I think that I can be helpful. We do not intend, in any way, shape or form, to tell local authorities how to arrive at local solutions to the question of appointing designated officers called traffic managers. The reasons behind the notion that there should be a temporal dimension to the management of the network duty escape me. In the broad spirit of resisting the temptation to meddle in local matters, the Government are simply saying that there should be a network management duty for ever after Royal Assent. That duty, and our reasons for imposing it, will not go away in three or five years, and I do not understand the issue in that temporal sense.
To be frank, some people in local government feared that the Government would seek to impose such and such a person at M3 level in each engineering department and that the job description would be laid out centrally, along with everything else. We do not intend to do that. We are not imposing, in any way, shape or form, the how and where of the placement of network managers; we are simply saying that there should be a network management duty and a designated officer called the traffic manager.
The virtues of imposing a time limit therefore escape me. It would be like saying that every local authority must, under law, have a designated finance officer. Why should such an officer be there for only five years when local authorities face internal and ongoing external financial considerations for ever? The statutory duty and the designated officer who carries it out should be permanent features of local government. The reasons for a five-year limit therefore escape me, and I ask the hon. Member for Christchurch to withdraw the amendment.