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Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, my intervention will be brief. I have a lot of sympathy for the principles that the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, advocates. It would be right for any new form of regulation that is set in place to acknowledge the difficult position in which the newly agreed practice would put the heritage railways if it were applied to them.

Highways authorities and the railways receive enormous sums—both are largely funded by public money. Heritage railways receive no such support. Whatever does happen, heritage railways should be exempt from any pay arrangements that might involve them in "secondary consequences"; namely, something that someone does on a highway.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: My Lords, very briefly, I was about to make exactly the same point as the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith. Whatever regime is established for "commercial railway", it would be

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monstrous if the heritage railways had to pay for the repair and construction of road-bridges which happened to go over their railways. They do not receive any public subsidy; they struggle hard enough as it is, and they are an important part of the tourist industry. I hope that they can be exempted from whatever regime is established.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, we have already exempted heritage railways—one example of low-speed railways—from several provisions of the Bill. I hear what the noble Lords, Lord Dixon-Smith and Lord Faulkner, say about bridges and low-speed railways; I will write to them on that subject.

However, I have difficulty with the amendment. It seems to presume that accidents can be prevented by the imposition of a duty on a highways authority or rail track operator. Duties do not prevent accidents. If a railway is responsible for a bridge, the fact that it has a duty to prevent trains coming off bridges onto roads does not mean that accidents are prevented.

Accidents are prevented by proper standards, by proper analysis of the risks at road/rail interfaces, and by taking action at the sites at which risks are high. That applies to highways authorities and to the railway infrastructure authorities. The agreement that has been reached between the highways authorities and the infrastructure authorities is that they will split the cost of safety measures 50:50.

Accidents can happen when approved safety barriers are in place. Traffic barriers were in place at the site of the Selby crash in February 2001; relevant standards were complied with, but the driver got his vehicle onto the line because he went on driving his vehicle after it left the road, to try to prevent it from toppling over.

A case like that cannot be dealt with by the duties provided in this amendment. No traffic measures that a local authority could take would prevent all incursions. We will continue to see that the standards for barriers and bridges and so on are as high as possible, but we cannot guarantee that we will avoid accidents and incidents when drivers behave irresponsibly. The amendment does not add anything; in fact, it goes some way to confusing the issue as between road and rail.

Lord Berkeley: My Lords, I am very grateful to my noble friend Lord McIntosh for that answer, especially for the heritage railway point. It is quite reasonable that train drivers should have a responsibility to keep the train on the track, but the Minister seems to suggest that they should also be responsible for keeping cars on the road next to the track. If the train drivers can keep the trains on track, as they usually do, the fact that many more cars land on railways than trains land on roads indicates that a 50:50 split is unfair. Nevertheless, I shall read carefully what my noble friend said and perhaps seek to have a meeting with him before Third Reading. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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Lord Berkeley moved Amendment No. 28:

    After Clause 108, insert the following new clause—

The Secretary of State shall, within a year of the date on which this Act receives Royal Assent, publish proposals for the setting up of an independent cross-modal transport safety body."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment follows on from our discussions in Grand Committee about whether the Health and Safety Executive should or does have responsibility for roads. My noble friend argued that the Health and Safety Executive should not have responsibility for roads because it was not qualified to take such responsibility. He took us round the Caucasian Chalk Circle, quoting,

    "everything shall be with those who are good for it".—[Official Report, 5/6/03; col. GC 276.]

I have not had a chance to look up Brecht's full works but I wonder what would be achieved if that quote applied to all legislation.

I understand that transport safety has grown in a slightly haphazard manner over the years. However, I believe that we need to consider the problem of transport safety one last time and the statistics of death rates per billion passenger kilometres. For air, the figure is zero; rail, 0.1; water, 0.5; bus and coach, 0.2; car, 2.9; cycle, 35; pedestrian, 47 and motor cycle and moped, 123. In 2001, 3,450 died in road accidents in Great Britain compared with five in plane accidents; four in accidents involving UK-registered merchant vessels and two in public transport flights subject to a UK air transport licence.

I believe that the Health and Safety Executive has a duty here to consider road accidents. I understand that the HSE believes that if enough people are at work on the road—let us face it, all those driving lorries and white vans are at work as are quite a few car drivers—it should be concerned as to whether it is fulfilling its duty under Clause 1 of the 1974 Act to secure,

    "the health, safety and welfare of persons at work",


    "protecting persons other than persons at work against risks to health or safety arising out of or in connection with the activities of persons at work".

At present, what the Health and Safety Executive does and does not do has little logic. It goes back to a letter from the then Secretary of State for Employment, Mr Michael Foot, to Bill Simpson of the Health and Safety Commission dated 1975. I can go at some length into whether it covers building regulations but not safety of buildings; and as to ports, bridges at ports going under ships; or bridges between structures—we had an example in Ramsgate a few years ago—or dangerous goods by road, and a few other such things.

I shall not quote from the letter because it is four pages long. Yesterday, a Written Answer to Mr Chope from Mr Jamieson in another place (at col. 224W of Hansard) referred to the provision relating to fatigue for all safety critical workers including drivers. If the Health and Safety Executive is looking into the

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question of fatigue of train drivers, I suggest they should do the same for road drivers to try to prevent some of the 3,000 or so road deaths.

In December 1998 the Department for Transport issued a consultation document on transport safety asking for views. In June 2000 it issued a review of the issues raised. In reading that I believe the responses can best be described as, "Yes, there should be change but please leave us alone because it is too difficult". It concerns grouping safety standards and adding other modes of transport to the Health and Safety Commission/Executive responsibilities; accident investigation, standard setting and enforcement.

Accident investigation is covered fully in the Bill. It is very good to hear that in addition to what is proposed for railways, the chief inspectors of marine, air and railways meet regularly and will do so on a formal basis. That is to be welcomed but there are many other things besides that. For that reason I propose this amendment suggesting that the Government may bring forward, as part of the 10 year plan review, proposals for bringing together investigations, regulations, common enforcement policies, even manslaughter rules, but in particular cross modes. Let us not forget that in Sweden they have started something called "vision zero" policies towards zero road deaths. We have 3,450 fewer deaths to achieve. I urge the Government to take this problem out of the "too difficult" box and progress what they started five years ago through a White Paper or similar document. I beg to move.

Viscount Astor: My Lords, I am rather perplexed by this amendment and by the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley. He made a perfectly valid proposal on why the Health and Safety Commission should have responsibilities with regard to roads. However, the amendment says nothing of the kind. It seeks to bring in an,

    "independent cross-modal transport safety body".

What an awful combination of words. No doubt one would then have a committee which would require funding and staff and would ask for powers. It would go off to EU conferences and probably go round the world attending intercontinental cross-modal transport safety conferences. I am afraid that this is utter rubbish. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, would make a wonderful chairman of it if it ever came into being.

We have the Department for Transport, the Secretary of State and the various Ministers responsible and answerable to Parliament. I do not believe that this body would add anything, although the noble Lord made one valid point about the responsibility of the Health and Safety Commission, but that has nothing to do with the amendment.

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