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Automated Vehicles Bill [HL]

Volume 835: debated on Tuesday 6 February 2024


Relevant document: 9th Report from the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. Scottish and Welsh legislative consent sought.

Clause 1: Basic concepts

Amendment 1

Moved by

1: Clause 1, page 2, line 5, leave out subsection (7) and insert—

“(7) For the purposes of this Part, a vehicle that travels autonomously does so “safely and legally” if a human driver, who drove in the same manner while undertaking a practical test of driving skills and behaviour in accordance with the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999, would pass that test with no faults recorded by the examiner.(7A) The Secretary of State may by statutory instrument replace the definition of “safely and legally” in subsection (7) with a quantified measure of the risk per mile travelled of relevant incidents as defined in section 39, taking account of data gathered through the performance of the duties mentioned in sections 38 (general monitoring duty) and 39 (duty with respect to incidents with potential regulatory consequences).”Member’s explanatory statement

This amendment replaces the definition of “safely and legally” for the purpose of the self-driving test with a requirement that an autonomous vehicle should drive to a standard such that a human would pass the test with no faults recorded. It also allows for this definition to be replaced once suitable data becomes available as a result of sections 38 and 39.

My Lords, these amendments are all about road safety. Of course, it is a very important subject, which we discussed at length at Committee. Many of the comments made by noble Lords will have been reflected in what I am about to say and in what the Minister said. The Minister has some amendments and I have a couple of amendments in this grouping.

We are all struggling to come up with a definition of “road safety”—which will probably stand for many years—that will enable us to avoid the fear that automatic vehicles will by definition be less safe because they will run into more people. It is a very difficult and challenging subject. My view, and I am very grateful to Cycling UK and other groups for helping with this work, is that we need a step change in road safety. The risks of death or injury on our roads are significantly higher than for life in general, or indeed for other types of transport networks, such as rail. Particularly, pedestrians, people who cycle and other non-motorised road users bear a disproportionate brunt of this risk. I think that this will be a worry all the way through.

I was very interested to hear from Cycling UK and the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety that they tried to follow up the work the Law Commission did in this regard—and did it very well. They came up with two options for trying to improve the definition. The first defined the standard required in terms of what would be required for a human driver to pass a driving test with no faults recorded by the examiner. The second was to quantify the risk of a collision or traffic infraction, possibly per something like 1 billion kilometres travelled.

I came to the conclusion that the first one was probably better, which is what is in my Amendment 1. This says basically that the vehicle should be driven—remotely, but driven—

“in the same manner while undertaking a practical test of driving skills and behaviour in accordance with the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999, would pass that test with no faults”.

I think that is quite a good one. It would allow the Secretary of State to change it by statutory instrument if he or she thought that was a good idea.

The Minister will speak to his amendment, which I think is an improvement. It is a question of having a debate on these things. Although I do not think we will finish it today, I hope we can make some progress on the right way forward to make sure that road safety is not reduced; in other words, it needs to be improved.

There are two other amendments that go with this. First, Amendment 2 in my name relates to the types of locations or circumstances where these criteria are met. It is very different being on a motorway from being on a road in a congested town or in the countryside, and it is important that the principles that are applied should have the option of being different for each one.

Secondly, Amendment 4 says simply that we should aim for something a lot better than “better”. Whether

“significantly better for all road users”

is the right wording is something that we can debate. I think “significantly” is important, and it is really important that it applies to all road users, which includes pedestrians, cyclists, children, older people, disabled people, and so on.

With that short introduction to the road safety issue in the Bill, I beg to move.

My Lords, I repeat the declarations of interest that I have made in the past.

I applaud the principles behind the suggestions made by the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley. However, there is a difficulty in coming up with new regulations that are different from elsewhere in the world, and I am afraid that “significantly” falls into that trap. It would make it a lot harder for international companies to work out exactly what was meant by these words. There is no established case law on these matters.

We all know that there are problems with existing human drivers, and we should expect that all autonomous vehicles turn out to be dramatically better than human beings. We should not look for circumstances where humans monitor computers but rather the other way around; computers will be better than humans at this. A lot of people suggest that car insurance will actually reduce when the number of autonomous vehicles increases. So I am afraid that I can only applaud the amendment produced by my noble friend the Minister and reject those proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley.

I hope the House will forgive me, but these various amendments on safety prompt me to ask the Minister about something that has not featured much in our discussions: the issue of hacking into self-driving vehicles—SDVs. It was touched on peripherally during the debate on data protection in Committee but not really highlighted as a major safety concern, which is why I thought I would bring it up now.

I sat on the House’s Science and Technology Committee when it produced its report on automated vehicles some five or six years ago—I am afraid the doldrums of Covid blur my account of time. I remember that during that committee’s investigation, we spent some time discussing in detail the question of hacking into these vehicles, and I felt it only right that it should feature in our discussions on safety today.

We all know how easy it is for someone, or some group of someones, to hack into our computers from a distance, and it could be a criminals or, worse, an enemy state. Why should it not be the same with an SDV? I raised this subject with Waymo and others, but I have to say that I was not convinced by its assurances that it could not happen. We all know that both at Microsoft and here in Parliament it takes a team of experts, sometimes working around the clock, to keep all our devices free from hackers, and an SDV will just be another device.

I was going to bring this matter up when the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, who is not in his place, had an excellent amendment on the obvious necessity for our emergency services to be able to talk to or even control SDVs in certain circumstances. Sadly, however, I could not be here on the 10 January. I was going to say that if it is too easy for a policeman, an ambulance driver or a fireman to get sufficient access to control an SDV, I feel sure that it will not be impossible for someone with malicious intent to get hold of whatever device or code that makes this possible. Could it be that stealing a car will become easier, and that a suicide bomber will now no longer need to commit suicide but just hack into someone else’s car or an SDV for hire and drive it into a crowd or the gates of Parliament, for example? Or maybe you could commit murder by getting control of a car and driving it into your intended victim. It is also entirely possible that no one would know who had done it, because it had been done from a considerable distance—maybe from the other side of the world.

I do not know whether any of your Lordships have seen a series called “Vigil”, one of these television thriller fictions, in which an armed remote-control drone was captured remotely and used to create death, destruction and mayhem on British soil. However, no one knew who was controlling it, which was the essence of the whodunnit plot. Incidentally, it turned out that it was being controlled all the way from the Middle East. I am afraid my thoughts leapt—rather melodramatically, I admit—from that fiction to the reality of what we are trying to achieve here with the Bill.

I am sure there are technical solutions to all these issues, and the whiz-kids on either side of the good-versus-evil divide will continuously compete with one other to win the war of control. It occurred to me, for instance, that perhaps all policemen should be issued with a zapper that brings to a dead halt any SDV that appears to be behaving dangerously. That may be too drastic a solution but, believe me, we will need some solution. My point is that we are entering a brave new world, and we need to properly think through all the problems we are going to encounter. We particularly need to ensure that SDVs become an accepted and safe reality.

I did not want our debate on the safety of these vehicles or the future to pass without a serious commitment from government to being always on the alert to controlling or at least minimising this safety problem. Therefore, by way of a question, I would like reassurance from the Minister that before companies can be licensed to produce SDVs, there will be checks, monitoring and even the holding of emergency real-life exercises with the police to test against what they would do if a dangerous hacker got control of a vehicle.

Will the Government commit to ongoing vigilance over the licensing process, the manufacturers, the operators, the car hire companies, the taxi services and the so-called Uber 2s, and so on, to minimise the dangers from malicious hackers? I realise, of course, that all this vigilance will not eradicate the danger of hacking into such self-driving devices. It is clear that we are unlikely to ever see the end of people trying to get into our other devices, our banking services and the like, but I hope that ongoing vigilance will at least minimise this particular safety risk.

My Lords, following on from the noble Lord, Lord Cameron, I remind the House that I raised national security and people hacking into the system at Second Reading. Group 5 today deals with data protection issues; careful control of data is one way in which to make it more difficult for outside forces to hack into it. However, if you present a complete picture of every road and road sign in Britain to people who are able to drive around the UK, then you are opening a very big picture to the world. There will be people who want to take advantage of that in a way which could be hugely damaging.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, for his amendments. We had a vigorous debate in Committee about issues of safety. I do not know whether the definition produced in government Amendment 3 is absolutely the last word on the topic, but the Government have moved a long way. I thank the Minister for that amendment, which is an advance and improvement on the original. As the noble Lord, Lord Borwick, said, we need to take into account issues associated with international definitions. Government Amendment 7 is also important as a step forward, because it gives this House an important role at a key point when that statement of safety principles is issued.

The Minister will be pleased to know that I took his advice and went to visit Wayve in King’s Cross. Wayve is a local company which is developing a driverless car—an automated vehicle. I went for quite a long drive around the streets of King’s Cross and can report that I found it surprisingly relaxing. I did not expect to be relaxed but I was. I mention this because one key point was made to me during that drive, as we overtook a cyclist very carefully. The key point was that these cars will always be programmed to drive legally; that is a great deal better than you and me as, from time to time, we lapse from the highest standards. Some people out there drive in a way which does not follow the law—they wilfully drive too fast or inconsiderately, and so on.

Another point was made to me, because during that drive, first, we had a very indecisive elderly lady wondering whether she was going to cross at a zebra crossing and, secondly, we had that cyclist. Of course, those users are always going to be there, because even when we have totally driverless cars, which will be decades on, we are still going to have human nature intervening, so this is a very complex issue.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, for his contribution. I also thank the Minister for the steps forward that we have made in improving the definition and the role of this House in the statement of safety principles.

My Lords, I think this group has two subgroups. There is the subgroup of amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Davies, and my noble friend Lord Berkeley’s subgroup. I am afraid to tell my noble friend that we will support the Davies subgroup and not the Berkeley subgroup.

There are many reasons for this, ending with a very pragmatic one. First, the proposals from the noble Lord, Lord Davies, are structurally sound as they separate the roles of Clause 1 and Clause 2. Clause 1, as it will stand after these amendments, in essence says, among other things, that there shall be a safety standard. The clause is headed “Basic concepts”. Clause 2 attempts to address what that safety standard shall be.

We believe that government Amendment 3 is right. It is a very sound definition of “safe enough”. It is built around the well-crafted concept of

“careful and competent human drivers”.

It is today’s standard at its best. It is today’s standard after, as is set out in the commissioners’ report, eliminating the distracted, the drowsy, the drunk, the drugged and the disqualified. It is a high standard but not an infinite standard. It recognises that there has to be a limitation, otherwise the whole pursuit of a standard that is not defined becomes impossible.

It passes what I consider to be the death test. One of these vehicles is going to kill somebody. It is inevitable; the sheer volume of events will mean that something will go wrong. It is at that moment that you have to be able to respond to public opinion, have a standard that is easy for people to understand and defend it. I know this because I have been in that position when running a railway. The 1974 Act that applies to railways demands a standard: that the risk is as low as reasonably practical. It is one of the most brilliant pieces of legislation ever passed. Its impact on safety in this country has been enormous. Its impact on construction and railways, and its crossover impact on nuclear, have served this country well. I believe that this standard, which involves being as safe as a careful and competent driver, is the natural equivalent.

I also note that the law commissions produced three answers. Since they took three years or something to come to these three answers, it seems a pretty good idea to pick one of them. They were options A, B and C. Option C is, in my view, clearly rejected by these amendments. That option was to be

“overall, safer than the average human driver”.

The average human driver includes this wonderful list of distracted, drowsy, drunk, drugged and disqualified drivers. The world is a better place for eliminating them. Option B was

“as safe as a human driver who does not cause a fault accident”.

That is so ill defined that even the law commissions gave up on it. Option A is this one:

“as safe as a competent and careful human driver”.

It passes that test in a way that, when the experts set about turning this into regulations, I believe it will be feasible for them to achieve.

We also support government Amendment 7, which is a compromise. It ensures that Parliament—the importance of Parliament is very much brought out in the supporting documentation—has a positive involvement with the initial statement of safety principles. It also assures us that there will be a negative involvement with subsequent revisions. That is a balance, and we can support that.

I am afraid that government Amendments 3 and 7 have a rather unique advantage that we should not ignore: the name on them is the Minister’s, that of the noble Lord, Lord Davies. But, with the greatest respect to him, if you rub out “Lord Davies” and look under that name, you see “His Majesty’s Government”. Their majority in the other place means that these two amendments will become law—a piece of law that will guide this industry well.

I turn to an issue that is not so directly involved but needs to be there to tidy things up: the principles relating to equality and fairness. What does this mean in this environment? This too is set out in the law commissions’ report. In essence it means that an autonomous vehicle does not come at the expense of any particular group of road users. The policy scoping notes say:

“Government is likely to include a safety principle relating to equality and fairness”.

That is not there at the moment, but I am delighted to be advised by the Minister that this will be changed from “likely to include” to “will include”. This emphasis is particularly important for pedestrians, who must not be sacrificed to achieve the introduction of automated vehicles.

My Lords, I will speak in support of Amendments 1 and 4 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley. We dealt with safety a lot in Committee, and it is paramount. This is the most important part of the Bill. I became an enthusiast about automated vehicles because I turned up to a briefing. Most people you talk to are ambivalent at best, and there is a sort of dystopian “Blade Runner” worry about faceless terminator drones.

Safety needs to be beyond reproach when bad things happen. As the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, said, bad things will happen—deaths will happen. We need to be able to face people and say that we did the best we possibly could. The noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, said this needs to be easy to understand and define; that is absolutely right, but it needs to be equivalent to, or better than, a driver who does the best in a driving test. That does not sound too high to me.

Amendment 4 mentions “significantly” improving road safety. The noble Lord, Lord Borwick, said that we should expect all autonomous vehicles to be better than human drivers, but what if they are not? We need to hold them to account. This would make the whole thing easier to sell to a sceptical public, as opposed to the government amendment. I am not a lawyer, but I do not see why trying to make things significantly better would deter players from joining the market. The industry will spend money on this only when it sees a momentum shift in public opinion, which is why safety is so important and why these amendments are so important.

My Lords, we begin once again with the question of safety. I am grateful to colleagues across the House for their constructive engagement on this issue. The Government’s position remains that the safety standard is best articulated in statutory guidance, with the benefit of consultation. This is the most appropriate way of assessing the public’s attitude to risk, which in turn is the only objective answer to the question of “How safe is safe enough?”. This rationale was set out by the law commissions and is not one from which we intend to deviate.

Nevertheless, I have reflected on our discussions in recent weeks and recognise the strength of feeling on this subject. This is a novel area, with an uncertain future. It is therefore reasonable that Parliament should expect to set the parameters within which the safety standard will be defined. To that end, I have tabled government Amendments 3 and 7. This will establish the “careful and competent driver” standard as the minimum level of road safety that the statement of safety principles should look to achieve—in effect, cementing our safety ambition into law. It will also guarantee a substantive debate in Parliament on the first iteration of those principles.

As I have said previously, the “careful and competent” standard is considerably higher than that of the average driver. This means the objective of a significant improvement in road safety is now baked in from the beginning. Further, I recognise the desire to clarify that this improvement in safety applies to all road users. I can therefore confirm that the statement of safety principles will include an explicit principle on equality and fairness. This could include, for example, a declaration that overall safety benefits should not come at the expense of any particular group of road users. Further detail could then specify that training datasets must be representative of different sectors of society. The exact framing will of course be shaped by consultation.

More broadly, I reiterate the point I made in Committee that references in the Bill to “road safety” do indeed already apply to all road users. This is also the case in existing road safety legislation, where offences such as dangerous driving are concerned with the safety of all road users; this includes, but is not limited to, pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders, motorcyclists and disabled people.

For these reasons, I believe the intent of Amendment 4 is now provided for. Indeed, our proposed Amendment 3 achieves this without the ambiguity created by relative terms such as “significantly better”.

Regarding Amendment 2, Clause 1(3) already establishes that safety is to be assessed in relation to location and circumstances. The safety considerations and appropriate assessment methodologies will vary depending on the location, circumstances, use case and road users in question. It is more appropriate that these details be defined in approval and authorisation requirements, rather than the statement of safety principles.

The first part of Amendment 1 would effectively apply a minimum safety standard equivalent to that of a novice human driver who has just passed their test. The practical limitations of human driving tests constrain the monitoring and assessment of each new driver’s performance to a short time window. These limitations do not apply to self-driving vehicles. We can assess performance in multitudes of situations, including rare ones, and across thousands of miles of driving. We therefore believe safety is best assessed by a combination of real-world, track and virtual testing.

More pertinently, the amendment looks to redefine the phrase “safely and legally” in purely statistical terms. Doing so would contradict the law commissions’ basic principle that these concepts are ultimately defined by public acceptance and public confidence. As I said at the outset, we do not believe it wise to deviate from this principle. I hope that, with the additional assurances of government Amendments 3 and 7, the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, will agree with me on that point.

Before I conclude, I will briefly address the security point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Cameron of Dillington. Cyber and national security sit at the very heart of our plans to bring self-driving vehicles to UK roads. Vehicles with automatic systems will be subject to detailed technical cybersecurity assessment as part of the well-established type approval process. This will include assessment to ensure vehicles continue to be cyber resilient throughout their lifetime. Before a company can be authorised as a self-driving entity, it must meet requirements relating to good repute, which will include consideration for cybersecurity. We will, of course, be working with the police and the security services to enable this.

My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords who have taken part in this short debate. It has been a very interesting series of contributions on the subject of safety, which we will go on debating for a very long time. The Minister, as we know, has moved and made improvements. I will study carefully what he said in his response, because I detect some further studies that may come in future guidance, or something like that. For the moment, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 1 withdrawn.

Clause 2: Statement of safety principles

Amendment 2 not moved.

Amendment 3

Moved by

3: Clause 2, page 2, line 16, after “that” insert “—

(a) authorised automated vehicles will achieve a level of safety equivalent to, or higher than, that of careful and competent human drivers, andMember’s explanatory statement

This amendment embodies the standard of a careful and competent driver in the statement of safety principles that will guide the operation of the automated vehicle authorisation scheme.

Amendment 3 agreed.

Amendment 4 not moved.

Amendment 5

Moved by

5: Clause 2, page 2, line 19, leave out “such representative organisations as the Secretary of State thinks fit” and insert “representatives of road user groups and other groups whose safety or other interests may be affected by the application of the principles”

Member's explanatory statement

This would require the Secretary of State, when preparing a statement of safety principles, to consult representatives of road user groups and other groups whose safety or other interests may be affected by the application of those principles.

My Lords, this is a group that somebody has decided to call “operations”, which is fine. I have two short amendments in this group. Amendment 5 relates to the consultation requirements. Your Lordships regularly debate the question of who should be consulted and on what basis. My worry here is that the Government are suggesting that the right definition of who should be consulted are those whom the Secretary of State thinks fit. It would be more appropriate to have wording, as I suggest in the amendment, to make sure that it includes not only road users but other groups whose safety

“may be affected by the application of the principles.”

There is a worry here, which also comes out in my Amendment 34 in this group, about the weighting of persuasion and the weighting of firepower, or whatever one likes to call it, between the average uninsured road user—who might be a pedestrian or a cyclist, or perhaps eventually a scooter rider—and the companies that have invested a large amount of money in setting up the systems that the vehicles are using. Whether the pedestrians or cyclists should or should not be insured is another matter for debate, but the fact remains that most of them are not insured at the moment. If something goes wrong, there will be a tendency for Ministers to say, “Well, we need to hear the opinion of the company”, and somehow that will be given more weight than the opinion of those who might be affected. I hope I am wrong there, but it happens in other walks of life that occasionally your Lordships debate. For me, it is right, through Amendment 5, to look at the groups whose safety or other interests might be affected by this.

I turn to Amendment 34, which is much the same. If there is an accident or incident—whatever we want to call it—between a pedestrian and an insured AV, who decides who is at fault, if there is any fault? The vehicle will have insurance and the insurance company will work hard to make sure that its client is given the right advice and that it supports them where necessary. The amendment suggests that, if there was nobody in the vehicle,

“it will be assumed for the purpose of this section that the authorised automated vehicle caused the accident unless proved otherwise”.

That is very radical, but we do not have a better solution. If we do not have something that recognises the lack of balance between a pedestrian or an uninsured cyclist and an AV being driven legally with the right insurance behind it, we will have trouble in the future. I am not sure that this is the solution—I look forward to noble Lords’ comments on it—but something must redress the balance between what we might call the little person on the street and the big companies investing a lot of money in this. They will want to make sure that they look after their clients, if we can call them that. I beg to move.

My Lords, we have a great deal of sympathy with the points that my noble friend Lord Berkeley made, particularly on his Amendment 34 dealing with insurance. That is a very complicated question; people have written to me about it, and I have difficulty understanding it, to be quite honest. The Government should give further thought to the question that Amendment 34 asks, for when the Bill goes to the Commons. We do not intend to press this in any way now, but it matters and deserves further consideration by Ministers.

Having said that, I turn to the amendments in my name. We will not press Amendment 9 to a vote, but it concerns another issue about which we hope the Government will have a good think before the Bill is presented to the Commons. We have been approached by people in the business of delivery robots that use pavements, and there is legal confusion. Because a pavement is legally defined as part of the road, this question is within the scope of the Bill; yet, clearly, the regulation of vehicles that primarily use the pavement must be different from those that use the roads. We think of the obvious case of mobility scooters, which are mainly intended to be used on pavements.

Amendment 9 does not direct anything. It gives the Government the power to make regulations about delivery robots which are designed to use pavements. This is not a trivial issue. There is a lot of potential in the delivery robot principle. It deals with the final mile from where the lorry drops off its load to how the parcel gets to the individual dwelling. Doing this with electric robots has the potential to make a big contribution to our net-zero commitments, rather than it being done by diesel vans as happens at the moment. This is an important question which we would like the Government to think about.

We attach a great deal of importance to Amendment 28. It proposes to establish a permanent statutory advisory council to examine the development of automated vehicles. We intend to test the opinion of the House on this because it is a matter of considerable importance.

Automated vehicles are a transport revolution in the making. No one is quite sure how they will evolve or what the problems are going to be. We are a bit in the dark, but we have to find a legislative framework for it—which this Bill does. We also have to find a mechanism for carrying the public with us as this revolution takes its course. During our debates on the Bill, we have made considerable progress on safety. This should be of paramount importance. We have a definition which we think is tight and can be implemented in time as a high-quality safety standard.

The advent of automated vehicles is not just a question of safety. It has implications for many aspects of daily life, such as the future of public transport, delivery robots—as we have just been saying—how we shop, and how we deliver care to the vulnerable and housebound. The Government recognise this and the need for officials and Ministers to consult extensively with the relevant groups. If the Government recognise that they need a process of continuous consultation, I find it difficult to understand why they object to this proposal for an advisory council.

Let me put the case for something to be formalised. First, we on this side of the House think it very important that employee representatives—trade unions—should have a formal role in the development of this sector in some way. It is going to affect the jobs of an awful lot of people—bus drivers, lorry drivers and goodness knows who else. We all have a choice in life. Do we just take these technologies and try to impose them, or do we try to work in partnership in order that they can be introduced in a way that is acceptable to the workforce? The latter is much the better course of action.

Indeed, again, I cannot see what problem the Government have with this because, when I raised this point in Committee, the Minister—the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Gower—said that the Government would

“bring in the views of the public, academia, trade unions and other representative bodies”.—[Official Report, 10/1/24; col. 81.]

So why can we not formalise that commitment in the way this amendment proposes?

There are big advantages in having a formalised advisory council. The risk with all these new technologies is that, in essence, their regulation becomes governed by the producer interest—that is, by the people who are putting money into their development. Of course, one wants innovation and enterprise. One wants producers to make their views clear as to what framework suits them. But, at the same time, there must be a proper mechanism for giving equal weight to the views of other road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, as well as those of groups in wider society that have a stake in the wider economic changes that automated vehicles will bring.

I will mention my experience of working at the European Commission. The trade commissioner had every three months to appear before something called the Social Forum, which represented a wide group of interests concerned with trade—including, for instance, NGOs such as Oxfam and War on Want and other such people. It is important to have a formal structure where the Minister, the politician, sits and listens to a wide range of views and does not just read the briefs produced by the producer interests. In my view, that is the way you get good policy. For that reason, I hope that the Government will think about supporting our Amendment 28.

My Lords, the amendments in this group deal mainly with consultation. Given that the Bill is a framework in large part, with the detail still to be developed, ensuring that the right people are consulted is obviously a key issue.

The noble Lord, Lord Liddle, referred to various groups that might be part of this advisory council. It is clearly essential that other road users and those who will be affected by automated vehicles—cyclists, disabled people and so on, as well as the trade unions—are consulted. We would pick out the emergency services, too; it is absolutely essential that they are included in the group of people to be consulted.

There is an element of overlap with Amendment 10 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, which I have signed. It suggests that various powers be given to the Office of Rail and Road. Before I signed the amendment, I looked at the scope of the ORR’s powers; indeed, I spoke to ORR to see whether it felt it was an organisation that could take on this role. The issue is that, currently, the Bill is much too vague. It is far too unspecific about how the Government will consult and how they will develop and impose the regulations. Later in our debates, we will come on to Amendment 10 and I am sure that, at that point, the noble Lord will explain our thinking behind that.

In Amendment 6 the Minister has provided some detail, but it is not specific enough. Amendment 28 is much more precise. I want to mention Amendment 9, which I have signed, along with the noble Lord, Lord Liddle. I signed it because I remain concerned at the very narrow scope of this Bill. It is ironic that this Bill is looking ahead so far, trying to second-guess how things will develop, but it does not have the scope to allow us to deal with applications of automation that exist now and are a potential problem now. Indeed, those engaged in that sort of activity are keen for a legal framework within which they can operate safely.

I have mentioned in this Chamber before the ongoing activities of Starship, and when I visited Wayve I was shown a vehicle that is being used to trial automated deliveries in partnership with Asda. This is not something that we can look at in the future; we should be looking at now. I urge the Minister to talk to his colleagues in the other place and in the Department for Transport with a view to bringing forward the kind of precision we need on these issues.

My Lords, the only comment I will make is on Amendment 34 from the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley. In the event of an accident, the conventional problem the police face is competing descriptions honestly held by two different people about what actually happened: “I did this; he did that”. The thing about an autonomous vehicle accident is that there will be at least half a dozen cameras recording every factor in the accident, as there have been in the various accidents that have taken place in San Francisco. There will be far more information in the event of an accident involving an autonomous vehicle. So to suggest that it is automatically assumed that the authorised automated vehicle caused the accident unless proved otherwise is moving the burden of proof completely on to the autonomous vehicle. I think this is a very bad idea, because the press will immediately assume—backed up by this amendment —that it is the fault of the autonomous vehicle when the facts will be available on the television cameras. So I really think that it is a thoroughly dangerous new suggestion to assume the guilt of an autonomous vehicle because it is autonomous.

My Lords, this group covers the general functioning and underlying mechanics of the regulatory framework. It includes government Amendments 11, 25 and 26, which correct minor and technical drafting issues. It also includes government Amendment 33, which applies the affirmative procedure to regulations setting the maximum penalties that can be levied against regulated bodies. Following careful reflection, we agree with the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee that it would be inappropriate to leave these regulations entirely to the negative procedure. I am grateful to the Committee for its considered recommendations and hope that this provides sufficient reassurance.

I will begin with the subject of consultation. I know that there have been calls for specific groups to be named in the Bill. Government Amendment 6 therefore creates an explicit obligation to consult the three groups with the greatest interest in the safe operation of the system: road users, road safety groups and businesses in the industry. However, this list is not exhaustive. It is the Government’s intention to ensure that anyone who feels that they are affected can feed into the development of the statement of safety principles. The consultation will be public and therefore open to all, including trade unions.

Amendment 5 looks to include

“other groups whose safety or other interests may be affected by the application of the principles”.

As drafted, this would add little to the existing requirement in Clause 2 to consult representative organisations. Amendment 28, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Liddle, instead proposes an overarching advisory council. The requirements he proposes are very broad, explicitly mandating representation from, at the very least, 11 different groups and sub-groups. The noble Lord proposes that the council advise and review evidence from government, as well as reporting regularly to Parliament on

“any related matters relevant to … self-driving vehicles and associated public policy”.

This is an extremely wide remit which could not be carried out by a group of this size without extensive co-ordination, expert input and supporting staff, which would create unnecessary bureaucracy and carry additional administrative costs. I completely understand the noble Lord’s interest in ensuring appropriate independent scrutiny of the regulatory framework. However, in the Government’s view, this is a role for Parliament and the statutory inspectors, both of which are free to consult any group they deem necessary in carrying out their respective functions.

Turning to Amendment 34, the Bill does not look to change the insurance provisions set out in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act. The Law Commission considered the Act and concluded that it would be premature to change its application now. It determined that change need be considered only if real-world use-cases encounter challenges in settling claims. However, I recognise the points noble Lords have made and assure them that we are working closely with the insurance industry to anticipate potential issues of this kind. My colleague, Mr Browne, is due to meet with the Association of British Insurers imminently as part of this engagement.

The amendment would apply a presumption of liability to authorised automated vehicles regardless of whether the self-driving feature was active at the time of the incident. This would be disproportionate and potentially unfair. Consider, for example, the implications for a human driver who uses their vehicle without ever activating its self-driving features. Further, such a change could lead to risk-taking behaviour. We would not wish to encourage the perception that the safety of self-driving vehicles somehow reduces obligations on other road users.

Moving, finally, to Amendment 9, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Liddle, and the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson, the Long Title of the Bill states that it is to regulate the use of self-driving road vehicles on roads and in other public places. To be clear, this means that driveways and other non-road locations to which the public have access are already within the scope of the Bill. Pavements are also covered, as they are included in the definition of “roads”. Clause 4(4) also creates the flexibility to regulate use-cases in which a road vehicle uses both public roads and private land. Therefore, as drafted, the amendment would have little to no effect.

However, I recognise the broader point being made about pavement use and accessibility. Ensuring that pedestrians and other vulnerable road users have safe and accessible spaces, including the pavement, is essential to road safety. That is why there are existing restrictions on the use of road vehicles in these spaces. This question goes well beyond the safety of self-driving technologies. It was therefore not considered by the Law Commission, and any potential future changes would need to be subject to careful consultation.

I therefore ask the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, to withdraw Amendment 5.

My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken on this group. I was particularly interested in the comments on my Amendment 34, which I thought would bring some interesting views. I said that I did not think it was a solution, but I am pleased that the Minister is at least looking at this issue with the insurance industry, because there has to be a solution that everybody accepts.

I am particularly grateful to my noble friend, who may or may not divide the House on his amendment on not a supervisory board but a consultation board. I think it is a rather good idea. It is separate from my Amendments 9A and 9B, which I will speak to in a later group, but I certainly support my noble friend’s amendment. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw Amendment 5.

Amendment 5 withdrawn.

Amendments 6 and 7

Moved by

6: Clause 2, page 2, line 20, at end insert—

“(3A) Those organisations must include organisations appearing to the Secretary of State to represent—(a) the interests of businesses involved, or likely to be involved, in the manufacture or operation of mechanically propelled road vehicles designed to travel autonomously,(b) the interests of road users, and(c) the cause of road safety.”Member's explanatory statement

This amendment provides details of the types of organisation that will have to be consulted on the statement of safety principles.

7: Clause 2, page 2, line 22, leave out subsections (5) to (8) and insert—

“(5) The statement takes effect if both Houses of Parliament resolve that it should.(6) The Secretary of State may revise or replace the statement that has effect under this section; and subsections (2) to (4) apply to a revision or replacement.(7) A revision or replacement takes effect at the end of the period of 40 days beginning with the day on which it is laid, unless either House resolves before then that it should not.(8) For the purposes of subsection (7)—(a) where a revision or replacement is laid before each House on different days, the later day is to be taken to be the day on which it was laid before both Houses, and(b) in counting any period of 40 days, no account is to be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days.”Member's explanatory statement

This amendment imposes a positive requirement for both Houses to approve the proposed statement of safety principles, instead of the current power to prevent it from taking effect (which will however still apply to any subsequent revision or replacement).

Amendments 6 and 7 agreed.

Amendment 8

Moved by

8: After Clause 2, insert the following new Clause—

“Statement of accessibility principles(1) The Secretary of State must prepare a statement of the principles that they propose to apply in assessing, for the purposes of this Part, whether an automated vehicle meets the required level of accessibility. (2) The principles must make provision for the accessibility of—(a) physical features and structures of the automated vehicle,(b) computer and software systems used in the automated vehicle, and(c) where relevant, booking platforms and other interactive digital services and systems used prior to, during and after using an automated vehicle, including through underpinning such services and systems with mechanisms to allow human intervention if required.(3) In preparing the statement under subsection (1), the Secretary of State must consult such persons they consider appropriate, in particular disabled people.(4) The statement under subsection (1) should include consideration of the accessibility of infrastructure with which automated vehicles must interact, such as pavements, kerbs, drop off and parking points.”

My Lords, it is a pleasure to speak to this group of amendments. In doing so, I declare my interests as set out in the register, not least my technology interest as an adviser to Boston Limited. In moving Amendment 8 I will also speak to Amendments 18 to 24 and 27. I thank all noble Lords who have shown an interest in these amendments, particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, who has put her name to all of them.

I will briefly take a step back. The major difficulty with the tone and tenor of this Bill on accessibility is that it takes a particularly utilitarian view—the greatest good for the greatest number. In this instance, accessibility is not even in the vehicle’s back seat. Similarly, it suggests that a disabled person should wait, and let innovation take its course and come to them. This is not only unacceptable but not pro-innovation. The whole point of accessibility, inclusive by design from the outset, is that it does not only enable and empower disabled people; it enables, empowers and benefits all people.

Similarly, there is a hint throughout the Bill that regulation is, again, anti-innovation. It can be—we have all seen examples of that—but in no sense is that inevitable just because it is regulation. Right-sized regulation can, indeed must, be pro-innovation. Plenty of good examples in our recent past, from various sectors, prove that.

Amendment 8 in my name is a resubmission of one of my major amendments from Committee. We heard in the previous group about the statement of safety principles. It seems perfectly logical, indeed thoroughly positive, to have a statement of accessibility principles in the Bill. If the Minister is unable to accept this amendment in its current form, will he commit, when he winds up, to the principles set out in this statement of accessibility?

Amendments 18 to 20, in various ways, ensure the accessibility of the vehicles themselves, in various parts of the Bill as drafted. Amendment 21 would require that disabled people be consulted on the granting of permits. This could be structured in such a way that disabled people would not need to be consulted at the micro level, on every permit; a structure could be put in place to ensure meaningful and effective consultation of disabled people throughout that high-level process.

Amendment 22 seeks to move a “may” to a “will”, to guarantee the intent of the Bill. Again, “may” is obviously conditional, and this would show, in a small example, the sense that this is wider than the voluntary or advisory “may”. It is an important amendment—changing to “will” would guarantee this sense. Similarly, Amendment 23 would assure this level of accessibility throughout.

Amendment 24, on the reporting requirement, seeks a minor but important change to the Bill. As currently drafted, the Bill sets out reporting requirements for those involved in automated vehicles. This amendment simply suggests that the first of these reports should be published before any of these vehicles are deployed—a small but important change.

Finally, Amendment 27 would put an obligation on the Secretary of State to commission and pay due regard to research around all elements of accessibility, including the vehicle, software systems and platforms, to ensure not just that the vehicle is accessible but that the whole experience and system are accessible and inclusive by design.

We are talking not only about inclusive by design but about a set of amendments that would make a real, material difference, not just to disabled people but to all users. Are they necessary? Just look at the situation we are currently in, with accessibility and inclusive design not being present at the beginning of the whole process of the development of automated vehicles. This is a clear indicator of the necessity of these amendments. Inclusion and innovation are important, but, more than that, inclusion for innovation is the thread that we should see shining through so many of our statutes: inclusion for innovation and not just for business. We must make it all our business. That is what these amendments are about. I beg to move.

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, for his work in setting out such an effective group of amendments on this topic. I also thank the Minister for the very helpful round-table meeting we had a few days ago, in which we went through in detail many of the concerns that I, the noble Lord and others had.

I will not repeat the detail of the amendments that the noble Lord has outlined. I start from a slightly different perspective. When we started debating the Bill, back at Second Reading, the Minister told us that we did not need to worry about this because the regulatory authorities would be required to obey the public sector equality duty. I pointed out that the House of Lords Select Committee on disability was very concerned that there are holes in the PSED that the Government said they would look at two years ago and have not as yet, and so to rely on that would give us real cause for concern.

The Equality Act refers to “reasonable adjustments”, and it was prayed in aid that there can always be reasonable adjustments. I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Blencathra, is in his place. I am reminded of his Private Member’s Bill—which I think he called the “10 kilogram cement bag” Private Member’s Bill. It would have made lots of small shops accessible to disabled people, particularly those in wheelchairs. That is a “reasonable adjustment”, but we are not in that position. We are talking about the technology of the future. It is really important to acknowledge that the millions of disabled people—over 10 million, or even more if you count the elderly—will require automated vehicles that take account of the full range of disability. To not start designing that in from the very start would be a short-sighted approach.

Those of us who use wheelchairs know from experience that vehicles that have been adjusted with ramps are not only expensive but not particularly effective. To have a car that is built that way right from scratch, so that you do not have to move the exhaust pipe or the batteries, reduces the cost but also means that the car is more effective. It is even more important with this technology of the future that all these things are designed in from the start.

In Committee, I said that one of the things that we disabled people chant on a regular basis is that there should be nothing about us without us, so I am grateful for the amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, that would ensure that disabled people will be part of the continuing review in future, particularly with the reports that he is proposing. If we do not have disabled people involved in design right from the start, and if we do not design accessibility in right from the start, the automated vehicle of the future will not include millions of disabled or elderly passengers.

My Lords, I support all the amendments in the name of my noble friend Lord Holmes of Richmond on disabled access, except Amendment 8. I should say that I added my name to the amendments, but belatedly. I think my name is on them in the online list but not in the printed listed today.

I say to the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, that I think my disabled access Bill is number 14 or 15 in the Private Members’ ballot yet again. It is a simple little measure that says that if a step is less than 12 inches, it should have a ramp for disabled access. Of course, it will not get anywhere; the equality department will block it, as it has blocked it every single time, because it no longer gives a damn about disabled people.

On automated vehicles generally, I am afraid that I trust no one on their safety—not the manufacturers and not the Department for Transport. The only person I trust on them is Jeremy Clarkson. I remember when he said to the chief of Audi, who was boasting about his new automated vehicle, “If you sit in the back, let your vehicle drive the Bolivian highway of death and come out the other side, then I’ll buy one”. That is my view on automated vehicles.

However, my concern today is about automated vehicles for hire as cabs. I have never used Uber in my life. I believe it is a disreputable company which does not pay its drivers properly. Its untrained drivers do not have a clue where they are going, and, if I may say so carefully, many seem to be recent arrivals in this country; they cannot find their way to the end of the street without a satnav, and then they stop wherever the satnav tells them to stop or pick up, such as on zebra crossings or in the middle of the road—the dropped kerb that wheelchair users use is one of their favourites. My main concern is that if black cabs in London, or converted Peugeots or Fiat Doblòs in the rest of the country, are wiped out by Uber’s Toyota Priuses, we in wheelchairs will never get a cab again. I do not rate Uber Access as credible if you want to hire a car this decade.

Has my noble friend the Minister heard of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee? It is part of his department. I have in my hand a piece of paper produced by the department. It says that taxi services must be fully accessible for all disabled persons. It calls for WAVs—wheelchair accessible vehicles—for all, and commends London cabs, 100% of which are wheelchair accessible. It goes on to say that, in the country as a whole, only 58% of taxies are wheelchair accessible vehicles, as are only 2% of private hire vehicles. I shall quote verbatim one paragraph from the department’s wheelchair accessible committee:

“Concerningly, the situation seems to be deteriorating. The launch of Uber and other app-based systems for booking PHVs has resulted in an increase of over 4% in the number of licensed vehicles. But they are nearly all PHVs and, in London, there has been a reduction in the number of licensed taxis which has resulted in an overall fall in the number of WAVs on the road”.

That is what will happen throughout the country if the Government permit all automated vehicles to become PHVs or taxis without building in a wheelchair accessible requirement.

Just look at the chaos in California and San Francisco in particular. Have noble Lords seen on the news a single wheelchair accessible cab there among the thousands of lovely dinky cars, such as Ford Focuses and Toyota Priuses? The Prius and the Focus are marvellous little town cars—great runabouts—but I cannot get my dodgy legs in the back of them, even when I am not trying to get a wheelchair into them.

I say to my noble friend that I do not support Amendment 8. I hope he will not push it, because it would apply to all cars and that is wrong. People must have the right to buy any vehicle they choose, even if you cannot swing a cat in the back of it. Before Cats Protection issues a fatwa, let me make it clear that I am referring to the cat-o’-nine-tails, not pussycats.

I hope the Government will insist that any new automated taxis are wheelchair accessible. If they make that clear in law now, vehicle manufacturers will design them—not that there is much to design; it has already been done. The new London black cabs are absolutely fantastic. They have excellent wheelchair ramps, there is lots of space and, for the first time, they seem to have added springs to them. I congratulate my noble friend Lord Borwick on making that happen. So we can just stick the automated computer thingy on to those cabs, or the converted Peugeots I found in other parts of the country. The Peugeot Tepee, they are calling it—what a ghastly name that is. There are Mercedes Vitos, Citroën Berlingos and Fiat Doblòs. All have wheelchair access. So with automated vehicles it is a simple matter of sticking a computer thing on to the vehicles that are there already. I do not want the Government saying, “Oh, this is going to be disproportionate cost and it is a burden on the industry”. It is not.

We were slowly getting more and more wheelchair-accessible vehicles across the country. The Government must ensure that the new technology of automated vehicles does not set that into reverse, as is likely to happen unless some of these amendments are made—but not Amendment 8.

My Lords, perhaps I might add a word for the very large number of people who are not in wheelchairs but who depend, like I do, on a stick. When pavements are so awful in this country, they need a lot of consideration. They walk around at their peril, often due to the irresponsible use of scooters, which are insufficiently regulated by the department.

My Lords, I will speak to Amendments 8, 18 to 20, and 27, in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Holmes of Richmond, and the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, to which I have added my name. In Committee, I was struck by the powerful speeches of the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, and particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, whom we have often heard in your Lordships’ House talking so powerfully about her lived experiences.

This is not a once-in-a-generation nor a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but it is a new, unique opportunity for disabled people to be front and centre of the development of a transport system. A great friend of mine is blind and when we first met, he had a clunky old phone with Braille on it. As soon as the iPhone came out, he had a phone with perfect accessibility built in. There was nothing new there. He has the same iPhone as everybody else. It just has the features to work for him, and I think this is what we can do with automated vehicles.

Elderly or disabled people, who have never dreamed of owning a car, can now look to the near future and see that this is a possibility—but only if they are included in all stages. As a design and technology teacher, I am all over inclusive design. This is not a bolt-on. The noble Lord, Lord Blencathra, said he wanted this bolted on to existing stuff, I want this designed from the ground up. It is a unique—and I mean unique—opportunity to give disabled people a level playing field. It must not be squandered. I look forward to the Minister’s response.

My Lords, while I support the general principle of these comments—indeed, I personally made great changes to the taxi industry to get there—the particular circumstances that enabled me to do that a long time ago were very unusual.

The current situation with autonomous vehicles is that there are many manufacturers that are converting existing vehicles. They cannot change their donor vehicles to make them accessible for disabled people, however desirable that might be. Tesla, Waymo, Cruise, Wayve, Oxa and, indeed, Mercedes are all working on autonomous vehicles, but they are not likely or able to change their vehicles to make them accessible because they must be accessible from the original design. Automotive history goes back 120 or even 150 years. We are not able to change existing vehicles, however desirable that is.

What these clauses would do is stop disabled people being helped by autonomous vehicles coming along. I am thinking particularly of people disabled by a severe learning difficulty who would not be able to learn to drive, or safely drive, a normal vehicle who would not be able to drive as a passenger. I am afraid the clauses would prevent these manufacturers from coming into this market. They would rather go to a market where they could use their existing vehicles than make the changes.

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Borwick, for outlining the current commercial position, but there are models of vehicle currently on the market that can be used for wheelchairs. I fail to understand why, if an entire nation’s rules say that that is the model that has to be followed, manufacturers would not swiftly follow suit. There might be a transition period—does he understand that?—but all the images that we see of autonomous vehicles in the future show a completely different style from even 10 years ago, let alone 100 years ago. Would he agree with that?

I agree with the noble Baroness, but the question for a manufacturer is whether or not to come into the British market. That is the trouble, as I see it. Much as it would be desirable that they redesigned their vehicles, or indeed designed them from the very beginning to be accessible, the reality is that we are talking about regulating a future market based on an existing product. I find it a great shame that that is the position we are in, but that is where we are.

My Lords, frequently during the passage of the Bill we have all discussed the fact that the entire Bill is regulating for the future. It seems that it is acceptable to regulate for the future of everything —except disability access and proper accessibility.

I find it distressing to disagree with the noble Baroness, but I am talking about the reality of the position. Even though I wish the world were different, I cannot agree that we can regulate to make it different in this one Bill.

I thank my noble friend Lord Blencathra for his comments. I am afraid I left the London taxi business a long time ago so I am not actually responsible for the current vehicles, but still I thank him. They are better in all respects than the ones I produced, which are still in business.

It is distressing that so few taxis around the country outside London are not accessible; the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, had her own problems in Watford, as I understand it. It would be so much easier to organise that all taxis all over the country were as wheelchair accessible as the ones in London. I would find that a much more useful use of our time than making these amendments, much as I support the general principle behind them.

My Lords, I disagree with the noble Lord, Lord Borwick, because I think he underestimates the market that will be created. I do not for one minute think that EU countries with high social standards, for example, or the United States of America, will not have a reasonably sized market of people who are elderly and disabled, and that there will not be a demand for vehicles of this sort. The vehicles will be created, and the market will be there as well as here. We are talking about enlarging the market. Instead of diminishing the market, so that it is only for people who are physically able-bodied, we are enlarging it to include a lot of other people, who will be very dependent on vehicles of this sort.

We are gazing into the future. It will not be fundamental if we get some aspects of this wrong, because we will be able to put it right in future legislation. But if we get this aspect of the Bill wrong, it will prove very costly to change course on the design of vehicles, which will have been conceived and built the wrong way. We will then face costs of adjustment as well as huge social costs, because we will have a generation of people who are stuck at home rather than being able to use vehicles as they should be able to.

My Lords, I will not take up the House’s time. We have nothing to add to this debate, although it has been very interesting. I have to deliver our judgment, which is that we are pretty sympathetic to this group. Much will depend on what the Minister says, and the extent to which he is able to give assurances may cause our view to change, but we are broadly sympathetic and will listen carefully to the response of the noble Lord, Lord Holmes.

I thank noble Lords for their contributions to this debate, particularly those who joined me for a detailed discussion following Committee.

The Government want all parts of society, including those with disabilities, to be able to reap the benefits of self-driving technology; I see no disagreement between us on that point. The question at hand is not one of ambition but rather the most appropriate form and timing of intervention.

It bears repeating that we are all dealing with an industry in its infancy. It is not clear what kinds of services will ultimately come forward, and therefore what kind of accessibility provisions are appropriate. What is clear, however, is that if we try to compensate for that uncertainty with unnecessarily broad requirements, the greatest risk is that the industry simply does not develop at all.

If we want self-driving technology to serve the needs of disabled people, we must have a viable self-driving industry in the first place. That is why we have anchored our approach in the recommendations put forward by the law commissions. Their central conclusion on this issue was that our focus should be on gathering evidence and gaining experience. On their recommendation we have built reporting on accessibility into the new passenger permit scheme and have committed to using this learning to develop national accessibility standards for permits. Although we will do so in a more flexible, non-statutory form, it is on their recommendation that we are establishing an accessibility advisory panel to inform that process. We will of course also draw on the deep and hugely valuable expertise of our existing statutory Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee.

Alongside this, the Government will continue to support the development of accessible self-driving vehicle designs. This investment has already helped five separate projects to deploy accessible vehicles, and there will be further opportunities as part of our £150 million CAM pathfinder fund, announced last year.

Beginning with Amendment 8, the authorisation process exists to ensure that self-driving vehicles operate safely. It is not designed to regulate the physical construction of vehicles. Indeed, as my noble friend Lord Borwick points out, most developers are currently working to incorporate self-driving systems into existing, mass-produced models, not creating new vehicles from scratch.

That is not actually what is happening in the marketplace. General Motors has developed the Wayve vehicle, which is now being used in San Francisco. If the regulation is there, the market is already ready and large companies such as General Motors are already making the provision.

I hear what the noble Lord says and am not going to argue with him on that at this point. Where there are overlaps between safety and accessibility, for example in the training of human detection systems, these will be addressed as part of the statement of safety principles. Beyond this, accessibility provisions are best made at the service level, of which vehicle design is just one part.

That is why our approach focuses on understanding how services can best be delivered for disabled users, which can then inform standard permit requirements. As drafted, the amendment would also apply these accessibility principles to any vehicle authorised as self-driving. That would include everything from private cars to vans, HGVs and even tractors. This would be disproportionate and out of step with the way we regulate conventional vehicle designs.

While Amendments 18 and 20 focus on passenger service provision, they could impose design requirements that are simply too sweeping to be workable. Requiring that every automated passenger service vehicle be “accessible to disabled people” would likely require adaptions, including full wheelchair accessibility. Imposing this requirement on the full self-driving passenger service fleet would be disproportionate, and not something we require of conventional taxis and private hire vehicles. This would make the UK market unviable, to the detriment of all users, including those with disabilities. As colleagues have noted, the needs of disabled people are broad and diverse. I note that even vehicles that claim to be 100% wheelchair accessible frequently cannot accommodate the full range of motorised and larger chairs.

Amendment 19 looks to apply the accessibility requirements of existing taxi, private hire and public service vehicle legislation to the passenger permitting scheme. This would not have the desired effect, as these requirements are largely imposed on the human driver. Furthermore, novel automated services may not fit neatly into these traditional modal schemes. Indeed, this is the very challenge that the law commissions were looking to tackle when they recommended the approach we are now taking. Nevertheless, I recognise the points that my noble friend makes and undertake to reflect on how we can best align our standard permitting conditions with the spirit of the Equality Act. These will also reflect the Bill’s specific requirements to consider the needs of older and disabled people before any permit can be issued.

I turn now to some details of the permitting system. Amendment 22 places an unnecessarily high burden on issuing authorities to guarantee that permits enable learning and improve understanding. The Bill already requires that authorities consider the likelihood of this. A more stringent standard would be impractical and add little value. Applicants will naturally be required to provide evidence of their plans for accessibility reporting as part of their permit application. Pre-deployment reports of the kind proposed by Amendment 24 would therefore be redundant.

The reporting process is outcome focused, requiring providers to explain what they are doing to meet the needs of disabled users. Vehicle accessibility could naturally be one of the many inputs that help to do this. I contend that a separate reference, as proposed by Amendment 23, is therefore also unnecessary.

Amendment 21 would require that relevant disability groups be consulted before each permit was issued. Consultation with such groups will naturally form part of developing the national minimum standards for permits. To require separate consultation for each individual permit would be excessively onerous and there would be considerable ambiguity as to which groups would be relevant in each case. Both these issues could severely inhibit the growth of new services.

Amendment 27 would require the Government to annually commission and pay due regard to research on self-driving vehicles’ accessibility. I have already described some of the work that we are undertaking in this space, which will of course continue. However, the wording of this requirement is too general to be effectively implemented and enforced.

I wholly appreciate the strength of feeling on these issues. By explaining the position taken by the Government and the law commissions, I hope that I have been able to offer at least some assurances.

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have contributed to this debate, and the Minister and his officials for their engagement between Committee and Report.

I will take a couple of points that my noble friend Lord Borwick raised as I entirely understand where he is coming from. The difficulty is that, if one is talking about logic, everything that currently is in place would need to necessarily remain as it is until it ceases to be, and then we could start again in terms of accessibility and inclusion. The Palace of Westminster is not perfect, but it is pretty accessible. Changes were made and compromises had to be given—and it is a grade 1 listed palace.

I say to all the businesses currently involved in this that I see the argument that the choice of vehicle—described as a donor vehicle—has not been able to be made accessible. One would assume that all the systems, software and platforms used, as they have been built from scratch, are fully accessible to blind, learning disabled and older people—indeed all people whose needs must be catered for. If those platforms and software systems are not accessible, that tells rather a large truth about what we are considering.

It is desperately disappointing that we find ourselves in this situation, when the promise of automated vehicles is accessible mobility for all, enabled through human-led technology. It is pretty clear that we are not quite there yet. I hope there will be greater changes and much more thought and reflection, potentially between Report and Third Reading. There is so much that needs to be done on access and inclusion. It is hard for me to make this decision but, having considered this deeply, sadly I find myself in the position of withdrawing my amendment at this stage.

Amendment 8 withdrawn.

Clause 3: Power to authorise

Amendment 9 not moved.

Clause 38: General monitoring duty

Amendment 9A

Moved by

9A: Clause 38, page 25, line 31, at end insert—

“(2A) The Office of Rail and Road must comply with every reasonable requirement of the Secretary of State—(a) to provide information or advice in relation to arrangements for monitoring and assessing the general performance of authorised automated vehicles on roads and other public places in Great Britain;(b) to provide information or advice about a matter relevant to the general performance of authorised automated vehicles on roads and other public places in Great Britain;(c) otherwise to provide the Secretary of State with assistance in relation to a matter that is connected with such a function or activity or is relevant to those purposes.”

My Lords, I will speak to Amendments 9A and 9B, which are in my name—these are manuscript amendments—as well as Amendment 10. I will explain to noble Lords why I felt the need to table this manuscript amendment. I apologise; I hope noble Lords have copies of it. The amendment came out like this because of an unfortunate timing issue: I was able to meet the Minister only yesterday. I am grateful to him for sparing the time, with his officials, to talk about the structure of bodies operating, supervising, developing, et cetera this whole system, and about my amendment in Committee on the Office of Rail and Road. Amendments 9A and 9B resulted from that meeting, because I was accompanied by the chief executive of the Office of Rail and Road, John Larkinson. I am grateful for the Minister sparing his time, with half a dozen of his officials, who were probably responsible for all the different elements of the Bill. In jest, I asked them whether they ever talk to each other, and they said, “Yes, we do”—and I am sure they do. It was a very useful meeting.

In these amendments, I thought it useful to explore whether, with all the new ideas rightly being brought forward in the Bill, there is a need for an independent body to keep an eye on what is being done. At the moment, all these things—the DVSA, the Vehicle Certification Agency and inspectors, which are in the Bill—are run by the Department for Transport. In Clause 38, there is a “General monitoring duty”, and my noble friend Lord Liddle has proposed an advisory council, which I said I support.

Something is missing here. If the Government, in the shape of the Department for Transport, are in charge of everything that goes on in this whole AV structure, there probably needs to be more than one independent body with the power and resources to occasionally say, “Look, have you thought about this? Have you got it wrong?” I take the Office of Rail and Road as an example, partly because I am quite familiar with dealing with it, but this is not unique to it. On the railways and roads —I will not go back and explain what I said about smart motorways in Committee, but that comment obviously applies—there is an argument for having a body that is impartial, independent and transparent, and that has the assurance of being able to act. It would have to be funded by the industry, or by someone, but the importance is that it would look at the risks, interfaces and, of course, safety. The basis for it doing this is our old favourite, the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act, which we all probably know quite a lot about. It has been around for a long time. It is the basis on which the railways are regulated for safety, and, in my view, it should be the basis on which the roads are regulated —but that is beyond the scope of these amendments.

Noble Lords may well say, “We don’t need that because we have the accident investigation and inspectors”. Again, other sectors have this: there is the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the marine one. They all do a good job, and they are independent. Ministers told me at a meeting yesterday that they also have an independent advisory panel, and that is good too—you cannot have too many of them.

My worry is that, at some stage in the future, the political pressure on the Department for Transport—whoever the Ministers are and whoever is running it—will become so great that they end up doing something they might regret, as I mentioned in Committee with the Office of Rail and Road. Therefore, although I am certainly not going to divide the House on this this evening, I thought it would be useful to explore with the Minister what the options were. He met the ORR and I hope that we can have further discussions about it. Whether he wants to bring it back at Third Reading is up to him.

However, there is a need for a body that is independent and can deal with these things away from the Department for Transport. If you ask people what they think about the ORR, some people in the railway industry think it is lousy and stops you doing things you want to do. To that, the ORR might say, “Well, d’you want to have an accident next week?” There is going to be a debate about this, but it is important to debate whether an independent body—such as the ORR—would be helpful in developing the ideas that are there at the moment, as they come to fruition.

I am not going speak in any great detail to all the other amendments in this group—although they are linked to it—except to say that we, somehow, need to get some independence into this. It is not consultants; it is something that has a statutory function. It is on that basis that I beg to move Amendment 9A and, again, apologise for being very late with it.

My Lords, I only spoke at Second Reading and was unable to take part in Committee. I think the House knows that I come from the world of aviation and, in terms of aviation, there is some similarity in the context that the noble Lord has covered this afternoon.

This is frontier technology. It happens to be on the ground, but those of us who have flown for Her Majesty’s Forces or flown privately can still take a great interest, in particular, in aviation. There is a need for those who are knowledgeable and not biased and are able to take time. One of the great problems in our society at the moment is time. When I look at what the Department for Trade and the Department for Transport are having to do, there may well be an argument for another body that is knowledgeable about what has been happening in the past and where things are going.

I thank the noble Lord opposite, and I hope my noble friend on the Front Bench will recognise that we are not having a Division on this—I assume—but that there ought to be further discussions on whether this is something we should look at more closely.

My Lords, I added my name to Amendment 10, which relates to the ORR, because there are too many loose ends in the Bill in terms of the powers being granted to the Secretary of State and it is not specified where it goes after that.

We are dealing with some issues that are very closely aligned with those in Amendment 28: how the Government exercise the considerable power that they will have in relation to the development of this market.

To be totally frank, we do not need Department for Transport micromanagement. What we need is an independent body, with dedicated expertise, that will operate with safety considerations actually at the fore, because the development of this market will be badly compromised if there are huge safety issues that arise. It is important—really essential—that the development of this technology is rolled out with safety at its heart. As the noble Lord, Lord Naseby, stated, the CAA is an excellent example. It can be replicated by expanding the role of the ORR to take this under its wing and by looking closely at what the ORR does at the moment. It has the foundations that we need for something that can be developed pretty rapidly. I say to the Minister that I hope that the Government take this seriously and give it consideration. If it is not possible to give precision by Third Reading, hopefully it might be possible to do so by the time the Bill reaches the other place.

My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lord Berkeley for raising these issues. I am afraid that my consideration of these things comes to the conclusion that it is a mess. There are various bodies in the Department for Transport that have various responsibilities in various other forms of transport. There is the road safety investigation branch; I cannot for the life of me see why we are going to have a road safety investigation branch. If we are, I am not quite clear in my mind how that will add value. Some clarification from the Minister would be welcome. We probably need a sensible internal review in the Department for Transport to see to what extent we need all these bodies or whether they have sufficient common themes to be brought together, thereby bringing together the expertise. All in all, I think this is a challenge for the Government, and I hope they rise to it.

I am very grateful to the noble Lord for taking the time to meet me yesterday to discuss these issues in more detail. I absolutely agree with him on the importance of independent input into the system, and I have already touched on where the Government see these key functions lying. As the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, mentioned, this is central to the purpose of the independent statutory inspectors, whose role is established in Part 3, Chapter 2 of the Bill. They will have complete independence and all the necessary powers to investigate incidents involving self-driving vehicles and make public recommendations to improve the safety of the system. They are functionally the same as their marine, air and rail equivalents. All these bodies are part of the department, but nonetheless maintain their independence.

Separately, the Government will continue to be held to account in Parliament on their administration of the self-driving system—both at the Dispatch Box and by the Transport Select Committee. Indeed, government Amendment 7 will enable even greater scrutiny in this House of the first iteration of our statement of safety principles. Finally, we will continue to receive independent advice from our expert advisory panel, featuring representatives from the RAC Foundation, the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, and a selection of academics and engineers.

I will begin with Amendments 12 to 17, which look to change the role and purpose of the statutory inspectors to cover vehicle technologies that were never designed to meet the self-driving test. Our focus in this piece of legislation is on delivering the recommendations of the law commissions. Recommendation 32 of their report specifically calls for independent incident investigation to form part of the self-driving vehicle safety framework.

Our view is therefore that the inspectors’ role should be focused explicitly on incidents involving self-driving vehicles. This will require specific skills and expertise, and close working with the other arms of the self-driving safety framework. I recognise the noble Lord’s desire to see the remit expanded. While I fear that we disagree on that point, I assure him that the Bill permits flexibility to make sure that edge cases are not excluded. For example, the inspectors’ powers extend to vehicles that have at any point been authorised as self-driving, including those that, for whatever reason, have had their authorisation revoked or otherwise called into question. Further, provided an incident involves at least one self-driving vehicle, inspectors will be able to investigate all vehicles involved, self-driving or otherwise.

The noble Lord’s remaining amendments explore the potential role of the Office of Rail and Road in the self-driving safety framework. I know that the ORR currently does excellent work in regulating our rail industry and monitoring the performance of our strategic highways company operating in England. I recognise that this includes a focus on road safety on our motorways and major A roads. Indeed, officials in the department are already working with colleagues in the ORR to understand potential areas of interaction with the self-driving safety framework that we are establishing. In particular, we are exploring where there may be interfaces with the role of the statutory inspectors.

However, Amendment 10 as worded would make the ORR responsible for licensing operators of no-user-in-charge vehicles. We do not believe that this is the right place for this function; it is more suited to the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency, which has existing expertise and enforcement powers for operator licensing. The Bill also already includes powers to delegate operator licensing to the independent traffic commissioners, who are responsible for issuing freight operator licences for conventional vehicles. To delegate these responsibilities to the ORR could lead to inconsistencies, and I contend that it would be unnecessary.

Amendments 9A and 9B look to establish a potential role for the ORR in providing advice to the Secretary of State in support of the general monitoring duty in Clause 38. Given its focus on motorways and major A roads in England, the ORR is not currently set up to monitor safety performance across the whole road network or the whole of Great Britain. Adding the duties suggested in the amendment would be a significant expansion of its remit. In its existing monitoring remit, the ORR will already need to consider the impact of self-driving vehicles on the safety performance of the strategic road network. We therefore do not consider the amendment to be necessary. Once again, I am grateful to the noble Lord for sharing his expertise on these points and hope that my explanation offers sufficient clarification of the position.

Before the Minister sits down, will he do me a personal favour and put me out of my agony? What has happened to the road safety investigation branch?

I am not sure that I completely understand, so I am unable to give an answer. As far as I understand, it still exists.

My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Lords who have taken part in this short debate and for the support I have received from many colleagues. My noble friend Lord Tunnicliffe hit the nail on the head when he said that because so many different organisations are getting involved in this, it might be confusing. I will leave aside the road safety investigation branch he just mentioned.

There is benefit in reflecting on what everybody has said today. I hope the Minister will be prepared for some of us to meet him in the near future—although probably not before Third Reading—to look at the overall structure, taking into account the words I used earlier: impartiality, independence, transparency and assurance. I am not trying to suggest that any of the existing activities being done very well by the department should be taken over, but it might be very useful to have something independent for a venture as new as this. For the moment, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 9A withdrawn.

Amendment 9B not moved.

Amendment 10 not moved.

Clause 42: Protection of information

Amendment 11

Moved by

11: Clause 42, page 29, line 3, leave out from “liable” to end of line 4 and insert “—

(a) on summary conviction in England and Wales, to a fine;(b) on summary conviction in Scotland, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum;(c) on conviction on indictment, to a fine.”Member’s explanatory statement

This amendment clarifies that a fine for an offence under clause 42(4) imposed in summary proceedings in Scotland may not exceed the maximum fine generally available in such proceedings.

Amendment 11 agreed.

Clause 60: The role of inspector

Amendment 12 not moved.

Clause 62: General power to investigate certain incidents

Amendments 13 to 16 not moved.

Clause 77: Interpretation

Amendment 17 not moved.

Clause 82: Power to grant permits

Amendment 18 not moved.

Clause 83: Disapplication of taxi, private hire vehicle and bus legislation

Amendment 19 not moved.

Clause 86: Consent requirement for services resembling buses

Amendment 20 not moved.

Clause 87: Further requirements

Amendments 21 to 24 not moved.

Clause 88: Collection, sharing and protection of information

Amendments 25 and 26

Moved by

25: Clause 88, page 62, line 1, leave out “Secretary of State” and insert “appropriate national authority”

Member’s explanatory statement

This amendment corrects a drafting mistake, enabling the devolved administrations to make regulations about information-sharing in relation to passenger services within their competence.

26: Clause 88, page 62, line 19, leave out from “liable” to end of line 20 and insert “—

(a) on summary conviction in England and Wales, to a fine;(b) on summary conviction in Scotland, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum;(c) on conviction on indictment, to a fine.”Member’s explanatory statement

This amendment clarifies that a fine for an offence under clause 88(6) imposed in summary proceedings in Scotland may not exceed the maximum fine generally available in such proceedings.

Amendments 25 and 26 agreed.

Amendment 27 not moved.

Amendment 28

Moved by

28: After Clause 93, insert the following new Clause—

“Advisory Council(1) Within six months of the passing of this Act the Secretary of State must establish a council to advise on the implementation of this Act, and the roll out of self-driving vehicles.(2) The Advisory Council must include organisations appearing to the Secretary of State to represent—(a) the interests of road users, including drivers, pedestrians and cyclists;(b) the cause of road safety;(c) the cause of accessibility, and the impact of the roll out of self-driving vehicles on disabled road users;(e) trade unions and the interests of relevant employees including delivery providers and public transport workers;(f) the interests of businesses involved, or likely to be involved in, the manufacture, operation and insurance of mechanically propelled road vehicles designed to travel autonomously;(g) the police and other emergency services;(h) highway authorities.(3) The Secretary of State must designate a relevant officer of the Department to send reports to the Advisory Council on the roll out of self driving vehicles and any issues of public policy that arise. (4) The Advisory Council must report regularly to Parliament on the advice it has provided, and any related matters relevant to the roll out of self driving vehicles and associated public policy.”

My Lords, I beg to move Amendment 28 on the establishment of a statutory advisory council, which would enable better progress with self-driving vehicles and automated vehicles than not having it. I would like to test the opinion of the House.

Clause 95: Disclosure of information: interaction with external constraints

Amendment 29

Moved by

29: Clause 95, page 68, line 33, leave out “does” and insert “must”

Member’s explanatory statement

This amendment seeks to change a presumption that a provision relating to information disclosure does not contravene data protection legislation into an active requirement that it should not.

My Lords, I have tabled four amendments which constitute this group. There are two interacting issues: public interest and commercial interest. It is clear that where safety, human lives or participation are at risk, that has to win over commercial interest. This is what we are dealing with in these amendments. I have made some suggestions because I do not really understand what the legislation is saying. Instead of a speech, and because my voice is dodgy, I am just going to read out the subsection and explain what I do not understand.

Clause 95(2) says:

“The provision does not require or authorise any disclosure, obtaining or use of information that … contravenes data protection”

or is prohibited under something to do with the Investigatory Powers Act. What does “the provision does not” mean? I have changed it to say that the provision —which would come forward from regulations—“must” not authorise things that would contravene data protection legislation. This might be similar to what we used to call a “notwithstanding” clause—notwithstanding what the provision says, it actually means something else, or it does not mean what it says. I think it would be better if it said “must”.

If it is a contravening provision—a notwithstanding type—meaning that the regulation might say one thing but that thing is not allowed because it is forbidden in another piece of legislation, at what point does this come to light in the request for information? Is the requester of the information obliged to make it clear: “Oh well, we do not need this bit”, or does the person who is requested to give the information have to plead: “Oh, I do not have to answer that”? I do not know the answer to those questions. I do not know whether this is a notwithstanding clause or whether the constraint will be clear at the point at which the evidence or information is being sought. I wait to hear what the Minister tells me it means.

Amendment 30 would add intellectual property rights to the list of legislation which must not be contravened. As Clause 95 deals quite a lot with commercial rights and the use of data and things that can be asked for under investigatory powers, why can we not put in intellectual property rights, which is another part of the family, if you like? I am still having some interesting discussions with the officials as to whether or not it is needed. I think it is, they think it is not. Maybe we can get some clarity by Third Reading. That is the basis of my second amendment.

My third amendment is to Clause 95(3), which says:

“But the provision is to be taken into account in determining whether the disclosure, obtaining or use of information would contravene the data protection legislation”.

I do not quite know what it means when a provision starts with “But”. It might be another notwithstanding—in which case this is a notwithstanding clause on a notwithstanding clause. I am not quite sure where two notwithstandings leave us.

Does this mean that the provision can have in it new things that it then deems can be taken into account? Is it without limit or does it regard a provision that is cast within an obligation there might be under some other legislation, as there is in data protection legislation —that is, you can have new reasons in the public interest as to why something might be needed? Does the constraint apply or not? From what it says here, I cannot tell. It looks to me as if a provision can be made and then taken into account when interpreting it. I just do not see how that works.

I cannot construe this any better than I have attempted to do—and I am not quite a beginner in construing legal things. I may wish to test the opinion of the House on this clause because it is really quite confusing. If it verges on that broader side, we would be better off without it. Provisions can be made in the public interest under all kinds of legislation; you can do it under data legislation and intellectual property legislation. There are times when the public interest will prevail. So I do not see why we need this clause there at all.

My final amendment simply suggests that Clause 95, which is titled “Disclosure of information: interaction with external constraints”, should be inserted into the list at the start of Clause 96, which is headed “Crown application” and says that the provisions in Sections 42, 73 and 88 “bind the Crown”. To some extent, Clause 95 is mainly relevant to Sections 42, 73 and 88; it therefore seemed logical to me that it should also be listed in Clause 96.

This is not the grand speech that I was going to make, it is just why I cannot understand what is written here. What I think about it will now depend entirely on what the Minister is able to tell me—in particular, about these clauses, which may or may not be “notwithstanding” clauses. I beg to move.

My Lords, these are important issues that the noble Baroness, Lady Bowles, has raised. She has, with her characteristic acuity, asked lots of penetrating questions about what the proposed legislation actually means. For the part of the Official Opposition, we will listen carefully to what the Minister says in reply but, if we are not satisfied, we will support the noble Baroness in her testing of the opinion of the House.

My Lords, I begin by briefly clarifying a point that I made earlier in response to a question from the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, which I am afraid I did not hear correctly. I should have responded by saying that the right legislative vehicle for the Road Safety Investigation Branch remains under consideration.

I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Bowles, for her insightful and challenging remarks. I reiterate that we take the protection of personal data and intellectual property very seriously. I can confirm that the Bill does not seek to replace or change existing legislation on either personal data protection or intellectual property rights. The Bill does not enable us to contravene this legislation, whether domestic or under treaty obligations. Indeed, this would be beyond the scope of the Bill, which is confined to creating an effective safety framework for self-driving vehicles.

Although that may necessitate the use and sharing of information, this will not be done indiscriminately. We will do so only for specified public interest purposes because safety and security must come first. These purposes would be considered and developed with stakeholders. They would be subject to consultation and would be laid in the House before coming into force. This will provide multiple opportunities for input to, and scrutiny of, the proposals. Indeed, we are required by law to consult the Information Commissioner’s Office if our regulations permit or require the sharing or use of personal data.

As colleagues have highlighted today and in our meetings, it is not just the application of the law that is important but the understanding of it. That is why we are consulting the ICO in the development of specific guidance for the self-driving vehicle industry; that guidance will support the interpretation and understanding of existing personal data protection legislation in an industry-specific context. I hope that this provides some reassurance before I turn to the amendments.

On Amendment 29, the noble Baroness is right to understand Clause 95(2) as a clarifying clause or a “notwithstanding” provision, as she has referred to it. I am advised that the correct legislative form is to use “does” rather than “must”, but the effect is the same. The clause ensures that the Bill is consistent with data protection legislation, and is written using standard drafting. Its effect is that recipients of information must continue to ensure that their processing complies with data protection legislation and the Investigatory Powers Act 2016. The clause provides confirmation that these obligations continue to apply to provisions made in or under the Bill.

To be clear, the Bill does not change existing data protection legislation. However, the UK general data protection regulations do allow new purposes for the processing of personal data to be set out in law. This law must meet an objective of public interest and be proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.

If a legal obligation to process personal data is set out in regulatory provisions, it will be taken into account when considering whether there is a lawful basis for processing the data. This brings me neatly to Amendment 31, which proposes the removal of Clause 95(3). This subsection clarifies that new legal obligations to process data will be taken into account when determining whether data protection legislation has been contravened.

As I have already highlighted, it is a requirement of the UK GDPR that a legal obligation to process data be laid down in law. This law must meet an objective of public interest and be proportionate to a legitimate aim. Regulations that comply with this requirement are neither waivers nor exemptions from the UK GDPR but are part of the UK GDPR system. For the sake of clarity, the phrasing

“the provision is to be taken into account”

does not mean that the provision alters the data protection legislation.

I move now to Amendment 30. The addition of “intellectual property rights” to Clause 95(2) would have the effect of excluding all such rights from the power to make information sharing regulations. It is common for intellectual property law to allow information sharing for specific reasons that are in the public interest. The power to make regulations that override duties of confidence or create exemptions from intellectual property rights is reflected in Clause 95(4). The suggested amendment would restrict the use of these powers in relation to information protected by intellectual property rights, even where this would be in the public interest. There is no justification for such a restriction in relation to this Bill.

I turn finally to Amendment 32. It would serve no purpose to provide that Clause 95 binds the Crown. This is because the clause does not contain any obligations or restrictions that could bind any person, including the Crown. The clause merely defines the scope of restrictions and obligations in other provisions of the Bill, including those which do bind the Crown. Therefore, the amendment would have no effect.

I am conscious that these are highly technical matters in which the noble Baroness has particular expertise. Once again, I am grateful for her engagement in this area and hope these explanations offer her some reassurance.

I thank the Minister for his explanations. I am a little further forward, in that I understand Clause 95(2). I am not sure that I agree with what he said would be the effect of adding “intellectual property” to a new paragraph (c), but, for now, I am prepared to continue conversations with officials so that, between us, we can thrash out whether we understand one another on the point, or, if I am right, the Minister would have an opportunity to do something about it. I think we both want it to be right, it is just that I have different interpretations there.

I think the Minister said about Clause 95(3) that, where it says the provision itself

“has to be taken into account”,

it will be a provision that is subject to the constraints under the GDPR, and so would have to fulfil the tests in the GDPR, if I have understood that correctly. The Minister is nodding. Therefore, it is not a free-for-all, and new ones cannot be invented without that anchor. In general, I am satisfied with that. I am sure that, maybe, this will have a little more investigation as the Bill goes further in the other place, just to make sure that is the correct interpretation. On that basis, I will withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 29 withdrawn.

Amendments 30 and 31 not moved.

Clause 96: Crown application

Amendment 32 not moved.

Clause 97: Regulations

Amendment 33

Moved by

33: Clause 97, page 70, line 6, leave out subsections (5) to (8) and insert—

“(5) The following regulations are subject to the affirmative procedure—(a) regulations under section 36(9),(b) regulations under section 50 that amend an Act, an Act of the Scottish Parliament or an Act of Senedd Cymru, and(c) regulations under paragraph 2(7) of Schedule 6;and all other regulations are subject to the negative procedure.(6) The effect of regulations being subject to the affirmative procedure is—(a) in the case of regulations made by the Secretary of State, that the statutory instrument containing the regulations may not be made unless a draft of it has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament;(b) in the case of regulations made by the Welsh Ministers, that the statutory instrument containing the regulations may not be made unless a draft of it has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, Senedd Cyrmu;(c) in the case of regulations made by the Scottish Ministers, the effect provided by section 29 of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010).(7) The effect of regulations being subject to the negative procedure is—(a) in the case of regulations made by the Secretary of State, that the statutory instrument containing the regulations is (unless it also contains regulations subject to the affirmative procedure) subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament;(b) in the case of regulations made by the Welsh Ministers, that the statutory instrument containing the regulations is (unless it also contains regulations subject to the affirmative procedure) subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of Senedd Cyrmu;(c) in the case of regulations made by the Scottish Ministers, the effect provided by section 28 of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.”Member's explanatory statement

This amendment means that regulations setting the maximum monetary penalties under the automated vehicle authorisation scheme and the passenger service permitting scheme will be subject to the affirmative procedure.

Amendment 33 agreed.

Schedule 2: Amendments related to Part 1

Amendment 34 not moved.