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Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: My Lords, I sympathise with the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon of Tara, over his weary three-year wait. The more world-weary among us feel that we have wasted 21 years waiting for an integrated planning strategy. However, I am grateful for the noble Lord's gracious words in favour of some aspects of the plan.

The noble Lord asked about the estimated revenue from taxes and road user charging. That would be limited to charging at local level, whether in terms of road user charging or workplace parking schemes. We have factored into the 10-year plan a net income of £2.7 billion from that source. We have included no revenue at all from any anticipated charging for the trunk road or motorway network. That matter would, anyway, require primary legislation. We have made no provision and given no consideration to that, beyond

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the inclusion of some illustrative scenarios. Her Majesty's Treasury will make the decision on taxes; the Chancellor will do so year by year.

On the question of the fuel duty escalator, yes, we did raise it by 1 per cent. That was about half the increase introduced by Chancellor Kenneth Clarke after the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, had first introduced it. It went from 3 per cent, to 5 per cent, to 6 per cent. I am pleased to remind your Lordships that the fuel duty escalator was abolished in the last Budget--the first for 11 years in which there was no increase in fuel duty above the rate of inflation.

On the question of privatisation and the private sector, I do not think anyone would dispute that the way in which privatisation took place left us with a very fragmented system. We have spent the past three years trying to bring some coherence to that. We are happy that £60 billion will be invested for working alongside private business to rebuild our railways. I am delighted to point to increases in rail passengers and in rail freight, which will grow markedly over the next 10 years--by 50 per cent in the case of rail passengers and by 80 per cent in relation to rail freight.

Noble Lords may recall that the idea of trebling rail freight was not government policy. It was raised in a statement by the chief executive of the EWS company. It was his ambition to treble rail freight over the next 10 years. He has now left the company, and his successor has set a more modest target, in line with our own predictions.

We have announced nothing in the plan in relation to moneys to be spent that will have been invested before March next year. If we take as an example the Channel Tunnel rail link, there is a second phase to be completed and the moneys that will be made available through the plan will help to assure its completion. That will be the case also for the West Coast Main Line. Again, it is not a specific plan. Our plan puts the resources in place in an attempt to encourage the right deals to come forward. Whether or not the right deals are in place is a matter for the Strategic Rail Authority. Sir Alastair Morton will have £7 billion at his disposal to invest alongside the private sector, Railtrack, and the train operating companies.

Three hundred and sixty miles of motorway may be widened with the available resources. Which parts of the system are chosen for this purpose depends very much on the outcome of the multi-modal studies, some of which will report in a month or two. Others we are accelerating. Noble Lords, some of whom have had experience as transport Ministers, will be aware that on average the period between the beginning of consideration of a medium-sized road scheme and its completion is 10 years. That process will be speeded up. Noble Lords will see from the documentation we have produced that the new planning guidelines suggest that the process may take three to five years less than the present time by dealing with some parts of the process in parallel without in any sense usurping people's right to protest. We certainly shall not seek to subvert the work that we have under way in the multi-modal studies.

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We believe that most of the major projects in prospect will be completed inside 10 years. Obviously, there are unallocated billions in our plan to cope with major projects as they arise. I am particularly pleased that we have in prospect large projects for London such as CrossRail which will add 15 per cent capacity to the Underground and commuter train services in central London. That could be completed by 2010.

As far as concerns London, I remind the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, that we inherited the contract to build the Lewisham extension which provided for a toll each way on top of the normal fare. Ministers have agreed that an extra £20 million should be invested in new trains for that line and that no toll should be imposed. I believe that that is important.

I agree very much with the analysis of the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas of Walliswood. One important aspect of the 10-year plan is the consistency of funding which it offers to speed up the planning and procurement processes. We believe that it will allow all parties to work together, particularly big companies that may have to make decisions about staffing levels. I have no doubt that there will be resource constraints in some areas of the transport industry. This policy will allow people to plan better.

I have no doubt that we can lock in £56 billion of private investment alongside the £132 billion of public moneys that are in prospect over the 10 years. We look forward to London receiving its £25 billion share. We have tried not to double-count in any area. The major rail schemes that have been considered for London fall mainly within the £60 billion that Sir Alastair Morton and others in the rail industry will look to invest.

As regards bypasses, I give the assurance that in areas like Salisbury and Hereford we shall not do anything to undermine the planning procedures. There are in total 100 bypasses which can be looked at in various ways. There are 30 on the trunk road network and 70 at local level. Of those 100, half are in rural areas and half in urban areas. All of them will be subject to our new approach to appraisal which gives due weight to environmental, economic and safety factors. Contrary to what has been implied, I do not anticipate that there will be any strong reaction to what we have suggested. We have discussed this matter in advance very fully with environmental groups which understand the methodology that we have employed. I am grateful for the general support we have received from all sections of the transport industry today.

4.6 p.m.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean: My Lords, can the Minister tell the House whether the £3.2 billion which is to be made available for transport within London is conditional on the mayor abandoning the policies on which he was elected some two months ago? Can the noble Lord explain to the House how he is able to give such a glowing assessment of the prospects for London

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when the mayor is quoted as saying that the Government's proposals betray the capital's transport plans and have stitched up his administration?

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: My Lords, contrary to the suggestion that is perhaps implicit in the noble Lord's latter point, we have done no deals here. We have simply looked at what we believe London needs over the next three years. The mayor is on record as saying on 3rd July when he took over Transport for London that his ambition was to achieve an increase in funding of between 50 and 100 per cent. Had he achieved 100 per cent he would have received £3 billion. As it is, he has more than 100 per cent. I read with interest today that the mayor now says that he would really have liked £4 billion.

Baroness Cohen of Pimlico: My Lords, has my noble friend seen the statement by the CBI which welcomes the transport plan as a monumental victory for the business community? If so, does he agree that it is almost without precedent for the CBI to say that it has achieved all that it wants and accepts that the private sector will invest £60 billion alongside the Government's contribution?

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: My Lords, I am grateful for the CBI's endorsement of our intentions. The uncanny relationship between the CBI's £180 billion prediction of British business needs and ours was a happy coincidence since we were working from the bottom up across all these modes. It is perhaps even more uncanny that the CBI had asked for £130 billion of public money for capital investment and revenue and the figure came out at £132 billion. As a former member of the CBI, I formally deny any close collusion.

Lord Palmer: My Lords, I welcome the Statement, although some of the figures quoted are astronomic. I am very distressed that there are no plans in the Statement to put money into research and development of alternative fuels, especially as farming is going through the worst crisis in living memory. Yet the Government are committed to limiting greenhouse gas emissions. That is a great sadness.

I welcome the idea of 20-year rail franchises. I hope and pray that the Government have no plans not to renew the franchise on the East Coast line. Will the Minister place at the very top of his list of priorities the dualling of the A1 between Newcastle and the Border at Berwick-upon-Tweed, which is currently the most dangerous road in Britain?

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: My Lords, I believe that a closer inspection of what we intend will show that there is a considerable investment of about £100 million to encourage the development of alternative fuels and more efficient vehicles. The analysis in the research documents that accompany our plan shows that because of advances in technology it is anticipated that there will be a 20 per cent decrease in the cost of running cars over the next 10 years.

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As to franchising, that matter is probably best left to the Strategic Rail Authority. However, I agree with the noble Lord's analysis of the dangers of the A1. We are all aware of the fatalities that have occurred on the road between Newcastle and Scotland. In the past decade there have been 60 deaths, including some terrible head-on collisions, on that road. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State, who visited the region recently, has said that the Government will take a fresh look. We have advanced the multi-modal study on the A1. It is hoped that with the speeded-up procedures described earlier, action can be taken on that road. I agree it is very much overdue.

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