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Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, the Minister's reply is along the lines I expected. Our difficulty is that we can Box and Cox with these words and have these charming debates. However, underlying the debate are some important principles.

I shall consider again what the Minister has said. There is no absolute answer. One answer might have been to leave it to local authorities and not have the Bill. My bet is that they would have got on with the job quite happily without any legislation if they had been told to do so--but there you go; that is the difference between us. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 90 not moved.]

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Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 91:

    Page 65, line 23, at end insert (", and

(c) those required to minimise noise and damage to the environment;").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment is more specific. It would require local authorities to consider measures needed to minimise noise and damage to the environment. The Minister may say that the requirement already exists under other legislation.

Some aspects of transport are destructive. One has only to consider the ambient noise level in London to realise that. When the Science and Technology Committee was examining the impact of vehicle exhausts on pollution, one of the papers that we considered, although it was a somewhat unrelated and tangential source of evidence, was written by a German doctor who claimed that 50 per cent of heart attacks were caused by noise. That was a published paper that has not been quarrelled with. If the claim has any validity, it is very serious.

Minimising transport noise is an important consideration. There are also the usual considerations of minimising damage to the environment and the problems of atmospheric pollution caused by exhaust emissions.

We come back to the point about reducing the need for transport. We need to produce an environment in which more people get back on to their feet and walk. About a quarter of all journeys are less than a mile and could easily be walked. We also need to get more people back on to bicycles, because another quarter of all journeys are less than four miles and could easily be cycled. Those are environmentally friendly means of transport. Whatever the Minister may say about the impact and requirements of other legislation, the Bill would be improved by such an explicit requirement. I do not apologise for returning to that worthwhile issue.

Amendment No. 92 is slightly different. It would require each local transport authority that was also a planning authority to review its unitary development plan or structure plan at the earliest possible stage with a view to ensuring that the objectives and policies of the two plans were consistent.

Good development planning or structure planning can diminish the need for transport. I have a long experience of planning in local government. The philosophy of incremental development rather than what I would call rational strategic development planning is too widespread. It is all too easy to build a little development here and a little development there rather than to sit down and consider what is required if one wants a community where transport needs can be reduced.

I do not apologise for bringing forward this amendment. It may be implicit in other legislation and the Minister may say, "Well, they will have to do that because ...". However, here we are dealing with an integrated transport philosophy and a Bill that is specifically directed to ensuring that small decisions in local places are taken with that in mind. It would help

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if such matters were explicit on the face of the Bill rather than implicit as a result of other legislation which exists elsewhere. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, again, it is difficult to disagree with the noble Lord's analysis and we welcome his commitment to green transport policies. Of course, by the definitions that we have used elsewhere, integrated transport policies include walking and cycling. The problem with inserting environmental requirements at this point is that this clause seeks to define what is meant by "transport facilities and services". His wording, with references to noise and environmental damage, does not fit easily with that. Therefore, I do not believe that the amendment is appropriate here and the wider point is covered elsewhere.

Amendment No. 92 seeks to require authorities which are both local transport authorities and planning authorities to review their development plans in order to ensure consistency between both the LTP and the unitary development plans. Of course, that is necessary and there is nothing objectionable in it. However, the issue of consistency between the two planning regimes is best dealt with in guidance or under the powers in Clause 111. I believe that, because of the different scope and timing of such matters, that can be dealt with by more detailed guidance rather than on the face of the Bill. Therefore, I hope that the noble Lord will not pursue these two amendments.

Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, I was afraid that the Minister would mention the question of guidance. I was waiting for him to do so, but we shall come to that later. An awful question arises in the Bill as to when guidance is guidance and when it is something else. None the less, I shall consider with care what the Minister said. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 92 not moved.]

Lord Swinfen moved Amendment No. 93:

    After Clause 107, insert the following new clause--


(" .--(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.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 93, I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 94 and 95. I had originally asked for Amendment No. 118 to be grouped with Amendment No. 94. I must admit that I do not understand why

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nearly all my suggested groupings have been changed. There was a logic in the groupings that I had proposed. However, I shall do my best.

The purpose of Amendment No. 93 is to require that transport plans include provisions for disabled people. The plans should be drawn up in consultation with organisations of disabled people and include an action plan for improvements to accessibility. The Greater London Authority Act 1999 contains a provision in Section 142(2) and (4) to that effect. That forms the basis of the amendment. If it is in the Greater London Authority Act, why should it not be included in this Bill which, when an Act, will cover the whole country?

The purpose of Amendment No. 94 is to ensure that in statutory consultations over their local plans, local authorities include and make the consultations accessible to a range of disabled people--the blind, deaf and those with learning difficulties--for whom ordinary printed material will not be effective.

The purpose of Amendment No. 95 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.

I welcome the placing of local transport plans on a statutory footing and see the Government's transport strategy as a considerable opportunity for local public transport to be greatly enhanced to the benefit of disabled people. Those plans have a vital role to play in providing more coherent and comprehensive solutions and creating a safer street environment for everyone, particularly those with disabilities.

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 area. I note that the 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 that area.

I am pleased that Clause 111(2) requires authorities to have regard to the needs of those with mobility problems in preparing local transport plans. However, the disability movement's experience is that many well-intentioned proposals for making transport more accessible to disabled people failed because of a lack of consultation with disabled people themselves. Therefore, that provision should be on the face of the Bill.

In Clause 108(4), the authority must publish the plan, or the plan as altered, in such a manner as it sees fit and subsection (4)(c) provides that a copy, or any part of it, must be supplied to any person on request either free of charge or at a charge representing no more than the cost of providing a copy. But I should expect that the provision of information would be in the preferred format of the individual requesting it, thus ensuring that service providers meet their obligations under the DDA 1995.

The quality of a pedestrian environment seriously affects disabled people's independent mobility and the ability to reach bus services. Organisations of disabled people consider it vital that a walking strategy is

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required to ensure access within the pedestrian environment. The requirement of a local walking strategy would help to ensure the implementation of the Government's strategy to encourage walking, which is designed to address the decline of walking. I beg to move.

10 p.m.

Baroness Darcy de Knayth: My Lords, I support these amendments most warmly. The noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, has given an extremely comprehensive introduction. I am not sure that there is much that I can add.

I agree with the noble Lord when he says that the provisions need to be on the face of the Bill. There has been much experience of well-meaning local authorities simply not knowing what are the needs of people with disabilities. The reference to disabled people's needs should be spelt out on the face of the Bill. It is essential that local authorities should be required to consult the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, just as the mayor of the GLA must do.

As regards Amendment No. 94, I agree that it is important that the consultations should reach those with sensory impairments and learning difficulties and, indeed, the deaf-blind, although I am not sure how one does reach them with that sort of information. Perhaps someone may enlighten me or think of something in relation to that. They are the most excluded of all people and I feel that we should try to do something for them.

I support Amendment No. 95, the local walking strategy without which, as the noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, said, disabled people will not be able to get to buses. It is also useful for mothers and children with prams.

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