Examination of Witnesses (Questions 200
WEDNESDAY 7 DECEMBER 2005
Q200 Chairman: Yes. I think some
of us know our own limitations. Mr Link?
Mr Link: Just to add to those
comments, there are residents' parking zones where numbers are
limited and where in many cases residents do nevertheless find
that a fair system. People moving into the area might know that
they need to go onto a waiting list. There might be a differential
price for first and subsequent permits. Initially permits are
issued one per household, and so on, so there are ways of managing
demand but that is all they are. But they are in many cases respected
by the residents.
Mr Franklin: I think there is
a silent voice as well, those people who do not own cars or who
rely on walking, and so on. Very often elected councillors do
not hear those voices so loudly because it is always the people
who in a sense feel they are suffering who are shouting the loudest.
Q201 Chairman: It is not unconnected
with the fact that most members of the Press are deeply wedded
to their combustion engine. So tell me, is the planning policy
guidance absolutely appropriate? Do we need changes? Is there
anything else which ought to be included or are you saying it
is perfectly all right, it is just the way it is administered
and the difficulties which arise because councils do not apply
it consistently? Is that what you are saying?
Mr Franklin: I think it needs
a greater subsidy. I think the trouble with the whole thing, for
instance, about density and the link between density and parking
is that it is very broad. There probably needs to be scope for
different types of schemes. I think in some schemes you need more
parking, in other schemes you need less parking, and because it
is talking about an overall ratio it does not necessarily reflect
those sorts of differences. We also think that with new schemes
also you do have to look at that whole package, which is about
how walkable neighbourhoods are and are there local facilities
within that crucial 15 minute walk which makes a difference as
to whether people use their cars for those short journeys or whether
they walk for those short journeys.
Q202 Chairman: If they can, of course,
Mr Franklin. We must not produce policies which totally ignore
the needs of people who cannot do a 15 minute walk, must we?
Mr Franklin: No, that is true.
Q203 Chairman: It is not use getting
the cars off the pavements so that they can walk down the pavement
if at the end of it they cannot breathe, is it, really?
Mr Franklin: No, that is true,
but in terms of people who cannot walk so far there are all sorts
of things which can be done in terms of making it easier for people.
Firstly, things like making sure there is a network of places
for people to sit, to rest along the route.
Q204 Chairman: Yes. At that rate
it would take a little time to get to the station, would it not,
if we were resting at the end of every road?
Mr Franklin: It could do.
Q205 Chairman: Some of us might give
that impression, but we try hard! What about new technology? Is
it going to solve all the problems of parking pavement facilities?
Mr Adams: I think there is new
technology which has helped in terms of public opinion, in terms
of the way a parking ticket is issued. I know a lot of authorities
now when they issue a ticket have photographic evidence with the
ticket, so that has helped public confidence, i.e. if they appeal
they can see if they have photographic evidence backing that up.
Cctv has helped that in terms of technology. They can view the
evidence tape in terms of that. Also, in terms of traffic orders
there is now software which is able to manage the traffic order
so that you update it and you can have a whole filing record of
it. That is becoming more transparent. I think authorities are
becoming more transparent in terms of how they operate and I think
new technology has helped that immensely along the way.
Q206 Chairman: Can I ask you, Mr
Link, has the Institution at local government level of the GLA
ever made the slightest attempt to talk? I know it is difficult
given some of the links, but have you ever as an institution approached
the local authorities as a joint institution and asked to discuss
their implementation of traffic management plans?
Mr Link: Not to my knowledge.
Q207 Chairman: So would the normal
route be that you would make representations and you would expect
the people with whom you deal to make representations to the Government?
Forgive me, but I really have read that report which you have
got there. I think you should announce the title, by the way.
Mr Link: It is the Institution
of Highways and Transportation Parking Strategies and Management
Q208 Chairman: Thank you. It is very
noticeable to me that it seems to contain a sort of distillation
of sensible policies, but if that is not specifically drawn to
the attention of local authoritieswe are saying here consistently
this afternoon there is no consistency. The one thing which is
consistent is that they are inconsistent?
Mr Link: Yes, and that is recognised
in the guidelines and in putting it together it was extraordinarily
difficult to make it generally applicable. In so many cases what
might be general guidance was splitting down into a whole myriad
of circumstances of different government arrangements, London,
Q209 Chairman: Mr Elliott, what about
you? You have got all that expertise. What do you do with it?
Mr Elliott: An awful lot of us
in local government are members of the Institute of Highways and
Transportation, so we get it and in fact they built it probably
from a lot of local government
Q210 Chairman: I understand that,
but it is actually a simpler point I am making. There is no point
in the experts in traffic management coming and consistently saying
to a committee such as this one in the House of Commons, "Government
must do this," if you are not at the same time looking at
the traffic management schemes right the way across local authorities.
It is local authorities who will have to use your expertise. What
consistent approaches do you make, all of you, to ensure that
is the case?
Mr Elliott: I think we do need
to do some work in that area anyway.
Q211 Chairman: Well, you can go away,
Mr Elliott, and come back with a précis of your last report.
Mr Franklin: The only thing we
can say is that through out own organisation we have got a network
of branches across the country and what we try to do is spread
our expertise in terms of what pedestrians and users need and
make sure that our branches are wherever possible campaigning
within their local authority for those changes.
Chairman: With that small nag, can I
say thank you to you all. It has been really very instructive
and very helpful. Thank you.