Sections 108 to 113: Local Transport Plans and Bus Strategies
87.Sections 108 to 113 provide a statutory basis for local transport plans and bus strategies in England and Wales outside London. London has its own transport planning system under the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (“the 1999 Act”). Local transport plans already exist in a non-statutory form as the basis for the Department’s allocation of capital funds for local transport expenditure, but the Act puts them on a statutory basis for the first time.
88.Section 108 and 109 impose a duty on each “local transport authority” (defined in section 108(4)) as councils of counties and unitary authorities in England, principal councils in Wales and passenger transport authorities (“PTAs”), to formulate transport policies and publish them as a local transport plan. The policies must promote ‘safe, integrated, efficient and economic transport’ and must have regard in particular to the needs of the elderly and people with mobility problems. They must also provide a framework for, inter alia, the promotion of improvements to bus services under the powers of Part II and the introduction of charging regimes under Part III. Section 99 further provides that plans must be kept under review and altered if necessary and in any event must last no longer than five years.
89.Section 109(5) and (6) exempt a local transport authority from producing such a plan where before the date when section 108 comes into force they have already prepared a document in a form and manner equivalent to that required under the Act for local transport plans. That document is treated as a local transport plan but it must be replaced no later than 31st March 2006, in England or a date prescribed by the National Assembly for Wales (the “NAW”), in Wales.
90.Section 110 requires local transport authorities to prepare, as part of their local transport plans, a bus strategy containing policies as to how best to carry out their various functions in order to secure the provision of appropriate bus services in their area. The functions in question are largely contained either in the Act or in the Transport Acts of 1968 (“the 1968 Act”) and 1985 (“the 1985 Act”) as amended by the Act.
91.Section 109(3) and (4) and 111 impose requirements as to consultation during the preparation of plans and bus strategies and as to the publication of plans and strategies and requires authorities to make copies available at no more than cost. Section 112 requires them to have regard both to guidance issued by the Secretary of State or NAW and to the needs of the elderly and people with mobility problems.
92.Section 113 makes special provision for the duties of local authorities in metropolitan counties, specifying which duties must be discharged jointly by the PTA and the metropolitan district council and which are to be separate responsibilities for each.