HL Deb 30 March 2001 vol 624 cc575-7

1.34 p.m.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 28th March be approved [10th Report from the Joint Committee].

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, first, I should say that, in my view, the provisions of the Greater London Road Traffic (Various Provisions) Order are compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Parliament has already agreed to provisions to allow Transport for London to operate a decriminalised parking regime on the main traffic routes in London, called GLA roads, in due course. The principal purpose of the draft order before the House is to fill a gap in the 1999 Act by applying to TfL the legislation relating to the removal, storage and disposal of illegally parked vehicles. TfL needs those powers to operate an effective parking regime when it is ready to do so.

The draft order also provides an opportunity to resolve two problems with the drafting of the 1999 Act. Articles 4, 5 and 6 of the draft order all make amendments to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 with the object of conferring on Transport for London, in relation to GLA roads, the same powers as the London borough councils with regard to the removal, storage and disposal of illegally parked vehicles.

Article 7 makes a consequential amendment to the Removal and Disposal of Vehicles Regulations 1986. Article 3 amends Section 124A of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 as inserted by Section 272 of the 1999 Act. Section 124A enabled my right honourable friend the Secretary of State to make the initial designation of roads or proposed roads as GLA side roads which are very short lengths of roads which, for the most part, connect with GLA roads. Section 124(4) of the 1984 Act, as inserted by Section 292(4) of the 1999 Act, provides that all references in the 1984 Act to GLA roads include references to GLA side roads. However, because it deals specifically with the designation of GLA side roads, it is important for the purposes of Section I24A that GLA side roads and GLA roads are defined separately. Article 3 makes it clear that the references to GLA roads in Section 124A are not to be taken as including a reference to GLA side roads.

Article 8 amends the definition of a London authority in Section 82(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1991 as amended by Section 287(2) of the 1999 Act. The effect of the existing definition of "London authority" is that only Transport for London is able to collect parking revenues for parking places on GLA roads and side roads. This amendment will allow local authorities to continue collecting the revenue from any parking places which they have designated on GLA roads and side roads.

To sum up, the order provides Transport for London with powers which are necessary to allow it to undertake parking enforcement and clarifies two matters relating to the drafting of the GLA Act 1999. I commend the order to the House.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 28th March be approved [10th Report from the Joint Committee].—(Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton.)

Baroness Hanham

My Lords, as I understand it, this order transfers responsibility for enforcement of red routes to the Greater London Authority. Will the Minister confirm that that enforcement will now be carried out by staff of Transport for London or will it remain in the hands of the Metropolitan Police? I believe it is fair to say that there has not been uniform approval of the standard of enforcement by the police on red routes. I seek clarification on that. Otherwise, I support the order.

Baroness Hamwee

My Lords, the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, is one of considerable controversy. Perhaps I should declare an interest as a member of the Greater London Authority. The Act does not allow GLA members to be members of the board of TfL, so I have no interest in that capacity.

I asked whether the GLA had any comments on this matter. I received a note yesterday which said that in the hurry to prepare and pass the Act, various parts were left out. I admire the Minister in another place who simply referred to "awkwardness". We support the order in order to assist enforcement.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

My Lords, I appreciate the different use of language in another place to deal with issues. I sometimes feel, as I am sure do others, particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, that the rest of my life will contain just the odd adjustment to the GLA Act.

Transport for London will take over parking and enforcement on GLA roads; the noble Baroness was correct. I note the comments made by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, about the relationship within and between her role, that of the Mayor and TfL. I am sure that we all want to see the operation of the best possible measures to ensure that traffic flows freely in London.

On Question, Motion agreed to.