Clause 84

Local Transport Bill [ Lords ] – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:10 pm on 8th May 2008.

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Dissolution of an integrated transport area

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

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

Clause 84 allows the Secretary of State to make an order to dissolve an integrated transport area and abolish the integrated transport authority. One or more local authorities will then be designated to take over as the local transport authority for the area.

At the moment, it requires a majority of the constituent councils to consent in order to dissolve an ITA. As drafted, the Bill does not require the Secretary of State to nominate the successor body to be a directly elected authority for each part of the former ITA area. It could happen that an authority that formed part of the minority—it might not have consented to the dissolution—found the functions of the ITA being transferred to an authority that had no accountability to the dissenting authority or to the electorate of the area.

I realise that this is a highly technical point, and that that eventually might already be covered, but I look to the Minister to reassure us that if necessary it will be dealt with in guidance or on Report.

Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (Yorkshire and the Humber), Minister of State (Department for Transport)

An order dissolving an ITA would have to designate one or more authorities in the area as local transport authorities in order to take over the responsibilities of the ITA, particularly the duty to produce a transport plan.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

The Minister has not answered my point. I understand fully that a local transport authority would be designated, but can she assure me that the local transport area designated to each area of the dissolved ITA would be democratically accountable—that it would be the local transport authority for that area? Under the Bill, the position stated by the Minister is absolutely correct, but that leaves us in the position that local authorities might not have a local transport authority that is the same as it.

Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (Yorkshire and the Humber), Minister of State (Department for Transport)

On dissolution, the responsibilities of the ITA would have to be transferred to an authority. It would not be transferred to another body; a local authority would have to take over the transport functions of the ITA—as in subsection (2)(a).

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

Yes, again the Minister has not answered my question, but restated the position.

I realise that it is a highly technical point, but I shall write to the Minister to seek reassurance. I do not want to delay the Committee, and I suspect that the subject could lead to a certain amount of discussion.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 84 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 85 ordered to stand part of the Bill.