Road Safety Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 22nd November 2005.

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Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords) 4:00 pm, 22nd November 2005

My Lords, in this short debate, we have heard that there are differences of opinion about this issue. The Government's attitude is that we are aware that there is a problem and that there are anxieties, but we think it is premature to act in primary legislation now. The noble Baroness prayed in aid Transport for London as having anxieties. She is right: it is concerned about it. It is examining the whole situation in the round to see what kind of regulation may be necessary. It is exactly the body that should do that.

This is a London issue. To respond to my noble friend Lord Borrie, who asked some pertinent questions of the noble Baroness, pedicabs outside London are subject to license by the licensing authorities, so we are discussing only a London issue. Because of that, Transport for London is the body to examine the position as a whole. We want it to give full consideration to the matter and come up with a scheme that will work. There are problems with the scheme proposed in the amendment. We are by no means convinced that the registration scheme proposed in the amendment would be a proper or comprehensive system of regulation. There is a risk that regulation will be taken by the public as conferring a greater degree of control and safety insurance than may be the case. That is why we need to consider the totality of the position—all the anxieties raised by both my noble friends need to be considered.

The scheme that Transport for London will bring forward will also be directly relevant to the second leg of the concerns underlying the amendment: enforcing traffic and parking offences. Identification and tracking down of offenders is crucial. I recognise that that is a problem with pedicabs at present. Licensing as now proposed in London will provide just that means of identification as part of the wider system of control. Pedicabs are already subject to police control and enforcement in moving traffic offences. I recognise the issue of civil enforcement of offences. The department is considering that closely. We are very willing to hold further meetings with all interested parties, but we want Transport for London to take the lead in introducing a new licensing regime. It is the proper body to be able to tackle the issue in the round.

As I said, we do not need primary legislation for other local authorities, because they are subject to licensing at present. The noble Baroness has raised an important issue on which we want action. It may not need primary legislation and we should leave it with the proper body to emerge with proposals. On that basis, I hope that she will feel that her problem is being addressed and that she can safely withdraw the amendment.