Part of Automated Vehicles Bill [HL] - Third Reading – in the House of Lords am 3:38 pm ar 19 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Moylan Lord Moylan Chair, Built Environment Committee, Chair, Built Environment Committee 3:38, 19 Chwefror 2024

I briefly congratulate my noble friend the Minister on bringing this useful, modest and largely technical Bill to its completion. The Government have expressed optimism that the arrival of automated vehicles in large numbers on our roads is going to have no effect whatever on how the rest of the road system and other road users operate. It is the principle on which the Bill is based but, to me, it seems to be credible only in the somewhat artificial reality of your Lordships’ House.

My noble friend the Minister and his department still need to address a worry many of us have. He has stated that nothing will change—that facilities for pedestrians, for example, will not be affected—with the arrival of these vehicles, but it is clear that is not wholly credible. The people who have invested in automated vehicles will find that pedestrians and other road users are obstacles to the rollout of their plans, and they will then turn up at the ministry and say, “We have spent all this money, so now you have to do something to make it work for us”. At that point, officials will roll over, Ministers will wave their hands and the money will decide what the policy is. All of this will happen without a parliamentary debate considering the effect of the vehicles and what they mean for road users, especially in urban environments. I hope my noble friend the Minister will find an opportunity to allow us, and the public, a debate about what the vision of our cities is when automated vehicles are operating in large numbers as the Bill makes provision for.