Members present:
              Mr Andrew F Bennett, in the Chair
              Mr Hilary Benn
              Mr Crispin Blunt
              Mr Tom Brake
              Christine Butler
              Mr Brian H Donohoe
              Mrs Gwyneth Dunwoody
              Mrs Louise Ellman
              Mr Bill O'Brien
              Miss Anne McIntosh
                       EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES
                 RT HON LORD MACDONALD OF TRADESTON CBE, a Member of the House of Lords,
           Minister for Transport, MS BEVERLY HUGHES, a Member of the House,
           Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, MR ANDREW WHYBROW, Head of
           Charging and Local Transport Division, MR PETER MATTHEW, Urban
           Policy Division, Department of the Environment, Transport and the
           Regions, examined.
        490.     Lord Macdonald, can I welcome you to the Committee.  I hope
  you had a pleasant stroll across from the Cabinet meeting this morning.  Can
  I ask you to identify your team for us, please?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Thank you, Mr Chairman.  My name is Gus
  Macdonald, I am Minister for Transport at the DETR.  I have with me Beverly
  Hughes, who is the Minister very much involved in local government and
  regeneration.  On my right is Andrew Whybrow, who is the head of our charging
  and local transport section in the department, and also Peter Matthew, who is
  the head of urban environment and regeneration.
        491.     Thank you very much.  Do you want to say anything by way of
  introduction or are you happy to go straight into questions?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Just a few brief words, Chairman.  I am
  very grateful to be here this morning and for the Committee for arranging this
  session.  I should say, in opening, that as well as my ministerial interest
  in the subject of walking I speak as a former president of Paths For All in
  Scotland, which was dedicated to developing walking opportunities around the
  towns and cities there.  I think it is very important that in addition to the
  access that people have to the hills, the moors or the mountains we try to
  make sure that there are opportunities at an urban level as well, because it
  is surprising how close one can be to the countryside and yet have very little
  opportunity to walk.  I know you have got a much broader perspective this
  morning and we are aware that inside the grand plans that we have produced
  there is always the danger that walking might be taken for granted for very
  obvious reasons.  Sadly, walking has been in decline most obviously because
  most of us now have cars and people chose to drive short distances when it is
  quicker and more comfortable much of the time, although obviously not as good
  for exercise.  The second reason is just the lack of choice; that people have
  a dependence on the car, for example, if they are working miles away from home
  and it is the only practical way to get there.  The Government is committed
  to trying to increase choice, and that is very much the message of our ten-
  year plan for transport.  We want to make it clear that we are not anti-car,
  we would like to see more people who need cars being able afford cars, but we
  want to try and follow the example that we see on the continent, where they
  have a higher car ownership per head but people use their cars less.  We want
  to try and make sure that what we do in Britain as a policy means that people
  feel able to use their cars less.  We are encouraging development, of course,
  in built-up areas and brown-field sites to give people a chance to live within
  walking distance of a whole range of employment, not to mention their
  shopping, their entertainment opportunities and so on.  So we are making that
  massive investment in public transport - 180 billion in the ten-year
  transport plan.  That, in turn, has been based on a White Paper on transport
  in 1998 and subsequent documents that have emerged from that, such as the
  document that we produced Encouraging Walking and, most recently, we have had
  our local transport plans which we announced in December - 8.4 billion worth
  of investment at local authority level for the local authorities in England. 
  So I hope that shows, Mr Chairman, the seriousness with which we take the
  subject of walking.
        492.     Perhaps it would not be amiss for you to emphasise how much
  pleasure people can get from walking in towns, with the problems of getting
  into the countryside.
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  I would very much emphasise that, and I
  was pleased to see that in London there has been talk of trying to develop
  clearer urban routes which would take people through the most interesting
  areas and give people a sense that they can walk, maybe, much further than
  they would have anticipated.  As I say, my previous experience in Scotland was
  very much geared to that, with the Paths For All movement there.  For very
  little investment you can produce splendid results for people who are often
  most in need of the exercise or the ability to get out and about.  I think it
  is one of those areas where because it does not require, perhaps, very large
  capital investment it is never properly quantified, and in our local transport
  plans I was delighted that through the advice we have given councils we had
  got back from them walking plans for every area of England.  The difficulty
  is - and it is something that I hope our methodology will master - how you can
  take all these smaller schemes and quantify them in a way that is so much
  easier when you are dealing with big capital investment projects.
                              Mrs Ellman
        493.     Lord Macdonald, the Government certainly is encouraging
  walking; within its advice note to local government it encourages local
  authorities to do that, but yet the Government is also apparently saying that
  walking will have a negligible impact on congestion, mileage and pollution. 
  Why do you think that is?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  On the arithmetic that we are given,
  with the percentage of short journeys that people make, the great majority of
  people already walk them.  Therefore, what you could achieve in persuading
  them to walk a bit more when it is under a mile would be pretty marginal in
  the great scheme of things.
        494.     Are you sure that that is the case for all types of walking
  in all areas, or is that just something restricted ----
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  I stress that I am very much in favour
  of it and we would want to encourage it anyway, it is just that we have not
  been able to make the arithmetic add up in the way that gives us a serious
  impact on some of the bigger figures that we are talking about.  It does not,
  however, detract from the desirability of bringing any of the measures that
  would help, because we are not so target-driven that we would, as I say, not
  introduce the necessary investment or reforms for walking simply because it
  does not help us meet the target.  Walking is a target in itself.
        495.     In some European cities half of the journeys are actually on
  foot.  Do you think we could reach that in this country?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  I think we could but I am suspicious of
  easy comparisons with what happens elsewhere in Europe, because when you look
  at Europe - and we have got the Commission for Integrated Transport looking
  at best practice across Europe - you must be conscious that you are looking
  at a thousand years of a different history, different cultures, towns that are
  built differently and, therefore, very often, admirable though their practice
  might be in these European towns, it is very difficult to see it being easily
  imported to the United Kingdom.
        496.     We have had evidence put that some car journeys are much
  longer than the equivalent walking would be.  Would that not suggest that your
  original assumption is wrong or needs re-examination?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  I am very happy to re-examine any of the
  assumptions that we have made.  I am not conscious of this having been raised
  as an issue with us before, but if there is anything that we can do to change
  the guidance that we offer to local authorities in the context of the local
  transport plans I would be very happy to do that.  We have stressed to them
  that while we have created both the ten-year framework for the overall
  transport investment and there is a five-year framework for local government,
  we wish to be flexible by the year and make sure that local authorities feel
  able to flex those plans.  Obviously, this is one of the easier areas in which
  to introduce change in the short-term.
        497.     So this is something you continue to monitor?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Indeed, very much so.
        498.     What about the school run?  Surely there are an awful lot of
  children who are transported to school relatively short distances.  We all
  know how congestion in towns goes down with the school holidays.  Are not a
  lot of those journeys ones you could encourage both parents and children to
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Indeed, Mr Chairman, and again we have
  been working with schools and local authorities to try and create local school
  plans for travel.  It is a sad fact that parents now, for understandable
  reasons, feel more insecure about their children walking to school.  You will
  all know that our record as far as casualties are concerned with children
  walking is relatively higher than other countries in Europe.  Although overall
  we are near the top of the league for the safety of children killed or injured
  in road accidents in this country, at the pedestrian level, again because of
  the way Britain is built, in part, and also the way that children, perhaps,
  are trained in this country, we have got a slightly higher casualty rate than
  in some other countries.  When you say "slightly higher" you are talking in
  terms of over 100 children killed every year, so it is a very serious matter. 
  We are working with the schools. We are looking, of course, as well as at the
  walking side of this, the possibility of school bus services being improved.
  I know that Surrey, for instance, have put very ambitious plans in their local
  transport plan for us. Most recently the Deputy Prime Minister announced that
  First Group would be piloting the American style yellow buses to take children
  to school.  Again, if we can construct ways in which children walk or cycle
  to school then we will certainly encourage that. We have set up the mechanisms
  through which that can be achieved.
                               Mr Brake
        499.     Just on that point. Can I just have you confirm, Lord
  Macdonald, that the effort the Government is making in promoting safe routes
  to schools is purely for safety reasons because you have already stated that
  there is no point really in promoting walking because it will have no
  significant impact on congestion?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Clearly most of these issues must be
  treated at a local level so through the local transport plan it is for the
  local authority to decide what impact it would have.  It may be in a local
  area, yes it would have an impact on congestion. Clearly with the school run
  that has been a cause of particular congestion in certain periods of the day.
  We are committed to reducing the present level of car use for the journey to
  school. We want to see greater choice in the way that children travel, whether
  it is through the school bus, through cycling or whether it is through
  walking.  We set up the School Travel Advisory Group - STAG - in 1998 to find
  ways of encouraging walking and cycling and we are working to implement those
  recommendations which were published in January of last year. I think the
  local transport plans reflect the activity that we have put into that.
        500.     In fact what you are saying is it could have a significant
  impact but only at a local level?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Yes but it could creep, one would hope,
  at a national level though I think it is too early to speculate on how that
  might take place. Certainly at a local level it is for the local authority to
  make those decisions based on the local transport plans.
                              Mr O'Brien
        501.     Minister, the Government Ten Year Transport Plan is welcome
  because it does set some objectives but it does not go by without criticism. 
  Professor Goodwin, the chairman of the panel of independent advisers, does
  argue that pedestrianisation and small schemes to promote walking could reduce
  congestion more cost effectively than the Government's roads programme.  What
  is your view?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  I am very happy to talk with Phil
  Goodwin about that. He has been a valued adviser to the Department in the
  past.  We have our concerns about his methodology and his conclusions on the
  impact that the Ten Year Plan would have on congestion overall. I have
  sympathy with the view that says it is difficult as yet to measure the impact
  that a lot of small schemes will have simply because we are probably more
  inclined to try and measure the value for money on large schemes through the
  methodology that is available to the Treasury.  So you can look at a Channel
  Tunnel Rail Link and make a decision on that investment but it is more
  difficult if you are faced with, say, as we were in the local transport plans
  8,500 safety related schemes on the roads from local authorities. I think
  there are about 4,500 kilometres of new bus lanes being put in and so on. 
  When you get down to the smaller schemes it is more difficult to work out just
  what the general impact of all those schemes will be but I agree with the
  implication of your question that it is something we should try very hard to
  measure because my instinct, as I suspect your's is, is that there is a lot
  of good that can be done by small investment, it is just more difficult to
        502.     Following up what the Chairman said to your comments about
  walking in the countryside. There are a lot of people who do not have the
  opportunity to walk in the countryside so their means of walking and
  exercising is in the urban areas. Now what is requested in many areas is more
  pedestrianisation so the shoppers can walk freely, young mothers can get their
  exercise walking without fear of traffic and pollution. What are your views
  on that?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  I very much welcome the kind of
  initiatives that we have seen coming through in the five year local transport
  plans. I think that the process that we have set in train here of allowing
  councils much more freedom to dictate their own priorities, in virtually
  doubling the budget from the 650 million a year that we had a year ago
  heading up towards about 1.3 billion by the end of the SR2000 period means
  that there is far more money to spend but the local authorities now are in a
  process which we can monitor at a departmental level, we can also share it
  across authorities if we see particularly good ideas emerging. We have been
  encouraging them to develop skills in areas of transport planning, for
  instance, which I think is lifting the general quality of what councils are
  able to do and it is also a responsive and I hope flexible process for them.
  I believe we will be able to get a much better measure year by year now of how
  well we are doing.  If it turns out that an accretion of small schemes is
  delivering a lot of value in particular areas then we will be able to get that
  message round to other councils very quickly.
        503.     You have told us the problem of measuring the small schemes
  but the Government actually has plumped for large schemes, presumably because
  they are easy to measure rather than they are actually value for money?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  They would not be pursued if they were
  not value for money.  Clearly there is a great importance in the expansion,
  for instance, of our railway system where you have seen the Strategic Rail
  Authority yesterday announcing its ambitions for 60 billion worth of
  investment in our rail network across the next ten years.  Now some of those
  schemes, like the West Coast Mainline Scheme, are very large indeed, that is
  the biggest railway engineering scheme in Europe. The values of those schemes
  are, of course, measurable and very thoroughly debated across the Government
  but we are aware, also, because we work very closely on a piece of joined up
  Government with our colleagues in other areas of the DETR that the small
  schemes can have enormous impact at the local level. If I could perhaps bring
  in my fellow Minister here, she is much better informed on some of these areas
  than I am.
        (Ms Hughes) I just want to comment, Chairman, on a number of the
  questions that have arisen so far because although understandably the
  Committee wants to question Lord Macdonald on the Transport Policy issues and
  the relevance of walking to that and whether or not that particular shaft of
  policy is promoting walking, I would just like to say that this is a very
  important issue for other aspects of the Department's work whether or not it
  can be demonstrated in terms of beneficial impacts on macro transport policy
  so to speak, the whole urban policy arena, regeneration of towns and cities,
  all that we are doing there through planning.
        504.     We will fairly quickly want to come on to those issues.
        (Ms Hughes) Fine. I just want to say it is not only whether it is
  important in terms of touching some of the macro transport performance
  measures, it is also important for other things.
                             Mrs Dunwoody
        505.     If a Government takes a decision on its budget that is what
  influences policy. That is what we are asking. If you decide to put a lot of
  money back into the road schemes when previously it has been an agreed policy
  decision to support things like railways, for precisely the reason that you
  have put forward, then if you suddenly reinstate the large road programme not
  surprisingly people will take that as a clear indication of your attitude.
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Yes but I hope that what people will
  take from the monies that have already been announced is the fact that only
  about six per cent of our Ten Year Plan monies are going to new road schemes. 
  If you take just the local transport plans, the 8.4 billion then under a
  billion of that was going into new road schemes, 4.4 billion was going into
  public transport and of the 4 billion going into roads 3 billion of it was
  going into the upgrading and maintenance of local roads.
        506.     On those figures, can you tell us how much is going into
  encouraging walking?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  No, I could not. I could not, Chairman,
  because it is not quantified in that way coming out of the local authorities.
  I do believe that we should be working in the years ahead to try and quantify
  not just walking but some of the other areas of investment at local level
  because it is very important that now we have created this framework for the
  first time that we are able to locate inside that framework just how well the
  smaller schemes are working at local level.
                              Mr O'Brien
        507.     A great deal of emphasis has been placed on county wide
  transport plans.  What guidance is given from the DETR to help local
  authorities collectively within the country to provide more walking
  facilities, more walking policies and better pedestrianisation?  What advice
  is given to the local people?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Could I perhaps ask Andrew Whybrow just
  to come in here with the detail of it because he is in the front line of
  dealing with the authorities.
        (Mr Whybrow)   Thank you, Minister.  We gave local authorities advice on
  all aspects of local transport plans around about early last year.  That
  included advice to include in the local transport plan a local strategy for
  encouraging walking.  It was one of a number of aspects of local transport
  plans where we said we will look for certain things to be included as a
  minimum requirement and further things as to what would be in a good local
  transport plan.  We issued further advice in the form of a leaflet on elements
  of a good local walking strategy.  We have not given a great deal of advice
  on detailed design matters but the Institution of Highways and Transportation
  has published a fairly extensive document aimed at professionals which does
                             Miss McIntosh
        508.     Minister, in PPG13 the Government has said that it wishes to
  reduce the need to travel and yet the Government in its Ten Year Plan has set
  specific targets for increased travelling, particularly a 50 per cent increase
  in the use of rail, a ten per cent increase in bus travel, and a 100 per cent
  increase in light rail.  How do you see these two as being complementary?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  In the sense of rail and bus being
        509.     No, the fact that in PPG13 you have said that the Government
  wants to reduce the need to travel and yet in the Ten Year Plan you have set
  targets to increase each mode of travel.
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Well, we believe that the impulse for
  growth which will come from a stable and growing economy will clearly require
  increased movement of people to jobs.  If you take, for instance, the increase
  in travel that we have had on our railways, that is not unconnected with the
  fact that this Government has put an extra million people back into work and
  they have to get to their work of a morning and get back in the evening.  We
  are dealing here with the problems of growth right across the transport
  sector.  I am delighted to say that we have even got modest growth beginning
  to develop in the bus sector now.  I would think that these two are not
  mutually incompatible.  We obviously want to try through planning and through
  urban design, as my colleague, Ms Hughes, could explain, to ensure that people
  have less need to travel, whether it is to shops, to jobs or to entertainment,
  through our long-term planning ambitions.  We wish to ensure that as people
  do travel more, and with affluence clearly they will travel more both for
  leisure as for work, that we have the expanding infrastructure of transport
  in this country, in rail and bus and elsewhere, that will cope with that.
        510.     In the Government's flagship council, City of York Council,
  there is a problem in increasing the number of passengers travelling by bus
  because they cannot agree to give priority to certain bus routes.  Is the
  Government doing anything to encourage this because if you want to see a true
  integrated transport system then you will be encouraging people to walk to the
  bus stop and get on board the bus to take them to the train station to catch
  the train?  Is this not in jeopardy if you cannot prioritise bus routes to cut
  through the congestion?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  In general, of course, I would agree and
  I would hope that the quality partnerships that we have set up for public
  transport in the Transport Act, which went through in November of last year,
  will encourage greater use of buses.  We already see signs that bus
  passengership is up ten, 20 per cent in those areas where the partnerships are
  now working.  We will be encouraging that.  Anything that we can do to
  encourage bus use I believe is welcome.  You may have seen the announcement
  last week when we ensured that the fuel duty rebates to public service buses
  was increased and we are looking again at other aspects of bus usage and coach
  usage in particular to see how we can improve that too.
        511.     Are you concerned that targets that you have set may steal
  from each other?  The purpose of our inquiry is really to encourage more
  people to walk and there is the possibility that you are encouraging more
  people to cycle or to take public transport and you are discouraging people
  from walking.
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  My belief is with the inherent growth
  that we would all hope for in the economy we will see more journeys.  Also,
  with the great predominance of car usage in this country there clearly is
  scope for people to go in large numbers onto other forms of travel, whether
  it is on to the bus or whether it is on to their bikes or whether it is on to
  their two legs.
                           Christine Butler
        512.     Is there a reason why Government on the one hand informs
  government officers and highway authorities and so on very well about its
  intentions and about what it expects of them and about the parameters of
  putting in good local transport bids in local transport plans which include
  walking, cycling and all of that, but on the other hand says very little to
  the public?  Do you not think that the public have a role to play here in
  encouraging the kinds of measures which you might expect coming from local
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  I agree of course, but I would be
  surprised if local government itself was not trying to involve its electors
  in that process.  As you say, we have put very comprehensive information out
  on what our schemes are, that is the guidance on the full local transport
  plans and the walking strategy that we have evolved.
        513.     But does every councillor get that?  Would it not be a good
  idea to make sure that the bare bones of what this issue is all about in terms
  of sustainable strategies are understood and we should involve local people
  directly?  I do not see it on the ground quite frankly, ordinary people on the
  street do not understand what any of this is about.  I wondered, Mr Whybrow,
  in the work that you do with local authorities, county and metropolitan
  authorities in particular, whether any attention is paid to disseminating the
  main thrust of this to local populations and whether any monitoring activity
  ever takes place and whether that is happening at local level?  Then I want
  to come on to a connected question.
        (Mr Whybrow)   We are certainly asking local authorities to monitor the
  success or otherwise of their policies at local level.  We are expecting them
  to keep an eye on what is happening to walking.  One thing the Minister did
  not mention was the Are You Doing Your Bit Campaign, which is the Government
  communicating directly with the people particularly through advertising.  One
  of the elements in that campaign is the desirability of walking rather than
  cars for short journeys.
        Christine Butler:          The next question is to either ----
        Chairman:   Let us have the question, let them choose who answers it.
                           Christine Butler
        514.     Fine.  Okay, then.  It is to do with health impacts of
  walking or not walking.  There is concern that the health benefits that would
  encourage walking are not being fully taken into account.
        (Ms Hughes) In terms of the whole public health emphasis of Government
  that is something that is recognised but, more specifically, in terms of our
  brief, we have given local authorities a very broad remit, as you will know,
  in terms of pursuing anything that promotes the well-being of people in local
  communities, socially, economically or environmentally, but also give them the
  mechanism to pursue that.  I think that is recognised implicitly in all of the
  strands of urban policy regeneration and in what my department is trying to
  do to improve the quality of life for people in various kinds of communities.
        515.     Do you really think the general public understands that
  inertia and not actually having physical activity brings early deaths quicker
  in this country than smoking cigarettes?
        (Ms Hughes) My own view is that probably there are different levels
  of understanding about that, as always, in different parts of communities, in
  different parts of the country and in different social groups.  I would accept
  - and I am speaking as a lay person rather than in terms of policy  - that we
  probably need to do more to get that message across to those people who
  actually need to pay more attention to their health, because they suffer
  various disadvantages.  Certainly in terms of initiatives that my department
  has been responsible for, such as the new deal for community regeneration, and 
  initiatives generally we cannot fail to notice the situation of people in
  those communities.  They have a higher incidence of morbidity, a higher
  incidence of mortality and, clearly, anything, including walking - and also
  diet and other factors - that is going to improve their potential for
  literally quality as well as length of life is something that we would want
  to pursue.
                             Mrs Dunwoody
        516.     But you do not control their diet and you do control their
  transport.  That is, actually, quite a fundamental difference.
        (Ms Hughes) I disagree that we control their transport.  I do not
  think we can order people to walk.  What I think we can do is to facilitate
  walking for a whole range of environmental, regeneration, urban policy and
  transport measures.  We then have to get the message across to people that
  where they have a choice of walking, walking is good for them as well as, very
  often, good for their local economies, too.
                               Mr Brake
        517.     If I paraphrase, Lord Macdonald, what you said earlier, you
  stated that by tackling the school run, by promoting walking and, perhaps,
  school buses, it could have a significant impact locally and reduce
  congestion, and you thought this could trickle down at a national level.  Why
  is there no national walking strategy to pull this together?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  I think because it is such a matter of
  fact business it would seem to me, perhaps, to be overblown to say that we
  must have a national walking strategy.  I believe that it is at local
  authority level that you will get the best support for this and the best
  targeted advice.  I do not see, really, what will be gained by having a
  national strategy on walking.  I think it is far better to put it in the
  context of the investment priorities of the local councils and make sure that
  they are better funded than they have ever been in the past, which is our
        518.     Why a national cycling strategy?  What is the difference?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Because a cycling strategy, I believe,
  is a mode of transport; you get on a machine, you need rules of the road and
  you need green lanes painted in the road at some considerable cost.  It is
  quite different from ----
        519.     Surely, for walking you need pavements to walk on.
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Absolutely, and at a local level that is
  fine.  I do not share the belief that somehow we would transform either
  individual activity or local authority activity if we had a shining national
        520.     But you do believe that for cycling?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Yes, I think it is out of scale.
                              Mr Donohoe
        521.     If you mean what you say, why do you not ring-fence?  The
  Chancellor is now demonstrating that he can ring-fence some aspects of
  education by passing it directly to schools.  Why do you not give that
  opportunity to local authorities, to say "If you spend money on walking areas
  I will ring-fence money, but it is not to be used for any other purpose"?  As
  it stands, local authorities would not do that.
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Because I think it would go against the
  whole thrust of policy in terms of funding local government.  I would perhaps
  hand it over to my colleague to take that in more detail, but if walking why
  not ring-fence everywhere else in local investment?  That would undermine,
  surely, the responsibility we are trying to pass back to the local level.
        (Ms Hughes) Local authorities would have a very different view.  They
  already feel that we have gone too far in this year's settlement in terms of
  the proportion of total money that has been ring-fenced, which is about 10 per
  cent of their total settlement.  They think that is far enough if not too far.
  So local authorities would not thank us for that.  I think, secondly, it
  underlines what we are trying to get them to achieve, which is to take the
  lead role in developing priorities and strategies with their local
  communities.  If government starts ring-fencing all of those types of money
  then clearly it constrains the potential for them to do that.
        522.     You are not promoting the idea.
        (Ms Hughes) We are promoting ----
        523.     You are not doing it because it is clear, on the basis of the
  evidence we have been taking, that there is not any particular promotion of
  walking within cities and urban areas.  There is no promotion of it.  In order
  to be able to achieve that, surely, the one way to do it is to say "If you
  want to promote this locally there is a bag of money for you.  If you do not
  do that, you will never get it and it will not happen".
        (Ms Hughes) I disagree on two counts, Mr Chairman.  I do not agree
  that there is not any promotion of walking.  There is a whole raft of policies
  we are encouraging local authorities, particularly, but also others, to
  include in their plans and in their visions, whether it is transport
  regeneration or whatever - and also through the planning system.  Secondly,
  I do disagree with my friend; to start dictating on every single area is
  counter-productive at the end of the day, but it is also cutting across the
  principles of directly elected local government who are responsible to their
  own communities for setting priorities and for allocating resources.
                               Mr Brake
        524.     In your opening statement, Lord Macdonald, you said that the
  Government is not anti-car.  A number of our witnesses have suggested that the
  reason you have not brought forward a national walking strategy is because you
  are desperate to be seen to be not anti-car.  Do you agree with these
  witnesses who hold that belief?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  No, I think that is utterly wrong.  As
  I said, I do not see that having a national strategy would have any great
  effect on individual behaviour - and this is mainly about individual
  behaviour, whether it is people staggering down to the pub or going off for
  a walk.
                               Mr Blunt
        525.     How many DETR staff are there whose primary responsibility is
  walking policy?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  About a dozen, but my colleague might be
  able to be more precise.
        (Mr Whybrow)   For walking and cycling together.
        526.     A dozen?
        (Mr Whybrow)   Precisely, it is 11.
        527.     Would you say that the number of civil servants in charge of
  walking policy, including research, monitoring and integration, is
  insufficient, generous or about right?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  I suspect it is about right, Mr
  Chairman, because most of us know how to do it.  I am not being facetious
  there, I just think you can therefore take a lot for granted when it comes to
  walking.  What I am more concerned about is where we get the money to pass on
  to the local authorities, with the right guidance, and how they might see best
  ways of spending it.  As I say, I do not think motivation at a local level
  requires a whole band of civil servants to tell people to get out and walk a
  bit more.
        528.     How much money will be spent on (a) promoting walking and (b)
  roads under the ten-year transport plan?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  By promotion do you mean in publicity?
        529.     To encourage walking, which could mean, presumably, improving
  anything from promotion itself to also providing facilities to enable people
  to walk safely through towns.
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  In England it is whatever proportion of
  the 8.4 billion the local authorities think appropriate.
        530.     You told us in evidence shortly before how those proportions
  are going to break down.  You said there will be 1 billion on new roads, 4.4
  billion on public transport, 3 billion on maintenance of the existing road
  network.  That would not seem to leave terribly much for much discretion by
  local authorities.  You appear to know what they are going to do already.
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  You have, inside the context of 4
  billion spent on roads, the ability of local authorities to decide whether
  they have new lighting plans or whether they have new pavements.
        531.     Given the state of roads in my neck of the woods, for
  example, and the fact that we have been waiting for a Reigate Relief Road
  since it was raised by my predecessor in his maiden speech in 1974, it would
  seem that that is not enough money to meet the backlog of roads, let alone
  extra expenditure on walking.
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  We certainly inherited a dreadful
  backlog in terms of poor maintenance of local roads, but we have apportioned
  30 billion in the ten-year plan to bring those local roads up to standard,
  and the 8.4 billion for the first tranche of local authority moneys is, in
  a sense, the down-payment on that.  I do not know whether you live in a
  Labour, Conservative or Liberal-Democratic area, but I am sorry to hear about
  the dereliction of your local roads, and I hope this Government policy will
  help better fund it.
        532.     This is, in a sense, a reflection of the politics of it.  We
  can get into an interesting discussion about the politics of the money spent
  on roads, not least the cancellation of road schemes when you came into office
  in 1997.  There are enormous sums of money involved.  Why is it that walking
  appears to have such a low priority in terms of both expenditure and policy
  input, given its importance in the overall scheme of transport as opposed to
  roads?  Do you think the balance is right, or do you think there really is an
  issue here?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  To repeat what I hope I made plain
  earlier, I have an open mind on how this money should be apportioned.  I
  recognise that in the first instance it is for the local authorities to make
  those decisions.  I hope as they report back on their progress we will become
  better informed.  If there is a change in the balance of investment in favour
  of walking that can be recommended I would very readily help to do that right
  across England.
        533.     I think it would come as a surprise to local authorities that
  only ten per cent of the money that is allocated to them is ring-fenced?
        (Ms Hughes)  No, that is about the figure generally.
        534.     That is ring-fenced for special schemes, what they have
  discretion over in terms of their expenditure is a pretty minute portion in
  the end, given the responsibility laid on them by government?
        (Ms Hughes) No, that is not true. Clearly they have some statutory
  responsibilities, but in the overall scheme of things it is a matter for local
  authorities how they allocate the vast majority of the resources that they get
  from government.
        535.     It is not a reflection of a rather sad state of affairs that
  local authorities are expecting a strong lead from the centre in terms of
  targets for policy, guidance evaluation, best value and resource distribution.
  Do you accept that that is the case, they are looking for that leadership from
  the centre?  It may be regrettable that they are, but do you accept that that
  is the case?
        (Ms Hughes) I accept that in terms of local government reforming
  modernisation there is now a level of performance indication across a whole
  range of policies that we expect local authorities to try and meet.  We are
  also encouraging them to set their own local targets for locally determined
  priorities, that is clearly where a focus on walking in the context of the
  wider strategies that an individual local authority might have for
  regeneration and for fulfilling their well being in power would come in.
        536.     Coming to the final point on transport targets, why has the
  Government not adopted targets based on modal share, as happens in Germany?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  We have gone mode by mode as you know.
  In buses, for instance, we are looking at a 10 per cent increase in the number
  of people travelling by bus.  If you take rail freight, for instance, we are
  looking for rail freight to increase its modal share.
        537.     Why not give the same challenge to walkers? 
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Because, Chairman, to repeat, I do not
  think it is meaningful if the Government announce that we want everyone in
  Britain to walk another 17.5 yards a day.  I do not think that it connects at
  that level, if there was a government demand, because this is a personal
  activity.  It is much better to give the money to the local authorities and
  let them create the conditions in which their local people might choose to
                               Mr Blunt
        538.     There are some who say that the average number of trips per
  person per day has remained constant for several centuries.  I am including
  the average amount of time people spend travelling, at an average of one hour
  a day.  I have no idea whether the academic research that supports that is
  sustainable or not.  The people who advise this Committee and have expertise
  in this area maintain that.  Therefore, if you have a modal system, as they
  do in Germany, and if you increase your target for walking you should then see
  a corresponding decrease elsewhere.  Do you think this idea has merit?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  It has a logic to it, but I do not think
  it is a logic that would necessarily apply to the complexities of transport
  in Britain which, no doubt, is very different from transport in Germany for
  all sorts of historical reasons.  I find it extraordinary that if a couple of
  centuries ago, given the profound changes in the way that people work and
  live, their transport needs were in any way similar.  I would be very happy
  to look at any historical research that you can offer. While I find these
  historical or international comparisons of some interest they are not really
  central to our considerations.
                                Mr Benn
        539.     In answer to an earlier question, Lord Macdonald, you talked
  about the difficulties in trying to quantify expenditure on walking.  If a
  local authority spends money on a 20 mile per hour home zone, would you agree
  with me that that is an expenditure on encouraging walking because more people
  might go walking.  Would you accept that argument?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  I accept it.  I think it is a very
  interesting example because it raises the question of how you measure, for
  instance, the nine pilot schemes we have at the moment, how many houses are
  in each of them; how much money is spent on each scheme.  You can come up with
  an average of 1,000 per home in an area for the introduction of a home zone
  scheme.  Would you then be confident rolling that out across the country and
  saying, if instead of nine we had 900 or 9,000 or 90,000 such schemes what
  would the total cost be.  Once you start getting into the process you can
  begin to quantify the investment required and, indeed, the benefits that would
  be gained from it.  I hope that the framework that we have created for the
  local transport plans would now allow us to do that for the first time.
        540.     Would you accept that part of the problem is that a lot of
  people, a lot of us, have built life-styles on particular forms of transport
  and it is the lifestyles that determines it, you referred to people having to
  have their cars to get to work.  Let us take a practical example, people who
  go for a weekly shop to the supermarket, for picking the food you do not need
  a car but to get it home you do.  I am interested in the extent to which the
  two bits of Department could link together on this.  For example, why could
  the Government not say in relation to new supermarket developments - I am not
  talking about out of town - "You can have it, provided you offer to every
  shopper a home delivery service, which means they can walk to and from it,
  pick their food, go home and then the food would be delivered later and they
  would not have to take their car".  Is that not an example of the kind of way
  in which if the Department links together we can address people's lifestyle
  needs, which can then give them a greater choice about the mode of transport
  they pick for a particular activity? 
        (Ms Hughes) I agree with you about that.  I do not think at the moment
  in law we can require supermarkets to offer a home delivery service, it does
  not fall within what would be material planning consideration.  There are
  other means by which we can prevent that, I agree. In terms of the general
  point you are making.  I am very concerned about promoting walking from a
  whole variety of points of view, in terms of protecting and enhancing our town
  centres and in terms of helping the process of regeneration of disadvantaged
  communities, in particular walking is a key issue, and the extent to which
  through transport policies and urban and regeneration policies and planning
  policies we can integrate and create a fit that is going in that direction. 
  That is very important. Mean of the things we are trying to do in terms of
  developing town centres and city centres depend on creating a kind of policy
  environment in which walking is going to be the first choice and, therefore,
  walking itself is a fundamental importance to getting the most out of the 
  kind of policies that we are trying to help local authorities to pursue. 
  There is a kind of reciprocal relationship really.  We also need to encourage
  walking to actually get the maximum in terms of regeneration and
  sustainability of our towns and cities.
        541.     I recognise we could not do that under the current planning
  regulations, but planning regulations develop over time to meet, broadly,
  social objectives. There is a clear fit between planning and transport here. 
  Do you think that as a practical example is one that we might need to consider
  in the future in certain circumstances in order to try and do something about
  the issue which is the subject of this inquiry.
        (Ms Hughes) We are trying do that and we are willing to look at any
  other additional measures or any other additional means by which we can
  support what we are trying to do across planning urban policy regeneration and
  transport.  I think there is a real reciprocal relationship here.  Walking is
  a good thing and we want our policy to promote it.  If we can get people
  walking more we are going to get more out of those policies, more benefit to
  people in towns and cities than we would otherwise.
        542.     And yet would you not accept that if it is about giving
  people the choice which allows them to pick a different mode of transport, we
  have to make sure that we offer choice rather than just encouragement?
        (Ms Hughes) We do.  We have to offer not only choice but in order to
  make walking the choice we have to pay attention to the kind of factors that
  deter people from walking at the moment; street paving and the quality of
  pavements, the sense with which people feel a degree a safety and security,
  the attractiveness of the environment, the ease with which they as pedestrians
  can move about that environment.  I am quite encouraged in some of our cities
  where we are seeing the development of a great deal of practised wisdom about
  how to do that better.  I know Manchester very well and Leeds too, but in the
  smaller towns we are also seeing that and we do need to promote it.  There are
  signs that it is not just about transport and transport money, there is a
  whole raft of environmental streetscape issues at that level that we need to
  pay attention to because that will encourage ---
        Chairman:   I am getting rather conscious that if we are going to
  complete all the issues we want to raise we need slightly shorter answers. 
  Anne McIntosh? 
                             Miss McIntosh
        543.     In its staggered pedestrian crossing memo the Department said
  this: "A straight crossing, even with a central refuge, is legally a single
  crossing.  A staggered crossing is two separate crossings."  Why, Minister,
  do we need two separate crossings when one will do?  And why do we have guard
  rails to the extent we have in this country when nobody else in the world
  seems to have them and how much do they cost when they appear to be the
  biggest barrier to pedestrians?  As to safety of pedestrians, I will be very
  honest with you, Chairman, I tend to walk round them or over them rather than
  waiting where I should do.
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Do not let me catch you at it!
                             Mrs Dunwoody
        544.     Stand outside the House of Commons and watch every Member of
  Parliament cross diagonally to avoid the staggered crossing between here and
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  We can all join together in my campaign
  to get Ministers to belt up in the back of their official cars. 
        545.     We would prefer to see Ministers walking! 
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  If I can say, Chairman, you can see some
  instances where it does seem sensible given the traffic flow (and you
  mentioned Whitehall) where you can see very large groups of people and a very
  wide street to stop at the middle, regroup, and wait for the next change of
  lights as we do at present.  On the other hand, I think obviously the evidence
  in this area is pointing people more towards the straight crossing rather than
  the broken, staggered crossing.  I think that is the way that we are beginning
  to work moving again from the pelican-style crossings to the puffin-style
  crossings as well.
        546.     Could you explain what a puffin crossing is? 
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  A puffin crossing is a pedestrian,
  user-friendly, intelligent, light-controlled crossing, if you wish to get into
  the acronym.  It is a different phasing of the lights.  There is no flashing
  amber signal on a puffin crossing and the green man phase for pedestrians,
  after which the traffic lights remain at red while the pedestrians complete
  their crossing, is being detected by a sensor, so it is a more sophisticated
                              Mrs Ellman
        547.     Which Ministers in your Departments are involved in whether
  we have puffins or pelicans?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Certainly our transport Ministers and
  Lord Whitty.
                             Mrs Dunwoody
        548.     That comes as a considerable surprise to the Committee.  Who
  is going to make their entire political career on puffins? 
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  It is something that comes under Lord
  Whitty with his jurisdiction for roads but we are a very joined-up Government
  so I would not be surprised if there were not many more of us involved.
                              Mrs Ellman
        549.     If you are a joined-up Government why do you not know which
  other Ministers are involved?  The Minister spoke to us very recently about
  the importance of walking for a whole raft of reasons and you are one
  department.  What is the point of having responsibility for a number of areas
  if you do not use it when you are looking in this case at walking?  Which
  Ministers other than transport Ministers are involved in the issue of what
  kinds of crossings are there?  If you want to encourage walking around there
  is great relevance to what kind of crossing you use, whether it is pleasant,
  let alone safe, for pedestrians to walk within cities.  Who is responsible for
  that and monitoring the effectiveness of that?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Lord Whitty.
        550.     Who does he talk to? 
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  He talks to me.  He is the Parliamentary
  Under-Secretary in the Department.  He is responsible for roads and for road
  safety, but I am involved in road safety too.  I was addressing the ROSPA
  conference on child safety on roads in Glasgow on Monday but Lord Whitty was
  the Minister who took through our document on road safety which was published
  a year ago this month, but of course the information that we have available
  is available to the other Ministers involved in the planning of urban
  regeneration sites ---
        551.     What I am trying to establish is how is this dealt with at a
  practical level?  If we move away from the grand plans and policy and 10-year
  plans and relate it to regenerating an individual city and making it pleasant
  and easy and safe for people to walk around, which Ministers, if any, are
  looking at the impact of what type of crossings operate in a given area and
  whether it is easy and pleasant and encouraging for pedestrians to walk in the
  given area?  Which Ministers are looking at the impact?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Lord Whitty generally across England. 
  It could be the Minister for London, Keith Hill, if it is London.  I would
  certainly be involved.  Mrs Hughes would be very much involved from a
  regeneration point of view.
        552.     Could it be explained how this is monitored, if it is
  monitored, at a very local level?  If the Department is looking at
  regenerating cities and encouraging walking,, who is it who is looking at the
  impact of pelican crossings, puffin crossings, cattle-pens and all of that,
  on encouraging people to walk around in cities safely and pleasurably? 
        (Ms Hughes) I think, as my honourable friend will know because she has
  been the leader of a very large local authority, the transport sections of
  local authorities themselves will be looking at this in relation to what is
  happening in their own individual areas.  Our Department through the Highways
  Agency, the Civil Service and up to Ministers will be collating the experience
  of local authorities across the country in terms of any issues arising, but
  it is at the local level that both the information and also the decisions
  about the best solutions in any individual circumstances regarding crossings
  are made.
        553.     What lessons have been learnt by Ministers from collating
  information on this?  Have they changed the guidance or attempted increased
  guidance in some areas?
        (Ms Hughes) That is in progress at the moment, Chairman.
        554.     When will it be completed?
        (Ms Hughes) It is an on-going thing in terms of the information local
  authorities send us through their local transport plans and how those plans
  are being implemented and issues arising from decisions taken, for example
  about one form of crossing or another, and if there were a sufficient
  groundswell of information about a particular issue coming forward then we
  would act on it. 
                              Mrs Ellman
        555.     Do the Ministers have to give permissions before certain
  crossings are put in place?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  What we have got at the moment is
  guidance through local transport notes of 1/95 and 2/95 and that guidance
  still stands, but it is being supplemented to take account of, for instance,
  these puffin-like crossings.
        556.     You have a choice in the Department as to whether you approve
  a pelican or a puffin?
        (Mr Whybrow)   No, Chairman.  The local authority is free to install a
  pelican crossing.  At the moment it needs a special authorisation to install
  a puffin crossing.  When the next edition of traffic signs regulations comes
  out puffins will be prescribed crossings and local authorities will be able
  to install them without reference to us in accordance with the regulations.
        557.     When will the regulations come out? 
        (Mr Whybrow)   I think later this year. 
                           Christine Butler
        558.     Notwithstanding the efforts (and I recognise there are big
  efforts going into urban regeneration in specific targeted areas) across the
  broad panoply of local authority work in any town, should there not be a
  requirement for the local development plan to have land use so that facilities
  which people will use can be accessed by walking?
        (Ms Hughes) I think this is a matter for the local authorities.  They
  consider a whole variety of issues, my learned friend will know, in developing
  and finalising their local plan.  That is one issue that we see coming across
  in many of the development plans, but also in more specific local plans,
  particularly those that are focused on regeneration of town centres.
        559.     The planning inspectors view local development plans at some
  stage and the public have a good input to them, or ought to have.  They are
  given the authority's views on matters to begin with, that is where we are,
  so should local transport schemes be supported or withheld around policies,
  including parking, ie inconsistent with transport objectives? This might seem
  to you a little draconian, but if what is happening on the ground is
  inconsistent with the objectives which are required could there be something
  done about it, because it does not seem to be the case. If they do not get it
  right, they do not get it right and all of the people in the town might
        (Ms Hughes) I really do not quite understand the main point.
        560.     In a local transport scheme should the government be granting
  money for local transport schemes where land use policies are inconsistent
  with those objectives?  Should we have a compatibility with the land use
  policies, what is being built where, and local transport schemes?
        (Ms Hughes) I think the short answer is yes, but I do not have any
  evidence that there is that great inconsistency at all.
        561.     Your department actually looks at unitary development plans
  and approves them.  It also approves the local transport plans.  How far in
  approving those is there a co-ordination of the two plans to make sure that
  the local authority has come up with a unitary development plan and a local
  transport plan which are integrated?  One goes to the Department of the
  Environment and one goes to the Department of Transport.
        (Ms Hughes) That is one department.  In the terms of the way we are
  trying to work we are trying to work in an integrated way.  If you are asking
  me if in each UDP for each individual local authority somebody sits down with
  that for several days and checks that against the local transport strategy
  then, clearly, that would not be a feasible job for this Department to do. 
  What we do do is through ensuring that each of those is reflecting government
  policy in terms of the bigger issues there is coherence in the way UDPs and
  transport strategy is generally being developed.
                              Mr Donohoe
        562.     What is the reason for the delay in publishing the PPG?
        (Ms Hughes) As my learned friend will know, we have gone out again to
  consort on a revision on one of the original proposals in the PPG 13.  We now
  have the results of that second tranche of consultation and we are going
  through those.  We are at an advanced stage of analysing the results of that
  consultation and we do hope to be able to produce that PPG 13 as soon as
        563.     You cannot put a time on it?
        (Ms Hughes) I cannot at the moment.  I can say that it is at an
  advanced stage.  We are working to produce it in the very near future.  I just
  cannot put a date on it because it is not finished.
        564.     It is nothing to do with the Treasury then, it is not that
  they blocked the publication of it?
        (Ms Hughes) It is nothing to do with the Treasury per se, clearly we
  went out to consultation because there were as a result of the first
  consultation concerns from business about some of the standards being
  proposed. That is why we consulted again.  We are analysing all of that again
  and we hope to produce our final conclusion very shortly.
        565.     It is not the Treasury that is stopping it from being
  published, is it?
        (Ms Hughes) I do not know why my learned friend says that, I
  specifically said to him, "no".  As a result of the first consultation we got
  some strong views expressed which made us feel we should consult again. We got
  concerns from the first consultation about the impact that some of those
  standards might have on the viability of business and, therefore, we decided
  to consult widely again on that particular issue, and we are analysing those
  results now.
                              Mr Donohoe
        566.     So the Treasury has not blocked its publication?
        (Ms Hughes) The Treasury has not blocked its publication, as I have
  explained three or four times now.  We have gone through a process.  We want
  to try and achieve consensus from the various stakeholders involved in this
  and that is why we have gone to great lengths to consult in some detail.
        567.     Do you think there are enough trained professionals who are
  looking at walking as an issue so that we do get townscapes which are
  attractive for walkers? 
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  I cannot answer that, Mr Chairman.  I
  would hope that as we get the experience of the local transport plans fed back
  to us we will get to hear whether that is a problem or not.  I think what is
  the case is that given the neglect of local transport for a couple of decades
  the Town Halls probably are under-staffed in some of these areas and therefore
  no doubt they will be able to take advantage of the kind of longer perspective
  we are offering of five years at local level and ten years at national level
  in terms of investment to recruit and train.
        568.     Do you think our streetscapes are attractive for people who
  have got various handicaps or disabilities?  It has been suggested to me that
  if you use a stick when walking it is sometimes very difficult to get round
  some of our towns. 
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  No doubt that is true but we will all
  have noticed the progress that is being made in this area.  The development
  of the dropped kerb seems to be very prevalent now as are these tactile paving
  stones, and so on, to signal up to people with disabilities where the
  crossings might be.  Clearly we have become much more aware of those problems
  in the last few years and again our money should make it easier for local
  authorities to deal with that.
        569.     Do you think there are enough places for people to sit down
  because certainly for some people who have mobility problems being able to
  pause while they are walking around a town sitting on a comfortable seat can
  be very useful?
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  Again it is not something I have
  measured or has been put up to me as a problem to address.  I am happy to look
  at any evidence of that.
        Chairman:   I am conscious of the time, Lord Macdonald, but Mrs Dunwoody
  would like to fire a couple of questions at you since you are here.
                             Mrs Dunwoody
        570.     You would not expect to escape entirely, Lord Macdonald!  The
  Government set up the Strategic Rail Authority because it believed that the
  industry was in total chaos and needed to be redressed.  It has now been
  operating for some time.  Are you disappointed that they have only come up
  with an agenda and not a real tight plan? 
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  No, I am encouraged by the largely
  positive response that the strategic agenda of the SRA got when it was
  launched yesterday and as I see it in the newspapers this morning and, indeed,
  most importantly from the Rail Passengers' Users Council there was a very
  approving response as well as positive responses from the train operating
  companies and indeed from Railtrack itself.  I can understand the reasons for
  delay.  There was an extended process in which the Rail Regulator was involved
  with Railtrack in trying to set the access charges, but I think that now that
  some greater certainty is coming into the process we look forward to that
  strategy from the SRA being available in the autumn.
        571.     There is no timetable attached to their plans, there is no
  clear view of how they expect to deal with the problems between Railtrack and
  investment and since there have been over the last year not one accident but
  a number of accidents, the general public may not have the same confidence in
  the future that you do.  Can I ask you one very simple question; do you have
  total confidence in Sir Alastair Morton? 
        (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)  My confidence in Alastair Morton is,
  like everyone else's I think, greatly increased by the production of the
  agenda.  It seems to me that Sir Alastair has a great deal of experience in
  this area.  He has been thinking in very innovative ways about how to
  restructure the industry and that was made clear yesterday.  So, yes, I have
  a great deal of confidence in Sir Alastair and I am glad that he has been able
  to bring out an agenda which is a tour d'horizon both of why we have got to
  where we are in the railways and where we might be going next.  He has made
  that very clear in his phrase "don't invest too much emotion" on this agenda
  that he has just published because he has got a strategy coming out in the
        Chairman:   On that note can I say thank you very much.  We would also
  like to see very firmly a walking strategy as soon as possible.  Thank you
  very much indeed.