Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 217 - 219)




  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 yourselves?

  (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.

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