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public rights of way

Amendment made: No. 157, page 65, line 13, at end insert—

‘(2) The following provisions of this section apply if—

(a) an order granting development consent makes provision for the acquisition of land, compulsorily or by agreement,

(b) the order extinguishes a public right of way over the land, and

(c) the right of way is not a right enjoyable by vehicular traffic.

(3) The order granting development consent may not provide for the right of way to be extinguished from a date which is earlier than the date on which the order is published.

(4) Subsection (5) applies if—

(a) the order granting development consent extinguishes the right of way from a date (“the extinguishment date”) which is earlier than the date on which the acquisition of the land is completed, and

(b) at any time after the extinguishment date it appears to the appropriate authority that the proposal to acquire the land has been abandoned.

(5) The appropriate authority must by order direct that the right is to revive.

(6) “The appropriate authority” is—

(a) if the order granting development consent was made by a Panel or the Council, the Commission;

(b) in any other case, the Secretary of State.

(7) Nothing in subsection (5) prevents the making of a further order extinguishing the right of way.’.— [John Healey.]

Clause 126


Amendments made: No. 158, page 65, line 39, leave out ‘proposed’.

No. 159, page 66, line 2, leave out ‘proposed’.

No. 160, line 8, after ‘construction’, insert ‘or improvement’.— [John Healey.]

New Clause 27

The relevant local planning authority

‘(1) This section applies for the purposes of this Part.

(2) The relevant local planning authority in relation to any land is the local planning authority for the area in which the land is situated.

This is subject to subsections (3) to (5).

(3) Subsections (4) and (5) apply if the land is in an area for which there is both a district planning authority and a county planning authority.

(4) If any of the relevant development is the construction or alteration of a hazardous waste facility within section 13(1)(o), the relevant local planning authority is the county planning authority.

(5) In any other case, the relevant local planning authority is the district planning authority.

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(6) “The relevant development” is—

(a) if the relevant offence is an offence under section 133 or 134(1)(a), the development referred to in section 133(1) or 134(1)(a);

(b) if the relevant offence is an offence under section 134(1)(b), the development to which the order granting development consent mentioned in section 134(1)(b) relates.

(7) “The relevant offence” is the offence by reference to which a provision of this Part confers a function on a local planning authority.’.— [Mr. Dhanda.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Dhanda: : I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Madam Deputy Speaker: With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government amendments Nos. 167 to 183 and 279

Mr. Dhanda: : Amendment No. 167 responds to points made in Committee by the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill), which were also made by his friends in the Law Society. In particular, the hon. Gentleman identified a loophole in clause 135, whereby a local authority could indefinitely extend the period in which enforcement action may be taken against a promoter.

The amendment will allow local authorities to extend the enforcement period by issuing an information notice or seeking an injunction only in the four years following completion of a development or the point at which the breach of any requirements occurred. That changes the current drafting, which removes the four-year time limit for bringing prosecutions in cases in which a local authority has served an information notice under clause 140 every four years, or made an application for an injunction without imposing an extended time limit within which a prosecution must be brought. As members of the Committee will recall, the original drafting allowed the continual submission of information requests to cause the possibility of enforcement to hang over a developer for many years. We are grateful to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst for making that clear to us. The amendment will prevent the four-year period from perennially recurring.

New clause 27 and the consequential amendments Nos. 168 to 183 cover a different matter relating to who can take enforcement action. Under part 8, any local authority could initiate such action, whether or not it took place in its local area. We believe that it should be for the authority whose area contains the development to decide whether unauthorised development has taken place and whether enforcement action is necessary. The new clause prevents any old authority, whether or not it is at all close to the development in question, from submitting an objection willy-nilly. It also clarifies which is the relevant local planning authority in areas where district and county authorities overlap. County authorities will have responsibility in the case of nationally significant infrastructure projects involving, for example, hazardous waste.

Amendment No. 279 makes a minor change to the Housing and Regeneration Bill, clause 13 of which sets out the planning functions that can be conferred on the Homes and Communities Agency. That reflects
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existing powers in relation to English Partnerships. One of the functions is enforcement, under both the Town and Country Planning Act and part 8 of this Bill. However, as the Housing and Regeneration Bill will receive Royal Assent before this Bill, references to the Planning Act 2008 must be removed and added as a consequential amendment on Royal Assent for the Planning Bill.

Mr. David Jones: As I want to raise other matters later, I shall not delay the House for long.

I am delighted that the Government have accepted the objection raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) to the original drafting and tabled their own amendment, which we welcome wholeheartedly. However, I want to make a minor point about the Minister’s reference to the relevant planning authority under new clause 27. He said that the relevant authority in the case of, “for example”, hazardous waste was the county planning authority. I believe that it is the relevant authority exclusively in the case of hazardous waste. Perhaps the Minister can confirm that.

Dan Rogerson: I agree with the hon. Member for Clwyd, West (Mr. Jones) that we should use the time available as economically as possible.

I fear that new clause 27 does nothing to help local authorities to deal with the responsibility that they are being given. The power to make decisions on an important scheme will be denied to them, but the responsibility for clearing up any mess will rest firmly with them.

I think it right for local authorities to be responsible for enforcement, but will they have the necessary resources? Some very technical conditions may be imposed. There are excellent planners in local government, but not many in each authority because of recruitment and training difficulties, and not enough of them given the number of applications with which they must deal. Certain authorities will have a huge burden placed on them. Although that does not necessarily relate directly to the specific wording of the new clause, I consider it an important point, and I hope that the Minister will be able to respond to it.

Mr. Dhanda: As much as it pains me to admit it, the hon. Member for Clwyd, West is quite right. I cannot think of any area other than hazardous waste, so he is correct. I disagree with the hon. Member for North Cornwall. I think this is a great opportunity for the IPC and local authorities to work in partnership. As the local delivery agency, the local authority is the right agency to be inspecting nationally significant infrastructure projects. Local authorities have a vested interest, so giving them the power to serve these notices for information, and allowing them to set time frames for changes to be made should a developer not fulfil everything required by the consent, is the right thing to do—

Mr. Clifton-Brown: Will the Under-Secretary give way?

Mr. Dhanda: My neighbour, the hon. Member for Cotswold, has the habit of intervening just as I am about to sit down. I will let him do so once more.

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Mr. Clifton-Brown: I am very grateful; the Minister has been generous. The hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Rogerson) made a very good point. The enforcement powers are likely to be time consuming and will require a great deal of expertise from senior planning officers. Therefore, small authorities such as my own—the Under-Secretary knows it well—and, no doubt, in North Cornwall will be overstretched in dealing with enforcement issues. Will there be any mechanism whereby they can reclaim costs incurred in taking enforcement measures?

Mr. Dhanda: I am not going to get into rewriting Finance Bills here and now in the Chamber. Local authorities, as well as benefiting from some of these big infrastructure projects, will want to play their part in inspecting them to make sure that those involved are adequately doing what is expected of them. The debate about how that will be resourced is for another day.

Question put and agreed to.

C lause read a Second time , and added to the Bill.

Clause 134

Breach of terms of order granting development consent

Amendment made: No. 165, in page 68, line 25 , at end insert—

‘(1A) Subsection (1) is subject to sections [Deemed consent under section 34 of the Coast Protection Act 1949](4) and [Deemed licences under Part 2 of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985](4).’.— [Mr. Dhanda]

Clause 135

Time Limits

Amendment made: No. 167, in page 68, line 32, leave out from ‘133’ to end of line 5 on page 69 and insert ‘or 134 after the end of—

(a) the relevant 4-year period, or

(b) if subsection (3) applies, the extended period.

(2) The “relevant 4-year period” means—

(a) in the case of an offence under section 133, the period of 4 years beginning with the date on which the development was substantially completed;

(b) in the case of an offence under section 134, the period of 4 years beginning with the later of—

(i) the date on which the development was substantially completed, and

(ii) the date on which the breach or failure to comply occurred.

(3) This subsection applies if during the relevant 4-year period—

(a) an information notice has been served under section 140, or

(b) an injunction has been applied for under section 144.

(4) The “extended period” means the period of 4 years beginning with—

(a) the date of service of the information notice, if subsection (3)(a) applies;

(b) the date of the application for the injunction, if subsection (3)(b) applies;

(c) the later (or latest) of those dates, if both paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (3) apply.’.— [Mr. Dhanda.]

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Clause 136

Right to enter without warrant

Amendments made: No. 168, in page 69, line 8 , leave out ‘if a’ and insert

No. 169, in page 69, line 10 , leave out ‘any’ and insert ‘the’.

No. 170, in page 69, line 11 , after ‘the’, insert ‘relevant’.— [Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 137

Right to enter under warrant

Amendment made: No. 171, in page 69, line 29, leave out ‘a’ and insert ‘the relevant’.— [Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 140

Power to require information

Amendments made: No. 172, in page 70, line 22, leave out ‘If it appears to a’ and insert

No. 173, line 23, leave out ‘any land, it’ and insert ‘the land.

(1A) The relevant local planning authority’.

No. 174, line 38, after ‘the’, insert ‘relevant’.— [Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 142

Notice of unauthorised development

Amendments made: No. 175, in page 71, line 20, after ‘133’, insert

No. 176, line 21, after ‘The’, insert ‘relevant’.

No. 177, line 28, after ‘134’, insert

No. 178, line 29, after ‘The’, insert ‘relevant’.— [Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 143

Execution of works required by notice of unauthorised development

Amendments made: No. 179, in page 72, line 3, after fourth ‘the’, insert ‘relevant’.

No. 180, line 14, after ‘the’, insert ‘relevant’.

No. 181, line 34 , leave out ‘a’ and insert ‘the relevant’.— [Mr. Dhanda.]

Clause 144


Amendment made: No. 182, in page 73, line 2 , after ‘134’, insert

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Clause 145

isles of scilly

Amendment made: No. 183, in page 73, line 9, after ‘Scilly’, insert

New Clause 14

Correction of errors in development consent decisions

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