Clause 16 - Extent

Railways and Transport Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 11th 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)

Clearly, one question needs to be asked. For my own personal knowledge, what is the legal position of the rail regulator in Northern Ireland? I am interested to know why the provisions apply only to England, Wales and Scotland. Who will be responsible for the Office of Rail Regulation in Northern Ireland?

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

The current regulator has no duties or responsibilities for railways in Northern Ireland, and that position continues under the Bill. The hon. Lady may be aware that Northern Ireland's railways are organised differently and that there is no equivalent of the rail regulator. However, in response to European directives on the separation of track and train operators, a move in that direction may be necessary. It is mirrored by action that is taking place in the Republic of Ireland. I know that it is being considered in Northern Ireland, but it is not currently appropriate for the rail regulator to cover that part of the United Kingdom.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 16 ordered to stand part of the Bill.