Amendment 3

Part of Pedicabs (London) Bill [HL] - Report – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 30 January 2024.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Randerson Baroness Randerson Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Transport) 5:45, 30 January 2024

My Lords, I will speak to Amendment 5 but in doing so, I welcome the Minister’s acceptance that this is very much an issue for Transport for London. My Amendment 5 is simply there to give the Minister the opportunity to provide this House with clarity on the potential scope of the Secretary of State of State’s guidance. Because we have had this complete somersault between Committee and Report over who is going to be responsible for this, it is important to get that clarification.

There is cross-party consensus that this really is an issue for Transport for London. Like my noble friend Lord Storey, I am very pleased to see the reference to safeguarding in Amendment 4. This legislation obviously applies only to London, but it would be helpful if the Government were to publicise it beyond London because, as we made clear in our discussions at the previous stage, there are pedicab regulations in other parts of the country. It would be useful to have greater awareness of issues such as the importance of safeguarding, registration, safety and so on.

My amendment is a kind of checklist of the main issues to consider: environmental benefits; safety, which is about a lot more than just battery fires; and minimising disruption, danger and disturbance to other people, as some neighbours in London have suffered from noise and inconsiderate parking for a long time. We should not be discussing the suitability of cab ranks in detail here, but it will clearly be of great importance when decisions are made by Transport for London. My final issue is that of licensing and penalties. I assume that licensing will involve identification and registration.

It is important to make it clear that we do not want regulations which are so onerous that they destroy this industry altogether. Like other noble Lords, we want just to bring it under control so that it benefits London and is an asset, not a liability, to London tourism. For the people who hire these cabs, it should be safe and fun, not risky. I press the Minister to reassure us that the Secretary of State’s guidance will not be so onerous that it enables penalties so stiff that they put people out of business.

Proposed new subsection (6) of government Amendment 4 refers to consultation, and rightly so. Can the Minister give us an assurance that there will be Secretary of State consultation with cycling organisations and the organisation representing pedicab operators in London? Its representatives were in touch with us prior to Committee, so there is clearly such an organisation, and it is the kind of organisation that, in other industries, brings a sense of coherence that raises standards, as taxi organisations do. It is important that proper consultation is done.