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Earl Attlee: I am not sure that this is a matter for legislation. It is important to turn off the engine when one can for the reasons explained by the noble Lord, but this is much more a matter for driver training. That is why I return to the need for a compulsory driver improvement training scheme, as that could be covered.

Viscount Simon: I have a vague recollection—I have no idea whether I am right or wrong—that Westminster City Council already has such a by-law in place.

Baroness Crawley: I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Berkeley for raising this issue and to other noble Lords who have contributed to this short debate. I have listened with great interest and, of course, the Government are very much aware of the impact that road transport can have on the environment. Like my noble friend, we are concerned to minimise that impact as far as practicable and to deliver clean air as quickly as possible. It is a high priority for us.

Emissions can often be prevented by turning off the engine when a vehicle is stationary for more than two minutes. Publications issued by the department already advise drivers to switch off their engines whenever it is safe to do so. The noble Lord should also be aware that under Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations it is already an offence to cause emissions by leaving a vehicle's engine running while stationary. The offence carries a maximum fine of £1,000. These
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requirements are predominantly enforced by the police. But we have also introduced regulations in England that enable local authorities to issue fixed penalty notices in relation to any vehicle with an engine running unnecessarily.

These offences do not apply when a vehicle is in traffic, where I consider there could be real practical difficulties of enforcement and resources. Our view is that powers already exist under the Road Traffic Act to make regulations that would achieve the objectives behind this amendment. I agree with the noble Earl that this is not for legislation and that the current mix of existing regulatory controls, combined with voluntary action backed by Government and local authority advice in relation to traffic-related conditions is the most effective means for controlling the situation, which my noble friend and others have described. We therefore believe that we are already doing a great deal. Enforcement and fines exist. A proper mix of voluntary and statutory initiatives is the way forward. In view of this explanation, I hope that the noble Lord will withdraw his amendment.

9 pm

Lord Berkeley: I am grateful to the Minister for her explanation. She is quite right—as is the noble Earl, Lord Attlee—that the key is probably not to put this measure in primary legislation. I am pleased that the powers exist already.

As in so many other instances today, it would be nice to know how many people have been convicted or fined for these offences. I suspect that the Minister will say that the Government do not collect the figures. A time must come soon when the department does collect figures such as these and many of the others we have talked about today, but that is probably a subject for another day. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Berkeley moved Amendment No. 148:

(1) The appropriate national authority may direct a local traffic authority to provide it, within a specified period, with specified information connected with any aspect of the performance of their duties under sections (Duty to reduce road danger) and (Arrangements for road safety management).
(2) The information that may be specified in such a direction—
(a) must be information which the authority have in their possession or can reasonably be expected to acquire; and
(b) includes, in particular, information relating to—
(i) the management of road safety in relation to a local traffic authority's road network; or
(ii) the use of their road network, or the risks imposed or faced by different kinds of traffic.
(3) A direction under this section may be given to two or more local traffic authorities or to local traffic authorities of a description specified in the direction.
(4) A direction under this section given to a London authority must be copied to the Mayor.
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The noble Lord said: In speaking to Amendment No. 148, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 149 to 151. The amendments are self-explanatory, so I do not need to waste too much of the Committee's time on them. They seek a holistic, joined-up approach to road safety policies and management which is equally applicable to all types of road users. As we know, that includes pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, car and lorry drivers and anyone else we can think of. Many of these steps are taken already, but I know that all the road safety experts believe that the idea of a totally joined-up approach to road safety is very important. I hope that the Government can either aspire to one quite soon or, even better, tell me that it exists already. I beg to move.

Lord Davies of Oldham: I am grateful to my noble friend for the way in which he has introduced the amendment. I can give him the assurances he requires. He will recognise that local authorities are accountable in a number of ways. Local highway authorities in England are already required to prepare and submit five-year local transport plans. These include a road safety strategy in which each authority must set out its overall approach to delivering road safety in its area. The road safety strategy should articulate the road safety situation in an authority's area and demonstrate how a range of interventions can address the casualty problem. The strategy should show how the needs of all road users—occupants of motor vehicles, motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists—are to be addressed. Each local highway authority is also required to set targets for casualty reduction in its local area. The Department for Transport's guidance on local transport plans for the period 2006–11 now requires highway authorities to produce and publish a speed management strategy, which I know my noble friend will approve of, as part of their overall approach to delivering road safety in their area.

Ultimately, it is for local highway authorities to determine how they deliver road safety in their local areas. They already provide the department with a great deal of the information sought by my noble friend's amendments. It is not the department's place to be overly prescriptive about the way in which authorities operate, but I hope I have given my friend the assurances which he sought.

Lord Berkeley: I am extremely grateful to my noble friend for those assurances. At this late hour, I shall read them with great interest. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 149 to 151 not moved.]

Lord Bradshaw had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 151ZA:

(1) Section 47 of the Transport and Works Act 1992 (c. 42) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (2) for "footpath or bridleway" substitute "road".
(3) After subsection (2) insert—
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"(3) In this section "road" means any highway or other road to which the public has access.""

The noble Lord said: I will read carefully what the Minister said concerning Amendments Nos. 140, 141, 142, 143 and 144. I will raise the matters in these two amendments with him in discussion before we return to the matter on Report.

[Amendment No. 151ZA not moved.]

[Amendments Nos. 151ZB and 151A not moved.]

Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen moved Amendment No. 151B:

(1) The Secretary of State shall consult regarding the impact of driver fatigue on road safety.
(2) In undertaking such consultation, the Secretary of State shall have regard to—
(a) what measures might be introduced to mitigate driver fatigue on the basis of the latest available evidence;
(b) the impact of untreated sleep disorders on driver safety and ways of raising driver awareness of the risks presented by such conditions; and
(c) the timely provision of services through the National Health Service to treat sleep disorders.
(3) The Secretary of State shall each year place in the Library of the House of Commons and in the Library of the House of Lords information relating to the proceedings of this consultation and his response to it."

The noble Baroness said: I shall be brief. I mentioned on Second Reading that RoSPA welcomed the proposals in the Bill for the trunk road rest areas, and I outlined some of the drivers most likely to be affected by driver fatigue. These included young male drivers, truck drivers, company car drivers and shift workers. However, I did not mention those who are affected by sleep disorders, because, I will be quite honest, I was not aware of the amount of drivers affected by such disorders. After Second Reading I was contacted by the co-ordinator of the working group on sleep disorders, and, after talking to her and to my noble friend Lord Berkeley, I am pleased to associate myself with them and move this amendment.

Excessive sleepiness is a major contributor to fatal road accidents. Untreated sleep disorders are a serious problem, and are generally not recognised among the population. Indeed, an estimated 80 per cent of those suffering from such disorders do not recognise that they have a medical condition that can and should be treated, just as any other medical condition would be. Our belief is that raising awareness of this condition, and in particular the danger it creates for drivers suffering from it, must be a key part of any road safety strategy. I beg to move.

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