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The noble Lord said: My Lords, I should like to ask the Minister a question. We have discussed on several occasions the question of the picnic areas or rest areasor whatever they are going to be calledon motorways. Has he addressed the issue of the security, cleaning and maintenance of these areas, who is going to do it and what is going to prevent them turning into unkempt tips? It is really just that. We have not had a satisfactory answer to the question. I beg to move.
Baroness Hanham: My Lords, we have discussed endlessly the question of who will maintain these areas and how they will be preserved as places where people will stop. I would support very much a better response than the ones we have had before.
Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord and the noble Baroness for their limited contribution on an issue that we have discussed at length. I can give two assurances. First, we have the powers to meet the requirements and anxieties that have been expressed in debates on Report and in Committee. Secondly, we intend to create a pilot site. We shall create one only. The likelihood is that it will be on the M5 because that is the motorway which leads down to the south-west and may well lend itself to the effectiveness of such areas. We have a potential site
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identified. We shall see how that works out in relation to all the anxieties expressed by noble Lords and we will progress further only when we think we have tackled the problems adequately.
Lord Bradshaw: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his reply. I am grateful that the Government are proceeding sensibly in a necessary reform which needs to be conducted properly. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
"PARKING AND TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT FOR PEDICABS
(1) In determining, for the purposes of the enactments mentioned in subsection (2), who was the owner of a pedicab at any time, it shall be presumed, if the pedicab was licensed, that the owner was the person in whose name the pedicab was licensed at that time.
(2) Those enactments are
(a) Part II of the Road Traffic Act 1991 (c. 40) (traffic in London);
(b) Part II of and Schedule 1 to the London Local Authorities Act 1996 (c. ix) (bus lanes);
(c) regulations made under section 144 of the Transport Act 2000 (c. 38) (civil penalties for bus lane contraventions);
(d) Part 2 of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003 (c. iii) (road traffic and highways);
(e) regulations under section 72 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 (c. 18) (civil penalties for road traffic contraventions);
(f) any other enactment whether passed before or after this Act which provides for the service of penalty charge notices or notices to owner on the owner of a vehicle.
(3) For the purposes of the enactments mentioned in subsection (2) above, a pedicab business is not to be treated as a vehicle-hire firm.
(4) An authority responsible for the licensing of pedicabs shall, on request, make available to a traffic authority the name and address of the person in whose name a particular pedicab is licensed.
(5) In section 15(12) of the Greater London Council (General Powers Act 1974 (c. xxiv) (parking on footways, grass verges, etc.), in the definition of "vehicles", after "means" insert "a pedicab (within the meaning given by section (Parking and traffic enforcement for pedicabs) of the Road Safety Act 2006), or".
(6) The London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003 (c. iii) is amended as follows.
(7) In section 4(5) (penalty charges for road traffic contraventions), for "motor vehicle" substitute "vehicle".
(8) In section 4(16), omit the definition of "motor vehicle" and at the end insert the following definition
(a) a mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on roads; and
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(b) a pedicab within the meaning given by section (Parking and traffic enforcement for pedicabs) of the Road Safety Act 2006.".
(9) In this section
"licensed" in respect of a pedicab means licensed under any enactment by virtue of the pedicab's use for the conveyance of passengers, and "licensing" shall be construed accordingly;
"pedicab" means a cycle constructed or adapted
(a) to seat one or more passengers; and
(b) for the purposes of being made available with a driver in the course of a business for the purpose of carrying passengers;
"pedicab business" means a business which consists, in whole or in part, of
(a) the ownership of pedicabs;
(b) the letting out of pedicabs to riders for use as a pedicab; or
(c) taking bookings for the use of pedicabs by passengers."
The House will recall that I tabled an amendment at Report to try to deal with the burgeoning cycle rickshawor pedicabindustry in London. The amendment differs from the one at Report in that it focuses on the need for highway enforcement powers rather than the setting up of a registration system. I have again been briefed by Westminster City Council on the issue and I understand that its concern is supported by Transport for London.
As I set out at the previous stage, pedicabs are becoming increasingly popular. About 200 operate each day in the West End during the spring, summer and autumn. They obviously provide an exciting service for tourists but they also potentially pose a very serious road safety problem for pedestrians and other road users. This includes parking on the footway and the carriageway, obstructing both pedestrians and general traffic; parking in pedestrianised areasparticularly in areas around theatres, such as Covent Gardencausing dangerous obstructions around emergency escape routes; parking in bus lanes, forcing buses to swerve into the path of general traffic; and there have even been examples of pedicabs blocking the routes of ambulances.
Yet despite these obvious problems a local authority or other highway authority including TfL cannot control pedicabs through the issue of penalty charge notices. Many pedicab riders exploit this immunity with a total disregard of the moving and stationary controls which apply to them as well as to other road users.
The purpose of the amendment is not to introduce a system of registration, which was my line at Report. TfL has plans to introduce a full licensing regime for pedicabs as soon as possible, and I understand that it is about to start consulting. But a licensing regime on its own will not be able effectively to tackle the road safety problems associated with pedicabs.
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The amendment would give highways authorities the necessary powers to issue penalty charge notices for traffic contraventions, bringing such powers into line with those they have for all other classes of vehicles. Therefore, as soon as TfL's licensing regime came into force, the amendment would be of immediate use to councils inside and outside London.
The proposal is being put forward in this Bill because a key issue is that any future Transport for London legislation which introduces a licensing regime cannot introduce the powers to issue penalty charge notices for traffic contraventions because a TfL Bill, as we discussed last time, cannot address issues that are of concern to both Transport for London and local authorities. It is one of the mish-mashes between the two administrations. The Bill presents an ideal opportunity to introduce a legislative framework for issuing PCNs to pedicab drivers as soon as the future licensing regime comes into force.
At Report, the Government were unable to support the amendment because they felt they could not legislate for a registration scheme in advance of TfL's licensing regime proposals. I have also had sight of correspondence in December between Westminster City Council and the Department for Transport's Minister, Karen Buck, that again explains why support could not be given at the previous stage because of the proposed registration scheme. But with TfL's assurance that it fully intends to implement a full licensing regime as soon as it can, the amendment now focuses purely on the enforcement of highways regulations.
While TfL cannot itself legislate for powers that would also apply to local authorities, we need to grasp this legislative opportunity to give authorities the powers they need. Without these provisions, any forthcoming licensing scheme could, in effect, prove completely useless in its attempts to increase standards and improve the conduct of pedicab drivers because of the difficulty of finding other legislation to introduce the PCN regime.
The amendment has changed so that it can deal with the situation whereby the licensing system will be introduced by TfL and to pre-empt that by having the regulations for PCN and other highways legislation in place so they can be picked up at the same time. I beg to move.
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