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Power of Minister to make ordinary scheme

5.--(1) A Minister of the Crown who has given a direction under subsection (2) of section (Transfer schemes) of this Act may, after consultation with the transferor and such of the successor bodies as are affected, make an ordinary scheme himself if--
(a) he decides not to approve (with or without modifications) a scheme submitted to him pursuant to the direction before the date specified for the purpose under paragraph 4(1) above, or
(b) no ordinary scheme is submitted to him pursuant to the direction for approval before that date.
(2) Nothing in sub-paragraph (1) above shall prevent a Minister of the Crown from approving a scheme submitted to him after the date specified in relation to it under paragraph 4(1) above.
(3) A scheme made by a Minister of the Crown under sub-paragraph (1) above shall be treated for all purposes as having been made by the transferor and approved by the Minister.

Other provision that may be contained in an ordinary scheme

6. An ordinary scheme may also contain provision--
(a) for the creation, in relation to property which the scheme transfers, of an interest in or right over the property in favour of the transferor;
(b) for the creation in favour of any of the successor bodies of--
(i) an interest in or right over property retained by the transferor; or
(ii) an interest in or right over property which the scheme transfers to another of those bodies;
(c) for the creation of any rights or liabilities as between two or more of the successor bodies or as between one or more of those bodies and the transferor;

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(d) for any rights or liabilities specified or described in the scheme to be, or to be to any extent, enforceable by or against two or more of the successor bodies, or by or against one or more of those bodies and the transferor;
(e) for imposing on any two or more of the successor bodies, or on one or more of those bodies and the transferor, an obligation to enter into written agreements with, or execute other instruments in favour of, each other.

Power to make consequential, transitional etc provision

7. A transfer scheme may contain incidental, consequential, supplemental or transitional provision and savings.'.--[Mr. Dowd.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

Bill, as amended, to be further considered tomorrow.

DELEGATED LEGISLATION

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6) (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation),

Civil Aviation


Question agreed to.

REFERENDUMS BILL [MONEY]

Queen's recommendation having been signified--

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 52(1)(a),


Question agreed to.

PETITION

Hosiery and Knitwear Industry

12.2 am

Mr. David Tredinnick (Bosworth): The petition was the idea of hosiery and knitwear workers in my constituency at Tonelli, Lee Ann, Turner and Jarvis, Davenports and other factories. It contains over 350 signatures, collected over a few days, including those of Elizabeth Richardson, Jacqueline Spencer, Mrs. Seaman, Mary Sherwin, Carole Claridge and Cathy Woodcock. It came about because of the widespread belief that the Labour Government are doing nothing to help the hosiery and knitwear industry and because people are fed up with the bankruptcies and lay-offs in the industry.

The petition reads:


To lie upon the Table.

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A5 (Dunstable)

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.--[Jane Kennedy.]

12.3 am

Sir David Madel (South-West Bedfordshire): I welcome the opportunity to have a short debate on the proposal by the Highways Agency to establish a permanent bus lane on the A5 in Dunstable. I am sorry that the debate has been a long time in coming, and I am grateful that the Under-Secretary the hon. Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Ms Jackson) is here to reply.

The proposal by the Highways Agency is imminent. Later this month, it wishes to go ahead and make the bus lane permanent; 7 am to 7 pm every day of the week. I want the agency to think again on the timing of the proposal and on the practical details, should it come into permanent effect. I hope that I can persuade the Government to agree.

I am glad that the Under-Secretary is here to reply, because I wish to refer to her constituency in support of my arguments. My argument in that area is relevant to the current position in Dunstable.

The permanent bus lane proposals cannot be divorced from the traffic problems in Dunstable, particularly the heavy lorries that use the A5 through the town. They will go on doing so as long as we do not have a bypass. The latest position on the bypass is relevant to the proposal to establish a permanent bus lane, and has been summed up in a letter to me from Gwyn Drake.

Mr. Drake is divisional director, networking customer services, at the Highways Agency. His letter of 14 April, concerning the possibility of Dunstable getting an eastern bypass, says:


The Government have earned not a cheer but a huge sigh of relief in Dunstable, because there was a possibility that the A5 eastern bypass would be dropped from the roads programme, as some other bypasses have been. However, I do not regard Mr. Drake's letter as very optimistic. Frankly, we in Dunstable do not need any more studies, conferences, inquiries, exhibitions or any of the other things that happen when a bypass is being considered. We have had more of those than the Minister and I have had hot dinners. We should now take the necessary and lawful measures to construct the bypass and not take refuge in endless inquiries, proposals, counter- proposals, exhibitions and pre-bypass conferences. We have had those in rich abundance and we now want to move ahead.

I accept that the bypass will not come overnight. In the absence of a bypass, I have some counter-proposals for the Government and the Highways Agency on the agency's plan for a bus lane on the A5 in Dunstable, operating from 7 am to 7 pm every day. My first counter-proposal is that it should not operate on a Sunday. The pattern of life is entirely different, and there is absolutely no need to operate it then, not least because children do not go to school on Sunday, so the school bus argument does not apply. The same argument applies to Saturday.

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My counter-proposal on Mondays to Fridays is that, if we have to have the bus lane, it should operate from 7 am to 10 am and from 4 pm to 7 pm, in what is called the rush hour, although there is no rush hour in Dunstable, because rather than a rush of traffic we have constant congestion.

I said that I would mention the Minister's constituency. This morning, I drove down Finchley road, which I am pretty sure runs right through her constituency, towards Swiss Cottage. The bus lane there operates from 7 am to 10 am. The difference between that road and the A5 in Dunstable is that, in addition to the bus lane, it has two lanes for cars and lorries; no such luck in Dunstable, where we have only the one. If 7 am to 10 am is good enough for Finchley road, it is certainly good enough for Dunstable.

As I drove into London this morning, I noticed that Wellington road, which runs from Lord's cricket ground to Swiss Cottage and may be on the edge of the Minister's constituency, has a bus lane operating from 4 pm to 7 pm, which is exactly what I want for Dunstable. What is good enough for Wellington road in London should be good enough for the A5 in Dunstable. I think that that is a perfectly sensible counter-proposal.

My next counter-proposal is that when there is a crash on the M1--and, alas, they happen--an electronic sign near the bus lane should be made to read, "Crash on M1, bus lane suspended". In other words, the bus lane could be used because of conditions on the M1.

I do not normally disagree with Bedfordshire police--in fact, I am a strong supporter of theirs--but I do not agree with their approach to this problem. Once there is a crash on the M1, Dunstable becomes very clogged up. The police say that they do not divert traffic into Dunstable, but that is not the point because the traffic goes there anyway. After a smash on the M1 in the Luton area, or between Luton and Toddington, or between Luton and junction 9--the A5 turn-off--lorry and car drivers who have their radios tuned to a frequency with traffic reports, which will mention the heavy congestion on the M1 caused by the smash, will turn off in the Milton Keynes area. They will drive down the Milton Keynes bypass, which is a nice dual carriageway, and through Great Brickhills--another nice dual carriageway bypass--to the A5 in Bedfordshire and through Dunstable.

My constituents cannot understand why, if there is a crash on the M1, we should have extra congestion in Dunstable simply because the Highways Agency wants the bus lane to operate regardless of the conditions on the M1. That is a serious, practical point and it strikes a chord with my constituents and those who travel through Dunstable if the M1 is at a complete standstill.

If we are to have the bus lane, we do not need to waste money on painting it. My constituents are law abiding and they can read. The Highways Agency should keep costs down. A white line and a sign saying "bus lane" are all that is needed. We do not need money spent on painting the bus lane red or green. My constituents would not understand that, in view of the police and revenue support grant settlements we have had. If there is money around to be spent on paint, the priority in Bedfordshire is to paint the schools, not the bus lane.

I have taken a close interest in the bypasses that have gone ahead, especially the Newbury bypass, with the long battle to get it through. It opened in November and I have

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consulted people in Newbury. Once it opened, they say that there was a noticeable reduction in heavy goods vehicles throughout the day, especially at peak times, and--along with pedestrianisation of the town centre, which followed soon after the bypass opened--the town is now more attractive for shoppers and commercial organisations. That is exactly what would happen in Dunstable if we could get our bypass. The heavy lorries would leave and we could get on with pedestrianisation measures and with the bus lanes. The Highways Agency is putting the cart before the horse by introducing the bus lane before we have the bypass.

If the Highways Agency and the Government insist on going ahead with the bus lane without the bypass, the least I hope that they will do is to agree to my counter- proposals. They have the support of my constituents, they are practical--I have thought them out carefully--and they are for the benefit of the town and my constituents. If they were adopted, the Highways Agency would do itself a world of good in public esteem in my constituency. I hope that the Minister will agree.


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