Special Report - Select Committee on the London Local Authorities and Transport for London (No. 2) Bill [HL] Contents


1.  The London Local Authorities and Transport for London (No. 2) Bill was introduced into the House of Lords on 22 January 2008 and given a Second Reading on 20 February 2008. It is promoted by Westminster City Council on behalf of all 33 London Boroughs, including the Corporation of the City of London. When the Bill was introduced, however, only 32 of the Borough Councils had passed the necessary resolution. In order to ensure that the Bill covered the whole of London, the promoters deposited a 'petition for additional provision' on 7 May 2008 to extend the provisions of the Bill to the area of Hounslow Borough Council. No petitions were presented against the additional provision. The House of Lords Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee and the House of Commons Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee both met on 16 June 2008 and agreed to dispense with the Standing Orders not complied with in respect of the petition for additional provision. The Bill was subsequently carried over from the 2007-08 Session to the current 2008-09 Session.

2.  The Bill covers a wide range of issues relating to traffic and highways matters in London. The provisions of the Bill are described in the explanatory memorandum which is attached to the Bill.[1] Those directly or especially affected by the Bill had an opportunity to voice their objections by presenting a petition against the Bill. The House received three such petitions, one of which was withdrawn before the Committee met.[2]

3.  The House also received two reports from Government Departments in relation to the Bill. The first, submitted on 21 January 2008 by the Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP, Minister of State, Department for Transport, stated that, in the Minister's opinion, the promoters had failed to undertake an adequate assessment of the compatibility of their proposals with the European Convention on Human Rights in respect of Clauses 14, 15 and 24. The second report, deposited on 18 February 2009, set out the Government's opposition to Clauses 26, 27, 32 and 33 and commented on several other Clauses.2

4.  The Select Committee on the Bill was appointed on 15 January 2009 to consider the matters complained of in the petitions. On 23 February, the Chairman of Committees reported to the House that the Select Committee should also consider the unopposed clauses. The members of the Committee were: Lord Dahrendorf, Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Chairman), Baroness Fookes, Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall and Lord Methuen.

5.  The Committee first met on 9 March 2009 and sat for three days to hear evidence and submissions from the promoters, the petitioners and the Government.

6.  The Clauses considered by the Committee, together with the petitioners who appeared on each Clause, and a list of the applicable Government Departmental reports, are set out in Appendix 1. The promoters withdrew Clauses 28-30. A complete list of the amendments made to the Bill is set out in Appendix 2.

7.  In the discussion of each provision below, "petitioners" refers to those who appeared in respect of each Clause as set out in Appendix 1. Only an outline of some of the principal arguments in respect of each provision is given in this report; the full transcript of proceedings before the Committee is available on the internet.[3]

Items deposited on the Highway: Part 2

8.  Part 2 of the Bill deals with items deposited on the highway; it would give highway authorities in London new powers to remove and dispose of such items in certain cases. There are already a variety of provisions related to the removal of items from the highway, three of which were brought to the Committee's attention. First, section 149 of the Highways Act 1980 provides for the removal of objects deposited on the highway that constitute a nuisance or a danger. Second, section 137 of the Highways Act 1980 makes it an offence for a person, without lawful authority or excuse, in any way to wilfully obstruct the free passage along a highway; and section 137ZA provides for the court to order the offender to remove the cause of the obstruction. Third, section 6 of the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 makes provision about the removal of abandoned items.

9.  Part 2 would allow an authorised officer (as defined in Clause 5) to remove an item from the highway and serve a notice on the person who it is believed deposited it on the highway. If the authorised officer is unable to identify the person, then the notice must be affixed in a conspicuous place near where the item was removed. The promoters produced a draft code of practice about how the powers in Part 2 would be used and said that the code would be backed up with training, as they had provided when parking enforcement powers had transferred from the police to local authorities.

10.  The promoters submitted that, despite the existing provisions, items deposited on the highway constituted a clear problem and so the powers sought were necessary. They said that the existing powers were onerous and difficult to exercise and in practice, therefore, not very much used.

11.  The petitioners submitted that it was right that only the police had the power to remove items from the highway; that the Bill would mean that cyclists would not know with reasonable certainty where or when they could park their bike; and that the promoters had failed to provide evidence that there was a serious problem that the Part would address.


12.  The Committee decided that Part 2 of the Bill should not proceed.

Attachment of street lamps and signs to buildings: Clauses 15 and 16

13.  Clauses 15 and 16 would give local authorities in London the power to attach signs and street lamps to buildings without having to gain the owner's consent.

14.  The promoters drew the Committee's attention to the fact that those powers already existed in the City of London and that the London boroughs already had the power to attach street names to buildings without the owner's consent.

15.  The promoters submitted that the new powers would help to de-clutter streets by allowing the removal of parking signs and street poles. They submitted that the current requirement for consent was overly onerous: people tended not to reply to letters, and it was difficult to get consent from every owner along a street.

16.  The Clauses were not opposed by petition, but they were the subject of a report from the Government. The Government submitted that the promoters had failed to undertake an adequate assessment of the compatibility of Clause 15 with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Bill did not sufficiently compensate for the removal of the right to have the proposed affixation of a sign or lamp considered by an independent tribunal.

17.  The promoters submitted that the powers were compatible with the Convention. They drew attention to subsection 15(3), which provides that an authority shall not affix anything to a building unless they have served notice in writing on the relevant owner of the building no less than 56 days before starting the works. Although the Bill did not make reference to a person's right to make representations, they submitted that it would be included in a code of practice and was implicit in the Bill because of subsection 15(3).


18.  The Committee decided that Clauses 15 and 16 should proceed with the amendments proposed by the promoters and further amended so as to meet the Government's concerns regarding the right of individuals to make representations.

Recovery of exceptional traffic management and waste clearance costs: Clauses 26 and 27

19.  Clauses 26 and 27 provide for local authorities to recover highway expenditure and street-cleansing from sporting and entertainment events and the making of films, where those events are undertaken for commercial gain. The promoters submitted that such events could involve large additional expenditure for local authorities. They submitted that the principle should be that 'the polluter pays': the expenses incurred should be borne by those who gained from the event; the general council taxpayer should not pick up the cost.

20.  The Clauses were not opposed by petition, but they were opposed by the Government. The Government submitted that the Clauses would have a potentially major detrimental impact on a number of sectors; that they did not reflect the diversity of the sectors involved; that they did not consider the wider economic and societal value of sporting and cultural events in London; and that it was unclear how they would affect events which were put on for charitable purposes but which had commercial aspects. The Government would be happy to discuss how local authorities might best negotiate case-by-case cost recovery with event organisers, but it did not support blanket regulation.


21.  The Committee concluded that in certain circumstances it would be appropriate for local authorities to recover additional costs for exceptional traffic management and waste clearance from those organising large sporting and entertainment events, where those events are undertaken for commercial gain. The Committee would expect the powers in the Bill to be used selectively and in proportion to the profit gained through the event. The Committee therefore decided that Clauses 26 and 27 should proceed with the amendments proposed by the promoters and the following further amendments, which we hope will meet at least some of the Government's concerns: first, paragraph 26(1)(b) shall be omitted (so that the Clauses do not apply to film making); second, in paragraph 26(5)(c) the words "other than an exceptional showing" shall be omitted (so as to accord parity between how the Clauses affect entertainment put on at a theatre and the showing of a film at a cinema); and, third, subsection 26(6) shall be omitted (as our second amendment renders the subsection redundant). The Committee also amended the Clauses so as to ensure that charitable events are exempt from the provisions.

Cycling on the footway: Clauses 32 and 33

22.  Under section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 it is an offence to ride a bicycle on the footway. Part 3 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 provides that that offence is a fixed penalty offence. Clause 32 would make provision about the fixed penalties which may be payable by a cyclist who cycles on the footway, enabling a London local authority in certain circumstances to set the levels of fixed penalty in its area. It would further allow an authority to set different levels of fixed penalty for different cases or classes of case and for different areas. Clause 33 would provide the Secretary of State with some control over the levels of ?xed penalties that may be set under Clause 32.

23.  The promoters submitted that it was appropriate for a local authority to set the level of fixed penalty in its area, as authorities were familiar with their own area and so best placed to decide how to deal with problems there, and cycling on the footway was a higher priority for most local authorities than it was for the police. They further submitted that the current flat rate of penalty for cycling on the footway was too low and did not deter cyclists from riding on the pavement. Moreover, it did not differentiate between locations and so did not counter the fact that the more serious offences were committed on the footway in the busier streets.

24.  The petitioners questioned whether there was a need for Clauses 32 and 33. The Secretary of State already had the power to increase the fixed penalty; and there were other offences that could be charged against cyclists who recklessly cycled on the pavement.

25.  The Government opposed Clauses 32 and 33.


26.  The Committee recognised there is a problem regarding the traffic environment in London, of which cycling on pavements is part, but the Committee considered that the case had not been made that Clauses 32 and 33 would help to solve that problem. Therefore, the Committee decided that Clauses 32 and 33 should not proceed.

Pedicabs: Clause 34

27.  Pedicabs have been the subject of considerable legal controversy in recent years. Clause 34 does not seek to resolve all of those controversies; it is limited to traffic enforcement issues. It would extend two particular traffic enforcement provisions to pedicabs. First, Clause 34(6) would extend the prohibition of parking on pavements for motor vehicles to pedicabs. Second, Clause 34(7) would have the effect of applying moving traffic contravention regime penalties (such as for yellow box offences) to pedicabs.

28.  Clause 34 also deals with how penalty charge notice provisions can be enforced against pedicabs. Clause 34(2) would allow the local authority or the police to assume that the owner of the pedicab was the person who was registered as the owner at the time, so that the liability for the notice could be fixed on an identifiable person.

29.  Pedicabs are de?ned for the purposes of the Bill in subsection 34(8) as "cycles constructed or adapted (a) to seat one or more passengers; and (b) for the purpose of being made available with a driver in the course of a business for the purpose of carrying passengers."

30.  The promoters submitted that because various traffic laws did not apply to pedicabs, as they were not classified as motor vehicles, highway authorities were not able to enforce certain traffic and parking controls against them, which resulted in a nuisance.

31.  The petitioners submitted that Clause 34 would not be effective without a licensing or registration scheme being in place for pedicabs. It would be premature to extend offences to pedicabs before there was an adequate means of identifying or regulating them.

32.  The Bill does not include a registration scheme for pedicabs, but the promoters explained that it worked on the basis that a voluntary registration scheme would be in place. The promoters submitted that there was "complete agreement between the local authorities, TfL and the responsible [pedicab] operators" that there should be a voluntary code of practice for pedicabs.


33.  The Committee is content for Clause 34 to proceed with the amendments proposed by the promoters. However, the Committee considered that the Clause should not come into force until an approved registration scheme is operational and we have amended the Bill accordingly.

Unopposed Clauses

34.  The Committee heard Counsel for the promoters on the remaining unopposed Clauses in the Bill. The Committee is content that those Clauses proceed with the amendments proposed by the promoters and has no further comment to make on those Clauses.

1   Available from the Parliamentary Agents for the Bill, Sharpe Pritchard, Elizabeth House, Fulwood Place, London, WC1V 6HG or on the internet at:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldprbill/017/387682/017.pdf  Back

2   The petitions and reports against the Bill are available on the internet at:



3   The transcript of all of the Committee's proceedings are available on the internet at:

http://www.parliament.uk/llatl/llatl.cfm Back

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