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Transport (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th October 2019.

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Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

This group of amendments addresses the enforcement of low-emission zones.

Amendment 138 seeks to remove the ability of Scottish ministers to create criminal offences for non-payment of the low-emission zone civil penalty charge. Amendment 139 would result in there being no maximum criminal fine for non-payment of low-emission zone penalties. The bill provides for criminal sanctions against non-payment as an important means of ensuring enforcement of the low-emission zone regime. These amendments would undermine the system, as they would remove that enforcement option.

Amendment 151 is unnecessary. The Scottish ministers already have statutory powers to amend the existing Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 to prescribe traffic signs for low-emission zones.

Work to design low-emission zone signs at national level is already being progressed by my officials using the powers under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

Amendments 126 and 176 both seek to make the regulation-making powers under section 1(4)(c) and 2(4)(b) subject to the affirmative procedure. Although I consider the matter to be somewhat finely balanced, I am content to agree that the powers should be subject to the additional parliamentary scrutiny that is afforded by the affirmative procedure. I therefore support amendments 126 and 176, but I ask that Colin Smyth and Jamie Greene do not press the other amendments in this group. If the amendments are pressed, I urge members to reject them.