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Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that detailed reply. I should like to consider it carefully. I have personal experience of conflicts that arose between the local authority that I represented, Enfield Borough Council, and the GLC, when, as often happened, the GLC made a decision contrary to what my area wanted. It often seemed to me that those viewing matters from the centre did not know how difficult they were. That was not in the field of transport, it was in licensing, but the same argument applies. That is why consultation, particularly with a local authority, is so important.

I shall read the Minister's reply carefully, and perhaps we can discuss the matter. I may not have understood the exact significance of the proposed

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consultation process and how it will work--whether, for example, there will be any kind of permanent or semi-permanent liaison between local authorities and the centre. That might be another way of dealing with the issue. I have explained the reason for my personal concern in regard to this matter. I believe it to be relevant. In the meanwhile, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 404:

Page 89, line 30, after second (“to") insert (“the London Transport Users' Committee,").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this amendment will add the London Transport Users Committee to the list of organisations that will be notified by TfL when an application for a London service permit is granted.

The Bill currently requires the local authorities affected, the police and the London Transport Users Committee to be consulted on an application for a London service permit. It also requires TfL to notify the local authorities affected and the police, but not the London Transport Users Committee if an application is granted. Our view was that TfL would notify the LTUC as a matter of course and so an explicit requirement to do so was not necessary.

However, we listened carefully as noble Lords argued that for the sake of completeness we should make provision for TfL to notify the LTUC on the grant of permit. I am grateful to noble Lords for their consideration of this matter and am happy to bring forward this amendment which accedes to their wishes. I beg to move.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for the amendment. It responds to concerns which were expressed by myself and others at Committee stage.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 165 [Conditions]:

Earl Attlee moved Amendment No. 405:

Page 89, line 44, at end insert (“provided that no condition shall be operated if it contains or requires features which are neither essential nor reasonably incidental to the purpose of providing a safe, economic and efficient bus service for passengers").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 405 it may be convenient for me to speak to Amendments Nos. 408 and 409 at the same time. These are important safeguards against political correctness being imposed on bus operators or TfL deliberately or even perhaps inadvertently imposing terrible conditions on a private operator. For example, TfL could insist that all buses on a certain route have mobile payphones installed. That is plainly ridiculous. However, without the amendment there is no need to apply any test of the appropriateness of conditions. Furthermore, contravention of a condition attracts a fine at level three on the standard scale. Bearing in

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mind those legal sanctions, it is doubly important that the scope of the conditions is suitably limited. The amendment does that by restricting them.

Can the Minister say what conditions could possibly and reasonably be required that would be caught by the amendment? Has the Minister any illustrative examples? What are the conditions meant to cover and/or are they limited to subsection (2) of the clause? I beg to move.

Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, politically correct or not, I have to say that I think payphones on buses would be an extremely good idea. I hope we hear from the Minister that the use of developing technology could be something which service providers were asked to consider seriously in the development of their services.

Lord Bowness: My Lords, when the Minister replies, perhaps she can answer the point raised by my noble friend Lord Attlee and confirm that any conditions imposed outside the scope of Clause 165(2) would be ultra vires. If we can have that assurance, no doubt we shall be more content.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, we cannot accept the amendments. Clause 165 carries forward into current legislation certain provisions which are made for attaching conditions for London local service licences. It applies equivalent conditions to London service permits. TfL will only be able to attach such conditions for reasonable purposes. The normal duty to act reasonably applies.

Amendment No. 405, in conjunction with Amendments Nos. 408 and 409, seeks to limit the imposition of such conditions with the effect that TfL would no longer be able to take account of matters such as traffic and parking conditions or environmental or accessibility issues in determining whether to grant a permit. That answers the question raised by the noble Earl, Lord Attlee. It could seriously undermine the mayor's transport strategy. It could, for example, potentially conflict with his responsibilities to take account of the needs of people with mobility problems. I am sure that that is not what the noble Earl intended in bringing forward the amendments.

However, the Government have accepted that, in bringing forward these amendments, first at Committee stage and again on Report, noble Lords are motivated by a legitimate concern to safeguard the interests of permit holders. That is why we brought forward amendments to Clause 165 in this House. They give permit holders a right of appeal against the imposition of conditions by TfL and a right of appeal against the revocation or suspension of their permit for contravention of those conditions. I hope that noble Lords will welcome the further amendment to Clause 167 that we have tabled (Amendment No. 410) which will remove the mayor's discretion to determine such appeals without reference to the appeals panel. Our amendment will make it obligatory for the mayor to refer all appeals made under Clause 165 to the appeals panel.

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I believe that the amendments which are now part of the Bill to expand the circumstances in which appeals can be made, together with the new amendment that we have tabled, will provide appropriate safeguards against the imposition of unreasonable conditions. We should not limit TfL's discretion, taking account of those safeguards, to attach conditions that could bring wider benefits.

In answer to the point raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, perhaps I may relate my experience of travelling on the West Coast main line. I am sure that those who provide card phones will be only too happy to do so free. Often the units on the card disappear at an alarming rate and no conversation is possible in either direction. I am sure that the mayor will be capable of conducting a deal. I hope noble Lords are satisfied that we have listened carefully to their concerns and acted upon them. In those circumstances, I invite the noble Earl to withdraw his amendment.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, pay phones would be ridiculous on a bus because, as far as I can see, nearly everyone has a private mobile telephone. I cannot afford one. I do not agree with some of the arguments of the Minister. We may return to this matter, but we must look carefully at the amendments to which the Minister referred. Perhaps those amendments meet our concerns. In the meantime, with that proviso, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 406 to 408 not moved.]

Clause 166 [Revocation]:

[Amendment No. 409 not moved.]

Clause 167 [Appeals]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 410:

Page 91, line 21, leave out from (“he") to (“refer") in line 25 and insert (“shall").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 410, which will require the mayor to refer all appeals made to him under Clause 167 to the bus appeal panel. The current draft of the Bill gives the mayor the option of either referring an appeal to the appeal panel or determining it himself by means of directions to TfL. At earlier stages in the Bill a number of noble Lords were concerned that to give the mayor the option to determine an appeal without reference to the panel could result in the mayor acting as judge and jury in such cases. I am grateful to your Lordships for raising these concerns, which I accept are valid.

Noble Lords will recall that at Committee stage we introduced amendments to widen the circumstances in which appeals could be made. This amendment goes further and provides a safeguard for the legitimate interests of all applicants for a London service permit

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and permit holders by ensuring that the mayor refers all appeals to the panel. I commend the amendment to the House.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: My Lords, once again the House should thank the Minister for listening to the concerns voiced in Committee and responding to them.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 169 [Consultation]:

[Amendment No. 411 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Clause 170 [Publication]:

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