Eighth Report Contents

Instruments of interest

Draft Railway (Licensing of Railway Undertakings) (Amendment) Regulations 2021

81.These draft Regulations amend the Railway (Licensing of Railway Undertakings) Regulations 2005 to confirm British recognition of European rail operator licences for the Channel Tunnel and immediate cross-border area. The changes will support the implementation and ratification of a bilateral agreement between the UK and France, which has been agreed at technical level but is subject to final legal checks and ratification. The EU already have Regulation (EU) 2020/2222 in place to provide for the continued recognition of British operator licences in the French half of the Channel Tunnel and up to the Calais-Fréthun freight and passenger terminals until 30 September 2021.

82.This instrument was one of first to require publication in draft for at least 28 days under Schedule 8 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.29 No comment was made either by Parliament or the public and the instrument may now proceed as an ordinary draft affirmative instrument.

Draft Revision of the Highway Code Rules to improve safety for drivers using Motorway and high-speed roads

83.This revision of The Highway Code (“The Code”) proposes a number of changes, including in response to the Smart Motorway Evidence Stocktake and Action Plan30 which the Department for Transport carried out in 2020. The aim of the changes is to improve the guidance for drivers using motorways, including in relation to understanding what to do in the event of a breakdown or incident. In total, the revision of The Code proposes to change 33 existing rules, add two new rules and make changes to the additional information and annexes within The Code.

84.One of the changes (new rule 278), for example, relates to drivers who want to re-join the carriageway after a breakdown: if they do so from an emergency area, they must, according to the revised Code, use the emergency telephone provided and follow the operator’s advice for exiting the emergency area, as a lane may need to be closed so that they can re-join the carriageway safely. As the Explanatory Memorandum did not set out clearly how The Code is to be changed, we have asked the Department to publish additional explanatory information, which runs to 45 pages.31 The Code already consists of more than 300 rules and some of the changes made by this revision are significant, such as the requirement to use the emergency phone before re-joining the carriageway from an emergency area. We note that public communication will be needed to ensure that drivers are made aware of and understand these latest changes to The Code.

29 A fuller explanation of the procedure is given in our 3rd Report, Session 2021–22 (HL Paper 10).

30 Smart motorway evidence stocktake and action plan, Department for Transport and Highways England, 12 March 2020.

31 Highways England, Document laid before Houses of Parliament proposing changes to The Highway Code: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/997749/2021-_Revised_Highway_Code.pdf [accessed 8 July 2021].

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