Retaining safe pedestrian and cyclist access

High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 8th March 2016.

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The Nominated Undertaker must, where reasonably practicable, retain access for pedestrians and cyclists to use routes affected by construction where safe and appropriate to do so, including where a highway is closed to other traffic under the powers of this Act.—

This new clause requires the Nominated Undertaker to take steps to retain safe pedestrian and cyclist access on routes affected by construction relating to the HS2 scheme.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Shadow Minister (Transport)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The construction works will undoubtedly cause significant disruption to pedestrian and access routes in the areas affected by the workings. The new clause addresses that issue and secures the retention of safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists alike. In the assurance given by HS2 to Camden, regard was given to construction routes used by pedestrians and cyclists: the Secretary of State will require the nominated undertaker, where reasonably practicable, to retain access for pedestrians and cyclists where safe and appropriate to do so, including where a highway is closed to other traffic under the powers of the Bill. Before any formal application under the Bill relating to traffic or highways proposals, site-specific measures will be discussed with highway authorities and emergency services through the traffic liaison group meeting established in accordance with the construction practice and route-wide traffic management plan.

Examples of the measures are given, including details about specific traffic management measures; installation of appropriate signage, indicating all temporary diversion or, where reasonably appropriate, alternative routes; and measures to minimise impact on high users. By obliging the nominated undertaker to retain access in this way, where reasonably practicable, we seek to give statutory teeth to the assurances about the implementation of construction best practice, to guarantee that every effort will be made to keep access flows open for pedestrians and cyclists. This is a straightforward new clause that I hope will require no further expansion or explanation. I am sure the Minister will wish to endorse and support new clause 37.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Of course I support the aims of this new clause, but my support falls just short of wishing to put it in the Bill. The hon. Gentleman has found a friend in me if he is looking to protect the interests of cyclists in London. As the Minister for cycling and walking, I am a cyclist myself and have made two cycle journeys in London today. The hon. Gentleman is right that where construction is going on it can cause disruption and become a problem for cyclists and pedestrians. We always talk about the dangers of cycling in London, but per kilometre travelled the danger of being a pedestrian is similar to that for cyclists. Although neither cycling nor walking is a dangerous occupation in London, when there is an unfortunate accident it receives a lot of prominence in the press. It is our intention that the works should not affect unduly the ability of pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users to use the highway network. There are two main aspects to this: how HS2 construction vehicles use the highway and how HS2 temporarily occupies the highway during works. For both those matters, I assure the hon. Member for Middlesbrough that the new clause is unnecessary, as there are already suitable controls in place.

As outlined in my response to new clause 36, an array of controls on HS2 construction traffic will be in place to manage traffic levels and protect pedestrians and cyclists. As well as those measures, there are controls and commitments to address how works in the highway will be carried out in a way that reduces disruption and ensures safety. Local traffic liaison groups are central to that. As temporary traffic management schemes such as changes to pedestrian and cycle routes are developed there will be consultation with interested parties, as reasonably required by the traffic liaison group meetings.

Sitting suspended for Divisions in the House.

On resuming—

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The meetings of traffic liaison groups will provide an opportunity to consider the feasibility of maintaining pedestrian and cycle access on routes closed to other traffic. Final temporary traffic management plans will be submitted by the contractor to the nominated undertaker’s qualified area traffic manager to ensure that they comply with the engagement feedback and published standards for temporary traffic management.

The traffic management plan will then be subject to review at the traffic liaison group meeting prior to submission for formal consultation and, as necessary, approval in accordance with schedule 4 to the Bill. Prior to implementation, further notification, such as advanced warning signage, will be provided. During the works, the nominated undertaker will provide staff to ensure compliance with traffic management arrangements.

The measures I have set out demonstrate that the intention of the new clause is addressed by requirements that are already in place. The controls set out have been demonstrated to be effective on projects such as the Olympics and Crossrail. The points made by the hon. Member for Middlesbrough have been addressed and I hope that the proposed new clause will be withdrawn.

Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Shadow Minister (Transport)

I am grateful to the Minister. He has succeeded in persuading me that there will be adequate provision to obtain safe pedestrian and cyclist access on the routes affected by the construction. I trust that he will turn his attention successfully to some of the dangers posed by cyclists and pedestrians using zebra crossings outside the building. With that, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the clause.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

New Clause 38