Clause 8

Part of Local Transport Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:45 pm on 22nd April 2008.

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Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (Yorkshire and the Humber), Minister of State (Department for Transport) 5:45 pm, 22nd April 2008

When drawing up integrated transport plans, which is what we want authorities to do, I know how important it is to look across the different modes of transport in an area. One of the points made by many of us as to why we want to take greater powers for local authorities is that people get infuriated when they arrive by train only to find that the bus left five minutes previously. I am sure that, for many of us, that is a constant refrain from our constituencies. We certainly believe that it is important to take a truly integrated approach in local transport plans.

The amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Wimbledon would put in place specific statutory requirements for transport authorities to consider future relevant rail schemes in their transport policies and plans. Consultation is already an integral part of the development of the local transport plan process. Local transport authorities consult bodies, including Network Rail. That level of detailed consultation is seen as vital in developing future transport policies. Similarly, Network Rail consults local authorities extensively in the development of its route utilisation strategies—as the hon. Gentleman mentioned.

Clause 9 requires local transport authorities to consult about local transport plans, but the only consultees specified are certain other local authorities and the Secretary of State. The clause also states that local transport authorities must consult “such other persons” as they consider appropriate. With a few exceptions, under the Bill local transport authorities themselves will decide on which individual organisations to consult and in many cases that will include rail infrastructure managers, as we call them. Indeed, many other important and relevant local, regional and national strategies could be produced by other organisations.

I am thinking of examples such as integrated regional strategies and, in some cases, local crime and disorder reduction strategies, which could be very relevant to local transport plans. When considering the amendment, it is important that consultation between local transport authorities and Network Rail works in both directions. A specific duty on local transport authorities to have regard to Network Rail’s plans and strategies without a corresponding duty on Network Rail would work in only one direction.