Clause 53

Part of Road Safety Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:00 pm on 18 April 2006.

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Photo of Stephen Ladyman Stephen Ladyman Minister of State, Department for Transport 6:00, 18 April 2006

I am certainly happy to do that. My understanding is that one of the difficulties that we got into was that the legislation called for rail equipment to be provided and therefore there was a problem defining exactly what “rail equipment” was. Equipment specifically to do with the road might not be covered by the term “rail equipment”. Our proposals now make it clear that rail equipment in this regard means equipment necessary to make the railway safe. Therefore, such things will fall within the legislation’s remit, and I hope the Committee agrees on that. I can give my hon. Friend the assurance that I shall double check that before we reach the remaining stages, because it is our intention that all parties that have a responsibility to make the railway safe use their powers to do so and co-operate in ensuring that appropriate designs are agreed so that we can make progress.

I just reiterate that none of us in the Committee is in any disagreement about the need to make level crossings safe or about the heinous nature of offences where people try to drive across such crossings. New  clause 30 and amendment No. 111 will be an effective way of dealing with the problem, along with the assurances I gave earlier about enforcement, on which we will make progress as rapidly as possible. I cannot speak for Network Rail, but my understanding is that it is content with what we propose. Given that, I hope that the Committee will subsequently support the Government proposals and agree to clause 53 not standing part of the Bill.