§ 10After Clause 140, insert the following new clause —
§ "Charges: temporary traffic signs
§ .Notwithstanding any enactment or rule of law to the contrary, or the provisions of sections 138 to 140 above, a highway authority may not impose a charge for permitting temporary traffic signs to be placed on or near any road in their area by an organisation representative of road users under section 65 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, as amended by the Roads [Scotland) Act 1984 in its application to Scotland."
The Commons disagreed to the above amendment but proposed the following amendment in lieu thereof—
Insert the following new clause—
§ 'Charges: temporary traffic signs
.—(1) In section 65 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (powers and duties of highways authorities and roads authorities as to placing of traffic signs) after subsection (3) there shall be inserted the following subsections—
"(3A) No charge may be made—
§ (2) Subsection (1) above does not apply in any case where, before this section comes into force, the payment of a charge has been agreed.'.
§ Lord Reay
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do not insist on their Amendment No. 10 to which the Commons have disagreed and do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 11 in lieu thereof.
At Report stage on 25th October, we accepted an amendment tabled by my noble friends Lord Lucas of Chilworth and Lord Erroll of Hale to prohibit authorities from charging for permitting the erection of temporary traffic signs. We did so in the expectation that a code of practice could be evolved between each of the parties to ensure greater consistency in the exercise of the statutory powers to allow such signs for sports meetings, exhibitions and other public gatherings attracting considerable volumes of traffic. I understand that talks to that end have already begun. The Government also undertook to look closely at the wording and to come forward with a government amendment, if necessary, at a later stage. Amendment No. 11 fulfils that promise. I have only a few comments by way of explanation.
The amendment, in the form of an insertion to Section 65 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, in substance reflects Amendment No. 10; that is to say, it prohibits local authorities from charging for permitting the erection of temporary traffic signs by organisations like the RAC, the AA and the CTC. It does so in a slightly different and, we believe, improved form in the following respects.
First, it makes quite clear which authorities are affected. The charging exemption is limited to local authorities in their capacity as highway authorities, or, in Scotland, roads authorities. It would be beyond the scope of the Bill to fetter the Secretary of State's powers in that respect, although I hasten to add that, in his capacity as highway authority, he has never sought to impose charges in connection with the matters under discussion.
Secondly, it defines more clearly what is meant by a temporary traffic sign, for the purpose of the charging exemption. The information may be of a temporary nature, or the placing of the sign may be for a temporary period. Both are covered.
The amendment leaves open to the Secretary of State the matter of prescribing in detail those bodies which are to benefit from the charging exemption. That is thought preferable to the reference in Amendment No. 10 toorganisations representative of road users",which is too imprecise. The bodies that the Secretary of State may include in any prescribed list would be those appearing to him to be representative of the interests of road users. They would certainly include the AA, and the RAC. Prescription would be by regulations, by virtue of the application of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, and would be subject to consultation in the usual way. That is a better approach and will ensure that the right people are included. Application to Scotland is automatically 1234 provided by virtue of paragraph 93 of Schedule 9 to the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984.
Lastly, provision is included in subsection (2) to deal with any necessary transitional arrangements before the new clause comes into force.
With those few words of explanation I hope that your Lordships will be happy to accept the Government Amendment as a suitable substitute for Amendment No. 10.
§ Moved, That the House do not insist on their Amendment No. 10 to which the Commons have disagreed and do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 11 in lieu thereof—(Lord Reay.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.