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Lord Glentoran: One issue concerns me since I have started reading about the transport plan. The highest risk to the whole plan is from industrial relations. I hate to say it, but two of the most powerful unions, as Londoners know only too well, are very much in control of almost anything that moves on rail, above or below ground. I really believe that Her Majesty's
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Government should take that matter very seriously, both in relation to the construction site, which could be seriously delayed at God knows what cost and, dare I say it, to the actual happenings of the games and the delivery of spectators and supplies to the games if rail transport is to be used in a serious way. There has been no mention of that anywhere today. I know that it is an unpopular thing to say, but it is right for the Opposition to make the Government aware of the concerns on that front.
Lord Berkeley: I should just like to defend the rail freight industry. Perhaps the noble Lord could tell me when a major railway strike last affected rail freight. I do not think that there has been one since privatisation. There has been the odd strike on the passenger services, but for rail freight there has been virtually nothing and I do not think that should come into the consideration.
Lord Davies of Oldham: I did not know that such a wide range of issues would suddenly emerge when we got to Clause 10. It will be recalled that we discussed the clause under another group of amendments, because Members of the Committee identified key amendments into which the issue of the clause fitted. That is why we discussed the broad issues at that time.
I am happy to do the best that I can in responding to the interesting issues that have arisen. I am not terribly well briefed on the issue with regard to the Docklands Light Railway. I have travelled on itand I hear what the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, says, when he points out that it has a multitude of stops. It has, but it has other advantages as well. It is one of the more exciting transport systems in London, and people quite enjoy travelling on it. He asked whether the service could be improved. There is no doubt at all, as the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, indicated, that there are certain ways in which the DLR can be pressed into more effective service in lengthening the trains, and so onalthough there are limits to train length with regard to the stations. I am not sure that the DLR can create a fast through train, which is what the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, appeared to hint at; there would be real problems with that, on such a restricted railway, and the full duration of the journey is anyway not excessive. I can only say that it will be expected to play its part in the transport of those coming to London for the Olympics, and it will be concerned to ensure that it maximises its revenue and provides the best service that it can.
My noble friend Lord Berkeley talked about where rail freight, and so on, fitted in. The London Development Agency and the Olympic Delivery Authority are developing a construction and waste transport strategy, as required by the outlying condition for the Olympic park. We understand that they aim to maximise the use of both rail and water as a way to move materials in and out. I hear what the noble Lord saysthat there are discordant voices, who say that a great deal more could be shifted by road. I am not too sure that the Bill could impose a solution in that respect, save to say that we are concerned that we can provide services that are as
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environmentally friendly as possible. There are clearly opportunities to use rail and water for such bulk movements. In one of our earlier debates we discussed the potentially enhanced role for waterways in the development of the games and when the games are happening.
It is quite difficult to discuss industrial relations in the year of grace which one inhabits at any one time, let alone to foresee issues that may arise six to eight years ahead. I understand the potential liveliness of the discoursebut at this point, I have nothing much to add, at least in the context of the Bill, except to say that the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, or his colleagues, should table amendments, if they can think of a clear way in which to indicate how they could, through this Bill, ensure that there was no disruption on the industrial front to any aspect of the Olympic Games. I am sure that if they can, they will rush to table those amendments in the not-too-distant future, and the Government will, as ever, be receptive and constructive in their response to such ideas. I shall certainly give every assistance in seeing where such amendments could be placed in the Bill, if they proved to be acceptable.
But we are debating Clause 10. Should it stand part of the Bill? Of course it should. After all, it requires the ODA to prepare, publish and keep under review an Olympic transport plan. We cannot meet any of the anxieties expressed in this Committee unless we have an Olympic transport plan. So the clause is essential, and I hope that noble Lords will not pursue the Question.
Lord Higgins: I still cannot find reference to the extensive debate that we are apparently supposed to have had on this in the previous Sitting. The Minister invariably gives extremely helpful repliesat least, he has until now. I am inclined to say, "Five out of 10 and see me afterwards". He did not deal at all adequately with the question of water as opposed to rail or road, which is clearly rather an important consideration. I do not wish to detain the Committee longer now, but can I have an answer at least to one question? There is apparently a dispute between the Mayor's Transport for London and the London Development Agency about which method should be used to shift the huge amount of material ahead of the Olympics. If there is such a dispute, who arbitrates?
Lord Berkeley: While my noble friend the Minister considers his reply to that question, which I shall also be interested to hear, perhaps he could answer my question about where the funding for all this is coming from. Where is it in the Bill, and who pays? As I said, the Bill tells us how the street lighting and cleaning is being paid for, but I could not see anything about who pays for the transport plan and its implementation.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Olympic transport plan will be paid for by the ODA, which has resources for that purpose. But noble Lords will recognise that not all of the plan will be the ODA's responsibility; there are other contributors to it, and it will be expected through negotiation that they play their proper part,
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especially as in some respects they will be the residual legatees of the investment after the ODA has long gone out of existence. So it is only right that there should be negotiation about such expenditure. But the concept of the plan itself is the ODA's, and the ODA has the resources to make payments to give effect to the plan.
I apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, as my memory was at fault. Clause 10 stand part was bracketed with an amendment that we did not debate because the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, was not here to move it. Such is the extensiveness of my preparation for these meetings that at times I think that debates have taken place, simply because I have read what my reply would have been.
Lord Higgins: I still have not had an answer to the question of which view prevails if there is a dispute between Transport for London and the London Development Agency or, alternatively, who arbitrates.
Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: It may be helpful for the Minister to be able to take counsel on that question. As a bystander, I shall make a brief observation on the issue of Clause 10 stand part. I link it to the passage of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill, which is going through simultaneously with this one, on alternate days. On Monday night on the latter Bill, there was great concern whether we would reach Amendment No. 122, because there were some people who could not be present on Wednesday who hoped that we would. We started very lateat 8.45 pm, because of the earlier business running on. It transpired that we were not able to reach Amendment No. 122, which we debated on Wednesday as originally intended. I was mildly entertained, and also surprised, to see among my historic emails a message from the business manager's office that the papers had been issued incorrectly and that Amendment No. 122 had already been debated. As it was, we had an excellent debate on it last night, which lasted well over an hour.
Perhaps there could be a little more attention to detail with regard to the printing of documents indicating whether amendments have been debated or not. Unless I have misunderstood, this clause has gone down on the list as having been debated when in fact it has not been debated at all.
Lord Davies of Oldham: I take that point on board, and due attention will be paid to it, as it is important that accurate information is conveyed. The noble Lord will recognise the difficulties at times when amendments are bracketed together and amendments are then not moved. The amendment has been passed, so to the office it looks as if the debate has moved on. But the noble Lord is absolutely right in saying that bracketed with it may be an amendment that has not been reached, so it is not accurate to say that it has been debatedit is still viable within its framework. So I recognise that point, but I hope that the noble Lord will recognise that the construction of the list is sometimes replete with complications and difficulties. However, I shall make sure that that is attended to.
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On the issue of the dispute that the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, raised, the reason why I am struggling to answer him is that we do not think that such a dispute has taken place. I can answer categorically the second part of his question, but on the first part, we shall just have to dispute the facts. We think that the LDA and Transport for London are working together to develop a waste and construction transport strategy. We think that rail and water are going to play their parts in that. But let me assure the noble Lord that in a question of who arbitrates, both those bodies are London bodies, and therefore they will be dealt with by the London authorities, with regard to the immediate position. When things get under contract with the ODA, matters may be different. But I assure him that matters sometimes appear in the media as being in the most parlous state when they may not be. Our information is that we are still making progress with regard to that issue.
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