Road Safety Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 22nd November 2005.

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Photo of Baroness Hanham Baroness Hanham Spokespersons In the Lords, Local Government Affairs & Communities, Spokespersons In the Lords, (Also Shadow Minister for Women & Equality- Not In the Shadow Cabinet) 4:15 pm, 22nd November 2005

My Lords, once again there is prevarication. It is extraordinary how we manage to lose opportunities on the basis that we can find other legislation in which to bring forward road safety requirements.

In response to the noble Lord, Lord Borrie, I think that I said that there were 200 pedicabs, but the number is rising by the minute because it is quite easy for an unemployed person, for example, to hire a pedicab, set off and earn some money with it. It will be an increasing attraction with time. I am certain that no insurance is involved. That puts people sitting in the back of a pedicab in some peril if it tips over and they are hurt. At present, in London, it is primarily Westminster City Council that is affected because it has most of the theatres and tourist attractions.

I do not know whether there have been any accidents or injuries. I would much rather that there had not, and I am sure that that is the case. A pedicab is an unusual and innovative way of getting around London. The question is what we do to ensure that they do not cause trouble.

I reiterate to the Minister that there seems a dichotomy between the roles of Transport for London and the London local authorities in this regard. According to my brief, any future Transport for London Bill cannot introduce the powers to issue PCNs for traffic contraventions because such a Bill cannot address issues that are the concerns of both Transport for London and the local authorities. Transport for London can consider it until its head drops off but there does not seem to be legislation by which it can do anything further about it. Furthermore, if legislation is required for licensing—we are talking about registration because licensing appears to involve those difficulties—it cannot be achieved through a London local authorities and Transport for London Bill because licensing is a concern only for Transport for London. That is the conundrum with which we are left in waiting for a licensing system to be introduced.

I hear that the noble Lord will not support my amendment and I will not push it today because I need further information so that at Third Reading we are clear on the answers to some of the questions raised. It would be unfortunate if the Government did not support a registration system, which is on a lower level than licensing and could be implemented in the Bill to provide at least some control over pedicabs at an early stage, before they cause too much trouble.

If the Minister has any further thoughts on my amendment before Third Reading, I would be grateful to hear them. I shall seek further views from Westminster City Council and Transport for London. For today's purposes, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.