Clause 1 - Road safety grants

Part of Road Safety Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 21st March 2006.

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Photo of Owen Paterson Owen Paterson Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 10:45 am, 21st March 2006

Thank you, Sir Nicholas. I will discuss amendment No. 17 in the light of Brake’s submission, which called for an annual report on the speed limits on roads. We thought that the legislation should go further than that, and that it is appropriate to have an annual report on where the money is going, how many grants have been given out, the purposes of those grants, and, above all, their effectiveness in promoting road safety. It is important that the term “road safety” is included, because clause 1 would be improved dramatically if it were stated clearly that we want to know how the grants are spent and what impact they have on road safety.

For instance, returning to my two examples, if it were decided to put speed limits around schools, it would be very interesting to receive an annual country-wide analysis on what that had done, whether it was sensible and whether the following year it might be better to pursue entirely different expenditure. Again, modest schemes, such as painting the road, having different signs and reducing the number of signs and not muddling motorists can have impact. It would be interesting and worth while to know how the money was disbursed, to whom it was disbursed, and what impact it had had.

As a catch-all, amendment No. 17 concludes with a blanket statement, recommending that a national transport authority could discuss any other aspects that it thought appropriate.

Clause 1 is benign. We do not intend to oppose it; we just want to tease out what it is really about. It would be improved if the Minister looked favourably on our amendments, because there is real value in localism and in seeing the money spent locally.