Pedicabs (London) Bill [HL] - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:43 pm on 22 November 2023.

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Photo of The Bishop of St Albans The Bishop of St Albans Convenor of the Lords Spiritual 5:43, 22 November 2023

My Lords, I pray for the indulgence of the House to speak very briefly in the gap. I apologise that I just missed the deadline to get my name down. Speaking so late, I find that many of the points have been made very eloquently so I have been putting lines through various paragraphs. I will be very succinct. I need to declare my interests because I want to refer to some of the Church Commissioners’ properties in London and the reports that have come from tenants and also to my role as a vice-president of the LGA.

We welcome this Bill. We think it needs a fair bit of work, and there are a number of issues that need to be resolved. I agree that for many people pedicabs are a cause for fun, not least for tourists, but the Church Commissioners, being one of the local landlords in London, have received many complaints from local people affected by unregulated pedicabs. We have listed some of them: playing loud music at night; causing local traffic congestion; charging extortionate prices; blocking pavements; sometimes blocking cycle lanes, which is a real problem and causes real danger to cyclists who are going to and from work; and, not least, their lack of insurance, so many passengers and other users are left without protection.

The Church CommissionersHyde Park Estate stretches from Oxford Street to Paddington so, as a local landowner, we have an interest in ensuring that central London remains a welcome and safe area. It is therefore very encouraging to see the powers that the Bill would provide by enabling Transport for London to regulate pedicabs, ensuring they are properly licensed and that there are enforceable standards which operators, drivers and vehicles must adhere to.

In passing, I have to say that I was fascinated by the spirited speech of the noble Lord, Lord Blencathra, and look forward to the amendments for e-scooters and e-bikes that we will be debating in Committee and later on. Meanwhile, we would want to support the Bill in its passage through your Lordships’ House.