The Minister has defended her position, but she did not address some of the points raised by the amendment. One of the reasons why the amendment is important is that rail infrastructure is trans-local, regional and national in nature. As I explained in my opening remarks, a key point is that the amendment would place exactly the same burden on local authorities as National Rail has at present.
The Minister said that local transport plans will need to consider the future whereas route utilisation strategies do not, but that is exactly what they do. She also said that she expected that local authorities would include people in their consultation process. There was not a categorical “must”. To rehearse our arguments about consultation this morning during our debate on clause 3, if the right hon. Lady tells me that on Report she wants to add the other people to the statutory consultation, I should be relatively happy to leave things unambiguous, but I am not sure that the people whom she mentioned were in any way as relevant as the rail infrastructure manager or the rail operator. As she rightly said, local authorities will need to take some regard of such people when we want to integrate bus and rail services.