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Page 110, line 14, at end insert--
("( ) An order under this section may be made solely in respect of a road which is considered in itself and on its own merits to be of strategic importance in determining an integrated transport policy for Greater London.
( ) In making an order under this section, the boundary of any road to be designated as a GLA road shall lie at the edge of the carriageway and shall not extend to any side roads connecting with the road in question and neither shall this section confer any authority on Transport for London over the facia of or any fixtures to any building or structure in the vicinity of any GLA road."").

The noble Earl said: Clause 207 inserts a new Section 14A into the Highways Act 1980 to define a GLA road. The amendment picks up on a suggestion by the Association of London Government that the boundaries of GLA roads should be clarified, and would make it clear that the boundaries would not extend to

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side roads. They would be confined to the roads themselves. That issue was raised by my noble friend Lord Jenkin.

The amendment also provides a definition of what a GLA road is supposed to be. When TfL got a road, it would be simpler if it also got the bridge underneath it. I appreciate that some bridges are not owned by boroughs, but belong to other organisations such as Railtrack.

Lord Tope: I am very glad that the noble Lord moved this amendment, because it is worthy of a slightly wider debate than we had just now, with particular reference to the City of London and the possible problems. All of us hope and believe that the mayor and the London boroughs will work co-operatively together, and we are all realistic enough to know that there are some policy areas that are likely to be more sensitive than others. Planning is an obvious example. However, as far as all London boroughs are concerned, this issue is probably the most sensitive of them all.

As I understand it, as the Bill is currently drafted, the mayor will have responsibility for what are known as side road returns. They may extend as little as 10 metres down a side road to as much as 100 metres, perhaps more. Whichever they are, I believe--with some experience--that they are likely to be the greatest and most common cause of conflict between London boroughs and the mayor, and the greatest cause of confusion among the public.

In his previous reply, I understood the Minister to say that the Government have recognised that it is a controversial issue. I am not surprised to hear that. I speak as vice chair of the Association of London Government. For some months we have sought to convince Ministers that it is an area of considerable concern, although it received no attention in another place. If the Minister is to consider this further over the summer, and continues with the useful discussions held to date, I am sure that that will be extremely useful.

First, we need clarity not only for the highway authorities, but for the public. If the mayor has responsibility for a side road return, the mayor also has responsibility for all the related matters--broken lamp-posts, broken paving stones, possibly planning applications, and so on. It gets very difficult. I have not understood why London, uniquely I think, has side road returns whereas I understand that elsewhere in the country the boundary in such matters rests at the edge of the carriageway of the strategic road, as is suggested in the amendment. That seems so sensible and obvious that, despite discussions with the Minister, I have not understood why it is taking so many months to get even as far as an assurance from the Minister that he will consider the issue. Perhaps I may urge him to do so, and favourably, in the interests of public clarity and considerably less bureaucracy and administrative inefficiency.

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I support most strongly the intention of the amendment and urge the Minister to give it most favourable consideration over the summer.

Lord Bowness: I support the amendment and the arguments adduced by the noble Lord, Lord Tope. I do not propose to repeat them. However, the clarity sought is vital in this issue. If there is a planning application, where one has a relatively average property abutting a road return, to which authority will a mundane planning application be referred for statutory highway purpose consultations? The fear is that it will not be referred to the London borough or the local planning authority alone but also to Transport for London as the highway authority.

These matters go much further than the apparent administrative convenience of ensuring that TfL can deal with the junctions to the side roads.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: My noble friend Lord Bowness has made the speech that I would have made. I add only one point. If there were one single issue that caused the maximum ill will between the London boroughs and the GLC it was the overlapping planning powers that had grown up over the years between those two tiers of the authority.

The noble Lord, Lord Tope, used the phrase "may even" extend to planning applications. The most serious aspect is the impact that the measure will have on planning applications on these road returns for the reasons that my noble friend Lord Bowness explained eloquently.

During their further consideration, I urge the Government to recognise that if they do not want to repeat the mistakes of the past, this clause must be amended.

Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare: Over the past few weeks, I have received several documents from councils in which one sentiment is repeated again and again. If the Minister is to consider the matter over the summer, perhaps he will consider this one sentence: that a continuing lack of clarity makes us wonder what is actually going to happen. After the Minister has considered the issue over the summer, perhaps the local councils will then be able to say: "I know exactly what is going to happen and I understand".

Lord Whitty: We understand the concerns to which the noble Lord, Lord Archer, refers. We shall be considering the matter over the summer. I do not believe that some of the implications are as wide ranging as has been suggested. Nevertheless there are serious concerns. My colleague, Glenda Jackson, will discuss the matter with the ALG. A meeting to discuss this issue is arranged for, I think, 12th July. It is to be hoped that we can obtain greater clarity, as the noble Lord, Lord Archer, requests.

We did not envisage this as the great problem suggested in this House and by some of the boroughs. We had some experience on the red route designation for side roads. It may be that that raised more complex

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issues. Nevertheless, we believe that the matter can be sorted out with the London boroughs. There is no blanket-imposed solution, as the noble Lord, Lord Bowness, suggested in an earlier intervention. We are looking again at the issue over the summer. We shall do so in conjunction with the London boroughs. I hope that at this stage the noble Earl will withdraw the amendment.

Earl Attlee: The noble Lord, Lord Tope, referred to the possibility of confusion and disagreement between authorities. I am sure that the Minister will not want that. The Minister said that he will give the issue careful consideration over the summer. He also said--I am relieved to hear it--that Ms Glenda Jackson will also consult the ALG over the summer. We shall return to the issue at the next stage. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 207 agreed to.

Clause 208 [Orders by the Authority changing what are GLA roads]:

Lord Tope moved Amendment No. 296B:

Page 110, line 17, after ("London") insert ("and the London Assembly").

The noble Lord said: In moving the amendment, I speak also to Amendment No. 296C, which seeks to achieve the same purpose: to give the assembly, in addition to the mayor, the duty to keep the highway system in London under review. It is an important issue. The highway network in London will be one of the major issues of public interest and concern; and therefore of interest and concern not only to the mayor, quite properly, but also the assembly.

I understand, I think as well as most, the separation of powers and the scrutiny role of the assembly. The assembly will not be able to carry out effectively its scrutiny role in relation to the highway system unless it is keeping it properly and effectively under review. Therefore it will be as well to make it clear and explicit in the Bill by giving it a duty so to do. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: Clause 208 provides that the mayor shall keep under review the system of roads other than trunk roads in Greater London. If he or she so decides, any borough roads in Greater London can become a GLA road; and any road can cease to be a GLA road, in both cases by order of the mayor.

The purpose of the amendments, as the noble Lord, Lord Tope, said, is to give this responsibility to the mayor and the assembly. We have given this important power to the mayor and only to the mayor because we see it right and proper that a new and powerfully elected mayor should be able to take an overview of London's roads and, if he or she thinks it right, take a decision to alter the existing road network. We do not believe that it is appropriate for the assembly to have a say in this. In asking the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment,

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perhaps I may say that the process whereby the mayor may reach such a conclusion and take a decision will be covered in the next two amendments.

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