§ Mr. George Gardiner
asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will now take steps to set up a public inquiry into the Greater London council's proposed lorry ban; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Ridley
Following the decision by the GLC's transport committee today in favour of implementation of its night-time and weekend lorry ban proposals; I am formally consulting the council under schedule 9 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
In the letter of consultation I am making it clear to the GLC that I am disposed to think that the duty of the GLC under section 122 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 is not being satisfactorily discharged. Because of this, I am minded to issue a direction to the council prohibiting it from making (or if made, from bringing into effect) the order for this scheme without my consent.
If I do give such a direction, it would then be my intention to establish a public inquiry into the GLC's proposals, and the objections duly made to them. I would then determine whether to give or to withhold my consent to the order in the light of the findings of that inquiry.
The GLC is being given until 20 December to provide me with its formal views.
My objective is to ensure that, given the potentially far-reaching effects of the GLC's proposals on the movement of traffic, particularly commercial traffic, those proposals and the thousands of objections duly lodged to them are fully and impartially examined at public inquiry. An inquiry would provide an independent assessment of the environmental benefits of the GLC's proposals and their disadvantages to the movement of traffic.