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Pedicabs (London) Bill [HL]

Volume 835: debated on Tuesday 6 February 2024

Third Reading


Moved by

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have contributed to the consideration of the Bill. Your Lordships’ invaluable insights, careful consideration and scrutiny have helped guide government amendments and resulted in a Bill that is not only in excellent shape but is one which I am confident we are sending to the other place with a consensus from your Lordships’ House.

As I mentioned at Second Reading, the Government have been committed to bringing forward this legislation when parliamentary time allowed. I am pleased to have had the privilege of taking this small but very important Bill through the House, and that your Lordships have been united in supporting the principle behind the Bill—namely, addressing the legal anomaly concerning London’s pedicabs.

Before I move on to my thanks, I will first draw noble Lords’ attention to an update following Report last week. My department published guidance on 1 February relating to the safe use of batteries in e-cycles and e-scooters. This matter has been raised consistently throughout the Bill’s passage through this House.

The guidance will raise awareness for owners on how to safely purchase an e-cycle or e-scooter and ensure that these meet manufacturing requirements and are bought only from reputable sellers. Other matters covered by the guidance included safe storage and charging, the warning signs for fire risk and how to address them, and how to dispose of batteries responsibly. I hope your Lordships consider this a helpful development and, as I mentioned in my comments on Report, the Office for Product Safety & Standards, and Defra, are in the process of reviewing the position with regard to batteries.

I now commence my thanks by recognising the critical role of my honourable friend Nickie Aiken, the Member for the Cities of London and Westminster, in raising awareness of the issue of pedicab regulation in London. She has been a tireless campaigner and shown commitment and determination in ensuring the legislation be brought before Parliament.

I am also most grateful for the constructive way the Opposition Front Benches have engaged with the Bill. I thank the noble Lords, Lord Tunnicliffe and Lord Liddle, and the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, for their thoughtful contributions both on the Floor of the House and outside. I thank all the other noble Lords who have contributed with such clarity; playing their part in ensuring that the Bill we send to the other place is in great shape. In particular, I thank my noble friend Lady Stowell of Beeston, who has been a prominent supporter of my honourable friend Nickie Aiken’s campaign.

I hope noble Lords will join me in thanking all the policy officials and lawyers in both the Department for Transport and across government, whose efforts have contributed to making the Bill happen. I thank in particular the Bill team, Kenny Way, Chris and Donelle, and Adam Lawless in my private office. I also extend my gratitude to—I apologise for not having their surnames—Diggory and Douglas, the drafters in the Office for Parliamentary Counsel, who have prepared the Bill and its amendments during its passage.

Finally, I thank Transport for London for its engagement and support in bringing the Bill forward. The Bill will ensure that TfL has the tools it needs to effectively regulate pedicabs for the first time, and the Government look forward to a regulatory regime being implemented. As we send the Bill to the other place, I am confident that it will need very little, if any, amending. The Bill will make London’s roads safer and address the anti-social nuisance caused by rogue pedicabs.

My Lords, I, too, thank the officials who have worked on this Bill and the Minister’s private office for the work they have put in. I also thank the noble Lord, Lord Davies, for taking due account of the points that we made in the passage of the Bill. On the main question of how this regulation is going to be conducted, we have reached an acceptable consensus, and I thank him very much for that. I also welcome his statement today about the battery issue, which I think is a real public health and safety hazard. I am glad to see the Government recognising that and doing something about it.

This Bill, while not the most important piece of legislation we have ever seen—indeed, I think I may have remarked before that it basically affects two wards of a single London borough—is nonetheless tackling something that has been a considerable nuisance by ensuring that the pedicab sector is properly regulated and does not damage London’s reputation as an attractive tourist centre, which I think is very important. So we support the Third Reading of this Bill and look forward to its quick passage in the other place.

My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Liddle, stated, this Bill is limited in its scope. Indeed, it probably receives virtually no recognition beyond a couple of miles from this place—but it has been wanted for decades because of an increasing problem. Now this Bill is being passed in this House and sent down the Corridor, perhaps we can look forward to pedicabs becoming an asset to London’s tourism.

I add my thanks to the Minister and his team. They have been exceptionally generous with their time and exceptionally constructive in their approach. As a result, this is a much better Bill than when it came to this House. The devolution of powers over pedicabs to Transport for London is an issue of basic common sense. We have achieved that, and I thank the Minister for that and, finally, for his statement about batteries today. I had written a piece in preparation saying they are an unresolved issue and urging the Minister to keep working on it, but I can now thank the Minister very much indeed for his statement. It is not all that campaigners want—far from it—but it is a step forward. We are making progress, and I thank him for that.

My Lords, I add my thanks to those of other noble Lords. Getting this Bill through your Lordships’ House has been very interesting process. There must have been a record number of people who went to see the clerks in the Public Bill Office and said they would like to add something about scooters and batteries, how you should ride scooters and that you should not do it on the pavement. We were all told—quite rightly—go away because it was outside scope. Now, at least the Minister has said that he and his department are looking at that and will also look at batteries, which are a very important part of it. One day, perhaps with this Government or probably the next Government, we might see something about riding bikes, electric or otherwise, and scooters where they are supposed to be, which is on the road, not on the pavement.

Bill passed and sent to the Commons.