Electric scooter regulation: should the law be changed?

According to UK law, electric scooters can only be used on private land. However, the Government is considering whether the law should be changed. As part of this consideration, the Department for Transport introduced legislation in July 2020 to enable rental e-scooter trials to take place on public roads and cycle lanes across the UK. The Government awaits the outcome of these trials before making a decision on whether to change the law.

Electric scooter regulation: should the law be changed?

Full steam ahead: a century of railway governance

This year marks 100 years since the Railways Act 1921, also known as the ‘Grouping Act’, came into force. The act reorganised ownership of the railways, merging 120 railway companies into four regional groups. These groups became known as the ‘big four’. Fast forward 100 years, and the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail is set to change the organisation and ownership of the railways once more. This article explores these changes.

Full steam ahead: a century of railway governance

The Integrated Rail Plan

On 16 December 2021, the House of Lords is scheduled to hold a short debate on a motion tabled by Lord Berkeley (Labour). He will ask the Government “how the Integrated Rail Plan will deliver the (1) capacity, and (2) regional connectivity, sought for the Northern Powerhouse area”. This article provides background information on the plan, a brief overview of the plan itself and a survey of the reaction it has received.

The Integrated Rail Plan
  • In Focus

    Extraordinary funding for Transport for London

    In response to a revenue shortfall attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government and the Mayor of London agreed three consecutive short-term funding packages for Transport for London worth more than £4 billion. The latest of those agreements expires on 11 December 2021. Concerns have been raised that without further funding, London’s transport infrastructure could see a “managed decline”, with the possibility of cancelled bus routes and tube lines closed.

  • In Focus

    Motion to annul temporary relaxation of HGV driving time limits and rest patterns

    Between 12 July and 31 October 2021, the Government temporarily relaxed the enforcement of retained EU law that sets the driving time limits and rest patterns of heavy goods vehicle drivers. This was in response to disruption caused by the HGV driver shortage and the Covid-19 pandemic, amongst other things. The Drivers’ Hours and Tachographs (Temporary Exceptions) (No. 4) Regulations 2021 extends this temporary relaxation from 1 November 2021 until 11.59pm on 9 January 2022. On 6 December 2021, the House of Lords will debate a motion to annul this instrument.

  • In Focus

    Second National Infrastructure Assessment: Baseline Report

    In November 2021, the National Infrastructure Commission published the baseline report from its forthcoming second National Infrastructure Assessment. The baseline report evaluates the current state of the UK’s economic infrastructure and identifies key challenges for the coming decades, informing recommendations in the full assessment in 2023. The baseline report found that there has been significant progress in some areas such as gigabit broadband since the last Assessment in 2018. However, it added much more was required, particularly in areas such as electricity emissions and water pollution.

  • In Focus

    Heavy goods vehicle driver shortage

    The UK, alongside other countries, is currently experiencing a shortage of HGV drivers. This has caused some UK supply chain issues, including the fuel shortage at the start of October 2021. The Government has laid out several actions to address the shortage, which have been met with mixed responses.

  • In Focus

    Solent ferry services: regret motion

    Successive MPs for the Isle of Wight have argued that ferry services between the island and the mainland are not competitive enough. A statutory instrument introduced in response to Covid-19 suspended some elements of competition law in relation to ferry services across the Solent. A motion due to be moved in the House of Lords expresses regret that the order revoking this suspension does not address competition issues.

  • In Focus

    Merchant shipping: bilge water alarms

    The Government has introduced new regulations on the installation of bilge water alarms to merchant vessels of a certain size, to provide warning when the accumulation of bilge water threatens their buoyancy or safety. The regulations follow the sinking of the vessel ‘Abigail H’ in the Port of Heysham in 2008. The gap between that incident and the introduction of these measures has led to criticism that ministers have been too slow to act to prevent similar accidents happening again.

  • Research Briefing

    Environment Bill: Briefing for Lords Stages

    The Environment Bill would establish a new environmental governance system, including the setting of long-term targets and the creation of an Office for Environmental Protection. It also includes measures on improving air quality, waste management and recycling, water management, biodiversity and conservation covenants. The bill is due to have it second reading in the House of Lords on 7 June 2021, having been carried over from the last session.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2021: transport

    This In Focus has been prepared in advance of the Queen’s Speech, taking place on 11 May 2021. It discusses previous government policy commitments on railways and airlines, in addition to other possible measures that may be introduced in the forthcoming parliamentary session.

  • In Focus

    HGV drivers: temporary relaxation of driving hours limits and minimum rest period rules

    Due to concerns about disruptions to supply chains resulting from Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic, the Government has introduced the Drivers’ Hours and Tachographs (Temporary Exceptions) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/58) to relax the rules governing maximum driving hours and minimum rest periods. It has stated that the exceptions should only be used where necessary and not at the expense of safety. The House of Lords is due to debate the regulations on 18 March 2021.

  • In Focus

    Fast tracked planning permission to use land as temporary inland border facilities

    The Town and Country Planning (Border Facilities and Infrastructure) (EU Exit) (England) Special Development Order 2020 (SI 2020/928) has sped up the planning process for land to be used as inland border facilities in specified areas of England. The Government stated this is necessary due to the increased border control measures needed now the UK has left the EU. On 11 February 2021, the House of Lords will debate a motion ‘regretting’ the legislation.