After section 56

Part of Edinburgh Tram (Line One) Bill: Final Stage – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:45 pm on 29th March 2006.

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Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour 2:45 pm, 29th March 2006

No. It is important that I explain as simply as I can why amendment 8 is not within Parliament's competence. The setting of speed limits was a matter of concern upon which the committee heard a fair amount of evidence. As a consequence of that evidence, we took advice from HM railways inspectorate, which is now part of the Health and Safety Executive. HMRI confirmed that it is responsible for approving safety on tramways and helpfully set out the criteria that apply. If members require it, I can narrate the lengthy list of matters that it takes into account. I will spare the Parliament from that.

HMRI has advised us that, in practice, there is on-going dialogue between it and tramway operators as part of the approval process that is set out in the Railways and Other Transport Systems (Approval of Works, Plant and Equipment) Regulations 1994. Her Majesty's railway inspectorate and tramway operators tend to reach consensus on maximum speed limits. However, there is a final regulatory backstop under which HMRI has powers to impose maximum speed limits. Section 45(1) of the Transport and Works Act 1992—which I know members have read avidly—enables the Health and Safety Executive to give to any person who carries on an undertaking that includes the provision of transport services on a tramway a direction that imposes maximum speed limits at which vehicles that are used on the system may travel.

Generally speaking, section 117 of the Railways Act 1993 brings section 45 of the Transport and Works Act 1992 within the ambit of the health and safety regime that is operable under part 1 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. In terms of section H2 of part II of schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998, part I of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is a reserved matter. Put simply, the setting of maximum speed limits for the operation of tramways is not within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament. It is a matter for Westminster.

Because of that advice, we accepted that amending the bill to set a speed limit would serve no purpose. If we did so, the measure could be struck down as being outwith Parliament's competence. Naturally, we did not let the matter lie—we discuss speed issues in paragraphs 422 to 437 of our report. I commend those paragraphs to the member, and, in particular, our conclusion at paragraph 434, which states:

"The Committee would recommend the promoter considers reducing the maximum requested speed limits operating for tram Line One along the length of the Roseburn Railway Corridor".

We note that a speed reduction from 46mph to 40mph—the level that is suggested in amendment 8—would increase run time by a mere two seconds, so we commend our conclusions to the promoter, as well. We believe that the committee has already—quite cleverly—made the required point. It captures the spirit of Lord James's amendment, but his amendment is not legislatively competent, so I ask him to seek to withdraw it.