Clause 11 - Crown application

Railways and Transport Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 6th February 2003.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Transport)

I rise to satisfy my curiosity. The clause relates to

''property irrespective of whether it belongs to or is used for the purposes of the Crown or a Duchy.''

Will the Minister for Transport elucidate what the property of the Crown might be? For instance, the royal train springs to mind. I wonder which duchies might be involved. I am aware that the Duchy of Cornwall has extensive interests; I presume that the Duchy of Lancaster has, too. It would be immensely helpful to know.

Is clause 11 a standard clause that applied to the accident investigation branches that were set up in 1982 and 1986? What are the implications if, God forbid, the royal train is involved in an accident? I presume that the royals would not be able claim royal

prerogative, saying that they did not wish the train to be subject to investigation. What property belonging to a duchy is covered by the Bill? Is it a standard clause, or was it dreamed up for the purposes of the Bill?

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Minister of State (Department for Transport)

My understanding is that it is a standard clause, to which the Queen's consent has to be obtained. Indeed, it has been obtained. It therefore means that wherever in the country an accident happens, the accident investigation branch will be able to work without fear or hindrance. Obviously, some railway lines run through royal lands, but inspectors would still need to investigate them. My suspicion that the royal train is not Crown property has been confirmed. It is provided by the rail industry, but it is owned by Network Rail.

The provisions will have been covered by existing clauses, but for the sake of clarity we have included the standard clause to enable the RAIB to go about its business.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 11 ordered to stand part of the Bill.