Examination of Witnesses (Questions 217
WEDNESDAY 30 JANUARY 2002
217. Good evening, gentlemen. I really do apologise
to you. I am very sorry about this. I am afraid that you have
the unfortunate position of being tail-end Charlies. So I hope
you will forgive me, because it is not because we do not put enormous
weight upon your evidence. Could I ask you, firstly, to identify
(Mr Leeder) My name is David Leeder and
I am President of the Confederation of Passenger Transport this
year. Also, as from 1 October last year, I am Managing Director
of FirstBus UK bus business; and I am also, finally, a member
of the Commission for Integrated Transport.
(Mr Nimick) I am Brian Nimick. I am the full-time
Director General of the Confederation of Passenger Transport and
I am also a member of the Buses Working Party of the Commission
for Integrated Transport.
218. Thank you. Did you want to say something,
Mr Leeder, or may we go straight to questions?
(Mr Leeder) Just a few words, if I may, Madam Chairman,
of introductory remarks. I think we would just like to put on
the record our support for the general thrust of the Government's
transport policy. We think that the White Paper and the Acts which
followed it are well thought through; we think that there is a
logic behind the policies that the Government has set out on.
We do have some concerns about the speed and the depth at which
they are being implemented, but broadly we are supporters of the
Government's position, and we are very keen to work with them
in delivering their objectives.
219. Thank you very much. Can I ask you, the
10 Year Plan talks about 25 Light Rail schemes to be operational
by 2010, how many are already committed and how many are likely
to be approved?
(Mr Leeder) There are, effectively, commitments on
the construction of Light Rail schemes in Manchester, Leeds and
Nottingham. The situation, as I understand it, in Manchester,
is that all those schemes are dependent on the bids coming in
at sensible levels. It looks to me as though, if you define a
scheme as being a line, there are probably, what, ten or 12 lines
that are likely to get funding already, and, our calculation would
be, they have probably got another couple of years, in terms of
sensible timescales, on Transport and Works Act, until about 2004,
to get the process sufficiently under way to deliver the schemes
that will meet the 2010 objective. I think, after 2004, if the
schemes are not well advanced, there simply will not be enough
time to get the powers, raise the finance and build the thing
within the time that would make any difference.