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Commons Amendment

Volume 385: debated on Thursday 14 July 1977

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17 In the Schedule, page 5, line 24, after 'applies' insert 'in relation'

My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 17 and, with the permission of the House, I should also like to speak to Amendments Nos. 19 to 22 and 25 to 27. The main substantive Amendment here is No. 25; Amendment No. 27 defines the "relevant newspaper", and the rest, including No. 17, are minor consequential Amendments.

These Amendments have their genesis in discussion of the Bill in your Lordships' House. They would ensure that in relation to authorisations the intentions of a local authority received advance publicity, and that the people affected could make their views known and have them taken into account. No provision is made for this procedure to apply to variations of the conditions attached to a special authorisation; these would cover simply the operational details, and it is desirable to retain as much flexibility as possible for adjusting these in the light of experience.

During the Committee stage in your Lordships' House, the noble Lord, Lord Mowbray, moved an Amendment which would have required a local authority to give not less than 21 days' notice in local newspapers of their intention to consider the granting, varying or revocation of a general authorisation and to take into account any representations received. I undertook to consult on the principle underlying this with the Steering Committee, which is overseeing the programme of experiments and which is made up of representatives of all interested parties. The view of that Committee was that some such arrangements should be made, and should apply to special as well as general authorisations. I accordingly gave an undertaking at Third Reading that such an Amendment would be introduced in another place. During the proceedings in another place, it was felt that longer notice should be given in the case of the revocation of a special authorisation, and that positive steps should be taken to bring a proposal for such a revocation directly to the notice of the elected local councils affected. The Government have accepted this view and have incorporated it in these Amendments.

In the copy of the Bill which your Lordships have reference is made to " local newspapers circulating in the experimental area However, there may be good reason for giving notice in a local newspaper circulating elsewhere, particularly in the case of a special authorisation covering journeys partly within and partly outside the area of the local authority concerned. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—( Baroness Stedman.)

My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Baroness very much for her kind remarks; and for so fully explaining the background and genesis of these Amendments, I am more than grateful to her. Before we move to the next set of Amendments, I should like to thank her specifically for her kindness, and for the way in which she and her office have helped me with papers. It has been a great help to those of us on this side of the House.

My Lords, I should like to join in the sentiments expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Mowbray, but I have one small reservation on this last batch of Amendments. Is it still not possible for a local authority to put notices in existing public transport, so that people who would be using the new transport could see them in the buses on which they travel at present? I agree that it is only a very small point, but it might be helpful.

I should also like to acid that we welcome this Bill and are optimistic about the future of our transport system, not just because of this Bill, but because there seem to be a number of other indications, not least the recent White Paper which seems to show that the Government are thinking about transport from the bottom up, and not from the top down.

My Lords, I am grateful to both noble Lords for their comments. As regards advertising in existing local transport, I am sure that this is something of which the Department will take note, and when we are giving guidance to the authorities concerned it is something which I am sure we can incorporate. I am grateful to the noble Earl for his suggestion.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

4.47 p.m.