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Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 110:

(c) those required for business and commerce operating in the area;").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 110 seeks to add words to subsection (2) of Clause 107, which reads at present:

    "The transport facilities and services mentioned in subsection (1) are--

    (a) those required to meet the needs of persons living or working in the authority's area, or visiting or travelling through that area, and

    (b) those required for the transportation of freight".

We believe, as stated in Amendment No. 110, that it is appropriate to add:

    "(c) those required for business and commerce operating in the area".

Of course, business and commerce are intimately involved in the movement of people and freight, but the straightforward, smooth and streamlined system of moving those people and freight may not always be in the best interests of business and commerce. Indeed, business and commerce should properly be taken into account in this matter.

A simple way of illustrating this point is that for years my local small town prayed for a by-pass and eventually achieved one. Everybody was immensely relieved. It was as though a river that had been pouring down a ravine through the middle of the community had been turned off. One month later the local chamber of trade met to protest that it had lost business, as it had. Some of that huge volume of traffic that passed through the town used to stop.

I do not need to argue as to who is right and who is wrong. That example makes the point. So business and commerce must have their views taken into account. All businesses need customers. It does not matter whether they are big multinational corporations or the village shop, they depend on customers; they depend on the smooth movement of both people and freight in relation to their business. But that may not be the same as in relation to their community, which is the way in which the Bill is presently biased.

Amendment No. 111 was tabled almost in surprise that nowhere in the Bill is the question of atmospheric pollution or greenhouse gas emissions mentioned. Considering this is the Transport Bill and the reduction of those emissions, among other things, is what the Bill is about, it is an extraordinary omission, particularly coming from a government who have preached the needs of cleaning up the atmosphere as a nation. I felt therefore that the words in Amendment No. 111 should be added to the Bill.

There are many different aspects to this problem. There is the strategic planning issue to be considered. But much can be done by local authorities in the

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immediate time-scale. Paradoxically, traffic authorities face a problem in this regard in that there is a huge conflict of interest between them and residents who want traffic in their areas slowed down to make crossing the street easier. Initially, sleeping policemen are requested at monotonously regular intervals. The residents then find that with cars accelerating or braking and, even worse, lorries driving down those roads, they experience much more noise and atmospheric pollution than before. But the way parking restrictions are laid out on streets can have an effect on the smooth flow of traffic.

We may find, particularly in some of the metropolitan areas, that the authorities are in a position to help to reduce atmospheric pollution by encouraging people involved in transport to take advantage of new technologies. For instance, if all buses and taxis were fuelled by compressed natural gas, atmospheric pollution in metropolitan areas would be dramatically reduced. I can well imagine, under the powers in the Bill, some authorities wishing to introduce experimental schemes of that nature. They are not barred at the moment, but there is nothing in the Bill to make them specifically consider doing so. The addition of Amendment No. 111 would encourage that. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: The noble Lord's intervention on this issue shows exactly the point I identified in relation to the previous group of amendments; namely, that once we start specifying things in the Bill, the list becomes endless. There is little in what the noble Lord said in terms of policy with which I disagree. But it is a question of whether this should be done by stipulation on the face of the Bill or by guidance.

For those who doubt the efficacy of guidance, it is clear that Clause 111(1) places a legal requirement on authorities to have regard to the guidance. If we are too specific in the Bill and list all those who must be consulted or whose interests must be taken into account, then that list expands, as do the policy objectives.

The noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, almost accepted that, if we were to add the reference to business and commerce, we would in a sense be duplicating what must be subsumed in the Bill--if it is not subsumed, then there is a problem--under Clause 107(2)(a),

    "those required to meet the needs of persons living or working in the authority's area",

and Clause 107(2)(b),

    "those required for the transportation of freight",

which clearly cover the commercial and business interests within the area. Amendment No. 111 seeks to add the words,

    "those required to reduce atmospheric pollution and greenhouse gas emissions".

Again, that is already part of local authorities' existing duties which must be integrated with the local transport plan. Under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995, local authorities are required to review and assess their local air quality and to designate air quality management

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areas where there are problems. The right way to draw the local transport policies and air quality processes together and to ensure consistency between them is through guidance, which we have already issued on local transport plans. The transport and air pollution guide which we issued earlier this year under Section 88 of the Environment Act 1995 already emphasises the importance of close co-operation between transport planners and environmental health officers.

The reality is that those matters are being built into the local transport plan process at local level through that process and other requirements on local authorities. The amendments therefore go beyond what it is sensible to specify on the face of the Bill.

Lord Dixon-Smith: The Minister's reply ran along the lines I was expecting. But his answer did not add to the clarity of the Bill. None the less, I shall study what he said with great care. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 111 not moved.]

Lord Beaumont of Whitley moved Amendment No. 112:

    Page 65, line 25, after ("document") insert ("containing targets").

The noble Lord said: It is not very often that I find myself in the position of offering assistance to the Deputy Prime Minister, but circumstances prevailed upon me to do so in these amendments.

In 1997, shortly after the general election, the Deputy Prime Minister stated clearly that he, "would have failed if, in five years, there are not more people using public transport and far fewer journeys by car". I should hate for him to fail. That is why these amendments are essential to making local transport plans work. Without these simple amendments it will be impossible to measure the success or failure of policies employed within local transport plans. Without this analysis I fear that it will be difficult to share best practice between local transport executives or for best value to be judged objectively on behalf of the public transport user. Without these amendments how can we guarantee that this otherwise fairly interesting piece of legislation is taken seriously at a regional and local level?

Let me briefly outline the concerns that lead my party to deem that specific action to encourage challenge setting is necessary--concerns which Members of the Committee on all sides of the Chamber have expressed both today and previously.

Cycling and walking are in decline, yet doctors tell us, as we are all well aware, to take more exercise. Children are not allowed out to play because parents are concerned that they may be involved in traffic accidents, and the leading cause of death in the one to 14 age bracket is motor accidents. In relation to climate change, the weather the world is currently experiencing must be at least partly ascribed to climatic changes in our atmosphere brought about by

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pollution. Recent surges in the use of the private motorcar have seen levels of CO2 rise massively. That has led to significant increases in the numbers of asthma sufferers. The pollution levels on the vast majority of streets in Britain now exceed the safe standards agreed by the World Health Organisation, and those safety standards are there to protect human life and well-being.

Not only that, but the Confederation of British Industry believes that British businesses lose £19 billion a year as a direct result of road congestion. In the past decade, each car journey was subsidised in terms of road building, related costs to the NHS, and environmental degradation to the tune of 5p per kilometre or 9p per mile.

If we are to meet our national commitment, agreed at Kyoto, to reduce CO2 levels by 2010, we must add transport. It is less of a nettle because nettles are easier to grasp than a thorny rose that rips one's hands. More than 400 Members in the other place have signed a number of Early-Day Motions supporting traffic reduction, and the general public want significant progress. The Deputy Prime Minister promised as much and the Government must deliver. Targets will produce transparent change. Success can be monitored more easily and shared between local transport executives, leading to swifter benefits to our lungs and safety. I beg to move.

4 p.m.

Lord Whitty: I begin by correcting the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont, in quoting my right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister. He gave an indirect quote that has been misused on a number of occasions. To this very day, my right honourable friend has to put people right on it. We have never purposed a target in the sense that the amendments suggest.

We support the idea of targets and they will appear in local transport plans. We have encouraged local authorities to draw up appropriate targets, but is it right to introduce a statutory duty to that effect? We think not. It is by no means clear what would be achieved by the amendments. A simple duty to include targets is vague. How many targets? In what areas? The duty could be met by a minimalist approach or by a maximalist and excessively prescriptive approach. We do not accept that it would be sensible to be restrictive in this part of the Bill. The nature of targets has to be built in by each local authority.

We have already set out in current guidance on non-statutory LTPs that plans and strategies should include targets and performance indicators across all areas covered by an LTP, as part of the monitoring process. It should be left to local transport authorities to determine the precise package of performance indicators and targets that best reflects their particular local circumstances. The current guidance on local transport plans also requires authorities to have regard to already established national transport or transport-related targets.

Amendment No. 116 would place a requirement on an authority to keep its local transport plan under review and to alter it if that were considered

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appropriate. The effect is to remove the power to alter the plan. That seems unduly Stalinist, when the noble Lord is usually flexible in such matters. The amendment would remove also the flexibility to react to changing circumstances. Retaining the power to keep the plan under review and to modify it must be central to making the process work.

I have to resist the amendments and Amendment No. 116 in particular as it seems undesirable.

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