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Lord Whitty: My Lords, our provisions in this context considerably extend the powers of local authorities in relation to camera enforcement in bus lanes. Were we to extend that further into the area of yellow box junctions, we should need to be clear about what we were doing.

As the noble Lord, Lord Peyton of Yeovil, indicated, yellow box junctions are perhaps not the only area where camera enforcement might be helpful in the longer term. However, bus lanes seem to us to be the priority. As I understand it, we have only one limited experiment in which cameras have been used by the Metropolitan Police in Euston Road to enforce yellow box markings at two junctions. At this time that cannot be the basis for moving forward to local authority enforcement as proposed in the amendment.

We are aware of the difficulties generally in relation to bus lanes, and sometimes that can be complicated by yellow box junctions. But in general it is the continuous bus lanes which need to be more effectively enforced. We are aware of problems such as those identified by the Buchanan report in Bristol, which we shall clearly have to consider and are looking into.

I am further advised that the amendments proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, are in any case defective. Amendment No. 132 defines a "box junction" by reference to a traffic order, but the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 1994 revoked the 1981 version, whereby the requirement for box junctions had to be backed by an order. Therefore it is not in the appropriate form in any case.

The amendment also attempts to define "box junction" in primary legislation by reference to the use of road markings prescribed in specific diagrams in secondary legislation. That secondary legislation is expected to be superseded next year and that may well occur again in the future. Primary legislation therefore needs to be more flexible so that it is not overtaken by changes in secondary legislation on the definition of the areas or the traffic signs to which it is expected to apply.

I hope therefore that, in regard to both the rather technical deficiencies of the drafting and the need to approach reasonably cautiously what is a major expansion of powers in relation to bus lanes, the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, will not press his amendment.

4.30 p.m.

Lord Bradshaw: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. I accept that the amendment may be subject to technical drafting difficulties. I hope the noble Lord accepts that in such a technical area it is extremely difficult to draft amendments of this kind. However, before we finish our consideration of the Bill, I urge the Minister to consider whether the Secretary of State should take powers. From the evidence that I have seen, in many cities bus operations are at the point of

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breaking down and, unless something is done, there will be a real problem. It will be impossible to operate bus services economically and to time, and I do not see how that can in any way further the Government's strategy. Meanwhile, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 128 not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 129 to 131:


    Page 86, line 1, at end insert--


("( ) Regulations under subsection (1) may provide for the imposition of penalty charges--
(a) by approved local authorities, or
(b) both by approved local authorities and by Transport for London or London local authorities or both.").


    Page 86, line 16, leave out from ("buses") to end of line 18 and insert ("(or a particular description of bus), or


(b) only by buses (or a particular description of bus) and some other class or classes of vehicular traffic.").


    Page 86, line 18, at end insert--


("(4A) The roads in relation to which regulations under subsection (1) may authorise the imposition of penalty charges are--
(a) in the case of an approved local authority, roads in its area,
(b) in the case of Transport for London, roads in Greater London of a description prescribed by such regulations or all roads in Greater London, and
(c) in the case of a London local authority, roads in its area of a description prescribed by such regulations or all roads in its area.
(4B) Before making any regulations by virtue of subsection (4A)(b) or (c) the Secretary of State shall consult--
(a) Transport for London, and
(b) the London local authorities affected by the regulations.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 132 not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 133:


    Page 86, line 20, leave out paragraph (a).

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 134 not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 135 to 140:


    Page 86, line 30, leave out from first ("the") to ("and") in line 32 and insert ("conduct constituting the contravention is the subject of criminal proceedings or where a fixed penalty notice has been given in respect of that conduct").


    Page 86, line 33, leave out ("by approved local authorities").


    Page 86, line 34, at end insert--


("( ) Regulations under subsection (1) shall include provision for the level of penalty charges in the case of approved local authorities to be set by the authorities subject to the approval of the relevant national authority; and sections 74 and 74A of the Road Traffic Act 1991 apply to penalty charges in the case of Transport for London and London local authorities as they apply to additional parking charges.").

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    Page 86, line 36, after ("charges,") insert--


("( ) make provision for discounts or surcharges (or both),").


    Page 87, line 5, at end insert--


("( ) Regulations under this section made by the Secretary of State or the Lord Chancellor may make provision in respect of Greater London different from that in respect of the rest of England.").


    Page 87, line 8, at end insert--


(""bus" includes a tramcar (within the meaning of section 141A of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984) and a trolley vehicle (within the meaning of that section),").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I spoke to Amendments Nos. 135 to 140 with Amendment No. 126. I beg to move these amendments en bloc.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 141 not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 142 to 145:


    Page 87, line 9, leave out ("the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984") and insert ("that Act").


    Page 87, line 12, at end insert--


(""London local authority" means a London borough council or the Common Council of the City of London,").


    Page 87, line 23, leave out ("outside Greater London").


    Page 87, line 30, after ("1") insert ("or 6").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I spoke to these amendments with Amendment No. 126. I beg to move Amendments Nos. 142 to 145 en bloc.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 144 [Mandatory concessions outside Greater London]:

The Deputy Speaker (Lord Brougham and Vaux): My Lords, I must advise the House that if Amendment No. 146 is agreed to, I cannot call Amendments Nos. 147 to 149.

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston moved Amendment No. 146:


    Page 87, line 32, leave out from ("Any") to ("subsection") in line 43 and insert ("person to whom a current statutory travel concession permit has been issued by a travel concession authority and who travels on an eligible service on a journey--


(a) between places in the authority's area, and
(b) beginning at a relevant time,
is entitled, on production of the permit, to be provided with a half-price travel concession by the operator of the service.
(2) A travel concession authority must, on an application made to it by any person who appears to the authority to be an elderly or disabled person residing in its area, issue to the person free of charge a permit, in such form and for such period as the authority considers appropriate, indicating that he is entitled to the concession specified in subsection (1).
(2A) In this section "statutory travel concession permit" means a permit issued pursuant to subsection (2).
(2B) The Secretary of State (as respects England) or the National Assembly for Wales (as respects Wales) may issue guidance to travel concession authorities to which they must have regard in determining for the purposes of subsection (2) whether a person is a disabled person.

30 Oct 2000 : Column 690


(2C) Before issuing guidance under subsection (2B) the Secretary of State or National Assembly for Wales shall consult--
(a) the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee,
(b) associations representative of travel concession authorities, and
(c) such other persons as he or it thinks fit.
(2D) A person entitled to be issued with a statutory travel concession permit by a travel concession authority may agree with the authority that he is not to be entitled to the concession specified in").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this group of amendments concerns the important question of concessionary fares for disabled people. Your Lordships' House amended the Bill in Grand Committee so that the statutory minimum concessionary bus fare scheme, which the Bill already provided for elderly people, should apply also to people with disabilities. That change was widely and warmly welcomed. Certainly, these amendments do not change the important principle. However, it was subsequently represented to us that in a practical sense the new provisions could be improved in the interests of clarity and to help those who had to implement the legislation on a day-to-day basis. We have listened to those representations, which came initially from local government but have also been supported by members of the Disabled Persons' Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC).

Accordingly, the amendments do two things. First, they provide for the Secretary of State to issue guidance on eligibility for concessionary fares to which local authorities must have regard. The amendments require consultation on that guidance. Secondly, associated with the guidance provision, the amendments clarify the definitions of the various categories of disability on the face of the Bill so that all concerned can have greater certainty about eligibility and be clearer as to exactly what the guidance is to relate to. Perhaps I may give one example. The Bill as at present drafted refers to people who are "deaf". The amendments clarify that by referring on the face of the Bill to "profoundly or severely deaf", those being two recognised terms for describing degrees of deafness. We envisage that the guidance would speak in terms of people who are, or could be, registered as profoundly or severely deaf.

I stress that we have tabled these amendments only after discussion not only with representatives of local government but with members of DPTAC. The amendments respond to what all those people have said to us. Our objective is to make the Bill a more workable and effective piece of legislation for disabled people and local authorities, and on that basis I hope that noble Lords will feel able to accept these amendments.

I should also refer to the amendments in this group tabled by the Liberal Democrat Front Bench. There are always different ways to express similar ideas in law, but I hope that, on reflection, the noble Baroness and the noble Lord who have tabled these amendments accept that much the same objectives have been achieved by the government amendments. I note that the noble Baroness seeks to provide that

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the Secretary of State "shall", rather than "may", issue guidance. I understand that "may" is the usual formulation in such cases, but I assure the noble Baroness that guidance will be issued. In view of what I hope will be seen as a large amount of common ground between us, perhaps those amendments will be withdrawn.


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