Chairman of the South East England Regional Assembly, Keith Mitchell said: 'We can only support the government's proposal to extend the mayor's rail powers beyond London if the assembly sits at the top table. We want the best service possible for our residents, so the assembly needs to be involved in the decision making process where it can influence and look after the region's interests.'
The assembly's executive committee rejected proposals to allow the mayor to:
- Add extra stops within London on train services starting outside London as this would make journeys from the south east slower
- Extend his rail remit as far as High Wycombe and Sevenoaks
The committee also stressed the need for the mayor to secure agreement with local transport authorities on any proposed changes to rail services. Depending on such consultation in each case, the assembly supports proposals for the mayor of London to:
- Buy extra train services or propose reductions to save costs outside the Greater London Authority boundary
- Determine fares for local train services that continue beyond the London boundary
- Pay for station improvements outside London
Mr Mitchell added: 'We are pleased to see that the government has recognised our earlier concerns about the proposed geographical reach of the mayor's rail powers. The scope of the mayor's powers is now more limited, but the principle of south east representation is non-negotiable.'
1) Table available on boundary termini.
2) See link for the Assembly's response http:www.southeast-ra.gov.uk/meetings/exec/2006/070406/agenda_item_9-london_rail_consultation.pdf
3) The South East England Regional Assembly is the 'voluntary regional chamber' for the south east. It was established in January 1999 to give a representative voice to the South East region, which covers Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East and West Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, and Surrey.
4) The regional assembly is made up of 112 members including elected councillors nominated by the region's local authorities and 37 representatives from other sectors of the community (including business, trades unions, education, housing, health, sports, culture, tourism, faith groups, environmental, community and voluntary organisations) as well as the New Forest National Park Authority.
5) The assembly has three areas of core business:
a) It is the representative voice of the South East, engaging and representing its member organisations and, through them, the wider public.
b) The assembly has a specific role under the Regional Development Agencies' Act 1998 to ensure the accountability of the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) to the region.
c) The assembly has been the regional planning body for the south east since April 2001. It has responsibility for proposing strategic planning and transport policies to government.