Clause 17 - Arrangements for network management

Part of Traffic Management Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:15 am on 29th January 2004.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Redwood John Redwood Conservative, Wokingham 11:15 am, 29th January 2004

I am attracted to amendment No. 135, and should like to defend the drafting done by my right hon. Friend the Member for East Yorkshire: I do not think that it is as bad as the Minister suggested. My hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch was generous in saying that it may need to be re-worked. It seems clear that when it says

''a reasonable period is agreed'',

that reasonable period would be agreed between the traffic manager, acting on behalf of the motoring public, who want less congestion, and those carrying out the works, who may be statutory undertakers or the highways authority works department.

My hon. Friend has in mind exactly the kind of creative tension within the local authority that I tried to introduce in another debate on another new clause, where the highways department responsible for maintaining and improving the network would have to negotiate with and answer to the traffic manager responsible for the proper use of the network as it stands. That is inherent in the amendment, and if my hon. Friend is happy for the Government to redraft it, so am I. I accept that what we want to get across today is merely the point behind the amendment. The Minister should understand that the amendment was thought through sensibly, and the agreement intended would have been made between the traffic manager for the motoring public and whoever it might be on the other side who wished to restrict the highway for works, which could include the works department of the highways authority. It is excellent that my hon. Friend wishes to press the matter further. Since the Minister said that he thought that the publication of a timetable for works was an excellent idea, why cannot we have that in the Bill?