Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 201:

("(3) In a case where the charging authority is a county council, it shall not make a charge in relation to a particular town in its area without the agreement of the district council within which the town is placed.").

The noble Lord said: Clause 163 deals with the creation of local charging schemes. In drafting the amendment, I debated with myself whether it was appropriate to this clause or whether it should form a new clause. However, I think it sits perfectly well with this clause. Although there are other aspects of the clause which I do not regard as satisfactory, they concern different principles from those covered in this amendment.

In most non-metropolitan areas of the United Kingdom--I am sorry; we should bear in mind that we are talking here only of England and Wales--local authorities have two separate tiers. If this Bill is eventually passed, the authority responsible for the local transport plan--the local transport authority--will be the county council, which will have, rightly, all the powers under the Bill. In giving it those powers, Parliament will create an enormous potential for conflict between those responsible for administering transport policy and, in many cases, those who may feel that they have to sit and suffer the consequences--that is, the district councils.

District councils are rightly proud of their integrity and responsibility within their own areas. In this situation the closest co-operation, consultation and negotiation will be absolutely essential for the smooth running of any transport plan in a shire area. One has to think only of the circumstances which exist in my own county and across many other counties--where even a district council may have three or four main towns within its area--to see that there could be difficulties. Some district councils already have

17 Jul 2000 : Column 594

problems with the integrity of a particular town within their district; exacerbating the situation in a large county such as Essex-- it has 13 districts, many of which are multi-town districts--could produce real problems.

The amendment seeks to ensure that where the charging authority is a county council, it shall not make a charge--I think the correct wording should have been a "charging scheme"--in relation to a particular town in its area without the agreement of the district council within which that town is located. If we are not to create a series of minor civil wars across the face of this land, that should be on the face of the Bill. It is very important.

It may be that the Minister will feel inclined to say that he has every intention of introducing regulations to bring about the situation I seek. If he has, he could equally honourably say that he will accept the amendment--or, at least, if he does not like the wording, that he will bring back an amendment of his own. I look forward to his reply. I beg to move.

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Again I find myself in sympathy with the concerns of the noble Lord. I certainly expect district councils in two-tier areas to be fully consulted about any proposals to introduce a charging or licensing scheme in their area and their views to be taken carefully into account. I should say that we are talking here only about England and not about Wales. However, we do not consider that it is appropriate to give district councils a veto over the introduction of schemes. The statutory responsibility for the charging and licensing powers rests firmly with the local traffic authority. Allowing district councils to veto plans would blur that responsibility.

However, I assure Members of the Committee that we will ensure that district councils are properly consulted over any proposals, using our scheme approval powers, or regulations on the procedures for making scheme orders. If there is a disagreement between a local traffic authority and a district council I envisage that that is something the Secretary of State would consider as part of his approval of schemes. I hope that the noble Lord will therefore agree not to press the amendment.

Lord Dixon-Smith: We are on more or less the same ground as we were previously. Will the noble Lord consider bringing forward amendments to the Bill to give effect to what he has said rather than simply do it by ministerial fiat or by regulation? We really do need to see this case decided clearly.

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: I am not able to offer that assurance. However, in the context of all the other assurances that I have offered--not just on the use of regulations on procedures but on scheme approval powers--I hope that the noble Lord will not feel it necessary to press the point.

17 Jul 2000 : Column 595

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: Before the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, decides what to do about his amendment, can the Minister tell the Committee how he sees the situation when congestion charging or a reduction in congestion is being sought not in major towns such as Nottingham or Derby, which are recognised centres for their areas, but in one of our smaller towns, where total cessation of movement of any kind is most likely to occur? If a scheme was introduced in small town A but no scheme was introduced in small town B, all the traffic would move to small town B in order to try to get into the town for free. How does the Minister think the Secretary of State would deal with that kind of observation were it to be brought to him during the course of his approval activities?

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: We would respond to that situation by ensuring that there had been full consultation and that the Secretary of State was well informed of the concerns expressed by the smaller towns. If there was going to be any disproportionate effect on any specific area, that would be taken into account by the Secretary of State as part of his approval of the schemes.

Lord Dixon-Smith: In his reply the Minister makes it remarkably difficult to disagree with him. The problem is that an outcome which is satisfactory as to conclusion but is not satisfactory as to method is not one which I find to be wholly satisfactory. Although it is early in the afternoon and we are not used to walking and exercising at such an early hour, I nonetheless want to test the view of the Committee.

3.43 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 201) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 63; Not-Contents, 134.

Division No. 1


Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Blatch, B.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller]
Butterworth, L.
Byford, B.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elles, B.
Fookes, B.
Geddes, L.
Glentoran, L.
Hanham, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Hogg, B.
Holderness, L.
Hooper, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Liverpool, E.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E. [Teller]
O'Cathain, B.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Reay, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Sharples, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vivian, L.
Wilcox, B.


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Allen of Abbeydale, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Brennan, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Craig of Radley, L.
David, B.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fitt, L.
Gale, B.
Gavron, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grabiner, L.
Greengross, B.
Grenfell, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Islwyn, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Laird, L.
Laming, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Ludford, B.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Morgan, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Orme, L.
Palmer, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Paul, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Redesdale, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Russell, E.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

17 Jul 2000 : Column 597

3.56 p.m.

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 202:

    Page 99, line 26, at end insert--

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page