Documents to download

The Automated Vehicles [HL] Bill 2023-24 has its report stage and remaining stages scheduled for 1 May 2024. It had its second reading in the Commons on 5 March and committee stage on 19 March 2024. It was first introduced in the Lords on 8 November 2023.

The Bill is intended to set the legal framework for the safe deployment of self-driving vehicles in Great Britain.

The Commons Library published a briefing paper ahead of the second reading of the Bill. That paper gives policy background to the Bill, describes the key clauses of the Bill (as brought to the Commons from the Lords) and summarises its progress in the Lords.

The Bill, together with its explanatory notes, impact assessment, delegated powers memorandum, and an overview of its parliamentary progress, are available on Parliament’s Automated Vehicles Bill webpage.

Second Reading

At second reading on 5 March 2024, the Bill was given support by the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats. The SNP Transport spokesperson Gavin Newlands, said his party welcomed the Bill but had concerns about clause 50, which gives the Government regulation-making powers to clarify road traffic law if necessary in the future. The SNP judge Clause 50 to be an “overstep” by the UK Government into devolved matters, but the UK Government judge it would apply only to reserved matters.

Several Labour members called for the Government to set up an advisory council to include industry representatives, road user groups and trade unions. The proposed council would ensure the transition to automated vehicles (AVs) was carried out with consideration of its impact on road users and of potential job losses. The Government said this was unnecessary and there were other opportunities for consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Committee stage

The Public Bill Committee for this Bill sat in two sittings on 19 March 2023. The Government proposed six amendments at committee stage, all of which were agreed. Amendments 2 to 5 were tabled by the Government at the request of Welsh Ministers. They would give Welsh Ministers powers to issue regulations instructing local authorities in Wales to produce digital information on Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) in their area. These powers mirror those the UK Government would have in England under the Bill as originally drafted.

The intention is to make it easier for this TRO data (which describes local road restrictions such as speed limits, bus lanes and parking bays) to be used by AVs to navigate the roads.

There were 26 opposition amendments tabled at committee stage, but none were successful. Five of these amendments went to a division but were defeated along party lines. The others were all either withdrawn or not moved.

The amendments which were defeated on division would have:

  • required the Government to publish a definition of “careful and competent human drivers” (amendment 18)
  • prevented the UK Government from using its powers under clause 50 of the Bill to amend legislation of the devolved administrations (amendment 9)
  • created an advisory council (amendment NC1, amendment NC3)
  • required the provision of information in accessible formats to passengers on self-driving buses (amendment NC2)

Documents to download

Related posts