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Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The intention of the first and substantive clause is to enable local transport authorities and traffic authorities to charge streetwork undertakers--utilities and others--a daily charge of £1,000 for the time during which they occupy a publicly maintainable highway, subject to any regulations the Secretary of State may make under those proposed powers.

While I am second to none in my admiration of the persistence of the noble Lord, Lord Peyton of Yeovil, in pursuit of solutions to what is undoubtedly a real problem of disruption on the roads at present, his amendment runs the risk of creating an additional level of bureaucracy. I say "an additional level" because it would introduce new roles of surveillance over streetworks by local transport authorities and traffic authorities under provisions which are unrelated to the main controlling legislation, the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991. And certain aspects of the amendment, for example on dealing with emergency works, would cut across the requirements of that Act. It would be a recipe for confusion. If there are to be changes to the controls, the Government believe that they should come through that Act or amendments to it.

I am sure that all of us in this Committee are very conscious of the seriousness of the problem. The Government sympathise with the objectives of the noble Lord's amendments and would not want to close off options for dealing with the problem but we cannot accept the amendment as it stands. However, I can agree to take it away and consider whether we can bring forward our own amendment on Report to amend the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 so that the Secretary of State could, if necessary, make regulations allowing responsible highway authorities to require utilities and others carrying out street works in England to pay them a lane rental for the occupation of the highway. This would be in addition to the existing power in Section 74 to require payments by utilities in the event of prolonged occupation of the highway, for which we have already been drawing up a scheme.

The second amendment would commit the administrations in Scotland and Wales to the introduction of charges in an area of policy that is devolved to them. Although I am unaware of any strong desire on their part to introduce parallel measures, I must protect their position and, therefore, must oppose the noble Lord's proposal to extend the powers beyond England.

I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, was not able to be here to move his amendment. However, as a former Minister of Transport who has done the state some service, and with midnight approaching, I do not believe that any of us would grudge him his beauty sleep. I very much hope that my noble friend

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Lord Faulkner, who, as he said, discussed the matter with the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, earlier, will agree to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, will be more than satisfied with my noble friend's reply. Therefore, I am happy to beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Elder moved Amendment No. 426A:


    After Clause 257, insert the following new clause--

("Financial assistance: inland waterway and sea freight
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR INLAND WATERWAY AND SEA FREIGHT

.--(1) The Secretary of State may make grants or other payments for the purpose of securing or encouraging the carriage of goods by inland waterway or by sea rather than by road where he is satisfied that that is in the public interest
(2) Grants or payments under this section may in particular be made in respect of facilities for or in connection with the carriage of goods by inland waterway or by sea (including facilities for loading or unloading goods).
(3) Grants or payments under this section shall be of such amount and subject to such conditions (including conditions requiring their repayment in specified circumstances) as the Secretary of State may determine.
(4) So far as it relates to inland waterways in Wales the power conferred by this section is a power of the National Assembly for Wales.
(5) The power conferred by this section may only be exercised in or as regards Scotland if its exercise relates to reserved matters within the meaning of the Scotland Act 1998.
(6) In this section "inland waterway" includes both a natural and an artificial inland waterway.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 426B to 426F not moved.]

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Clauses 258 and 259 agreed to.

Schedule 30 [Repeals and revocations]:

[Amendment No. 427 not moved.]

Lord Elder moved Amendment No. 427A:


    Page 342, line 16, at end insert--


    ("1993 c. 43.Railways Act 1993.Section 140.")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 30, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 260 to 263 agreed to.

Clause 264 [Extent]:

Earl Attlee moved Amendment No. 428:


    Page 164, line 19, at end insert ("and section ("Enforcement of requirements relating to drivers' hours")").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 429 not moved.]

Clause 264, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clause agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with amendments.

Learning and Skills Bill

Returned from the Commons with the amendments to certain Commons amendments agreed to.

Local Government Bill [HL]

Returned from the Commons with the amendments in lieu of the words left out of the Bill agreed to; with certain Commons amendments to which the Lords had disagreed not insisted upon; with amendments to other Commons amendments agreed to; and with a consequential amendment to the Bill agreed to.

        House adjourned at ten minutes before midnight.


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