Clause 17

Local Transport Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 24 April 2008.

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Effect of scheme: different dates for different facilities or standards etc

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

I rise to speak in similar vein to Tuesday, when I tabled an amendment. I want the Minister to be clear with us about the issue of different dates and different facilities and how it impacts on schemes across the country. Will she give us some detail on the differing impact of different dates?

Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton

The clause will amend the current legislation, once again as a consequence of provisions in clause 13, which will allow different standards and facilities in a quality partnership to be introduced on different dates. Under current legislation, the effect of the scheme is that facilities must be provided at the start and for the full duration of the scheme. Operators must not use those facilities unless they have given a written undertaking to the traffic commissioner to provide services to the required standard. Enforcement action can be taken against operators who breach such an understanding.

The clause, like the clauses preceding it, contains necessary consequential amendments to those in clause 13 that allow different facilities to come into force on different dates.

The purpose of the clause is to clarify how the obligations to provide facilities or standards apply where implementation of the scheme is phased. I am leafing through the guidance because I was reading the  further information on this matter earlier. It addresses some issues about what could be included in a scheme where changes had already been made—for example, by the insertion of a bus route—and what could not.

In a statutory quality partnership scheme, the idea is that operators and local authorities will give commitments, very often to introduce investment or to make changes. We want some flexibility to ensure that any changes down the line can be introduced appropriately. That reflects the reality that some changes may have been indicated, but not necessarily implemented right at the beginning. It is an acknowledgement that some changes will come in later than others.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 17 ordered to stand part of the Bill.