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Baroness Hamwee: I thank the Minister for that. I shall read his answer about security, but I am not sure that it dealt with my point that the exception from publication of the plan should be only to the extent that that was necessary, for reasons of security. I acknowledge again, however, that it would be completely bonkers for the plan to be kept secret, so common sense suggests that that will be the case.

Lord Davies of Oldham: I apologise, because I did miss that point. There was a fairly extensive range of amendments, and I was thrown by the sudden improvement in the lighting, which quite dazzled me. I assure the noble Baroness that we of course expect the Olympic transport plan to be a public document. There will be security aspects that might limit that, but we do not think that security aspects in this particular area will intervene with publication.

Baroness Hamwee: I am grateful for that. I am not sure whether the Minister dealt with public consultation but perhaps I need to read the Official Report on that.

I hope that it will not sound excessively pompous—although certainly it will sound a bit pompous—to say that my point this afternoon is not to champion the role of the London Assembly, but to point out that the Assembly has a lot to contribute in this area. I hope that use can be made of that contribution. I wrote down that the Minister said that the Assembly can fully expect to be consulted. It is ironic that I might seek to rely on a direction to that effect, but if I can tempt him any further, let me do so.

The Minister is obviously not going to be tempted, but I am reassured to quite an extent by his assurance, which we now have on the record. I thank him for that. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 48 to 50 not moved.]

Lord Berkeley moved Amendment No. 51:


( ) the importance of providing continuity of rail franchise operations for two years both before and after the date of the London Olympics"

The noble Lord said: We raised this matter briefly at Second Reading, but—

Noble Lords: We have debated this.

Lord Berkeley: Have we debated it? I was asked to speak to it.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Pitkeathley): No, I merely called the amendment. I thought that the noble Lord was going to say that it was not moved.

Lord Berkeley: I see. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
 
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Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 52 not moved.]

On Question, Whether Clause 10 shall stand part of the Bill?

Lord Higgins: I am somewhat puzzled by what is happening here because the proposed grouping on the list says that Clause 10 has already been debated. As I have already explained, I could not be here the other day because I was speaking in a debate on the Floor of the House, but I have had some difficulty discovering in Hansard where this clause has been debated. In all events, what one would normally do is refer to the caveat that is always put on groupings, which says that a noble Lord may speak, whatever has been agreed. Oddly enough, those words have been omitted from this list but, if noble Lords will allow me, I shall make one or two comments.

Following Second Reading, I received a very courteous letter from those responsible for the Docklands Light Railway, because I suggested in the debate that the DLR might not be able to cope adequately with the requirements of the Olympic Games. The letter is certainly reassuring in a number of respects with regard to capacity, the length of the trains and so on. Only one point still puzzles me. I frequently go to London Airport on the DLR, which has recently opened there, and what strikes one when coming from that area back to central London is that it is still faster to go by the shuttle bus to Canary Wharf and take the Jubilee line. The DLR has a very large number of stops. I am not clear to what extent the DLR proposes to run express trains from one end of the track to the other rather than stopping all the way, and how that will fit in with the overall requirements for transport. It used to be the case with the Olympic Games that all wars stopped when they were taking place; I am not sure whether the same would be true with commuting. Perhaps one should declare a two-week holiday for the period, which would solve a number of the problems.

The other matter, which was touched on by the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, a moment ago, is the role of the waterways. My understanding is that there is something of a dispute going on between the Mayor's Transport for London, which wants to use the waterways, and the London Development Agency, which wants to use trucks. I saw an article suggesting that something like 500,000 trucks will be used to shift the material and so on necessary to construct the Olympic village and surrounding sites. It is suggested that if it goes by water rather than by road, the cost is something like a third, which seems a very substantial saving. On the other hand, the waterways can apparently cope with barges of 120 tonnes alone, whereas what will be needed are barges of 350 tonnes. We then run into the problem of how quickly this could be done and still be on schedule with construction.

I am also unclear, if there is a dispute of that kind, who will arbitrate on which of the views of the two bodies involved will prevail.
 
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Lord Berkeley: I am getting more and more confused about which amendments and groups have been debated but, in the absence of any advice from colleagues, I shall assume that Clause 10 stand part has not yet been debated.

I shall comment on the issues raised by the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, in a moment. Clause 10 in the round addresses transport matters relating to the London Olympics. I think that that is great. It covers the provision of the construction of systems or facilities, which means any road, railway, canal or lock on the river, or any other facility necessary for the construction itself or for the performance of the games or anything else. I am sure that later we shall come on to the question of the Olympic route network and the transport facilities.

There are a few issues relating to the clause. First, I cannot find anything in the clause which says who pays for this. With street lighting and cleaning it was clear, under Clause 7(3)(a), that the authority would pay for it, but I cannot find a similar provision here. That worries me, but I may simply have missed the reference. I am also concerned about the relationship between the transport plan and those who live or work in the areas affected by the Olympic Games, because their businesses could be put seriously out of pocket or made impossible.

I declare an interest at this point as chairman of the Rail Freight Group. The noble Lord, Lord Higgins, referred to bringing materials in by water, as did the noble Baroness, but they could equally well come by rail freight. I have also heard about the tremendous debate between Transport for London, which wants to bring things in by more environmentally friendly means and those who say, "We'll do exactly as we like—we'll bring everything in by truck and you can get knotted". That is what I have heard from other sources. Do the Government believe that there should be any consideration of environmental methods of bringing in at least some of the material by rail or water? It is quite possible to do, but it would need planning. With water, it may need a lock or a few little jetties around the Thames; if it is rail, it needs a terminal.

The best terminals on the Stratford site will be converted into car parks, as I was told by the LDA. I was told that there would be a car park so that the Queen could drive through to open the games. I asked whether there needed to be a car park for the Queen to drive through and suggested that it was put on two decks, to reduce the space. I also suggested that people might stop mixing concrete for the day so that she would not get her Rolls-Royce covered in cement. They did not really understand that—they said that there was a straight line on the map and that that was the limit of the site. I think that they have changed it now, so I do not know where Her Majesty is going to go, but I am sure that they will find some other route.

So rail terminals would be necessary, and that needs planning now, otherwise it will be too late—and the figure for the number of trucks given by the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, will I am sure be exceeded.
 
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There is also the question of how people go about their business during construction, or during the games. That certainly applies to railways, and I suspect that applies to the roads as well. The games will be happening in east London in August, when there will be fewer activities, so it will not be so bad. But we were told in the rail freight industry, during preparation of the bid stage, that freight trains will have to stop going through the site for several months. It is one of the main routes from Felixstowe, the biggest container port in the UK, to the rest of the country. I was told that the railway line went under the Olympic village and that the trains could blow up. I asked when trains had last been blown up—and said that if freight trains could blow up, could not passenger trains blow up? What is the likelihood of that? I also pointed out that the site was where the Eurostar line crossed the freight line, and that if they were going to stop freight trains they would have to stop the Eurostars, because they might blow up. But I was told that they could not do that, because there would be passengers on them. When I asked them whether they had consulted the security department of the Department for Transport, or the Metropolitan Police, they said, "Does the Department for Transport have a security department?"

My noble friend the Minister has at least given me some assurance that these very professional organisations will be consulted, but I still want to know that people's businesses—such as the rail freight containers coming into this country, as well as the road freight and other businesses—will not be unduly affected. I hope that all that will go into the transport plan, because it is terribly important.

The noble Lord, Lord Higgins, referred to the Docklands Light Railway. I do not know whether he has been on it during the annual London boat show. I went last year and I was really impressed by the extra trains that they put on and the extra staff that they put on the platform. There were virtually no queues at all. I am sure that they will do the same for the games, provided that the franchise issue, which was debated on Tuesday, does not come up.

I am happy with the idea of an Olympic transport plan, but I need some assurance from my noble friend the Minister that the wider issues will be taken into account and that somebody—presumably the Secretary of State—will give a little policy guidance on how the ODA, TfL or anybody should deliver to such an enormous construction site. It is possible to bring a lot of materials in by water and rail, as has been done for Terminal 5, the Channel Tunnel rail link and the Channel Tunnel, with an enormous benefit to the local road network.

4.15 pm


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