Schedule 7 contains a number of provisions that are related to, or complement, the changes made by clause 23. Paragraphs 1 to 7 make a number of consequential amendments to ensure consistency, where appropriate, across the statute book. Paragraph 8 expands the scope of conditions and provisions that the Secretary of State may include in an order under section 24 of the Railways Act 1993. Most mainline passenger rail services in England and Wales are designated under the 1993 Act as services to be provided under franchise agreements with the Secretary of State, who is the sole mainline passenger rail franchising authority for England and Wales, although a section 24 order can exempt services from designation and thus carve them out of the franchising system. It is envisaged that a section 24 order will be used in conjunction with the enhanced geographical scope of the PTE powers provided by clause 23, should the Secretary of State agree in a particular case that the PTEs and relevant local transport authorities should take over full responsibility for the provision of certain regional passenger rail services from central Government.
Paragraph 8 inserts a new section 24A into the 1993 Act to enable the Secretary of State, in a section 24 order, to apply similar protective provisions to de-designated rail services as currently apply to franchised rail services. In doing so, some of the risks associated with full devolution of passenger rail services can be reduced. Paragraph 9 makes correcting amendments to section 30 of the 1993 Act on the duties of the operator of last resort. I commend schedule 7 to the Committee.