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Lord Bradshaw: I thank the Minister for that reply. All that I can say is that the prospects of the Government achieving their 10-year transport plan and the better use of bus services and reductions in traffic levels that I know that they want will be very much reduced if they do not take powers to enable them to free up our streets as quickly as possible so that buses can make a proper contribution. I am very disappointed with the Minister's reply, but I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments No. 420 and 421 not moved.]

Baroness Scott of Needham Market moved Amendment No. 422:


LOCAL TRANSPORT PLAN AND ROAD TRAFFIC

(" .--(1) As part of their local transport plan, and subject to guidance issued by the Secretary of State, a local transport authority may designate any residential road or roads within their area as a home zone, and any rural road within their area as a quiet lane, for any or all of the following purposes--
(a) improving the environment;
(b) improving the safety and security of the community in whose area the home zone is situated;
(c) improving safety on rural roads, especially for pedestrians, pedal cyclists and horse riders, by reducing the risk of accidents;
(d) protecting the character and distinctiveness of the countryside from damage to traffic.
(2) The Secretary of State may introduce regulations with regard to home zones or quiet lanes which may have any or all of the following effects--
(a) giving pedestrians and pedal cyclists precedence on any highway in a home zone, and pedestrians, pedal cyclists and horseriders precedence on any quiet lane;
(b) requiring the driver of any mechanically powered vehicle to accord such precedence to any pedestrian, pedal cyclist or horse rider;
(c) requiring pedestrians, cyclists and horseriders to show reasonable behaviour towards any mechanically powered vehicle, and not wilfully to obstruct its passage;

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(d) requiring physical or other measures to reduce traffic speeds to no more than 10 mph in a road designated as a home zone, or 20 mph on a designated quiet lane.").

The noble Baroness said: I shall speak also to Amendment No. 423. I need not take up your Lordships' time at this hour of the night to explain the concept of home zones and quiet lanes. I know that Ministers have been much persuaded by the experiences of our European neighbours. In many continental towns and cities, home zones have made a significant contribution to the safety of vulnerable road users and have encouraged walking and cycling. Perhaps most significantly in the long term, reclaiming space for people rather than vehicles has done much to foster a sense of community, which we all fear is fast disappearing.

Quiet lanes are rather different in character and a less well proven concept but they could make an equally valuable contribution to safe and sustainable transport in rural areas, as well as improving the quality of life.

I am sure that we are all looking forward with interest to the outcome of the pilot schemes currently under development but it seems a shame not to draw on the vast experience of our European neighbours. They have shown that where there are successful home zones, cars do not take priority over pedestrians and cyclists and are required to move at walking pace, although in practice something like 9 miles per hour is tolerated.

In Committee in another place the Minister said that the Government would consider changing the law if the evidence of the pilot projects showed that it was necessary. Our Amendment No. 422 is intended to help the Government by providing a framework within which they could, by regulation, achieve these schemes, which have such widespread support.

In Amendment No. 423 we are again seeking to help the Government to achieve their road safety objectives by enabling the development of a rural road hierarchy. The Government's road safety strategy, which highlights the well understood link between speed and accident rates, further points out that our rural roads have a serious accident problem. My authority, Suffolk County Council, chose to address that by introducing a presumed 30 miles per hour speed limit in all villages. Although that has been highly successful, both in terms of reducing accident rates and speed, a more strategic whole route approach would have been even more effective.

An area-wide route hierarchy would enable local authorities to develop a network in which roads are used for the purposes for which they are truly fitted rather than an outdated classification. Not only would objectives of safety and sustainability be served by that, but road maintenance, signing, lighting and movement of freight would also be better served.

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On several occasions during the passage of this Bill the Minister has referred to the toolkit approach, intending to provide local authorities with the tools that they need to do the job. I urge the Government to add those extra tools to the kit. I beg to move.

Lord Beaumont of Whitley: I, too, have put my name to this amendment. Although at this time of the evening I shall not indulge my personal reminiscences about my accidents in vehicles of different kinds, I have some personal experience of the problems caused by a combination of faulty marking of roads and an inability to have speed limits on rural roads. I believe that we need to attend to both of those matters. Allowing rural areas, in particular, to set up hierarchies of roads and, therefore, to sign them adequately for the benefit of those who use them will be a serious step forward towards reducing the unfortunately high incidence of motor accidents in the countryside.

Lord Berkeley: I rise to support this amendment. I was slightly surprised not to see it in Part II, somewhere near Clause 107, but I am sure there is a good reason for that. It seems to embody many things about which noble Lords have been arguing in the way of implementing the transport White Paper. In particular it would be great to see something like the home zones on the face of the Bill, which could be implemented where local authorities require them.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: The intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, reminds me that at an earlier stage in the passage of this Bill I tabled an amendment that I hoped would act as an enabling amendment with regard to the local road hierarchy amendment and the speed limits that would flow from that. Unfortunately, that amendment did not find favour with the Minister. Perhaps he can be persuaded that a redrafting of that enabling amendment may be of value. I hope he will address that matter in his reply.

I hope we have achieved some safety amendments to this part of the Bill which is titled "Miscellaneous and supplementary". During Committee stage, or any other part of the passage of a Bill, we are not permitted to change the titles or the sideline titles of a Bill, but perhaps the Minister will consider renaming it "Safety, miscellaneous and supplementary" to reflect what I hope will be its slightly different character.

Lord Whitty: Any consideration of that last point will depend on how we return to some of the issues on Report. While I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Scott, for tabling these amendments, I cannot accept them in their present form. I would like to take them away for consideration. Both home zones and a new approach to speed limits are central parts of our approach to urban and rural road accident problems and road safety problems. Clearly, while there are many provisions involved in establishing home zones, where existing regulations will allow local authorities to do what is required to establish a home zone, there

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may be others that are not there, although some of the specifics in the amendment of the noble Baroness run into the difficulties of absolute precedents which were discussed in another place.

I would have to look at that carefully. Nevertheless, I should like to take away that amendment, along with Amendment No. 423, which is probably too prescriptive for my taste. But it is important to give local authorities adequate powers to introduce new speed hierarchies in a way which is more rapid than the designation of speed limits on roads is for local authorities and is a less expensive and time consuming process.

Therefore I should like to look at both amendments in that context and return to this matter after the Summer Recess. We can then discuss whether these should be enabling clauses or the more prescriptive clauses tabled by the noble Baroness today. However, I hope that the amendment can be withdrawn at this stage.

Baroness Scott of Needham Market: I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. I have no intention of being prescriptive, either for him or anyone else. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 423 to 425 not moved.]

Lord Faulkner of Worcester moved Amendment No. 426:


    After Clause 257, insert the following new clause--

STREET WORKS: CHARGES FOR ADVERSE AFFECT ON TRANSPORT AND TRAFFIC

(" .--(1) Except in cases of emergency arising from defects in any pipes, cables or other works, an undertaker planning to execute street works in a maintainable highway must inform (in respect of local transport) the local transport authority and (in respect of traffic regulation) the traffic authority (or in Greater London, Transport for London) of the proposed works.
(2) Where--
(a) the local transport authority considers that street works notified to them under subsection (1) adversely effect the implementation of the local transport plan made under section 98, or
(b) the traffic authority (or in Greater London, Transport for London) considers that those street works adversely effect the passage of traffic on a road or roads,
the relevant authority may levy a charge of £1,000 for each day or part of a day in which a street, or a unit of area of a street, is occupied for the purpose of executing those street works.
(3) Where street works notified under subsection (1) occupy more than one unit of area of a street a charge may be levied under subsection (2) in respect of each unit.
(4) The Secretary of State shall make provision by regulations--
(a) as to the meaning of "unit of area" in this section;
(b) as to the time and manner of making payment of a charge;
(c) for the relevant authority to reduce the amount, or waive payment, of a charge in any particular case, in such classes of case as they may decide or as may be prescribed, or generally.
(5) The Secretary of State may by regulations substitute for the sum mentioned in subsection (2) such higher sum as appears to him appropriate.

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(6) Regulations under subsection (5) shall not be made unless a draft of them has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.
(7) Regulations under subsection (4)(a) may make different provision in respect of different areas or classes of area or for different streets or classes of street.
(8) Regulations under subsection (4) shall be laid before Parliament and subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House.
(9) In this section--
(a) "local transport authority" has the same meaning as in section 98 above,
(b) "road" has the same meaning as in section 142 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984,
(c) "traffic authority" has the same meaning as in section 121A of that Act.
(10) The power to make regulations under this section is exercisable by statutory instrument.").

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 426 on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Peyton of Yeovil--he asked me to apologise to the Committee for the fact that he cannot be here this evening--I shall speak also to Amendment No. 429 which also appears on the Marshalled List in his name.

Members of the Committee will be aware that the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, has this year waged something of a one-man campaign on the issue of streetworks. He asked his first Question on the subject on 7th February as a Business Question to my noble friend the Government Chief Whip, when he reminded your Lordships of the sessional order which requires the chief of police to keep the passages through the streets leading to this House free and open. He followed that by a plethora of Starred Questions in March, April and May and an Unstarred Question debate, and he intervened on other occasions. He then piloted a Private Member's Bill through all stages in your Lordships' House which had its Second Reading on 30th June.

The noble Lord tabled these amendments which are consistent with the other elements in what I can only call a remarkable crusade. The purpose behind Amendment No. 426 is to enable local transport and traffic authorities to charge streetwork undertakers--utilities and others--a daily charge for the time they occupy a publicly maintainable highway. It contains a number of related provisions which allow for increasing the level of charges and also for their waiver or reduction. Amendment No. 429 ensures that those charging provisions apply in England, Wales and Scotland. The two amendments together provide more than a passing resemblance to the provision in the streetworks Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Peyton.

I am happy to move these amendments on the noble Lord's behalf for two reasons. First, I believe he is right to try to make the people who inflict such misery and inconvenience on all road users pay something by way of recompense; secondly, because I hope my noble friend may have something positive to say in response. I beg to move.

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