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Baroness Hamwee: I was grateful when the Minister said earlier this evening that he was considering the point I made on Monday about the inclusion of the term "effective" along with the other two "Es". This clause also deals with efficient and economic service--the words get moved around a little. On this occasion, we have "integrated" as well as "safe" and one would not quarrel with either of those. The Minister has already confirmed today that Transport for London is subject to the best value duty. The Government's argument on the local government Bill when we sought to include a specific reference to environmental sustainability was that the term was actually within "efficient, effective and economic"--I think I have them the wrong way round.

Will the Minister bear in mind the combination of points when considering the possible use of the term "effective", because we should be reassured about the cohesive approach to environmental sustainability?

Lord Avebury: I can see the argument for saying that there could be a challenge to particular services because they were not environmentally sustainable. However, if the term used by my noble friend is interpreted as being the maximum possibly environmentally sustainable, why should not the other terms in subsection (1) be interpreted in the same way? Could there not be a challenge to a service which is claimed by TfL to be safe on the grounds that not everything had been done to avoid every conceivable accident?

Perhaps I may give an example. At bus stops there should be warning signs telling cyclists coming along behind the bus to be careful to indicate as they pass so that cars do not tip them off their bicycles. One can always think of aspects which would add to safety and efficiency or make services more economic. No one is suggesting that there will be a challenge to TfL because in some respect the services offered by it fall short of absolute perfection.

My noble friend is suggesting that at least TfL should aim at providing services which are as environmentally friendly as possible and not that they should achieve the absolute perfection which may be realised when vehicles of the kind described by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, are in common use. Cannot the Minister agree that we should write into the subsection the phrase

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"environmentally friendly" or something similar, in the same way as all the other criteria, without suggesting that perfection be attained in the immediate future?

Lord Whitty: I was making a different point and I am sorry if I did not explain myself clearly. We do not expect maximum environmental, safe or economic working, but of course we are striving on all of those fronts. The point that I made about buses was that while TfL may be required as part of its overall environmental duties to deliver an integrated transport policy which is environmentally sustainable as far as possible, a bus may be environmentally damaging as a bus but in replacing 20 cars may contribute to the broader environmental objectives. If people objected to it as a bus service or its route because of those adjectives, that misses the point of the strategic approach.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: I do not wish to detain the Committee, but we shall need to press the point further. Environmental sustainability, when it is difficult to deliver, is frequently the poor relation. That is why we are not good at delivering it. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 146 agreed to

Clause 147 agreed to.

10.15 p.m.

Clause 148 [Addition or variation of a network service]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 266A:


Page 79, line 1, leave out ("local") and insert ("London")

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 266A and the amendments grouped with it are all straightforward and simply amend references to London local authorities in this chapter so that they include the City of London, which had been inadvertently excluded. The amendments put that right. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood moved Amendment No. 266B:


Page 79, line 1, at end insert--
("( ) the holder of the London local service agreement to which the proposal relates,")

The noble Baroness said: The first amendment in this group concerns the need to consult when network services are being changed, varied, and so on. The Bill gives a long list of consultees, followed by the words,


    "and any other person whom Transport for London considers it appropriate to consult". Curiously enough, the only person who does not have to be consulted about the decision or the wish to change a service is the holder of a London local service agreement, to which the proposal relates. That seems to us a little strange.

I shall not move Amendment No. 267A. However, I shall be moving Amendment No. 268ZA, which is correctly placed in the clause. The clause lists a number

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of subjects on which consultation has to take place. Again, curiously enough, the service level required under the service agreement is one of the items not included. We believe it should be. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: Amendment No. 266B is unnecessary. If TfL wishes to vary a service it would have to vary the agreement under which the service was operating. In other words, it would have to involve the operator directly. In the case of an addition to a network there would not be an operator so designated. It would not therefore be workable.

As regards Amendment No. 268ZA, clearly, we would expect TfL and the mayor to consult rather more widely on aspects of bus service provision. Earlier in the day the noble Baroness mentioned the term, "level of service". That has certain attractions but is also potentially ambiguous. It conceivably requires TfL to go out to consultation every time even a minor change in a route or frequency is contemplated. That would be inefficient and unnecessary. Nevertheless we consider it important that the Bill gives a signal about consultation which on the face of the Bill is a minimum requirement. We would expect TfL to go somewhat wider in practice. However, I am afraid that I cannot accept the amendment as drafted.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: I hear what the noble Lord says. However, subsection (3), to which my amendment adds the words, "and the service level", states that it is necessary to consult about,


    "(a) the route,


    (b) the terminal points,


    (c) the points at which passengers may or may not be taken up and set down, and


    (d) the place at which, or street by the use of which, vehicles used for the service may turn at a terminal point".

There are therefore many matters, for instance,


    "the place at which, or street by the use of which, vehicles used for the service may turn at a terminal point"-- which may be thought to be of less importance than the service level; for example, the frequency, the capacity and the timing--more in the morning or more in the afternoon. Those are matters of intense importance to the users of the service. It seems very strange that "the level of service" is not one of the points on which consultation need take place. However, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 267 to 268ZA not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 268A:


Page 79, line 14, leave out ("local") and insert ("London")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 268B:


Page 79, line 15, leave out ("local") and insert ("London")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

1 Jul 1999 : Column 531

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 268C:


Page 79, line 17, at end insert--
("( ) Where a place or street mentioned in paragraph (d) of subsection (3) above is situated in the area of a local authority other than a London authority, Transport for London is also required under subsection (2) above to consult that local authority about the matter specified in that paragraph.")

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 268C requires TfL to consult local authorities outside London if a new network service or a variation of an existing one affects a place or street within their areas. Although the Bill makes provision for TfL to consult widely on bus provision, it is sensible to set a minimum requirement for consulting local authorities outside London on network bus services in the light of local highway authority responsibilities. This amendment ensures that local authorities outside London are consulted about new network services or changes to existing network services. We expect TfL routinely to consult local authorities outside London on a range of bus issues, as London Transport already does. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 268D:


Page 79, line 24, at end insert--
("(6) For the purposes of this Chapter a London authority is any London borough council or the Common Council.")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 148, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 149 [Discontinuance of a network service]:


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