Clause 73

Part of Local Transport Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:00 am on 8th May 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) 9:00 am, 8th May 2008

Councils would not have the right to veto schemes. We would look for evidence that there had been thorough consultation and that the proposed changes would improve transport in the area. What we found during the consultation was that many authorities said that they found it difficult, for example, to introduce bus lanes, because one particular area might say, “We do not want to play.”

If it is obvious that public transport requirements cannot be met, we would want a thorough review of the governance procedures. The only exception to the bottom-up approach would be where the Secretary of State had actually directed authorities not only to undertake a review of all or part of their area, but also to prepare and publish a scheme for the establishment of a new ITA in that area or part of an area. However, we think that would be quite rare. It would have to be very obvious that the provision of transport in the area had failed.

By and large, we expect that local authorities would say that they wanted to improve public or integrated transport in their area and would, therefore, want to carry out their own review and come forward with proposals to the Secretary of State. Furthermore, there is the procedural safeguard in the Bill of consulting representatives of appropriate authorities and the fact that any governance order would be subject to affirmative resolution in the House.

With the safeguards in the Bill and that explanation of how we believe that this would happen, I do not feel that we should be requiring a local referendum when establishing a new ITA. The approach we have taken is the correct one. It is very much a bottom-up approach to improving integrated transport in the area, so I ask my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley and the hon. Member for Wimbledon not to press their amendments.