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Baroness Hanwee: I am not at all surprised to see amendments referring to cycling and cyclists, given that there is reference to pedestrians in Clause 123(3). Can the Minister explain why it is necessary to refer specifically to pedestrians? I understand that those who consider the transport needs of Londoners and academics regard walking as a mode of transport.

Most journeys in London are made on foot. Those journeys may be short but, numerically, walking is the most frequent choice. I do not for one moment suggest that facilities and services for pedestrians should be ignored, but I would be glad of clarification as to why it is necessary to make specific reference to pedestrians. We have debated not adding unnecessarily to the Bill.

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If one starts on what might be regarded as a list, it is almost inevitable that noble Lords will add to it their genuine concerns.

Lord Whitty: I warmly welcome the slightly unusual support for cyclists. When this Chamber is somewhat fuller, one gets a different impression of the general view. I particularly welcome the conversion of the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon--although he could not finish his remarks without taking a slight sideswipe at cyclists. I accept in part that there is a problem.

The Government have indicated a significant degree of support for cycling as a mode of transport. We have put substantial additional resources into the London cycling network, increasing the figure from £3.5 million to £5.5 million. We presume that the mayor will take on the major responsibility for developing that network and providing facilities for cyclists. The balance of allocations by the mayor will be for him or her but the mayor is required to have regard to the national policy on cycling. The purpose of the national cycling strategy is to increase the level of cycling in this country. In passing, I should add that 2 per cent of people cycle to work in this country. The usual comparison cited is that 30 per cent do so in Holland. I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, just said that it is a lot flatter in Holland, but it also true to say that in Switzerland 10 per cent of the people travel to work on cycles. In comparison, despite the relative flatness of London, only a very small proportion of people travel to work on cycles.

I cannot understate the Government's commitment to supporting an increase in cycling as a mode of transport, for all sorts of reasons. My honourable friend Glenda Jackson has made her commitment clear in many contexts. Our concern about this amendment is legalistic and linguistic. There is a problem here. We have sought further clarification on the matter and we have been strongly advised that the term "transport facilities and such services" subsumes a reference to cycling. The word "transport" means that you are carried. Pedestrians are not carried. "Transport facilities" does not include pedestrians. Therefore, an explicit reference to pedestrians must be added.

Cycling is already included under the term "transport facilities and services" both here and elsewhere in the Bill and in other legislation. If we were to include a reference to cycling as an additional matter, as distinct from all other modes of transport, it would cast doubt on whether the term "transport facilities" elsewhere in the Bill included cycling. It clearly does include cycling and must do so. Whether or not there are other ways of doing so apart from the commitment that I have reiterated today and which my honourable friend Glenda Jackson has made quite clear in another place--namely, that cycling is expected to be a major part of the mayor's approach to integrated transport in London--it is not appropriate to do that in the form proposed by the amendment. Indeed, if we were to include it here, it could be counter-productive.

That is the advice I have received. I can only inform Members of the Committee of that advice. There may be a natural reaction, which is certainly mine and that

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of my colleagues, to that advice, but it has to be taken into account when drafting Bills. The noble Baroness said earlier that lawyers such as the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, have to use such words continuously, but that is our clear legal advice and we are sticking to it. Therefore, I ask the noble Baroness not to pursue this amendment and to accept our reassurance to all concerned with cycling that it is a major priority for the mayor. We would expect the mayor to pursue it in line with the national commitments.

Midnight

Baroness Hamwee: Whatever the legal position, I hope that the Minister will understand that it is quite hard for Members of the Committee to consider that advice. The noble Lord has told us that he has been advised as to what words should or should not be included in the Bill, but he has not explained why he is so advised. It would be helpful to my noble friend and to me--and, indeed, to the rest of the Committee--to know the precise basis of that advice. I do not impugn what the Minister is saying as to the legal requirements, but I hope that he will understand that noble Lords would appreciate some knowledge as to the underlying argument which is the basis for the Minister's response.

Of course, the noble Lord may not be able to put that information into Hansard now. However, I am sure from the comments that have been made from all sides of the Committee that this is an issue which will attract attention at a later stage. Indeed, that may provide the opportunity for placing such points on the record. If that is not practicable, I hope that the Minister will be prepared to write to Members of the Committee setting out the basis of the argument.

Lord Whitty: I am certainly prepared to write to the noble Baroness but the advice is simple; namely, that we have to include pedestrians in the measure because they do not constitute transport, whereas cycling does. To differentiate cycling from other modes of transport would be detrimental to assuming that transport elsewhere in the Bill includes cycling. The letter will be short but I am happy to write to the noble Baroness and to other interested noble Lords.

Baroness Hamwee: I may not have made myself clear. Given the way that we build up law in this country using legislation and case law, I would have expected references to comparable decisions or legislative provisions which would have illustrated the issue. I am sorry to continue to be "picky" at this time of night but this is an important point.

Lord Brabazon of Tara: I remind the Minister that we are discussing my amendment. As the Minister and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, have said, this matter hinges on a legal interpretation. The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, made a good suggestion; namely, that we should get some clarification from the Minister between now and the next stage of the Bill which will allow us to decide how to proceed with this issue. As I understand the position, this legal process

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can be taken into account in court. I believe that is what the Minister meant when he discussed this part of the Bill. Perhaps he would like to add that point to his letter.

I would not want the Committee to believe that I had been completely converted, as the Minister appeared to suggest. My point is straightforward; namely, I am in favour in cycling but I am not in favour of a great many cyclists, for the reasons which I gave. However, if this amendment helps make provision for cyclists then it is a good thing. For the moment I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood had given notice of her intention to move Amendment No. 244A:


Page 67, line 26, at end insert ("and waste").

The noble Baroness said: We have discussed this amendment at length on a previous occasion. I shall not move the amendment.

[Amendment No. 244A not moved.]

Lord Berkeley moved Amendment No. 244B:


Page 67, line 26, at end insert (", and
(c) the needs of all road users, assessed in relation to the efficient movement of people and, in particular, the needs and safety of pedestrians and cyclists").

The noble Lord said: This amendment seeks to amend Clause 123(3)(b). We have discussed this subsection at some length. I am pleased and surprised to hear that the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, is a convert to cycling. I did not see him on the parliamentary cycle race a couple of weeks ago. Several other colleagues were present, including my noble friend the Minister. However, the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, must have made a late conversion.

With regard to Clause 123(3)(a) and (b), I get the impression that the transport facilities and services for public transport are covered by paragraph (a), whereas paragraph (b) covers freight, which I of course welcome. However, I felt that something was missing. My amendment seeks to address the question of space allocation on the road. We have heard much--in the White Paper and elsewhere--about encouraging local authorities to consider the needs of all road users. In the discussion on the previous amendment, several Members of the Committee said how important it was to give cyclists road space. One could argue that pedestrians also need such space. However, it appears that many local authority road engineers still measure their success in terms of numbers of road vehicles rather than in terms of numbers of people. I suggest the following wording,


    "protecting from congestion the priority categories of traffic including emergency and other essential services, public transport, pedestrians, cyclists, disabled travellers and deliveries". I wonder whether such a wording might not be more appropriate.

Many things can be done by these engineers. A pedestrian can press the button on traffic lights and the lights go green immediately rather than 30 seconds elapsing, as happens in many locations--certainly in Westminster. We have talked about priority bus and

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cycle lanes--to some extent ad nausea. We have heard of pedestrianisation. The underlying logic is that if there is not enough road space for unrestricted use by everyone, then certain classes of traffic must have priority in order to protect essential commercial, social and strategic interests.

Many techniques are now available for achieving this aim quite cheaply. One can see the logic of according greater priority to a bus carrying 50 or 60 people rather than a car with two or three people in it. The natural reaction of many people--including, I suspect, the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon--will be that if you give one group of people, say those in buses, greater priority, that causes more congestion for other people. Professor Phil Goodwin, of University College London, chairman of the advisory group used in preparing the transport White Paper, carried out research and collected international evidence which showed that although there is more congestion it is not as serious as has been suggested. The reason is that a certain proportion of the displaced traffic disappears from the system. It is not a very large proportion--the estimate is between 10 to 20 per cent in most cases--but it creates quite significant results. It needs courage to restrict certain types of traffic and promote others.

There are many examples one could give. At this time of night, I shall not do so. I give the example of a new idea by the Highways Agency to create a bus lane between Witney and Oxford on the A40. That road was built for three lanes; it was subsequently reduced by white paint to two. The agency wants to build another lane for buses only, which is commendable. But why not turn the road back into three lanes and make one of them a bus lane? That would save probably £10 million of capital costs.

A signal needs to go out to local authority engineers that people must be counted in the allocation of road space rather than traffic. My amendment is a short, not very good, attempt to draft something which I hope can be developed into instructions, guidance and all the other codes of practice which may follow on from it. I beg to move.


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