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 Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport 2:30 pm, 29th January 2004

As I said to Mr. Beard this morning, it will be a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Miss Begg. I hope that our proceedings will pick up pace so that no one slaps a fixed-penalty notice on the Committee for being tardy. Let me also say in passing that if I look vaguely timid, it is because my fellow Minister is not with us today. I also had the special in the Tea Room, which never bodes well for a restful afternoon, in Committee or otherwise.

Amendment No. 153 requires local traffic authorities to take account of guidance from the appropriate national authority when determining specific network management policies or objectives in relation to different roads. I understand what my hon. Friend the Member for Milton Keynes, North-East (Brian White) is seeking to do with that amendment, but he will know from the paper that I tabled this morning that we are seeking to draw things as broadly as possible in terms of the network management duty, in consultation with local government. There will of course, in a general sense, be an attempt to clarify the interface at boundary level. We will deal with permits in regulations in part 3, when we address clause 36, where there may be some specific trans-border issues. I ask my hon. Friend to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment No. 172 would change subsection (5)(b) to require efficiency as well as effectiveness to be monitored in decision-making processes and the implementation of decisions. That would be otiose. It is not needed. Clause 16 already requires that a local traffic authority's objectives will need to be achieved

''so far as may be reasonably practicable having regard to their other obligations, policies and objectives'',

not least among which will be value for money and affordability: the traffic management duty being taken in the round with all the other resources of the local authority. That allows an authority to decide what will be prudent and proportionate when meeting the duty. That is in the Bill, and I do not think that adding ''efficiency'' will aid things.