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Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: Before the noble Lord decides what to do, perhaps the Minister could say whether the targets include one for road traffic reduction based on a national concept of what that ought to be, given that we are committed to Kyoto.

Lord Whitty: The climate change programme includes a CO2 target relating to vehicle emissions, which would be achieved through our broad transport and traffic management policies. That national target is not easily translatable into local transport plans. The issue is not total traffic volume--that can mean different things in different parts of the country and on different types of roads--but national and local authority targets relating to CO2 emissions, pollution and congestion rather than volume.

Lord Beaumont of Whitley: I am not entirely sure that I understand the Minister's concluding remarks but I shall study them and his earlier comments. Does the noble Lord agree that his first reply was a classic example of willing the ends but not the means? I stand by my observation that unless one places a duty on local transport authorities, one will not get the results--or the data one wants on the way. It is extremely likely that I shall gather some allies and return to this issue at a later stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 113 not moved.]

Clause 107 agreed to.

Lord Swinfen moved Amendment No. 114:


(" .--(1) In addition to containing the proposals and policies required by section 107 above, the local transport plan--
(a) shall contain the Authority's proposals for the provision of transport which is accessible to disabled people;
(b) shall specify a timetable for the implementation of the proposals contained in the transport strategy by virtue of paragraph (a) above.
(2) In preparing or revising the transport strategy the Authority shall consult--
(a) the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee; and
(b) such other persons or bodies which represent the interests of disabled people as it considers appropriate to consult.").

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The noble Lord said: With this, I shall speak to Amendment No. 120, which is grouped with Amendments Nos. 156 and 157 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley. No doubt he will speak to those amendments himself.

Amendment No. 114 requires that transport plans include provisions for disabled people that are drawn up in consultation with organisation of disabled people and include an action plan for improving accessibility. The amendment is based on the provisions in Sections 142(2) and (4) of the Greater London Authority Act 1999.

I welcome local transport plans being placed on a statutory footing, and I see the Government's transport strategy as a considerable opportunity for local public transport to be greatly enhanced to the benefit of disabled people. Plans have a vital role to play in providing more coherent and comprehensive solutions, to create a safer street environment for disabled people and the public in general. Each local transport authority must develop and implement policies for the promotion and encouragement of safe, integrated, efficient and economic transport facilities and services to, from and within their areas. I note that transport facilities and services include those required to meet the needs of persons living or working in the authority's area or visiting or travelling through it. It should be spelt out that "persons" should include those with disabilities.

A study by Oxford Brookes University into provisional local transport plans demonstrated a lack of awareness of the issues affecting disabled people. The solution is to address those concerns, and action in the strategy to improve accessibility. This Bill ensures that such plans are kept under review, that they shall last no longer than five years--unless a subsequent amendment from my noble friend on the Front Bench is accepted--and that they shall have regard to any guidance. When local transport plans are under consideration, I hope that the needs of disabled people will be included.

The Guidance on Provisional Local Plans was very good in requiring consultation when developing plans, as shown in Table 18, Annexe D of the guidance. There is also a proposed requirement to consult on bus strategies. Extending this requirement to consult the whole local transport plan within the Bill is, I believe, sensible. It would promote integrated transport decisions being considered through consultation.

The purpose of Amendment No. 120 is to require local authorities to have a local walking strategy as part of their local transport plan in order to ensure proper improvements to the street environment. The quality of the pedestrian environment seriously affects disabled people's independent mobility and their ability to reach bus services and, in some instances, train services. Disability organisations consider it vital that a walking strategy is required to ensure access within the pedestrian environment. Requiring a local walking strategy would help ensure the implementation of Encouraging Walking--the Government's strategy to address the decline in

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walking. It would also help families with small children and elderly people who may be rather slow but not disabled. I beg to move.

Lord Addington: I attached my name to this amendment for the simple reason that it seemed a reasonable provision to have on the face of the Bill and one that could help the Bill to succeed in its aims. The disabled have increasingly been brought into the planning of all services; and quite rightly so. Unless you think about these issues first, you sometimes end up with many more problems. It is infinitely more difficult to remove a set of steps that you are using than to have a ramp put in beside them in the first place.

Amendment No. 120 proposes a local walking strategy. I believe this would be beneficial. It is also important that the elderly and those with movement problems should be brought into consideration. The same safeguards apply in this respect. If we have a strategy for the disabled that has little breaks in it, we might as well not have a such a strategy at all. It means that there could be two types of public transport by which people think they can get around but then they hit something that is in the way; indeed, steps are a classic example. There is also the situation where people are moving along very crowded pavements that may have broken surfaces. Unless we bring all these considerations together, everyone will suffer. I hope that the Government will consider these amendments sincerely because they address one basic fact: if we do not consider all these issues as a whole and take into account all the people who will use the pedestrian environment, we shall not achieve very much.

Baroness Wilkins: I should like briefly to express my support for the amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, and for the other amendments in the group. Accessible transport is the single most important issue to ensure the integration of disabled people and in order to change attitudes towards them. Without this, disabled people are truly trapped in their homes; they are invisible. They then become dependent on services that they could otherwise provide for themselves.

Accessible transport is the most dominant issue in any meeting of local disabled people. It is an issue that seems to overwhelm any such meeting. Unless local authorities are actually required to provide accessible transport and it is spelt out in the Bill, they will not do so. I beg the Committee to support these amendments.

Lord Beaumont of Whitley: It goes without saying that I support the amendments tabled in the names of the noble Lords, Lord Swinfen and Lord Addington. For reasons that are not entirely clear to me, my own amendments, Amendments Nos. 156 and 157, have been included in this grouping. Again, I believe that my amendments are fairly self-explanatory. They make sense and would provide a perfectly adequate addition to the Bill. I look forward to hearing the Minister telling me that he is totally in favour of what my amendments would achieve but that he does not think that this is the way to achieve it.

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The Minister may also say that there is no need to add to this already long Bill by inserting such provisions that will, by some mysterious process, happen in any event without being placed in the legislation. We are all in favour of integration strategies; indeed, as I understand it, that is one of the purposes of the Bill. I very much look forward to listening to the way that the noble Lord will choose to reject my amendments.

Lord Berkeley: I should like briefly to support Amendment No. 120. The noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, mentioned the size of the Bill, but I should point out that this Bill is smaller than the GLA Act. Section 141(1) of that Act requires the mayor to develop and implement policies,

    "for the promotion and encouragement of safe, integrated, efficient and economic transport facilities",

which include walking and services for pedestrians. I hope that that is helpful to our debate.

4.15 p.m.

Lord Whitty: Perhaps I could put forward in a slightly more sophisticated way the argument in respect of which the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont, pre-empted me. When we are legislating, we do not repeat legislation that is provided elsewhere in the Bill or in other legislation. The issues that have been raised in this debate, especially those relating to the disabled, are well taken by the Government. We broadly agree with them. This Government are absolutely committed to ensuring that all members of society should have the opportunity for independent travel and mobility.

Clause 111(2) makes it absolutely clear that in preparing their local transport plan authorities,

    "must have regard to the transport needs of persons who are elderly or have mobility problems".

Therefore, that provision is already clear. It is also not appropriate in legislation to provide for the detailed prescription that is better dealt with in guidance. Our guidance to local authorities is equally clear: local authorities and transport operators will have to consider the needs of disabled people from the start to the finish of their journeys.

Moreover, there are already statutory requirements in separate legislation to be observed in respect of accessible transport. New transport vehicles will need to meet detailed technical specifications set out in the regulations under the Disability Discrimination Act. That legislation will also require those involved in the provision of goods, facilities and services to the public to make their services accessible to disabled people. From October 1999, such providers have been required to make reasonable adjustments to their policies that exclude disabled people and provide auxiliary aids and services to facilitate access. From 2004, where there is still a physical barrier to service, service providers will have to take reasonable steps to remove, alter or avoid it.

All those requirements apply to local authorities and transport operators. They therefore apply in relation to local transport plans. We do not need a

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further prescriptive provision in this legislation. However, that is not to deny that we have total sympathy with the points made by noble Lords in this debate. Such issues are already covered both here and elsewhere in legislation; and, indeed, in separate guidance.

I turn now to the issue of integration, which is the focus of the amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley. Integration is central to the whole process of the local transport plan. It is not just integration between modes of transport in terms of interchangeability but in terms of the whole approach. We do not require a further provision on the face of the Bill to ensure that local transport plans deal with such issues in an integrated way.

Similarly, that applies to Amendment No. 120, which relates to walking strategies. A strategy for pedestrians, which, after all, is a pretty common mode of transport, needs to be covered. Indeed, there is a reference to pedestrians under Clause 107(2), which already makes it clear that transport facilities and services to be covered by local transport plans must include services and facilities for pedestrians. We do not, however, require a separate measure spelt out on the face of the Bill for all the different elements of the strategy which local transport plans need to provide.

However, the Bill requires the inclusion of a bus strategy within a local transport plan. The reason the bus strategy is given particular prominence in the Bill is that we need to alter an existing regulatory framework and provide the basic framework for the exercise of the new bus powers. But the bus strategy would be only one of a number of different strategies, some of which require legislative change; most of which do not. Local transport plans will, for example, include cycling as well as walking. They will include measures on street design, which the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont, mentioned. They will include parking strategies, and strategies on mobility, transport information, road maintenance and bridge strengthening.

Statutory provisions already exist; we do not need to repeat them in the Bill. That is why we have the power to issue guidance to pull all those measures together. However, we do not need any additional powers. The noble Lord, Lord Beaumont, referred to the length of the Bill. I do not think it sensible to agree to additional powers or additional prescription in this section of the Bill.

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