Clause 29 - Traffic directors in London

Traffic Management Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 29th January 2004.

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Photo of Anne Begg Anne Begg Labour, Aberdeen South

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments:

No. 120, in

page 12, line 31, leave out subsection (4).

No. 121, in

page 12, line 35, at end add—

'(5A) In carrying out his duties the traffic director must have regard to the Mayor of London's Transport Strategy prescribed in section 142 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (c.29).'.

Photo of John Thurso John Thurso Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Spokesperson (Scotland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland)

The purpose of these three amendments is to test the Government's thinking in regard to the relationship that a traffic director, once appointed, would have with the Mayor of London. The Greater London area is, for the moment, unique, in that it has an elected Mayor.

Photo of John Redwood John Redwood Conservative, Wokingham

Hartlepool has a monkey; it is very good.

Photo of John Thurso John Thurso Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Spokesperson (Scotland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland)

The right hon. Gentleman reminds me of Hartlepool, although London was devolved through the Greater London Authority Act 1999, and has a mayor through that, which is slightly different to the position regarding the directly elected mayors in other areas.

I want to find out whether it is right that, were a traffic director to be appointed in one borough, or one area, or under one authority in London, the powers of that traffic director should exceed those that rest with Transport for London and go above the Mayor's strategy. So we have a devolved settlement and a Mayor, but we could have a traffic director in one borough who, through his powers, may be over and above the overall strategy for London being put forward by the Mayor at that time. I would be grateful if the Minister would explain the rationale behind that, and whether it is appropriate.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport

I assure the hon. Gentleman that all traffic managers and traffic directors within all London boroughs will have to give due cognisance

to the strategies laid out by the Mayor. That is the norm that prevails and will prevail with regard to London boroughs seeking to do their network management duty. However, when we come to intervention we need at least the back stop—a very long back stop, as I have explained already—of the traffic director focusing on the recovery and remedy needed for that particular borough. That may conflict with some directions from the Mayor under some of that office's powers, although I suspect that in most instances it will not, because we do not want to compromise the effectiveness of the traffic director when they are imposed in the last instance. Transport for London are fully aware that, in the context of all these elements, boroughs are obliged to have regard to the Mayor's transport strategy, associated guidance, and direction. Intervention powers give the Secretary of State scope to override such guidance in directions that it considers appropriate. It prays those elements in aid in the letter that it sent to officials to say that it is fully behind the Bill. However, if those elements are to prevail—this harks back to the debate on clause 20 or 21, or whichever clause it was, where people tried to remove the references to the Mayor—it needs that information to be part and parcel of the overall operation.

This is not about unpicking the local government devolution settlement. It is about enhancing the roles at all three levels—centre, strategy, and local—so that the interaction between them that is envisaged in the Bill works. It is done with TFL's indulgence.

Division number 24 Adults Abused in Childhood — Clause 29 - Traffic directors in London

Aye: 7 MPs

No: 4 MPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Nos: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly agreed to.

Clause 29 ordered to stand part of the Bill.