have yet to find an answer.

On a more serious note, after the tragic Hatfield rail accident, it was brought to the attention of the relatives of those who had died that they could bring litigation on grounds of corporate negligence against the individuals who were responsible for the deaths through lack of maintenance. Will the sad relatives of those who will die at the end of this year bring charges of ministerial or executive negligence?

What has happened in the past 16 years? No statistics have been produced, nor effort made, to demonstrate whether lighter evenings are going to reduce accident rates. If the Minister can say that darker evenings will reduce the accident rate, he must say so, and he must give facts and figures to prove it. But I suspect that an inter-departmental muddle takes place and that nobody wants to take responsibility. So the Minister is going to say, "I am very sorry. It's a wonderful idea, but we can't do anything about it. It's not my department". But will he please say which department it is?

It is about time someone took a grip on this problem and focused on it one way or another. We really need more facts and figures. Those figures have not been forthcoming. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents—of which the noble Lord has been a president, I believe—states in its report that it would like to see a two-year trial period for single and double summer time. Why cannot this happen? Why cannot we do it? Who is stopping it? Is it the party managers? I have accused party managers in the past, and I accuse them again now. They have absolutely no right to do this in a democracy. They are simply out to try to persuade the government of the day. The attitude of the party managers on the other side was just the same for the same reason. They did not address this problem because they were worried about votes. Which is more important: lives or votes? We call this the Road Safety Bill yet we turn our backs on this issue.

I know that the Minister and his party are very conscious of road safety. Every aspect has been touched on in this Bill. Would he please not ignore this amendment and give us a positive response? Perhaps the amendment does not use the right words, but I am sure that can be adjusted. Can we please move forward from the present static position? I beg to move.

Photo of The Earl of Mar and Kellie The Earl of Mar and Kellie Spokesperson in the Lords, Transport, Spokesperson in the Lords (Scottish Home Affairs), Home Affairs, Whip 10:15, 26 October 2005

I have to say that I am not terribly pleased about this amendment. It may well be fine in the east of England, but it would not be very helpful in north-west Scotland. For their own reasons, the Icelanders have opted to observe GMT, despite the fact that Reykjavik is 18 degrees west. The noble Lord's amendment would impose on the citizens of Stornoway, for example, even darker mornings. Stornoway is seven degrees west. If we were to move the United Kingdom's time forward to GMT plus one, Stornoway would effectively be at 22 degrees west. This would condemn it to mornings in the middle of winter which would be struggling to become light by eleven o'clock. That would not be helpful.

Photo of Lord Tanlaw Lord Tanlaw Crossbench

Before the noble Lord sits down, presumably they have electric light in Stornaway, as they have elsewhere. In fact there is more surplus electricity in Scotland than anywhere else.

I am a hill farmer myself, in Eskdalemuir, although we are not as far north as that. There has been a major change in the farming scene. Farming is done indoors now, and forestry is done with floodlights. The Health and Safety Executive makes sure that builders are no longer frozen on to ladders, another reason why we have to keep the time as it is. The whole situation has changed. I am sorry for people in Stornaway. I am well aware of their latitude and longitude, but that makes no difference: they have electric light, and they get light in the evenings. RoSPA has said there are fewer accidents in Scotland, and there will be fewer with lighter evenings.

Photo of Baroness Hanham Baroness Hanham Spokespersons In the Lords, Local Government Affairs & Communities, Spokespersons In the Lords, (Also Shadow Minister for Women & Equality- Not In the Shadow Cabinet)

Before my noble friend stands up to support this Motion, I have the same reservations about it as the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie. Children have to go to school in the morning. We are worried about older people in the evenings, but children have to go to school. These days they are expected to walk to school—they are not meant to be bussed around in cars—and if they are doing so at eight or nine in the morning and it is still dark, it seems to me that is just as bad as it being dark in the evening. I would have thought it best if things were left alone.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport

I am grateful for the customary way the noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw, has introduced this amendment. On the question of children in the morning, drivers of vehicles are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning, but in the evening they are tired and make mistakes.

The noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw, talked about votes. I would have thought this was a vote-winner. It is beneficial for everyone. The noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, talked about the problem of Stornaway. We understand the problem, but the amendment does not alter the number of hours of daylight they have in Stornaway in the winter. They do not have many hours, full stop.

I am sure the Minister will point out other difficulties than the road safety aspect. He nods his head. There are advantages outside road safety as well, however; for instance, leisure. September is a nice month of the year—the weather is nice—but it gets dark at eight o'clock, which means it is not such a good time to go on holiday. If we adopted the noble Lord's amendment, it would get dark at nine o'clock, not eight, which would be good for business. Indeed, when we do business, we are adrift from our continental partners.

I cannot see many negative aspects of adopting this amendment. Yes, there will be some more accidents in the morning, but there will be fewer in the evening. There is a thought that we will save about 400 casualties per annum.

Photo of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu Lord Montagu of Beaulieu Conservative

I am an enthusiastic supporter of the amendment. I have been in Parliament now for 50 years, and this subject is debated every single year, rather like fixed Easter. We all know that the reason, let us not beat about the bush, is these Scottish farmers. The fact is that Scotland now claims to be very independent, so they can have their own time. I wager, though, that if this is passed, it will be a greater contribution to road safety than anything else in the Bill.

Photo of Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen Labour

I rise very briefly. As the noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw, has said, RoSPA supports this amendment, and would appreciate a trial period to see how things go.

Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour

I very much support the amendment. I have been a great believer in this for years. The noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, is concerned about children going to school in the dark in the morning, but drivers are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning—except for the odd teenager. Coming back from school in the evening, not only will children be more tired, and it is probably better that they are in the daylight then, but they also often go off to after-school activities and they have two journeys in the evening as opposed to one in the morning. So I think that it more than balances out.

If the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, is that worried about cows or sheep which can tell the time in Scotland, could we not remove the reserved status and let the Scots do their own thing and give them independence? We could change the clocks at the border.

Photo of The Earl of Mar and Kellie The Earl of Mar and Kellie Spokesperson in the Lords, Transport, Spokesperson in the Lords (Scottish Home Affairs), Home Affairs, Whip

I am very grateful to the noble Lord for suggesting that; I did not know he was a convert. We also have to bear in mind that before the United Kingdom moves out of GMT, as the largest country in the GMT zone we also have to consider the Republic of Ireland, Portugal and Iceland. They would have to adjust their time if the United Kingdom did so. We have to remember the larger picture.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw, for the way in which he introduced the debate and for the discussion he has provoked. However, the discussion answers one of his major questions. There is not universal support for the proposition. It is not party managers who in dark corners are perpetrating anti-democratic sentiments and imposing decisions on the rest of the nation—one has only to look at the Conservative Front Bench and the Liberal Democrat Front Bench. I will also be expressing from this Front Bench some reservations about this proposal. Of course, we are reflecting opinion.

I concede straightforwardly that the noble Lord is right when he brings this issue forward in a Road Safety Bill and extols its merit in terms of road safety. The noble Lord, Lord Montagu, is absolutely right too. It would be a major contribution to road safety if this change were effected. We know the statistics, and no one is better qualified than my noble friend Lady Gibson in her role as president of RoSPA to identify the figures which show the number of road deaths that would be prevented if we adopted this proposal. So I am not going to gainsay that argument; far from it, I accept the position entirely.

Why is it that the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Front Benches and indeed our own Front Bench have reservations about the proposal? It is because the road safety issue, important though it is, is not the only issue. There are wider interests at stake. We are obliged to take those wider interests into account. One could produce maximum levels of road safety if one suspended a whole range of commercial operations in this country that are greatly to the advantage of us all in producing our wealth and happiness, but which are extremely dangerous because they entail moving people around and people can be injured or even killed by transport.

So road safety and safety issues cannot be the dominant matter, although in this Bill they are the issue before us. I accept the noble Lord's statistics and arguments on the contribution to road safety. I am afraid that he is obliged to recognise that we genuinely are taking wider interests into account.

I cannot answer the noble Lord any better than that. However, I can answer one factual point. I will put him out of his misery in trying to find out which department is responsible for this. As he will know, this is a Government without seams. We are so interconnected that there is no question of separating one department from another. Therefore we are all equally responsible for the good things and no one is culpable for the bad. However, I will enlighten him on this point. The department responsible for summer time—and I think he probably did telephone the right department—is the Department of Trade and Industry, which regrettably is not represented here this evening. However, I do not think that it would present the case any differently from how I did. It may not put quite the same emphasis on road safety as I can—as I have learnt at the Dispatch Box from the wisdom of the Benches behind me and opposite.

The department would also attest to the fact that there are wider interests to take into account, which is why we are still unpersuaded of the case. Nevertheless, I do not doubt that there is increasing pressure for it. We would be blind if we did not recognise how many more people argue for it this decade than 10 years ago. The noble Lord, Lord Montagu, alluded to that. I wish the noble Lord well in his endeavours. He has not persuaded us sufficiently this evening. I cannot accept his amendment but I accept his statistics.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport 10:30, 26 October 2005

The Minister has been extremely helpful in accepting the road safety argument, but he has not actually come up with cast-iron reasons for his argument that all sorts of problems will be caused. He has not adduced any other reason why we should not go down this route. There must be contrary arguments but he has not adduced any.

Photo of Lord Tanlaw Lord Tanlaw Crossbench

I thank the Minister for his response and, indeed, acceptance of the fact that the amendment is connected to road safety. I admit that I was somewhat surprised when he said that the Department of Trade and Industry is responsible, but I have taken note and I shall approach the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, again to ask him to re-examine the issue.

I have been on this subject for many years—I have been in this House for 34 years. From time to time I have raised the issue in Bills, Questions and so on, but I have yet to discover any wider interests, except those of party managers. I do not know what those wider interests are. I am a Scottish hill farmer. I was brought up in Ayrshire but my clan comes from further north. I am well aware of the Scottish problem but it is not a problem now. We have electricity and modern farming methods. We are no different from anywhere else, whether it is Stavanger or Reykjavik. We are not in the Middle Ages for heaven's sake.

I am amazed at what the Minister said. I am disappointed and I may wish to come back to the matter when I discover those wider interests. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 163 and 164 not moved.]

Clause 43 [Minor corrections]:

[Amendments Nos. 165 and 166 not moved.]

Clause 43 agreed to

[Amendments Nos. 167 and 168 not moved.]

Photo of Viscount Simon Viscount Simon Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

moved Amendment No. 168A:

After Clause 43, insert the following new clause—

"PROSECUTION OF OFFENCES

In section 64A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (c. 60) (photographing of suspects etc) after paragraph (a) of subsection (1B), insert—

"(aa) a person reported for summons for a motoring offence,"."

Photo of Viscount Simon Viscount Simon Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

I should love not to have to move this amendment. However, it is another amendment introduced by the police to another piece of legislation that will have a profound impact on roads policing. I have previously referred to this in a speech.

The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act amended the Police and Criminal Evidence Act to permit certain offenders to be photographed at the scene of the crime. Indeed, as I have previously suggested, a driver who commits the offence of not wearing a seatbelt may have his or her photograph taken when issued with a fixed-penalty ticket. That facility is denied in circumstances when a driver is prosecuted for anti-social driving by means of a summons—a process that inevitably takes a long time to conclude and creates a weakness in the system.

On cross-examination, officers have had to admit that with the passage of time and the number of people with whom they have come into contact, their recollection of the particular offender is compromised—a weakness which many defence lawyers seek to exploit. With this amendment, I propose to close this loophole. I beg to move.

Photo of Baroness Crawley Baroness Crawley Government Whip, Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

My noble friend Lord Simon may be aware that the Government introduced the ability to photograph suspects elsewhere than at a police station under Section 116 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. Those provisions are likely to be commenced in January 2006 and highlight the benefits of photographic evidence of the individual being available to a constable and others with enforcement powers.

I recognise that the noble Viscount's amendment is very much in the same vein and support its aim. It is a part of a wider issue of enabling photographs to be taken elsewhere than in a police station for all those reported for summons irrespective of the nature of the offence. I understand that the Home Office will consider whether such provision should be made and is looking at including this issue in a public consultation document on police powers to be published later this summer. That should provide an evidence-based approach for consideration in a future legislative programme. I hope that in view of that explanation the noble Viscount will withdraw his amendment.

Photo of Viscount Simon Viscount Simon Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

I am not certain whether I heard my noble friend say that that will allow photographs to be taken in all circumstances. Am I right?

Photo of Viscount Simon Viscount Simon Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

I thank my noble friend for her reply. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Lord Bradshaw Lord Bradshaw Spokesperson in the Lords, Transport

moved Amendment No. 169:

After Clause 43, insert the following new clause—

"PROOF NECESSARY TO DRIVE HGV ON RESTRICTED ROAD

After section 19 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (c. 52) (prohibition of parking of HGVs on verges, central reservations and footways) insert—

"19A PROOF NECESSARY TO DRIVE HGV ON RESTRICTED ROAD

A person shall not drive a heavy commercial vehicle (as defined in section 20 of this Act) on a restricted road (as defined in section 82 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984) unless he has documentary proof of his need to drive on that road.""

Photo of Lord Bradshaw Lord Bradshaw Spokesperson in the Lords, Transport

I will briefly describe why I am moving this amendment. I do not expect a reply now; I shall expect it in discussions with the Minister. The amendment seeks to prevent the police having to follow a vehicle driving on a road on which that vehicle is banned. At present, the police have to follow a vehicle right the way through the area over which the restriction applies. Under the amendment, if the driver is making a delivery or a collection anywhere along the route which is restricted, the policeman would be able to ask the driver to produce documentary evidence of his necessity to deliver to premises, or collect from premises, along the route. It would greatly ease the burden on the police and it would make prosecution of those people who use short cuts through rural areas very much easier. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

I am very grateful to the noble Lord for the way in which he moved the amendment. I should be only too glad to discuss the matter with him. The Government accept, of course, that large goods vehicles should not use unsuitable roads. Local authorities already have powers to impose restrictions in that regard. There are some difficulties with regard to the amendment, but I shall discuss those with the noble Lord and we may be able to make progress. As I say, I am grateful to him for the way in which he moved the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 169A to 169F not moved.]

Clause 44 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 170 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 171 not moved.]

Schedule 5 [Repeals and revocations]:

[Amendments Nos. 171A to 171C had been retabled as Amendments Nos. 172A, 174A and 178A.]

Photo of Baroness Crawley Baroness Crawley Government Whip, Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

moved Amendment No. 172:

Page 98, line 3, at end insert—

"In section 66(8), the word "and" after the definition of "hiring agreement"."

Photo of Baroness Crawley Baroness Crawley Government Whip, Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

My Lords, the amendments in this group correct minor drafting errors and omissions in Schedule 5 to the Bill, which contains repeals and revocations, including repeals of some spent enactments. These amendments ensure that the correct repeals and revocations are made with respect to the giving of fixed penalty notices by vehicle examiners. The new system of endorsement is introduced by Clauses 7, 8 and 9—together with Schedule 2 and 3 to the Bill, on driver training and driver instruction. I urge noble Lords to support these technical amendments.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Photo of Baroness Crawley Baroness Crawley Government Whip, Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

moved Amendments Nos. 172A to 178:

Page 98, line 32, leave out "paragraph 6" and insert "paragraphs 6 and 9"

Page 100, line 8, leave out "(i)" and insert "(iii)"

Page 101, line 22, at end insert—

"In section 30—(a) in subsection (1)(b), the words "the counterpart of his licence or", and(b) in subsection (2)(b), the words "on the counterpart of his licence or"."

Page 103, line 9, leave out "99" and insert "98A(7)"

Page 105, leave out line 24.

Page 105, line 26, leave out "23(b)" and insert "23(a)(ii) and (iii) and (b)"

Page 105, line 30, after "29(a)," insert—

"( ) paragraph 35(a),"

Page 105, line 39, at end insert—

"Section 43(3)."

Page 105, line 47, leave from "17," to end of line 48 and insert—

"( ) paragraph 21(2),

( ) in paragraph 25(2)(b), the word "(c)," and

( ) paragraph 26(2)."

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 179 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List]

Photo of Baroness Crawley Baroness Crawley Government Whip, Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

moved Amendments Nos. 180 to 185:

Page 106, line 2, at end insert—

"( ) paragraph 1,"

Page 106, leave out lines 9 and 10 and insert—

"( ) paragraph 23(2) to (4) and (7),
( ) paragraph 24(3),"

Page 106, line 13, leave out "30(b)" and insert "30"

Page 107, line 17, at end insert—

"In section 195(3), the words "is exercised".

Page 107, line 26, at end insert—

"Road Traffic Act 1991 (c. 40) In Schedule 4, paragraph 73(5)."

Page 108, line 9, leave out "8" and insert "9"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 5, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 45 to 48 agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with amendments.

House adjourned at seventeen minutes before eleven o'clock.

Wednesday, 26 October 2005.