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Lord Berkeley: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her explanation.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, the amendment covers the points raised both in relation to speed and congestion. Although I am taking the amendments together, Amendment No. 493D covers the point raised by my noble friend Lord Berkeley. Where the Royal Parks Agency proposes to carry out anything which is likely to affect a road for which a different authority is the traffic authority--in this case mainly the boroughs of Kensington and Westminster--it must consult with that authority. Similarly the traffic authority must consult the Royal Parks under parallel arrangements. There is no provision in statute or in the regulations covering the Royal Parks which requires that consultation.

We saw a little problem in the Mall a short while ago and, as the noble Baroness said, there are continuing problems in Hyde Park. The amendments are not designed to allow the GLA to somehow override everything the Royal Parks wish to do--they are in a special category--but they should have a duty to consult the local traffic authority and Transport for London.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 137 [Implementation by the Mayor]:

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 351B:

Page 75, line 36, at end insert--
(“( ) Where the Mayor issues a direction to a London borough council under subsection (5) above, the council shall comply with the direction.").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this is a technical amendment which requires a London borough to comply with a direction given by the mayor under Clause 137(5).

The amendment must be right. It would not make sense were we to be in a position where a borough could totally ignore a direction from the mayor in implementing his plans.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 138 [Directions by the Mayor]:

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer moved Amendment No. 352:

Page 75, leave out lines 43 and 44.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 352 I shall speak also to Amendment Nos. 353 to 357 which stand in the names of my noble friends.

The first four amendments seek to delete the power of the mayor to give directions to boroughs in respect of certain functions which we believe should be dealt with by the boroughs. This makes clear who is elected to do what and the public would continue to see who is responsible for the different areas within the different tiers of government.

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We believe that the kind of detail that is proposed will cloud the issue. The mayor's role should be visionary, enabling and strategic. As drafted, the Bill enables the mayor to direct borough councils in great detail. Without our amendments that power will remain in the Bill. It will simply encourage the mayor to become involved in the kind of functions that rightly belong to the borough.

Under Clause 138(1)(a) the mayor has the power to give general directions--that is fine--but Clause 138(1)(b) enables him to give specific directions of the way in which a borough is to exercise those functions. We believe that the way in which a borough implements a strategy should be a matter for the borough.

It gets worse. Under Clause 138(2)(b) the mayor has the power to dictate to a borough which bodies or persons must be consulted about a local implementation plan. He is not suggesting to boroughs who might be consulted; he is telling boroughs who must be consulted. Similar considerations apply in Clause 138(2)(e) where the mayor may direct the borough to implement proposals within a certain time. This kind of detail is a disincentive for the public to regard London boroughs as being accountable. It will encourage the mayor to fiddle in detail.

The issue was discussed in Committee on 28th June. The Minister said that the local implementation plans would be the key to successful implementation. Clause 130 defines in broad terms who the boroughs should work with and who to consult. Clause 131 clearly indicates to the boroughs that the mayor will not approve their implementation plans unless a number of criteria are fulfilled. There follow five pages in the Bill which deal with what will happen if the boroughs fail to comply. The Government added to this in Committee by the addition of Clause 132. We tried to be more positive at that point by moving Amendment No. 247A, which stated that the mayor shall approve a local implementation plan if he considers that it meets the criteria set out in subsection (3). The spirit of that amendment in Committee was correct but the Government were not able to accept it.

We believe that if the Government wish to stick by their guns and require the mayor to issue all these directions to the borough councils, at least he should consult the assembly before so doing. Amendment No. 356 seeks to achieve this. Perhaps more importantly, the mayor should consult the borough councils. Even if it is an informal consultation, it should be on the face of Bill that he consults borough councils before he issues directions, which are inflexible and detailed to the point of telling the boroughs which people they should consult.

At a time when the Government are pinning so much on best value, consultation, public opinion panels and encouraging borough councils to go down this road, it will undermine the spirit of that approach if the mayor directs exactly who should be consulted by the boroughs. One hopes that by the time the mayor issues his implementation plan to the boroughs they

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will have carried out a lot of work on public consultation, perhaps far more than they have to date. We feel the amendments are important. I beg to move.

Lord Bowness: My Lords, I support the amendment moved by the noble Baroness. No doubt we will be told by the Minister that these provisions are here for extreme cases where borough councils do not do their job properly. However, that ignores the temptation that these powers will be to the mayor, perhaps to members of the assembly, and, more importantly, to their officials. The temptation to meddle will be enormous.

If the Greater London Authority is to be properly strategic, as the noble Baroness said, it has to stay out of details such as this. When it is given specific power to get down to this kind of detailed level, inevitably it will. We shall see a return to some of the worst features of previous structures of local government in London.

Without doubt, there was a patronising attitude in County Hall among members of all parties, and officers in particular: the belief that London borough councils were good for dealing with allotments; they might possibly be capable of dealing with pedestrian crossings provided no traffic flowed over them; but, apart from that, all matters should be dealt with by the real experts--both members and officers--at County Hall. I suspect that enshrining in this legislation the ability of the mayor--who no doubt will be pressured by his officers and the assembly members--to deal in this way with local implementation plans will prove to be an unmitigated disaster. It should be resisted and I urge noble Lords to support the amendment.

6.30 p.m.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, this group of amendments seeks to change the reserve powers which we consider would, in extreme circumstances, be needed in order to deliver the transport strategy. We envisage, as noble Lords have said, that the mayor will work closely with boroughs in order to deliver the strategy. But we believe that the mayor should have effective powers. These amendments would have the effect of frustrating the ability of the mayor to require boroughs to produce local implementation plans to carry forward the strategic transport strategy.

We believe that anything that undermines the system of local implementation plans strikes at the heart of the mayor's transport powers. I hope that we have made clear in everything we have said to date about the relationship between the mayor and the boroughs that we see it as absolutely vital that the two parties work together closely, co-operating, consulting and improving London's transport. We have made it clear that the spirit and principle of subsidiarity applies and that matters that can be done should be done at the appropriate level. That is why, for example, it is only right that the boroughs will have 95 per cent of London's roads because they are best placed to deal with local matters that arise in respect of such roads. We listened extremely carefully to the

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representations of the boroughs and the Association of London Government and we are now amending the Bill on Report to provide for the concept of GLA side roads.

One theme which has been made clear through all our policies right back to the Green Paper and the White Paper is that if the GLA is to be a successful strategic authority for London, and to tackle transport issues at a pan-London level, it must have adequate powers to deal with wider initiatives. For example, matters which straddle more than one borough. I know that all sides of your Lordships' House would not want to see bus routes which cannot be implemented because they straddle more than one borough.

As we have said before, the mayor's strategy will set out a framework within which boroughs, the Mayor and TfL can work together. However, I have to say that in the event of problems or delays in one particular area, Londoners cannot afford to have important transport issues potentially bogged down in long-drawn-out wrangling because there is no mechanism for resolution. The powers of the mayor in the clauses on local implementation plans are carefully designed to deal with that eventuality. The powers are set within a broad framework that anticipates co-operation, mutual consultation and a spirit of joint working between mayor and boroughs. However, at the end of the day there must be powers in the plans for the mayor to settle things in the interests of Londoners.

I hope that, in the light of my reply, noble Lords will feel that the amendments should not be pursued.

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