Railway Stations: Ticket Office Closures

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Wednesday 20th September 2023

(9 months ago)

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Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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That same person does not have to be in that ticket office in order to help them. That is what we are saying. There are all sorts of different people who need different help, and having somebody in a ticket office whose time is not being used effectively does not help passengers.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, I was not planning to ask a question but I find this a completely shocking proposal. Disabled and vulnerable people will be disadvantaged. Can the Minister give us a generic email address—publicly, so that it goes out across the BBC and everywhere else—to which people can write in and express their objections?

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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I cannot give a generic email address, although I am sure the noble Baroness could contact Transport Focus. The train operating companies have publicised this consultation widely. It is worth pointing out what the Rail Minister said very recently in a Westminster Hall debate. The consultation is ongoing, but, at this stage, he does not

“expect a material reduction in the number of hours where ticketing expertise is available at stations”.—[Official Report, Commons, 13/9/23; col. 346WH.]

That will help people who have sight deficiencies, as the noble Baroness mentioned, and it will help all people who need greater assistance at train stations.

Transport: South Wales

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Thursday 2nd February 2023

(1 year, 4 months ago)

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Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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Train services are of course a matter for Transport for Wales but, on the infrastructure, recommendation 7 encouraged the Government to look at the north Wales transport corridor. We will take that recommendation on board. Funding is available in the UK connectivity development fund, and, as ever, we look to proposals from Transport for Wales and others.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, if funds are to be found to ease the congestion on the M4, will similar funds be found to ease the congestion particularly on the M1, where I understand that congestion is at least as severe?

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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The M1 is one of our key arterial motorways, and it has had a number of upgrades over the years to increase capacity. We continue to look at those bottlenecks, and there will be more on that when announcements are made for RIS3, which is the next road investment strategy period, starting in 2025.

Vehicles: Purchase Price and Running Costs

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Monday 24th October 2022

(1 year, 8 months ago)

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Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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I am afraid that I am not familiar with the recommendations in the report.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, do the Government have a strategy to deal with financial incentives being given by the Chinese Government to entice British firms to move to China, and if so, what is it?

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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I will have to refer to the relevant department, but it is of course the case that the UK Government also provide support to various companies to invest in the UK and to create jobs here. All countries will have their own strategies, but I will write to the noble Baroness with more information.

Transport: Hydrogen

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Monday 13th September 2021

(2 years, 9 months ago)

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Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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I congratulate my noble friend and his company on their world-beating innovation, and I look forward to visiting his facility soon to see it in action. My department is working very quickly to update our regulations to create GB type approval schemes for all types of vehicles and engines following our exit from the European Union. The first step along that road will be a consultation to be published in the autumn. However, in some circumstances, it can be possible to grant a vehicle special order to provide some access to roads. I am happy to look into that further.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, the UK Hydrogen Strategy and transport decarbonisation plan both highlight the potential for hydrogen and electric aviation. Given that the UK is truly a leader in the world in this technology, can the Minister set out what steps the Government are taking to accelerate the R&D of that technology in the UK and what consideration she has given to airports acting as hydrogen hubs to generate and support more UK-manufactured hydrogen vehicles, planes and ships?

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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The noble Baroness is quite right: aviation is one of the modes that we think will have a great future in using hydrogen for propulsion. She mentioned airports, and I know that work is being done on whether some of the tenders used at airports can be switched to hydrogen. Obviously, a significant amount of torque is needed to drag planes across the tarmac. She will know that we consulted over the summer on jet zero as a whole. We anticipate that many of the responses will cover hydrogen. We will be collating those responses and looking at them in detail, but I reassure her that significant funding is going into R&D for many sources, be that for planes or the vehicles in airports.

Transport Decarbonisation

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Monday 19th July 2021

(2 years, 11 months ago)

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Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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The noble Lord is quite right. Hydrogen will have many uses, mostly where batteries simply cannot reach. That will include heavy road freight, maritime and aviation. Therefore, we are looking very closely at what we can do for the hydrogen sector as a whole. We are funding the refuelling network and demonstration trials. I would have thought that some of the £20 million for the clean maritime demonstration competition might well go to hydrogen projects. It is really important that we remain technology agnostic. We believe that hydrogen could have a key role to play.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB) [V]
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My Lords, the Government’s transport decarbonisation plan rightly recognises that hydrogen has the co-benefits of reducing CO2 emissions and creating jobs and growth. Will the Minister therefore confirm that the Government will take ambitious action on the renewable transport fuel obligation? Can she confirm that the bus service operator grant to stimulate millions of pounds of investment in hydrogen production will apply only to green electricity and green hydrogen to accelerate the introduction of zero-emission buses, trains, trucks, ships and planes, all of which can be made in the UK?

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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The noble Baroness mentioned the bus services operator grant, which is key. Within the transport decarbonisation plan we set our plans for a green BSOG, an intervention that we believe will come into place in April 2022, but we will have a wider consultation on BSOG as a whole because at the moment it is a fossil fuel subsidy. It does not do what it is supposed to do, and therefore we need to make sure that it does in future and does not support fossil fuel use but encourages zero-emission buses.

Covid-19: Transport for London

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Thursday 29th October 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

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Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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The noble Lord mischaracterises the discussions under way concerning the train operating companies and TfL. Various conditions apply to the new train operating company deals—ERMAs—relating to punctuality, management fees and all sorts of things. Of course, that is just one step on the way to further reform. The Government will step in and support TfL to address the decrease in revenues resulting from the pandemic. However, there are elements available to people in London and to TfL staff that are simply not available to the rest of the country. It is not up to the UK taxpayer to pay for those things.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB) [V]
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[Inaudible]—indeed, spent a fortune on cycle lanes. This is of course very welcome, but it has without question created new risks. During recent times, I have been driving to the House and have witnessed the most extraordinarily dangerous behaviour by cyclists, veering across lines of traffic and so on. Will the Government consider assessing a policy of requiring every bicycle to have a name plate? Will they at least try to introduce some discipline and respect for the Highway Code?

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)
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I recognise that on occasion, cyclists do not pay full regard to the rules. As we encourage more people to cycle—we have put in place cycle lanes, which are very welcome—we must ensure that cyclists behave according to the written law and the spirit of it.

Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings on Public Transport) (England) Regulations 2020

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Wednesday 8th July 2020

(3 years, 11 months ago)

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Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB) [V]
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My Lords, I welcome these regulations, except of course that they focus exclusively on public transport. Rigorous international comparisons show very clearly that those countries that have been very successful in fighting Covid-19 are those that have introduced three low-cost interventions, including the compulsory wearing of face masks, not only on public transport. Along with many others, I therefore ask the Minister to raise with her colleagues the importance of government action to require the wearing of face masks in shops and elsewhere until we have Covid-19 under control. I realise that this is not the responsibility of the Minister herself, but there is no point at all in people avoiding the virus on public transport, only to catch it when they go shopping.

Covid-19: Public Transport

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Tuesday 2nd June 2020

(4 years ago)

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Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton
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My noble friend will probably agree with me that aviation is a core part of our transport system and a great provider of jobs in this country. It is going through an unprecedented time at the moment in that, of course, most flights are not currently taking place. We are working very closely with the aviation industry—the UK-based aviation providers, the regulators in the EU and beyond—to establish international standards for getting our planes back into the sky while making sure that, when passengers can fly, they are safe.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, I want to follow the question posed by the noble Viscount, Lord Trenchard, and the Minister’s answer. Given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has studied best practice across the world in controlling Covid-19 and includes in its four core recommendations the use of cloth masks when around other people, will the Minister pursue the urgent need to mandate the wearing of cloth masks on public transport, not only to save lives but to encourage far more people to use public transport and get to work?

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton
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I agree that the wearing of face coverings will be a very important element in restoring confidence in our public transport, not only for the passengers and the workforce but, in the longer term, for the industry. It is really important that people should wear face coverings on our public transport; that is the message that we are putting out there at the moment. Of course, any changes such as mandating the use of face coverings is an issue for the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, which is considering this.