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London Regional Transport Bill

Volume 124: debated on Thursday 10 December 1987

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Order for consideration, as amended, read.

9.55 pm

The London Regional Transport Bill has met most of the objectors' objections, apart from the outcome of the Pudding Mill lane issue. That has also been programmed, but there remains the issue of how it will be financed.

The remaining features of the LRT Bill are generally to be welcomed. Hon. Members on both sides will look forward to some of the improvements proposed in it, especially those that make a positive contribution to the safety of the network. I hope that, if we do not make as much progress as I would like on the Bill tonight, we shall be able to return to it soon, because it has some important features.

Pudding Mill lane is an important matter. The demand on the docklands light railway is such that some of the doubts in the past that it could be funded properly are beginning to evaporate. I hope that in the not-too-distant future it will be possible to raise the additional funds. We want to make provision for the extra facility of the dualling of that part of the track to cater for the extra facility moving into and out of Stratford. That is to be welcomed. The provisions concerning the length of trains, the amount of land required and the additional proposals to modify the legislation that is already in existence are to be welcomed. I hope the House will soon have an opportunity to put the measure on the statute book.

9.57 pm

We have little time left in which to consider the Bill. I am sure that as and when it returns to the Floor of the House, my hon. Friends the Members for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton), for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) and for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing), who so assiduously represent the borough of Newham and its people, will wish to raise the important issue of the financing of the Pudding Mill lane stations.

I want to take the two remaining minutes to address the issue of the Angel tube station, which, to a certain extent, is covered by the Bill. However, the provisions of the Bill will not be implemented by London Regional Transport, because that body's thinking about the future development of that station has progressed since the Bill was first brought in. The Angel tube station, which serves a large number of my constituents, is one of the more outdated and inefficient stations in the London Regional Transport network. I see that one of my constituents, the hon. Member for Gedling (Mr. Mitchell), who I know uses the Angel tube station frequently, is nodding his assent to that.

The two principal objections that my constituents have to the condition of the station concern, first, the inefficient operation of the lifts, and, secondly, the danger posed to passengers by the island platform nature of the station, especially at rush hour, when there is a lot of extra pressure because of the new office developments in the area pouring a large number of extra people into the station. I fear that the danger to those people is acute.

London Regional Transport's new proposals for escalators to replace the existing lifts and for the removal of the island platform to make station safer and more convenient for passengers are to be warmly welcomed. I hope that when the London Regional Transport (No. 2) Bill comes before the House all hon. Members will give it a warm welcome and a swift passage.

In the meantime, it is important to recognise that the provisions in the Bill that is before us are inadequate. London Regional Transport has recognised that, has revised its proposals, and has come up with something that is much more satisfactory and which will be to the benefit of my constituents.

It being Ten o'clock, further consideration of the Bill stood adjourned.

To be further considered upon Thursday 17 December.