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Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, I apologise to the Minister because I should have given him notice of my question. It would be of interest to the House if he could inform us of the scale of the funds for which the London Pensions Fund Authority will be responsible and perhaps the number of pensioners and staff who will be covered. It could be a massive fund or a small one, depending on what is included.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, as the London Pensions Fund Authority will be taking on the responsibilities of a number of different pension schemes brought together under the GLA and this Bill, we are talking about a substantial amount of interest. The approximate figure would be 163;2.5 billion. The approximate number of people covered would be 67,000.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 133 [Applications of the Audit Commission Act 1998]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 30:

Page 85, line 11, at end insert--
("(bd) the London Pensions Fund Authority;"").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 134 [Summary statement of accounts of Authority and functional bodies]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 31 to 34:

Page 85, line 17, leave out ("and").
Page 85, line 17, at end insert ("and the London Pensions Fund Authority").
Page 85, line 19, leave out ("or of").
Page 85, line 19, after ("body") insert ("or the London Pensions Fund Authority").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 135 [Information for purposes of section 134]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 35 and 36:

Page 85, line 34, leave out ("functional body") and insert ("body to which this section applies").
Page 85, line 36, at end insert--
("( ) The bodies to which this section applies are--
(a) each of the functional bodies; and
(b) the London Pensions Fund Authority.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

1 Nov 1999 : Column 609

Clause 142 [The Mayor's transport strategy]:

Lord Berkeley moved Amendment No. 37:

Page 87, line 23, at end insert--
("( ) shall, for highways, be based on the needs of persons (including pedestrians, cyclists and users of public transport) rather than vehicles,").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I tabled the amendment in an attempt to tighten up the wording in the clause relating to transport strategy and it probes whether the Bill means that the mayor must comply with national policies. It appears that some local authorities are still resisting change and the new policies which the Government introduced after the election.

Perhaps I may give the House an example. Many noble Lords will have seen the roadworks at Hyde Park Corner. They were the creation of a cycle crossing, a pedestrian crossing and a crossing for horses. The crossing connects Hyde Park with Constitution Hill. The lovely crossing opened last week and I used it when on my bicycle. It is wonderful, except that one has to wait for one minute and 30 seconds between green lights. If there is a green light at one end of the crossing, one has to wait for one minute and 30 seconds at the other end, because the lights are synchronised for cars and not for pedestrians, cycles or horses.

The road is being widened at the top end of Constitution Hill, which seems to me to be against government policies. In spite of all the wonderful millions of pounds being spent, there are still no cycle lanes on Constitution Hill, or anywhere else in the Royal Parks. To cap it all, last Thursday--this event prompted me to table the amendment--at 8.30 in the evening, having left your Lordships' House, I made my way halfway across to the middle of the crossing to discover that the next part was closed. I expected that the contractors would perhaps have put up some temporary lights, because one cannot cross from the middle to the outside of the crossing without traffic lights, but of course there were no temporary lights. Eventually there was a gap in the traffic and one was able to cross.

That is no mere trite joke. It happens all over Westminster in my opinion, and in one or two other boroughs in London. Many of us have spoken before about the lack of bus lanes and the lack of consideration for pedestrians and cyclists. My amendment is designed to probe a little further the Government's intentions in this particular clause.

Having congratulated the Minister on the amendments on Report requiring the Royal Parks Agency to take into account the policies of the mayor and to consult on transport matters, perhaps I may also commend to the House PPG 13, which was issued in draft form a few weeks ago. It seems to me a very good espousal of the new transport policy of this Government with regard to integrating planning and transport, promoting more sustainable transport choices and reducing the need to travel, especially by car.

1 Nov 1999 : Column 610

One of the main planning policies is to give priority to people over traffic in town centres. That is quite a good policy to pursue. Much further on, when it comes to cycling, the PPG states that the plans should seek the provision of cycle routes and cycle priority measures in new developments and ensure that cycle routes are isolated from other activities. I could go on, but I shall not because there is much other work to be done here tonight.

However, I ask my noble friend whether the Bill, as drafted, enables the mayor to force local authorities, such as Westminster or Wandsworth, to do what they obviously have not as yet realised they must do. PPG 13 has just been published, but the policies have been around for some time. I should like my noble friend to give the House some assurance that the mayor would force local authorities, if they did not want to do so, to adopt policies more friendly to public transport, buses, pedestrians and cyclists. I beg to move.

6 p.m.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: My Lords, I rise briefly to say that I sympathise greatly with the general trend of the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley. It is desirable that the mayor's transport strategy should take account of national policies and ensure that local boroughs do so also. Furthermore, the amendment would highlight in the Bill some of the concerns expressed on a number of occasions by myself and many noble Lords. It is a rather neatly worded amendment and I hope that it will be well received by Ministers.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, this amendment would require the highway element of the mayor's transport strategy to be based on the needs of persons rather than vehicles. It would mean that the interests of people, including pedestrians, cyclists and users of public transport, would have priority over vehicles. I understand the concerns of my noble friend Lord Berkeley and the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas of Walliswood, that highways are not just for vehicles, and that the mayor's policies need to reflect that. We believe that our approach in this Bill already does just that.

Clause 141 makes it clear that the mayor's general transport duty relates to the encouragement of safe, integrated, efficient and economic transport facilities and services. It applies to all modes of transport and it is most definitely not skewed towards motor vehicles.

My noble friend referred to PPG 13 on transport and planning, a draft revision of which was, as he said, published for consultation by the department recently. As my noble friend rightly pointed out, that guidance is about securing more sustainable transport policies through local authorities' planning policies. One of the principles which it supports is to encourage local authorities to give priority to people over traffic in certain areas. It also contains policies to promote the provision of cycle routes and many other policies which my noble friend and the noble Baroness will welcome.

1 Nov 1999 : Column 611

Clause 41 requires the mayor, in producing his spatial development strategy, to take account of the need for consistency with national policies. The SDS will certainly include the PPG notes. I reassure noble Lords that we shall be making specific reference to PPG 13 in the guidance that we shall shortly be publishing for consultation on the mayor's planning functions.

My noble friend also asked about the boroughs' local implementation plans for the mayor's strategy. We believe that a co-operative relationship is important and we are discussing framing the Bill in that context. However, at the end of the day there are powers for the mayor to implement his strategy. My noble friend mentioned Hyde Park Corner, which will of course be on a GLA road. Transport for London will control the traffic signals and the timings, although it will have to consult the boroughs on the matter of signals on borough roads. I hope that that answers my noble friend's question.

In the course of the passage of this Bill through your Lordships' House, we have discussed on a number of occasions how the interests of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users should be met. The mayor's duty already makes specific reference to pedestrians, and both I and my noble friend Lord Whitty have made it clear that cycling is within the term, "transport facilities and services", and therefore needs no specific mention on the face of the Bill.

It must be for the mayor to balance the interests of all road users in his transport strategy, taking account of national policies. The Bill's provisions already make that absolutely clear and we should not seek to override that. I hope therefore that my noble friend feels able to withdraw his amendment.

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