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31 Mar 2003 : Column 755—continued

Meaning of "railway accident" and "railway incident"

Amendments made: No.11, in page 2, line 10, after 'to', insert—

'(a) location;

(b) '.
No.12, in page 2, line 10, at end insert 'or another specified person'.—[Mr. Spellar.]

Clause 4

General aims

Amendments made: No.13, in page 2, line 27, leave out

'have regard to the desirability of'
and insert ', wherever relevant, aim'.
No.14, in page 2, line 29, leave out 'improving' and insert 'to improve'.
No.15, in page 2, line 30, leave out 'preventing' and insert 'to prevent'.—[Mr. Spellar.]

Clause 24

Special constables

Amendments made: No.16, in page 11, line 37, at end insert 'and'.
No.17, in page 11, line 38, leave out from 'Constable,' to end of line 39.
No.18, in page 12, line 4, at end insert—

'( ) Section 88(1) to (5) of the Police Act 1996 (c.16) (liability for wrongful act of constable) shall have effect in relation to special constables of the Police Force as if—

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(a) a reference to the chief officer of police for a police area were a reference to the Chief Constable,

(b) a reference to a constable were a reference to a special constable,

(c) a reference to the police fund were a reference to the British Transport Police Fund,

(d) a reference to a police authority were a reference to the Authority, and

(e) subsection (5) included a reference to a special constable of the Police Force.'.—[Mr. Spellar.]

Clause 59

Public consultation

Amendment made: No.19, in page 24, line 7, at end insert—

'( ) employees of persons providing railway services,

( ) organisations representing employees of persons providing railway services,'.—[Mr. Spellar.]

Clause 73

Index of defined expressions

Amendments made: No.20, in page 30, line 36, at end insert—
'Railway property Section 72'.
No.27, in page 30, line 37, at end insert—
'Railway vehicleSection 72'.
[Mr. Spellar.]

Clause 76

Professional staff off duty

Amendment made: No.28, in page 32, line 9, at end insert—

'( ) Where a person is charged with an offence under this section in respect of the effect of a drug on his ability to take action it is a defence for him to show that—

(a) he took the drug for a medicinal purpose on, and in accordance with, medical advice, or

(b) he took the drug for a medicinal purpose and had no reason to believe that it would impair his ability to take the action.'.—[Mr. Spellar.]

Clause 86


Amendment made: No.29, in page 37, leave out line 3.—[Mr. Spellar.]

Clause 87

Crown application

Amendment made: No.30, in page 37, line 17, leave out Clause 87.—[Mr. Spellar.]

Clause 88

Territorial application

Amendment made: No.21, in page 37, line 34, leave out from 'enactment' to 'concerning' in line 36.—[Mr. Spellar.]

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Clause 98

Military application

Amendment made: No.31, in page 43, leave out lines 1 to 9 and insert

'by a member of Her Majesty's air forces, military forces or naval forces, within the meaning given by section 225(1) of the Army Act 1955 (c.18), acting in the course of his duties.

( ) This Part shall not apply to a function or activity which is performed or carried out by—

(a) a member of a visiting force, within the meaning which that expression has in section 3 of the Visiting Forces Act 1952 (c.67) by virtue of section 12(1) of that Act, acting in the course of his duties, or

(b) a member of a civilian component of a visiting force, within that meaning, acting in the course of his duties.

( ) This Part shall not apply to a function or activity which is performed or carried out by a military or civilian member of a headquarters, within the meaning given by paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Schedule to the International Headquarters and Defence Organisations Act 1964 (c. 5), acting in the course of his duties.'.—[Mr. Spellar.]

Clause 99

Territorial Application

Amendment made: No.22, in page 43, line 30, leave out from 'enactment' to 'concerning' in line 32.—[Mr. Spellar.]

Clause 106

Shipping legislation: application to structures, craft, &c.

Amendment made: No.23, in page 48, line 1, leave out

'(including an Act of the Scottish Parliament or Northern Ireland legislation)'.—[Mr. Spellar.]

Schedule 4

British transport police authority

Amendments made: No.24, in page 60, line 38, at end insert—

'(ba) a person who has knowledge of and experience in relation to the interests of employees of persons providing railways services,'.
No.25, in page 61, line 9, at end insert—

'( ) But a person may not be appointed so as to—

(a) contribute to satisfying subparagraph (1)(b), and

(b) satisfy subparagraph (1)(ba).'.—[Mr. Spellar.]

Schedule 7


Amendment made: No.26, in page 72, line 37, leave out 'paragraph 9' and insert 'paragraphs 7 to 10'.—[Mr. Spellar.]
Order for Third Reading read.—[Queen's Consent, on behalf of the Crown, and Prince of Wales's consent, on behalf of the Duchy of Cornwall, signified.]

9.6 pm

Mr. Spellar): I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

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The House will, I am sure, join me in thanking the members of Standing Committee D for their careful scrutiny of this important Bill. We met 18 times during February and March, and the Committee proved tireless in its extremely detailed questioning of the Government's proposals. The House has now considered on Report a Bill that has been through a fine-toothed comb. I pay special tribute to my hon. Friends the Members for Clydesdale (Mr. Hood) and for Braintree (Mr. Hurst), who shared the chairmanship of the Committee. They were helped by my hon. Friends the Members for Bootle (Mr. Benton) and for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Mahmood), to whom we are also grateful.

Although we have been discussing the details today, we all recognise the general picture—that the Bill will mark an important step in improving safety in our railway system, and in transport more widely. It will thereby help to strengthen passenger confidence, and to answer the public's justified demand for the highest standards. Part 1 makes provision for a rail accident investigation branch with responsibilities to investigate rail accidents. That is in response to one of Lord Cullen's recommendations following the Ladbroke Grove incident. Like its air and marine counterparts, the rail accident investigation branch will investigate the causes of accidents, so that remedial action can be taken as soon as possible. It will act independently of both the industry and its regulators and carry out its investigations openly.

The Bill also modernises the governance of the British Transport police, who provide an essential service policing Britain's railways. Currently, the powers and accountability of the British Transport police are derived from a hotch-potch of measures shaped by the railways of the 19th century, and altered by nationalisation and then privatisation. The Bill will give the British Transport police similar governance and a similar statutory basis to the Home Office police forces and the Scottish police forces, with a clearly defined jurisdiction and proper accountability.

The Bill replicates for the civil marine and aviation sectors the well-understood measures combating drink-driving on the roads. Drink-driving on the roads can be fatal, whether the driver is a professional or a non-professional. The same principle is true on the water and in the air. However, we need to be proportionate about this. Everyone recognises that an aeroplane travelling at 500 mph is more dangerous than a car travelling at 50 mph which itself is more dangerous than a boat travelling at 5 mph.

The maximum permitted alcohol limit for air crew will be 20 mg per 100 ml of blood, in comparison with 80 mg for car drivers. The Marchioness tragedy showed us graphically that all boats can be imperilled by sailors drinking, but there is a difference between a large passenger ship, with a professional crew, and a man in a rowing boat. We have, therefore, included a power to except vessels piloted by non-professionals, by reference to the power of their motor and to their size and location. We shall hold consultations about such exceptions so as to strike the right proportionate balance between regulation and protection for the public.

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Among other provisions, the measure will restructure the Office of the Rail Regulator. It will be headed by a board rather than a single regulator, in line with the recommendations of the Better Regulation Task Force, and will bring the railways into line with other regulated industries.

Tonight, the House completes its deliberations on a highly important Bill that will significantly promote public safety and confidence in our transport networks. Accordingly, I commend the Bill to the House.

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