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Lord Whitty: The requirement to have targets for reductions is not really the issue here. The issue is whether the amendments are appropriate to that when we have a national policy, with which the mayor's strategy must be consistent, which will lead us to road traffic targets.

We indicated in the White Paper that we are considering how national targets can help in dealing with congestion and pollution. We are seeking advice from the new Commission for Integrated Transport on this matter. As the noble Baroness said, it is already our policy that local traffic authorities are required to consider traffic reduction in accordance with local circumstances and therefore to set local targets. We have tabled Amendment No. 297G which relates to the traffic chapter of the transport part of the Bill. Our proposed new clause, which will amend the Road Traffic Reduction Act 1997, will explicitly link the work of the boroughs formally to the mayor's transport strategy. Taken with the Bill's existing provisions, that gives a clear message on road traffic reduction.

In view of the requirement on the mayor with regard to the policy of the GLA and TfL in this area and the amendment which we have tabled, it is not appropriate that, on the face of the Bill, we should agree to targets which relate to those set by the London Planning Advisory Committee, which will cease to exist when the GLA is established. Nor is it necessarily appropriate to agree to "progressive targets", as specified in the amendment in the name of my noble friend Lord Graham of Edmonton, because they may apply differently in different parts of London, as the mayor comes to develop his strategy with the London boroughs.

It is therefore important that the mayor and the London boroughs, in the light of developing national policy, are allowed to develop their own targets, rather than have them pre-set, as these amendments would provide. I would therefore ask the noble Baroness to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: I thank the Minister for that answer. I shall read it with care and I

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shall also refer to Amendment No. 297G, which I must confess I have not yet mastered. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Brabazon of Tara moved Amendment No. 244:


Page 67, line 23, after ("pedestrians") insert ("and cyclists").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 244 stands in my name and that of my noble friends Lady Miller and Lord Dixon-Smith. It is a simple amendment. Clause 123(3) makes specific provision for transport facilities and services to include pedestrians but it does not include cyclists, and this amendment does. The expression "transport facilities and services" would not normally be held to include cyclists who, like pedestrians, are self-transporting. Although specific provision is rightly made that such facilities and services include facilities and services for pedestrians, no mention is made of facilities and services for cyclists.

Cycling is a means of transport that is environmentally friendly and healthy--certainly to the cyclists if not always to pedestrians--and in inner London it is reasonably fast. However, despite encouragement which successive governments have tried to give to cycling, it has declined in recent years and deserves to be further encouraged. Provision of facilities and services for cyclists can play a part in doing so. It should be made clear in the context of the general transport duty to which this clause refers that such facilities and services must be included.

The noble Lord may be surprised to see that I am moving the amendment. I have not always been a friend of the cyclist, certainly in London. I was delighted to read in the newspaper only yesterday that the Government intend to increase penalties for cyclists who ride on the pavement. That is an extremely good move. I hope that the Minister will be able to confirm it.

Any facilities and services that are made to improve the lot of cyclists would, I hope, encourage them at the same time not to ride on pavements and ignore pedestrian crossings, traffic lights, one-way streets and various other rules which motorists have to obey.

Amendment No. 245A, in the name of the noble Baronesses on the Liberal Benches, is grouped with this amendment. It is right that that should be so. I cannot quite see the logic of including Amendment No. 246A in the group. That seems to relate to consultation, which is a slightly different issue. I beg to move.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: I must confess to a certain envy that the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon of Tara, who, as he says, has not been noted in your Lordships' House as a promoter and defender of cycling should have nevertheless got in the word "cyclists" before I did. They certainly appear in the list of amendments we wish to discuss. However, the noble Lord has made an excellent introduction to the amendment.

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What is striking about cycling in central London is how incredibly dangerous it is for everyone. It is dangerous for pedestrians, as we have often discussed in your Lordships' House. It is dangerous for cyclists; it is even dangerous for motorists. The reason is that cyclists are mixed up with motorists in a way which makes it virtually impossible for the two types of transport to avoid coming literally into collision with each other.

I do not know how many Members of the Committee have driven in any form of transport around Trafalgar Square at, let us say, half past eight in the morning. I am absolutely astounded that cyclists are not killed every day in that very dense stream of traffic. Certainly my taxi driver was furious the other day because the previous day he had had the whole of one side of his taxi scraped by part of a cycle. That was extremely expensive for him and, as he said, he could not chase the cyclist.

Everybody is angry with everybody else because there is no provision for cyclists. I remind the Committee that we are talking of "cyclists", not "bicycling" or "cycling"; it is the cyclist or vulnerable road user we ought to be considering. We can see how different the situation has been for pedestrians. For over 100 years, they have had footways to walk on; in more recent years, crossings and lights have been provided. Those facilities are simply not available for cyclists. That is one of the reasons why everybody on the roads in London is at loggerheads and why cyclists turn to pavements as being a freer and safer place to travel, and therefore come up against pedestrians.

This is an important element to include in the Bill at an early stage. Two amendments are grouped with Amendment No. 244. As the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon of Tara, said, they require the mayor to obey the national cycling strategy and to consult cycling groups. The two elements are not the same, but if we are interested in producing good policies for cyclists, it is natural to consult cycling groups. I am happy to leave the amendments grouped as they are. I support Amendment No. 244.

Viscount Craigavon: I support all three amendments in my own way. At Second Reading, I said that I hoped that we could persuade the Government that it was not unreasonable to declare on the face of the Bill slightly more sympathy for cycling and cyclists. I also said that the cycling fraternity of this House might assist me in doing that. But, as was explained earlier, I hope the Committee understands that at this time of night it is not unreasonable to let people lead a more peaceful life. We hope to have more cyclists here at a later stage; quite a few are Members of your Lordships' House.

For those reasons I did not table amendments of my own, but I support the amendments grouped before us. Because of the lateness of the hour, I shall not launch off on a general encomium on the benefits of cycling. I support what was said by the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas, and was pleasantly surprised to have the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, praising the merits and benefits of cycling. I hope that he continues to do so. I assume

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also that the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, is basically sympathetic to cycling. I hope that we can take that as read in regard to cycling amendments.

Amendment No. 244 was spoken to by the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon. It is an important amendment. I had the benefit of reading the mini-debate on cycling in the other place and this issue was not resolved. It is a serious issue; it is almost a legal or technical issue. Whether or not to include it in the Bill is almost not a matter of choice. Reading the speech of the Minister in the other place, Miss Glenda Jackson, I noted that she twice used the phrase, "I am advised"; first, that the amendment was unnecessary; and, secondly, that the phrase "transport facilities and services" legally includes cyclists. But when she was questioned by various Members of the Committee, she concluded by saying that she would go away and investigate and in some way report back the result of her inquiries.

I have a copy of the letter that the Minister wrote to the person advising the Cyclists Public Affairs Group--and I have the benefit, as do some others, of its invaluable advice on the Bill. The Minister, in that letter, used the same phrase--which did not take the matter any further. When a Minister precedes his or her remarks with the words, "I am advised that", one wonders whether the Minister fully believes what he or she is saying. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, will omit that preamble when he responds to the amendment. I hope that he will give a substantive answer. If not, we should try to get to the bottom of the legal position.

I also support the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas, on Amendment No. 245A. It would be desirable to include the national cycling strategy within London separately in this part of the Bill. I wish to ask the Minister a question on a related matter--the London cycle network, which I mentioned on Second Reading. Is the Minister satisfied that the London cycle network is likely to be completed by the target date of 2005 without further encouragement in the Bill?

The London cycle network is a mammoth project and we do not want any slippage. A lot of money has already been spent, and more spending is expected. I would like the Minister's opinion on the subject.


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