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Lord Jenkin of Roding moved Amendment No. 68:

Page 162, line 16, after second ("roads") insert ("or part or parts thereof")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 68 I suggest that the House discusses also Amendments Nos. 69 to 71. This group of amendments follows the considerable new clauses that were added to the Bill at the Report stage and had originally been sparked off by the suggestion that there was confusion between what would be GLA roads and what would remain borough, or, in the case of the City, City Corporation roads. Particular reference was made at the time to the so-called "ring of steel".

When I saw the amendments that were accepted by the House at the Report stage I thought that they were ingenious. The problem is how to deal with the side roads and the junctions. The anxiety of the boroughs and of the City Corporation had been that the short

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lengths of all the side roads adjacent to GLA roads would become the responsibility of Transport for London. The question was raised as to whether Transport for London would be the body, for instance, to deal with loose kerbstones or broken paving stones. That is a function of a highway authority whereas Transport for London is concerned with traffic.

The solution was chosen--I thought that it was sensible--that for those lengths of the side roads the boroughs and the City Corporation would remain the traffic authority (which is what TfL is primarily concerned with) while leaving the boroughs and the City as the highway authority. However, since those amendments were tabled and agreed by the House at Report stage the City of Westminster has taken legal advice about the drafting of the new clauses. It was intended that the Bill should affect short lengths of the side roads adjacent to the GLA roads but, as drafted, the clauses now appear to transfer the traffic authority for the whole of each side road to Transport for London. If this is intended--I do not believe it is--the effect would be to hand control to TfL of a great many local authority roads, particularly in central London where the GLA road network is already expected to be more dense than elsewhere in London.

Westminster City Council has been advised by the Minister's department that it is intended that the division should mirror the current powers of the traffic director in relation to red route returns, as the side roads to red routes are called. However, that is not a valid parallel; the legislation is quite different. The traffic director currently is neither the traffic nor the highway authority for red routes or their returns.

Section 50 of the Road Traffic Act 1991 allows the Secretary of State to designate any road in London as a priority or red route. He did this in a 1992 statutory instrument without any reference being made to side roads or red route returns. Section 53 of the Road Traffic Act 1991 requires the traffic director to produce a network plan of what he wishes to see on red routes. The traffic director's network plan states that he expects red lines to be extended into the junctions with red routes by 10 or 20 metres. I recollect that at earlier stages of the Bill those were the numbers mentioned as the extent of TfL's interest in the side roads.

To legislate for a standard pattern such as that is not very sensible. Westminster now has a good many red routes in its area. The council has put round some extremely informative leaflets and other information to residents in dwellings adjacent to red routes. The length of the red route returns varies. In each case it has been decided on an individual basis after discussions with consultants and with the traffic director. Westminster City Council is concerned that the clauses added on Report will potentially give the mayor and Transport for London much more power in their role as traffic authority than the city council would want to see or than the Government have informally indicated they intend.

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This issue was not raised fully on Report because by that time the amendments came so thick and fast--we have just had several more pages added--that it was difficult for the authorities to keep up with it. However, having looked at the issue and discussed it with officials in the Minister's department, Westminster City Council feels anxious that the Bill does not fulfil the Government's intention. The department suggested that it could not be put right; that it was too difficult to amend. Westminster City Council has sought to do so, and I have tabled these four amendments. They seek to implement what the Government really intend; namely, that the division of functions should apply only to short lengths of side roads adjacent to GLA roads. I beg to move.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, my noble friend Lord Jenkin of Roding explained the issue far better than I ever could. It would be advisable to have a definite limit as to the extent to which a GLA road goes down a side road. I look forward to the Minister's reply.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: My Lords, the amendments introduced by the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin of Roding, are interesting. I am speaking from memory but I remember that we were reassured by the Minister when he introduced these clauses--which it is suggested should now be subject to amendment--that they had been put together as a result of consultation with the London boroughs and the Common Council. We now hear that one of those is alarmed about the clauses. Many people will wish to be reassured that these clauses will not result in conflict between the GLA and the London boroughs. At the time of the GLC, one of the major sources of conflict between it and the London boroughs was on precisely this issue of side roads, about where they began and where they ended. That was one of the most common causes of conflict. We would like to be reassured that Clause 267 meets the concerns of the London boroughs, which I know were expressed at an early stage of the Bill.

7.15 p.m.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, the amendments are not necessary. Some of the anxieties to which the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, referred are misplaced. Clause 267 is designed to allow the Secretary of State to designate the kind of roads which are currently subject to red route controls, including red route returns in red routes and in other GLA roads.

It is true that some of those roads do not directly join the main road. They have none the less been included in the red route return arrangements because they allow effective management of traffic and parking on the main roads. That is the established position. It is not therefore limited necessarily to junctions and a few yards down from the junction. Although this legislation is slightly different, we are seeking to give the mayor and TfL the red routes for traffic purposes and to leave the Highway Authority structure as it is. There is no intention under this clause or Clause 265 to designate vast new swathes of side roads as GLA

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roads. We will use it to replicate as far as possible the current boundaries of the red route network and those few other cases to which I have referred.

The intention behind this is that the GLA, the boroughs and the City will discuss areas of dispute. At the end of the day, the Secretary of State will have the final say on designation.

I regret to say that I fully expected the noble Lord to raise as an example the City of London. I therefore do not have the precise figures for the City of Westminster. But the noble Lord is interested in both cases and perhaps I may use the City of London to illustrate my point. The lengths of side roads that are subject to red route controls at the moment--and this will continue to be the case in existing red routes--vary from nil at Spital Square to 56.3 metres in Threadneedle Street. We are therefore talking about relatively short amounts of road within the City. There are some roads in the City which are not currently red routes but which will become GLA roads. I think the noble Lord is familiar with those. We do not envisage any significantly different pattern from the existing red route roads. We shall be discussing with the City corporation what should be the boundaries for traffic authority purposes.

I can assure the House that this matter will be approached on the same basis as the red routes and that a similar pattern will emerge. The extent of a side road so designated will be limited; disputes about future designation will be subject to conciliation between the boroughs, the City, the GLA and TfL; and the Secretary of State will have the final say. In no sense are we attempting a major grab of borough or City roads. I hope therefore that the noble Lord will not pursue his amendments.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord. He has taken some pains to explain the position of the Government and what they intend to do. It seems to me at this stage that is what is most important. The noble Lord indicated that he would be discussing with the City Corporation the application of these clauses to its roads. Having heard what has been said, I am sure that discussions with Westminster will be continued. That council now has a number of red routes and will also have GLA roads in its area. Of course, if amendments are found to be necessary, there is an opportunity for them to be added in another place because this is an amendment to the main clause and amendments have been added in this House. In the circumstances, it would be quite inappropriate for me to press these amendments and I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 68.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 69 to 71 not moved.]

Clause 290 [Road user charging]:

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