Road Safety Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:07 pm on 22nd November 2005.

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Photo of Lord Hanningfield Lord Hanningfield Spokespersons In the Lords, Local Government Affairs & Communities, Deputy Chief Whip, Whips, Spokespersons In the Lords, Transport 3:07 pm, 22nd November 2005

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for those comments and am pleased to hear that there will be a review. I am pleased to have been supported by so many noble Lords on all sides of the House.

My noble friend Lady Gardner mentioned bus passes. Although the noble Lord said that quite a lot of funding was available, it is not sufficient. In my own county of Essex, for example, free bus passes are available only in a district. They would not be available if someone wanted to go from Harlow to Chelmsford. The county council will increase the funding to make certain that free bus passes are available to the whole of the county. I know that that example is nothing to do with the amendment, but it shows how local authorities have to find money all the time to support people in this way.

I am sorry to use my own county of Essex again, but, given the problems of this year's budget, all our money will go on road improvement and maintenance and there will be very little available for road safety. As I have mentioned in the House before—to some amusement—the main cause of death on the roads in Essex is people over 50 going back to riding motorcycles. The council is putting on road safety courses to help retrain people over 50, who are suddenly able to afford a Harley-Davidson, so that they do not kill themselves on the road. Money should be diverted towards that sort of measure.

Although the noble Lord said, quite rightly, that the cameras are not there to raise revenue, they do. That is why the amendment proposes that that considerable amount of revenue should be put into road safety measures, such as retraining and helping people. My own authority would be only too pleased to organise many more road safety training programmes if it had more money to do it. If this money were to go back to local authorities, those funds would be available. I was very disappointed by what the Minister said and I wish to test the opinion the House.