Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page



( ) to the Strategic Rail Authority if it applies to tickets within section 124(3A)(d),").


On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 126, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 127 to 132 agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 67:


    After Clause 132, insert the following new clause--


CIVIL PENALTIES FOR BUS LANE CONTRAVENTIONS

27 Jun 2000 : Column CWH29


(".--(1) The relevant national authority may by regulations make provision for or in connection with--
(a) the imposition by approved local authorities of penalty charges in respect of bus lane contraventions, and
(b) the payment of such penalty charges.
(2) An authority is an approved local authority if--
(a) an order designating the whole or any part of its area has been made under paragraph 1(1) or 2(1) of Schedule 3 to the Road Traffic Act 1991 (permitted and special parking areas outside Greater London), and
(b) the relevant national authority has made an order specifying it as an approved local authority for the purposes of this section.
(3) A bus lane contravention is a contravention of any such provision of--
(a) a traffic regulation order,
(b) an experimental traffic order, or
(c) a temporary traffic restriction order,
as relates to the use of an area of road which is or forms part of a bus lane.
(4) And an area of road is or forms part of a bus lane if the order provides that it may be used--
(a) only by buses, or
(b) only by buses and some other class or classes of vehicular traffic specified in the order.
(5) Regulations under subsection (1) shall include provision--
(a) for the setting of the rates of penalty charges (which may include provision for discounts or surcharges) by approved local authorities subject to the approval of the relevant national authority,
(b) specifying the person by whom a penalty charge in respect of any contravention is to be paid (who may be the registered keeper of the motor vehicle involved in the contravention, its driver at the time of the contravention or any other appropriate person),
(c) permitting the imposition of a penalty charge only on the basis of a record produced by an approved device,
(d) securing that a penalty charge in respect of a contravention is not required to be paid, or is refunded, where the contravention is the subject of criminal proceedings or where a fixed penalty notice has been given in respect of the contravention, and
(e) as to the application by approved local authorities of sums paid by way of penalty charges.
(6) Regulations under subsection (1) may--
(a) specify exemptions from penalty charges, and
(b) make provision about the keeping of accounts, and the preparation and publication of statements of account, relating to sums paid by way of penalty charges.
(7) The Lord Chancellor may make regulations about the notification, adjudication and enforcement of penalty charges.
(8) Regulations under subsection (7) may include--
(a) provision creating criminal offences to be triable summarily and punishable with a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or such lower amount as is prescribed by the regulations, and
(b) provision for or in connection with permitting evidence of a fact to be given by the production of a record produced by an approved device with a certificate as to the circumstances in which the record was produced;
but may not confer power to stop motor vehicles.
(9) In this section--
"approved device" means a device of a description specified in an order made by the relevant national authority,
"experimental traffic order" means an order under section 9 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984,

27 Jun 2000 : Column CWH30


"fixed penalty notice" has the same meaning as in Part III of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988,
"motor vehicle" has the meaning given in section 185(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, except that section 189 of that Act (exception for certain pedestrian controlled vehicles and electrically assisted pedal cycles) shall apply as it applies for the purposes of the Road Traffic Acts,
"registered keeper", in relation to a contravention involving a motor vehicle, means the person in whose name the motor vehicle was registered under the Vehicle Registration and Excise Act 1994 at the time of the contravention,
"relevant national authority" means--
(a) the Secretary of State as respects England outside Greater London, or
(b) the National Assembly for Wales as respects Wales,
"road" has the same meaning as in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984,
"temporary traffic restriction order" means an order under section 14 or 16A of that Act, and
"traffic regulation order" means an order under section 1 of that Act.").

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 67, which inserts a new clause dealing with bus lane enforcement, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 80, which is consequential.

London authorities have had powers under the London Local Authorities Acts 1996 to enforce, by camera, moving bus lane offences. Trials in several London boroughs have shown that these powers can be very effective, reducing the level of violations in bus lanes by up to 70 per cent. The purpose of this amendment is to provide local authorities outside London with similar powers. Those local authorities have been pressing for similar powers as they were concerned that their ability to persuade bus operators to enter into quality partnerships could be seriously jeopardised if they were unable to enforce bus lane priorities.

The amendment also fulfils an undertaking given in another place by my honourable friend the Minister for Housing, Planning and Construction during Standing Committee consideration of the Bill on 17th February 2000, when he said that it was our intention to extend the enforcement of bus lane offences to local authorities outside London.

The amendment, which will apply in England and Wales, is an enabling one. There is no obligation for local authorities to apply for the new powers and, while the new clause sets out the framework, the detailed arrangements will be provided in regulations.

I must apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, if I misunderstood him in his interventions two amendments ago when I thought he was referring to local authorities. In subsection (1) I define the national authority which is the Secretary of State in England and the National Assembly for Wales in Wales. They will make regulations for penalties and for the payment of penalties in connection with bus lane contraventions.

Subsection (2) provides that only local authorities with decriminalised parking enforcement powers may choose to apply for these enforcement powers. As with

27 Jun 2000 : Column CWH31

the parking powers, the Secretary of State or the National Assembly will make an order to make a local authority an "approved authority" for these purposes.

Subsections (3) and (4) define bus lane contraventions and what constitutes a bus lane for the purpose of this amendment.

Subsection (5) sets out further details of what the regulations may provide. Regulations will be subject to the negative resolution procedure.

Subsection (5)(a) provides for the setting of rates of penalty charges.

Subsection (5)(b) makes provision for regulations to specify the person by whom a penalty charge is payable who may be the registered keeper of the vehicle, the driver at the time of the contravention or any other appropriate person. Initially, we would expect the regulations to specify the driver as the person by whom a penalty charge in respect of a contravention is to be paid. At present, moving offences are based on driver liability.

Subsection (5)(c) provides that the imposition of a penalty charge may only be made on the basis of a record produced by an appropriate device, which means an approved camera or similar apparatus.

Subsection (5)(d) ensures that there is no double jeopardy for the same contravention between the criminal proceedings of a fixed penalty and a bus lane contravention.

Subsection (5)(e) states that the regulations may provide for what purposes the revenues may be used. We understand that local authorities are likely to use them to offset their enforcement costs.

Subsection (6) provides that regulations may specify exemptions for penalty charges and make provision for the keeping and publication of accounts.

Subsection (7) provides that the Lord Chancellor may make regulations about the notification, adjudication and enforcement of penalty charges. Amendment No. 80 is consequential, reflecting the Lord Chancellor's regulation-making role.

Subsection (8)(a) provides that regulations made by the Lord Chancellor may make provision for creating criminal offences to be triable summarily with a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale. This provision is necessary to act as a deterrent to owners to claim falsely that someone else was the driver at the time of the contravention.

Subsection (8)(b) provides for regulations to be made about approved devices; in other words, authorised cameras and so on. It is important to note that subsection (8) also provides that regulations may not confer power to stop vehicles. The power to stop vehicles continues to be the preserve of the police and nothing in this clause alters that position.

This clause provides the framework for extending bus lane enforcement outside London. We see it as supporting the setting-up of quality partnerships. It will enable local authorities to enforce bus lane

27 Jun 2000 : Column CWH32

priorities themselves and to devote more resources than the police have been able to with their more pressing commitments. I beg to move.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page