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Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 480B to 480F:

Page 127, line 5, leave out (“and proposed highways").
Page 127, line 6, at end insert--
(“( ) The record required to be prepared and maintained under subsection (3) above may consist of--
(a) a list;
(b) a map; or
(c) a list and a map.").
Page 127, line 7, leave out (“list and of that map") and insert (“record").
Page 127, line 12, leave out (“list and map") and insert (“record").
Page 127, line 13, leave out (“list and map") and insert (“record").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 230 [Supplementary provisions]:

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 480G:

Page 127, line 31, after (“Mayor") insert (“of London").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving this amendment, I shall also speak to Amendment No. 480H. These two amendments make minor technical changes to the Highways Act 1980 to ensure that the references to the mayor and assembly are free-standing with that Act. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 480H:

Page 127, line 33, after (“the") insert (“London").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 231 [Exercise of powers so as to affect another authority's roads]:

4.30 p.m.

Earl Attlee moved Amendment No. 481:

Page 128, line 10, at beginning insert (“Subject to subsection (11A) below,").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, in moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 482, 483, 484, 492 and 493.

We return to the thorny issue of the word “affect". The question has been raised as to how far the GLA/TfL will be able to interfere in local decisions through their control over GLA roads.

Various clauses insert new sections into the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 giving the GLA a veto over local decisions in respect of roads. This therefore appears to be the appropriate place to peg back GLA power by clarifying the basis on which it can act.

There is a serious question as to the meaning of “affect". This amendment would usefully end the uncertainty. Virtually anything, however trivial, that a London borough does will affect a road in another borough, especially if the two roads concerned are adjacent. As there is a need to notify, and that is subject to a one-month expiry period as provided for

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in subsection (3), that means that the London boroughs will always have a bureaucratic and statutory delay of one month imposed on any action which will not even have a substantial effect, if I can turn matters round the other way. It is important to make sure that consultation is not required for trivial matters. I beg to move.

Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, I question the purpose of the amendment. I believe it to be otiose--but no doubt my noble friend will be able to correct one or other of us on that point. If the matter were deemed to be de minimis in terms of the effect that it might have, it could not be capable of being upheld in the courts. Therefore, I wonder what value the word “substantially" would have in this respect.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, as I said in Committee in response to a similar amendment, the provisions in Clause 231 are modelled on current arrangements for designated roads and priority routes. The arrangements and the terminology have worked well for a number of years. The concept of “affect or likely to affect" is therefore well established and well understood. It is also possible that, should there be any confusion, the mayor would be able to issue guidance on the operation of these proceedings.

Changing a well understood formula would, as my noble friend Lord Clinton-Davis indicated, introduce an element of doubt as to whether previous operations had been changed, and it might well lead to some legal dubiety; whereas most people who operate the highways within London understand how the previous arrangements have worked. Therefore, we do not think it sensible to make a change. Amendments which change a formulation which has stood the test of time are usually not appropriate and would merely create uncertainty.

The noble Earl's objective of trying to exclude minor issues is understood. Currently, minor matters are excluded, and will be in future, because the mayor will have the same power as the Secretary of State to exclude them. It will be in his interests to do so in order to reduce bureaucracy. It would not be helpful for the noble Earl to pursue this change.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I am grateful for the contributions to this short debate. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 482 and 483 not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendments No. 483A:

Page 129, line 34, at end insert--
(“(11A) Any reference in this section to a GLA road includes a reference to a GLA side road, within the meaning of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (see sections 124A(9) and 142(1) of that Act).").

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment, I shall speak also to the other amendments in this group.

21 Oct 1999 : Column 1314

We have brought forward these amendments in response to concerns expressed by the Association of London Government that Transport for London should not be the highway authority for side roads to the GLA road network.

When we announced last February the Government's intentions for the GLA road network, we said that we were minded to include in it those short stretches of side road which were necessary for the safe and efficient operation of the main roads. That was an indication of intent. But we then heard representations from London's local authorities. They said that they did not think that that was sensible. We obviously, therefore, reconsidered our position. To say the least, that proved to be a somewhat complex matter and so it has taken some time and has required a number of meetings both at official and ministerial level to attempt to resolve it.

In Committee in July, I explained that the discussions were still ongoing. I am now able to report that, following the discussions held by my former colleague, Glenda Jackson, with the ALG later in July, we were able to reach a consensus on a practical way for TfL to have a measure of control over these short stretches of side road. Transport for London is to be the traffic authority for a new category of road known as “GLA side roads", but the local borough remains the highway authority. That is what the amendments before the House seek to ensure.

The key amendment in this group is Amendment No. 485ZA. It amends the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to provide the Secretary of State with the power to designate roads which are to be GLA side roads, in much the same way as Clause 227 provides for him to designate the first GLA road network.

Once the first GLA side roads have been defined, the Secretary of State can by order apply, for such modifications as he sees fit, the provisions of Sections 14B and 14C of the Highways Act 1980. The provisions will enable the mayor to change and to keep records of the GLA road network. That can also be applied to GLA side roads by order of the Secretary of State.

We have not sought to amend the Bill to set out in full the procedure for changing roads. Had we done so, your Lordships would, I regret to say, be faced with even more amendments. That is why we have taken the approach of an order-making power. After the long discussions that we have had with the boroughs in London and their professionals, we see this as the best way forward and it has been agreed among us.

The other amendments in this group, including this one, Amendment No. 483A, are effectively consequential amendments to Amendment No. 485ZA. They give effect to the intentions that I have spelt out. I beg to move.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, in Committee we were concerned regarding the ring of steel and the position of the City. In part the Minister has met our concerns with his amendment and we are grateful. There is a residual concern regarding side roads that have been

21 Oct 1999 : Column 1315

stopped up as part of the ring of steel. We are worried that they could be opened up, against the wishes of the City. Can the Minister give me any assurance on that?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, in the procedures for consultation and any change on the side roads, the City would remain the highways authority for the side roads. The GLA would be the traffic authority. Therefore, one hopes that the two could reach consensus. If they did not, on physical matters such as stopping up the road I assume that the position of the highways authority would be the determining one. Therefore, the City's position is maintained.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 484 not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 484YA:

Page 129, line 39, at end insert (“or GLA side roads").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 484ZA:

After Clause 231, insert the following new clause--


(“ . After section 301 of the Highways Act 1980 there shall be inserted--
Royal Parks or highways in London affected by proposals relating to the other.
301B.--(1) The Secretary of State shall not exercise any of his functions in relation to the management of roads or traffic in a Royal Park in such a way as to affect a highway in Greater London unless he has consulted the highway authority for the highway about the exercise of those functions in that way.
(2) A highway authority shall not exercise any of its functions in relation to a highway in Greater London in such a way as to affect a Royal Park unless it has consulted the Secretary of State about the exercise of those functions in that way.
(3) The duty imposed by subsection (1) or (2) shall not apply if it would not be reasonably practicable for the Secretary of State or, as the case may be, the highway authority to consult the other before exercising functions; but, in such a case, as soon as practicable after so exercising functions the Secretary of State or, as the case may be, the highway authority shall inform the other that those functions have been so exercised.
(4) In this section “Royal Park" means any park to which the Parks Regulation Act 1872 applies (see sections 1 and 3 of the Parks Regulation (Amendment) Act 1926)".").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

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