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Lord Berkeley: My Lords, I am very grateful to my noble friend for that explanation. I do not accept some of his comments. It certainly is not targeting the good and responsible hauliers or the experienced drivers. I

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suspect that those who are overweight will at some stage have to go into one of these big facilities, because that is the way life goes. It does not actually stop anybody doing spot checks on the motorway but the problem is: will they get done?

I was a little hurt by the comment of the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, about "lorry bashing". If I am bashing lorries, they are illegal lorries. I wanted to make it clear that they are unfair on the competition and this also has a serious road safety implication, as the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, said. I have no problem with that: I am pleased to continue to do it. However, regarding the large number of responsible lorries and experienced drivers, we have all encouraged them and must continue to do it. That was something mentioned yesterday by my right honourable friend the Chancellor as something which should contribute significantly to that aspect.

I think we have debated this quite enough. It is tempting to talk about dividing the House, but it will not do any good. I shall read with great interest what my noble friend has said, because this is something we should take forward and keep pressing the Road Haulage Forum and the Government to achieve the end result that more lorries will be checked, particularly those suspected of being overweight, so that they may be brought to justice. One good way of doing that would be for those who do the checking to have hypothecation of the charges and not to suffer from Treasury-imposed cutbacks. In the light of these remarks I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 26 not moved.]

Earl Attlee moved Amendment No. 27:

    After Clause 264, insert the following new clause--


(" .--(1) The Secretary of State may by order implement a scheme for the charging of foreign lorries and large passenger vehicles on entering the United Kingdom.
(2) The scheme may apply different charges for different classes of vehicle.
(3) Before implementing a scheme under this section the Secretary of State shall consult United Kingdom local authorities, road haulage and passenger vehicle operators, the European Commission and any other bodies which appear appropriate.
(4) The effects of the scheme must be reviewed annually.
(5) No order may be made by the Secretary of State under this section unless a draft of the instrument containing it has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 27. I am enormously grateful to the Minister for drawing my Britdisc Report stage amendment to the attention of his right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has of course seen the value of it and hopes that it will pacify the haulage industry somewhat. That is why he announced it yesterday; but that is all he did. There does not appear to be much detail available.

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In Committee I moved a similar amendment, which applied only to vehicles carrying abnormal loads. In his reply at col. 553 on 26th July, the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, drew the Committee's attention to the eurovignette directive, which would limit the maximum cost of a vignette to 1,250 euros: about £800. Does he believe this will be enough to have the desired effect of making foreign hauliers pay their full track costs, and is that the objective of having the Britdisc? To be fair to the Minister, the proposed reduction in VED will be welcome and I am sure that the Minister will say that both have to be considered together. Will the Minister seek a relaxation of the vignette regime from our EU partners or will he adhere to the current EU maxima?

Some of the extra costs arising from increased foreign lorry flows fall disproportionately upon certain local authorities. Will any of the receipts from these charges go directly to them or will they all be kept by the Chancellor?

The brief Statement by the Chancellor yesterday in another place was stated to be an intention, but little in the way of a timescale was given. As we know, time travels very fast. The Britdisc has been our policy on these Benches since April 1999. When will the Britdisc be implemented? It would seem that there is no chance of getting the scheme off the ground before the next election. I hope we shall see it in the election manifesto of the party opposite. I beg to move.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, is right. I summoned the Chancellor of the Exchequer to my office immediately after the debate, and demanded that a Britdisc should be put in place. He, as he always does, listened very carefully to what I said and agreed to it. No--you cannot do that sort of thing from the Dispatch Box: irony never works!

Of course the noble Earl is right in saying that the Chancellor only gave the barest outline of his proposals in his pre-Budget report. It was already a very long report and it is difficult to include all the detail. However, I can confirm a number of points which he may find helpful. First, as I said last time, we are not talking here about a eurovignette; we are talking about something more comparable to the individual scheme which Austria operates. Even so, we would first have to conform to the maximum limits of charges, which have only been in force since last year. They were agreed after several years of difficult negotiations between member states, and they may be renegotiated at a future date, although currently there are no plans to do so.

The second point is that any vignette or Eurodisc of this kind would have to apply to UK lorries as well. I rather teased the noble Earl last time by asking if it really was his policy to add the eurocharge to the existing VED. He will be aware of the Chancellor's announcements on VED yesterday and he will also be aware that in repeating the Statement in the debate following the repetition of the pre-Budget report Statement I said that it would be our intention to temper the wind to the shorn lamb. In other words, we

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would be looking at the possibilities of reducing VED to UK hauliers to compensate for the fact that they would have to pay this extra amount.

The noble Earl asked me about timing. This is a proposal, as the Chancellor made clear, for consultation. It requires consultation with the haulage industry of course, but it also requires consultation with our European partners and I cannot give him any date for the implementation of it, any more than I can give him any more details at present of the options on which we will be consulting. There is no point in making up our minds about the details if we know we are going to be consulting about them. I believe that the eurovignette scheme took at least 18 months to come into force, even though there were already detailed plans in place when a decision to go ahead with the scheme was taken. We are not at that stage yet and I do not wish to mislead the noble Earl by encouraging him to think that it is going to happen very quickly. We are not at that stage yet. I do not wish to mislead the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, by encouraging him to think that it will happen quickly. He may know better than I when the next election will occur, but even so, as I say, I do not think that it will happen quickly.

I am grateful for the noble Earl's welcome to the Chancellor's proposals. The Chancellor will be grateful to him for that. I hope that I have eased his mind on such details as can be given. I hope therefore that he will not press the amendment.

8 p.m.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I am grateful for the Minister's response. He said as much as he could at this stage. We look forward to the consultation on the proposal. One day it will come to fruition. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 28:

    After Clause 266, insert the following new clause--

("Quiet lanes and home zones and rural road speed limits

.--(1) A local traffic authority may designate any road for which they are the traffic authority as a quiet lane or a home zone.
(2) The appropriate national authority may make regulations authorising local traffic authorities who have designated roads as quiet lanes or home zones to make use orders and speed orders of such descriptions as are prescribed by the regulations in relation to any roads designated by them as quiet lanes or home zones.
(3) A use order is an order permitting the use of a road for purposes other than passage.
(4) But a use order may not permit any person--
(a) wilfully to obstruct the lawful use of a road by others, or
(b) to use a road in a way which would deny reasonable access to premises situated on or adjacent to the road.
(5) A speed order is an order authorising the local traffic authority by whom it is made to take measures with a view to reducing the speed of motor vehicles or cycles (or both) on a road to below that specified in the order.

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(6) The appropriate national authority may make regulations specifying procedures for the making, variation and revocation of--
(a) designations, and
(b) use orders and speed orders,
including procedures for confirmation (whether by the appropriate national authority or any other body).
(7) The appropriate national authority may give guidance to local traffic authorities about matters to which they must have regard in determining whether or not to designate a road as a quiet lane or home zone.
(8) In this section--
"the appropriate national authority" means--
(a) the Secretary of State as respects England, and
(b) the National Assembly for Wales as respects Wales,
"cycle" has the same meaning as in the Road Traffic Act 1988,
"local traffic authority" has the same meaning as in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984,
"motor vehicle" means a mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on roads, and
"road" has the same meaning as in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
(9) Regulations under this section shall be made by statutory instrument and may make different provision for different cases or areas.
(10) A statutory instrument containing regulations made by the Secretary of State under this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 28 I wish to speak also to Amendment No. 29.

Both these new clauses have been prepared in response to Liberal Democrat amendments which were withdrawn at Report stage on the understanding that the Government would bring forward our own amendments at Third Reading. We were sympathetic to the objectives of the Liberal Democrat amendments.

In the case of quiet lanes and home zones we have, I hope, achieved the essential objectives of the Liberal Democrat amendment, though with some significant differences. I think that we would agree that in terms of achieving the road safety targets which the Government set themselves in the road safety strategy, the creation of home zones in urban and residential areas and tackling the problems of speed in our rural lanes and villages are an important part of that.

Amendment No. 28 would give legal status to the concept of home zones. It gives the appropriate national authority power to make regulations which in turn would enable local traffic authorities to make use orders and speed orders. Use orders will be particularly valuable in home zones because they will give legal status to uses of the road for purposes other than the traditional one of "passing and repassing". Speed orders would enable the local traffic authority to introduce speed limits in individual quiet lanes and to reduce speed limits below the current levels.

Amendment No. 29 which concerns the rural road hierarchy is slightly less complex. It embraces the essence of the amendment tabled by the Liberal

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Democrats at an earlier stage. It commits the Secretary of State to undertake a review of all the considerations required to implement the rural road hierarchy; to address the problem of speed which is a hazard and inflicts environmental pollution on much of our countryside and, after consultation, to publish a report within 12 months. I believe that these amendments will make a major contribution to road safety. I beg to move.

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