Clause 17 - Arrangements for network management

Part of Traffic Management Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 29th January 2004.

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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) 2:30 pm, 29th January 2004

I shall speak to amendment No. 99, which is in my name and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham (Mr. Marsden). Clause 16, which we debated this morning, sets out the network management duty, and I accepted the Minister's doctrine as regards undue specificity. Clause 17, on the other hand, deals with the arrangements for network management, or, in other words, with the detail. It seems, therefore, that some specificity would be helpful rather than undue in this instance.

The amendment would make it clear that traffic management and the traffic manager should not take precedence over local transport plans and regional transport strategies. The Transport Act 2000 sets out important duties in that regard, and issues of traffic management and road use cannot be seen in isolation when an overall strategy is being considered at local or

regional level. For example, introducing or withdrawing a bus route would have a considerable impact on whether car use increased or decreased and, therefore, on the plans and strategies required for the use of that road. A similar argument would pertain where a new train service was introduced or an existing one was withdrawn.

We have rightly placed a pretty strong requirement on local and regional authorities to produce plans, and it would be rather illogical to allow a traffic manager simply to work in isolation, without having proper regard to those plans. It would therefore be appropriate to prevent the traffic manger from being able, in exercising their traffic management duties, to change a strategy that democratically elected bodies had arrived at locally or nationally. I ask the Government to consider how that could be done.