Amendment 1

Pedicabs (London) Bill [HL] - Report – in the House of Lords at 5:09 pm on 30 January 2024.

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Lord Davies of Gower:

Moved by Lord Davies of Gower

1: Clause 2, page 2, line 19, at end insert “(including, in particular, provision about making noise)”Member's explanatory statementThis amendment spells out that provision in pedicab regulations about the conduct of drivers can include provision about making noise. Regulations might, for example, prohibit a driver from making certain kinds of noise or noise over a certain volume at some or all times or in some or all places.

Photo of Lord Davies of Gower Lord Davies of Gower Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

My Lords, I am grateful for your Lordships’ continued interest in this small but important Bill. The Government have listened carefully to the concerns raised by noble Lords, and I reiterate what I have said in private sessions: that your Lordships’ engagement has helped the Government reflect on the Bill’s provisions.

The first group today consists of a single amendment. It will amend Clause 2(6)(i), which relates to the conduct of pedicab drivers. It will specify that pedicab regulations can include provisions about making noise. During Grand Committee, I was clear that the Bill as drafted provided sufficient scope for pedicab regulations to address the issue of noise, under Clause 2(6). Furthermore, Transport for London has provided assurance that the playing of loud music and causing disturbance would be covered in its regulations.

However, it was clear that your Lordships felt particularly strongly about this issue. This is understandable. The Government are aware of the stories of loud music being played from pedicabs during the day and long into the night, and understand the disruption this causes to residents, businesses and those going about their daily lives. The Government have therefore tabled the amendment in recognition of the importance of this issue and to support the emergence of an effective regulatory regime.

Consistent with the approach taken in the Bill, the precise manner in which noise nuisance is addressed will be for Transport for London to determine in bringing forward regulations, and, again, this will be subject to consultation as per Clause 1(3). I hope that noble Lords welcome this amendment and that it satisfactorily addresses any outstanding concerns. I beg to move.

Photo of Baroness Stowell of Beeston Baroness Stowell of Beeston Chair, Communications and Digital Committee, Chair, Communications and Digital Committee

My Lords, I welcome the amendment tabled by my noble friend. I am hugely grateful to him for having listened carefully during our debates in Committee. I congratulate him on the influence he has been able to have in the department in securing the Secretary of State’s agreement to this change.

I note that my noble friend said that in the Government’s view, the Bill’s original wording was sufficient to tackle the concern about noise; none the less, it is reassuring to have noise provisions in the Bill. I should be particularly pleased if my noble friend emphasised when he winds up that the explanatory statement alongside the amendment on the Marshalled List points out that the regulations that can be made to deal with noise, and which would be subject to consultation by Transport for London, might

“prohibit a driver from making certain kinds of noise or noise over a certain volume at some or all times or in some or all places.”

As my noble friend knows, one of my concerns, and one of the reasons why I was keen to get provisions on noise in the Bill, is that there has been a tendency to talk about noise only after a certain time of day. The existing law that allows any clampdown on noise pollution very much kicks in after a certain time and, as we know, the noise made by these vehicles and their drivers can be particularly disturbing and disruptive at any time of day. That is worth us reinforcing, so that TfL knows the expectation of this House.

As this is probably the last time I will speak during the passage of the Bill, I thank my noble friend again and congratulate him on his successful stewardship of this important Bill, which people have waited a long time for in London. I congratulate him on what he has been able to achieve over the past couple of months.

Photo of Lord Borwick Lord Borwick Conservative

My Lords, I repeat my declarations of interest from previous occasions. I entirely agree with my noble friend Baroness Stowell—she is right. I worry about the House of Lords legislating for the difference between “noise” and “music”. We might be in a minority in the country overall in our distinction between the two, but this is a magnificent example of a Bill that has been changed by good points made by Back-Benchers in this House. The clause proposed by my noble friend Lord Davies is an entirely sensible move.

Photo of Viscount Goschen Viscount Goschen Conservative

My Lords, I too congratulate my noble friend on his stewardship and handling of the Bill. It is, perhaps, not the biggest, most important transport Bill to come before your Lordships but is none the less highly targeted, and we commend it. In particular, I thank my noble friend for listening to the concerns about noise that have been raised almost universally around the House. I have witnessed this when walking back from your Lordships’ House to where I often stay during the week, and I have heard this extraordinary noise coming from these vehicles.

There is a problem, and the Bill is an enabling Bill. It allows TfL to produce the regulations and regulate the operators of these vehicles. Noise is one of the most important issues the House has heard about, and I am delighted the Government have recognised it and produced their own amendment.

Photo of Baroness Randerson Baroness Randerson Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Transport)

My Lords, there is a risk that this is beginning to sound like Third Reading, but I put on record from these Benches my thanks to the Minister and his team for their time and the care with which they have considered the points we made on Report and in meetings between then and today. They have been generous with their time and prepared to give serious consideration to the points made.

This amendment is, as noble Lords have said, about noise. Where, when, how and how loud the noise is, is a key aspect of the concerns about pedicabs. This is therefore a very useful addition and clarification and is in direct response to points made in Grand Committee. I am delighted that this amendment has come forward.

Photo of Lord Liddle Lord Liddle Shadow Spokesperson (Transport)

My Lords, on behalf of the Opposition, I will be very brief. We support this amendment and congratulate the Minister on bringing it forward; it demonstrates that Members of the House have been listened to. There is clearly a problem of noise created by pedicabs, and it affects people of all social classes who live in Soho, Mayfair and parts of Westminster. We are glad to see this amendment being proposed.

Photo of Lord Davies of Gower Lord Davies of Gower Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

My Lords, I am grateful for the acceptance of this amendment. We recognise the point made by my noble friend Lady Stowell about noise being disallowed after 9 pm. Clearly, during the winter months and dark nights it is not good to have this sort of behaviour and high levels of noise on the streets. That was very much behind the thinking in bringing this amendment forward. I am very grateful to all other noble Lords who have spoken, and I will certainly pass the thanks on to the team.

Amendment 1 agreed.