Amendment 2

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

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Photo of Lord Moylan Lord Moylan Chair, Built Environment Committee, Chair, Built Environment Committee 5:30, 30 January 2024

My Lords, I have considerable sympathy with the argument made by the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson. I find it very strange that, in this modern world, it seems impossible to rely on the safety of something as straightforward as a battery. We have known about battery-like things for at least 250 years. I think it was in the 18th century that the first battery was discovered.

Now we have lithium-ion batteries, which appear to be perfectly safe in one’s telephone but not if they are attached to a pedicab. We have a similar problem with e-scooters. On some occasions, the batteries have been known to blow up, which is why they are banned from every part of the London Underground network—platforms and stations as well as trains; they are a fire risk. How has this circumstance come about? I have no answer.

While I have sympathy with the noble Baroness’s argument, I am glad to hear that she is not intending to advance this to a vote. I am not entirely sure that this is the right Bill for the issue to be addressed in. There is a wider question about what the Government are doing to ensure the safety of batteries that are available for consumers to buy as part of equipment. In this case, they are allowed to buy e-scooters, but not to ride them on the public highway. That is another anomaly that perhaps we will address at some stage, when the endless trial the Government have been conducting on e-scooters is eventually brought to a conclusion and some determination is made about their future. There needs to be a measure that addressees the safety of batteries more broadly than simply in pedicabs, as this amendment would.

We will come in the next group to the question of guidance. I will simply say that if my noble friend were to say that safety issues including the safety of batteries would be included in guidance and covered by regulations, I think that would be satisfactory, without the need for the noble Baroness’s amendment. It is an issue that needs to be addressed.