Clause 8

Part of Local Transport Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:30 pm on 22nd April 2008.

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Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton 6:30 pm, 22nd April 2008

Perhaps I could help the right hon. Gentleman by clarifying that matters would always depend on the circumstances of a particular case. It could be legitimate for an authority to “have regard to” as he suggests, but that is not the same as “must comply with”. An authority must always make up its own mind. To blindly follow guidance, whatever it was, would be for the authority unlawfully to fetter its discretion. Of course, it has discretion, but that is entirely different from setting out a whole range of vague exceptional local circumstances that an authority could just decide would apply to its situation. We have taken the exactly right approach. Of course, there is local discretion, but there is guidance to which we want authorities to have regard.