House of Commons
Other Private Bills before Parliament
Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)
|London Local Authorities Bill [HL]
[AS AMENDED IN COMMITTEE]
Clause 1 deals with citation and commencement. It provides that the operative provisions of the Bill will come into operation two months after Royal Assent. Clause ˝2 sets out definitions of certain expressions used in the Bill.
Part 4 of the London Local Authorities Act 2007 sets out a regime, applicable throughout Greater London, which enables London borough councils to use a civil penalty charge procedure for the enforcement of a number of offences, which themselves were decriminalised by the 2007 Act. Part 4 of the 2007 Act was drafted in such a way that future enactments could decriminalise other offences and make them subject to the detailed procedures set out in Part 4.
Clauses 3 and 4 make general provision about the procedure for penalty charge notices under Part 4 of the London Local Authorities Act 2007.
Clause 3 extends the powers of police community support officers and accredited persons under Schedule 4 and Schedule 5 to the Police Reform Act 2002. That Act has the effect of enabling them to serve penalty charge notices and fixed penalty notices in relation to a number of offences. Clause 3 would have the effect of enabling them to serve penalty charge notices in respect of penalty charges which become payable under Part 4 of the London Local Authorities Act 2007.
Clause 4 provides London borough councils, authorised officers of London borough councils, community support officers and accredited persons with powers to require a person on whom they intend to serve a penalty charge notice to give them his name and address, in cases where a penalty charge notice is to be served under section 61 of the London Local Authorities Act 2007. If the requirement is made in person by an authorised officer of a council, then he must show proof of his authorisation. It is an offence to fail to give a name and address or to give a false or inaccurate name or address in response to a requirement under Clause 4.
PUBLIC HEALTH, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND HIGHWAYS
Part 3 contains a number of miscellaneous provisions relating to public health, environmental protection and highways.
Clause 5 makes provision about street litter control notices. Street litter control notices are notices served under section 93 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. They can be served by the principal litter authority (in London, the borough council) imposing requirements on occupiers of premises with a view to the prevention of accumulations of litter or refuse in and around any street or open land adjacent to any street. Under section 94 of the 1990 Act, the Secretary of State is given power to prescribe the descriptions of commercial or retail premises in respect of which a street litter control notice may be issued, amongst other things. The effect of Clause 5 would be to extend the type of premises which the Secretary of State can prescribe under section 94 so that it includes all premises in Greater London except for dwellings. This will bring into the scope of the street litter control notice procedures public buildings and other buildings which are not commercial or retail premises. The amount of litter generated by smokers who are no longer able to smoke inside places of work is one of the reasons for this proposed alteration in the legislation in London.
Clause 6 amends the application of the Public Lavatories (Turnstiles) Act 1963 in Greater London. Section 1(1) of that Act provides that every turnstile in any part of a public lavatory or public sanitary convenience controlled or managed by a local authority or in any entrance or exit of such lavatory or convenience had to be removed six months after the 1963 Act obtained Royal Assent. It also provided that no turnstile should be provided in the future. Clause 6 disapplies those provisions in Greater London.
Clause 7 alters provisions in the Highways Act 1980 which enable local authorities to give permissions for the use of objects, etc. on the highway. Part VIIA of the 1980 Act was inserted by the Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1982 and it enables the councils themselves to place objects or structures on, in or over a highway and also give permission to others to do so. Section 115E of the 1980 Act is the provision which enables the councils to give such permissions to others and section 115F enables the councils to place conditions on any permission given under section 115E. It provides that the councils can require the payment of such reasonable charges as they may determine. Subsection (2) of section 115F provides that except where the council are the owners of the sub-soil beneath the part of the highway in relation to which the permission is granted, the charges may not exceed the standard amount and the "standard amount" is defined in subsection (3) of section 115F. In turn that provides that in relation to permissions given to others to place objects on the highway, the charges that the council may make must not exceed their reasonable expenses in connection with granting the permission (in other words their administrative charges).
Clause 7 would allow London borough councils to take into account additional considerations when setting the level of charges in relation to cases where they have given their permission under section 115E(1)(b)(i), namely where they have given permission for the placing of objects on the highway where doing so will result in the production of income. A typical example of when this might happen is where the Council has given permission for a restaurant to place tables and chairs on the highway. Clause 7 would enable the council, when setting the charges, to include in their calculations reasonable costs in the aggregate incurred in relation to the reasonable administrative or other costs incurred in granting permissions, additional street cleansing costs arising from activities for which permission is granted, and additional enforcement costs.
Part 4 deals with various miscellaneous licensing regimes applicable in Greater London.
Clause 8 amends the City of Westminster Act 1996 which provides Westminster City Council with enhanced enforcement powers in relation to unlicensed sex establishments. The first amendment is a minor typographical amendment and the second amends section 8 of the 1996 Act, which relates to the service of notices. Under section 8, if notices under the Act are to be served by post, then they have to be served by registered post or the recorded delivery service. The amendments would enable notices to be served by ordinary post.
Clause 9 makes further provision about street trading, in relation to the sale of vehicles over the internet. Under the existing street trading legislation in London, "street trading" is defined, broadly speaking, as meaning the selling or the exposure or offer for sale of any article and the supplying of or offering to supply any service in a street for gain or reward (whether or not the gain or reward accrues to the person actually carrying out the trading). Under that definition it is unclear whether the sale of motor vehicles on the internet, where the vehicle is kept on the highway, is included and the effect of Clause 9 will be to ensure that it is.
Clauses 10 to 12 deal with street trading in the City of Westminster. Westminster City Council have their own private legislation, namely the City of Westminster Act 1999 which deals with street trading in the City.
It should be noted that since the deposit of this Bill, the council have deposited a further private bill which if enacted would repeal the 1999 Act and re-enact it with amendments, including amendments equivalent to those described in the following paragraphs.
Clause 10 contains a number of amendments to the 1999 Act. The first amendments of substance are in subsections (3) to (5) and they replicate in Westminster the effect of the amendments which are made by Clause 9 (street trading: vehicles and the internet) in respect of the rest of London (except for the City of London).
Taken together, subsections (6) to (18) introduce a series of amendments which will enable authorised officers of the City Council to seize certain types of street trading equipment in cases where they couldn't do so under the present legislation, and to dispose of it summarily in certain cases.
Westminster City Council officers already have power to seize items used in unlawful street trading where the items are required for evidential purposes, or where the items are subject to forfeiture by the courts. On a street trading prosecution, if there is a conviction, the magistrates' court can order the forfeiture of any goods seized in relation to the offence. Authorised officers cannot exercise their powers of seizure unless they suspect that a street trading offence has been committed. City Council officers use the powers regularly in the West End in relation to unlawful sales of hotdogs and other hot food from portable stands. Each evening portable stands are brought into the West End by van and are unloaded together before being taken off by individual sellers to strategic locations, where the trading takes place. City Council officers are unable to seize the hotdog trolleys until the vending begins. Additional powers are contained in subsection (7) of Clause 10. They would enable City Council officers to seize receptacles which are in a street and which the officers have reasonable cause to suspect are intended to be used in connection with a street trading offence. Officers would also be able to seize any vehicle used to transport the receptacles to the place where they were found in the street.
Subsections (9) onwards introduce a new procedure for dealing with receptacles used in unlawful street trading of refreshments when they have been seized. This would include receptacles seized under the new powers mentioned above introduced by subsection (7). Under the current system, where the council seize items under section 27 of the 1999 Act, they either have to return them to the person from whom they were seized, if certain circumstances arise, or they can be disposed of if there is a conviction and the court orders the items to be forfeited. The council can also apply to the magistrates' court for a disposal order if the court is satisfied that the council has made reasonable efforts to ascertain the identity of the owner of the objects seized but failed.
Westminster City Council seize very large numbers of hot dog trolleys in the West End and because of the procedures that they have to go through, they have to store the trolleys for long periods at considerable expense. In nearly all cases, the trolleys are eventually disposed of by the council because either the person from whom the trolley was seized does not contest the criminal proceedings, or the council is unable to find out who the owner of the trolley is.
The effect of subsections (7) to (18) will be to enable the council to dispose of hot dog trolleys and other receptacles for the sale of refreshments without the need to go to court either to secure a prosecution or obtain a disposal order. Safeguards are included in the clauses to ensure that if the person from whom the receptacle is seized wishes there to be a court hearing, then he can secure it. This is achieved by including a requirement on the officer who seizes the item to give the person from whom it was seized a notice. The notice can be completed by the recipient and returned to the council, and if it is done so within the time stated on the notice and contains all the necessary information (including the name and address of the person from whom the item was seized) and states that the recipient requires the council to seek a disposal order from the magistrates' court, then the council would be under an obligation to seek such an order. At the magistrates' court hearing, the recipient of the notice would have the opportunity to contest the proceedings.
If the notice is not completed and returned to the council in the correct manner and within the specified time, then the council will be able to dispose of the item in question and cover their costs of doing so from the recipient, if they are able to identify and find him. The powers of summary disposal would also be available to the council if when seizing the item they served a fixed penalty notice on the person from whom the item was seized. If the fixed penalty is paid within the required timescale, then the council would be able to dispose of the item.
Clause 11 introduces Schedule 1 which in turn makes minor and consequential amendments to the City of Westminster Act 1999, consequential upon the amendments made in Clause 8.
Clause 12 introduces Schedule 2 to the Bill which is a Keeling Schedule setting out the whole of the City of Westminster Act 1999 as amended by previous enactments and by the Bill.
Clauses 13 to 16 make similar provision in the London Borough of Camden as Clause 8 does in Westminster in relation to the seizure and disposal of receptacles used for the purposes of unlawful street trading of refreshments.
Clause 13 provides for interpretation of the Camden provisions and Clause 14 makes similar provision to Clause 10(9) about the seizure of receptacles before street trading commences. Clauses 15 and 16 make similar provision to Clause 10(7) to (18) about the giving of notices and the disposal of seized items.
MISCELLANEOUS AND SUPPLEMENTAL
Part 5 contains miscellaneous and supplemental provisions.
Clause 17 contains provisions correcting two small errors in the London Local Authorities Act 2007. The first alteration is in respect of section 24(4) (littering from vehicles). That subsection makes an amendment to section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The subsection did not take account of amendments recently made to section 87 by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. Subsection (2) corrects a reference in section 25(3) (powers to require a removal of waste unlawfully deposited). The reference to "waste regulation authority" is corrected so that it reads "waste collection authority".
Clause 18 provides for an offence of obstructing an authorised officer acting in the exercise of his powers under the Bill, and a maximum punishment for such an offence is a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale, on summary conviction.
Clause 19 makes provision about the requirements for proof, in court proceedings, of the fact that a borough council has passed a resolution under the Bill. The clause provides that it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that the resolution was duly passed and that any requirements relating to it were properly complied with.
Clause 20 makes provision about the liability of directors and other officers of bodies corporate in relation to offences committed under the Bill.
EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
In the view of the Westminster City Council the provisions of the London Local Authorities Bill are compatible with the Convention Rights.
|© Parliamentary copyright 2011
|Prepared 7 May 2011