Annex: Response by the Home Office to
written questions |
Q 1 To what extent have previous large events
in North East London required extraordinary policing? How have
the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) co-ordinated their operations
under these circumstances?
The London 2012 Olympics is the largest peacetime
safety and security event for which there is no precedent in UK
policing. There have been no previous events of this scale in
North East London.
The largest comparable event in London is the Notting
Hill Carnival with some 6,000 officers deployed on the busiest
day, mainly in one set geographic area. The use of a Muster, Briefing
and Deployment Centre (MBDC) is a tried and tested process at
this event for managing the briefing and feeding of this large
number of officers providing efficiency, value for money and consistency
The Games creates the unique challenge of managing
a large number of officers from across the MPS and outside London
to provide the numbers and skills for the security operation.
In order to manage the three main Olympic zones the MPS will be
requiring three MDBC sites, of which Wanstead will be the largest.
Q 2 Why has the Department decided to use
a Legislative Reform Order (LRO) to achieve their aim? Was any
consideration given to using primary legislation instead?
Full consideration was given to the use of primary
However this was dependent on an appropriate legislative
vehicle being available to contain this provision which would
achieve Royal Assent sufficiently in advance of the start of the
2012 Games. There was only Home Office legislative vehicle (the
Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill) which planned to
have Royal Assent in time.
However, the flagship policy in this Bill, the creation
of directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners, requires the
Bill to achieve Royal Assent in time for all the necessary preparations
for elections to be held in May 2012. Since this provision was
most likely to make any public Bill hybrid - with the extra time
that this would mean was required for the passage of the Bill-
it was not desirable to try to include these provisions in a Home
Office Bill. There did not appear to be any other appropriate
A Private Bill was considered, but this would have
relied on the resources of a private sponsor rather than the Government
to take forward, and may have struggled to obtain Parliamentary
Using an LRO to remove a burden which jeopardises
the delivery of safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games was
therefore the preferred option and in keeping with the purpose
of the 2006 Act.
Q 3 The Open Spaces Society suggest the aim
of the LRO may be achieved through section 36 (3) (c) of the London
Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006. Was this considered?
The Home Office responded specifically to the Open
Spaces Society's suggestion in the terms below, and the Society
has not responded on this point:
'You also ask whether powers under s 36(3)(c) of
the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 might be
used as an alternative to an LRO. Section 36 (3) refers specifically
to the purchase of land, rather than any temporary use
of the land. Page 13 of the consultation paper discusses non-legislative
options, and discards the idea of purchase of the land as disproportionate
given that the police requirements are only temporary. While not
mentioned in the paper as such, the provisions of the 2006 Act
would fall outside the scope of our proposals.'
Q 4 Does the Explanatory Document (ED) fully
take into account all of the concerns raised by those who responded
to the consultation document?
The Government has sought to respond fully to all
of the main concerns raised during the consultation process.
The Explanatory Document sets out details of the
Home Office consultation and summarises the concerns raised as
- the proposals setting a precedent that would
open the way for future development of the area;
- the MBDC remaining in the longer term;
- lack of transparency and information over alternative
- ensuring £170,000 payment in lieu of rent
benefits the local area in terms of facilities for children or
The Document sets out the Government's responses
to these concerns. It also deals with an additional issue which
emerged: the fact that the criminal offence relating to enclosure
of land on Epping Forest actually arises under byelaws made under
section 36 of the Epping Forest Act 1878 rather than section 34
- as asserted in the consultation questions - which has lapsed.
On this point, the government is satisfied that the validity of
the consultation was not affected (see question 10).
The vast majority of the consultation responses fell
into one of the areas outlined above. Some specific issues were
also raised, for example the question of the potential use of
the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 raised
by the Open Spaces Society (see question 3), which were dealt
with through direct correspondence.
Q 5 Annex E to the ED explains that four key
drivers determined the timing of the public consultation. Please
set out a clear timetable showing the dates when decisions were
finalised on each of the each four key drivers, and when each
separate consultation (LRO, Met Police, planning application process)
began and ended.
The four key drivers are so interlinked that rather
than trying to separate them out, the Government considers that
it would be more helpful to set out the timeline as a whole.
As noted below (see question 6) Wanstead Flats was
identified as the only possible option in late 2009. The habitat
survey that was undertaken did not suggest any particular obstacles
with that site.
This was followed by discussions within Government
about the most suitable legislative method (see question 2) and
with the Corporation of the City of London, as the custodians
of Epping Forest. The City of London Corporation's Epping Forest
and City Commons Committee formally considered the initial proposal
on 8th March 2010 and gave a favourable response.
Matters were delayed by purdah and the general election
in May 2010. The issue was considered by the new Ministers shortly
after the election and Home Office Ministers gave their consent
to the Legislative Reform Order route in June 2010.
It then took a few weeks to prepare and print the
necessary documents. The Government also decided to avoid launching
the consultation in the height of the summer holiday season and
when Parliament was not sitting. The Government consultation was
therefore launched in September 2010.
In summary, the MPS consultation on the overall proposals
ran from 25th August to 16th September 2010,
though press statements and letters to local councillors and organisations
were issued over June and July 2010. Within this, the consultation
centred on five public exhibitions at different locations within
the Wanstead area, on 25th August, 4th September,
9th September, 11th September and 16th
The Home Office consultation on the proposed LRO
ran from 16th September 2010 to 9th December
The Planning application was submitted to Redbridge
Borough Council on 26th November 2010, consultation
ran from 2nd December to 23rd December 2010,
and the application was considered by their Regulatory Committee
on 24th February 2011.
Q 6 The habitat report, web-linked in Annex
A of the ED, page 20, is dated December 2009. The earliest date
given for consultation in the ED is June 2010 (Annex E, page 29).
Why was a habitat report on Wanstead Flats produced so far in
advance of consultation? Were similar reports prepared for the
When the site selection process determined that Wanstead
Flats was the best site for the MBDC it was recognised that the
area was important to local people and groups, and that environmental
protection would be a significant concern. The habitat survey
was undertaken to ensure no impact on the area directly. The proximity
of the proposed centre to a SSSI was taken into account and a
margin built in to ensure its perimeter was located well away
from this area. The site survey provided information on site impact.
A meeting was organised specifically for local environmental/wildlife
groups to address their specific concerns.
Similar reports were not conducted on other sites
as these did not meet the requirements for the operational plan.
To conduct habitat reports on these areas would have been unnecessary
and would not have represented good use of public money.
Q 7 Annex H of the ED sets out the site selection
process. When did CgMs Consulting begin their assessment of sites?
Were local people given the opportunity to input into this review
of alternative sites?
The assessment of sites in the North East London
area began in October 2009. CgMs was commissioned by the MPS to
help prepare the planning application. There was no local consultation
at that stage due to issues around commercial sensitivity. However,
alternative sites proposed by local people during the consultation
process in 2010 were considered and reviewed against the set criteria.
Q 8 In the consultation responses, Save Wanstead
Flats state, "it is our contention that the search for alternative
sites was, at best, cursory and that having settled upon Wanstead
Flats, the Metropolitan police have sought to mould its selection
criteria to fit only one outcome. This decision is the only reason
why a Legislative Reform Order is now under consideration".
What is the Department's assessment of this statement?
The Government is content that the MPS carried out
a full, objective and detailed site selection process. Twenty
nine sites were initially examined using clear selection criteria:
size suitability; direct access from an A road; and clear area
not subject to topographical or natural features. Four areas met
these requirements and were then further examined using nine detailed
- Assurance of availability in 2012
- Suitable to deploy horses
- No natural hazards, e.g. risk of flooding
- Secondary access
- Heavy vehicle access
- To have or be able to install secure boundary
with access control
- Limited impact on local activities and recreational
- Relationship to other land uses
- 24/7 access
Only Wanstead Flats met all nine of these requirements.
A number of alternative sites proposed during the
consultation were also examined as part of the selection process.
Q 9 Why did the Department decide not to wait
until the end of the site selection process to consult on the
The site selection process had concluded that Wanstead
Flats was the only viable option for the MBDC when the consultation
process on the LRO began in September 2010.
Q 10 Paragraph 3.2 of the ED explains that
an issue emerged during consultation that the criminal sanction
arises under section 36 of the 1878 Act, not section 34. When
did this issue first arise, and what factors were considered in
deciding that further public consultation was not necessary?
It became apparent during the consultation, towards
the end of September 2010, that the criminal sanction under section
34 of the 1878 Act had lapsed and that the sanction was now created
by byelaws made under section 36 of the Act.
The Committee might like to be aware that the byelaws
are available online at http://220.127.116.11/NR/rdonlyres/75920B02-E28A-45FD-8D40-94CAD0A25449/0/Byelawscancopy.pdf.
On balance, it was decided that this did not fundamentally
affect the validity of the consultation. The specifics around
which section of the Epping Forest Act 1878 created the criminal
offence did not change the fact that the Government was proposing
to remove that criminal offence and associated restrictions in
the Act to enable the Met to use the area for their MBDC. On this
basis, the Government did not consider that further public consultation
Q 11 Paragraph 3.1 of the ED lists the 3 specific
questions contained in the consultation document. The first question
begins "Given that the use of Wanstead Flats is essential
to ensuring the safety and security of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics
...". How did the Department reach the conclusion that the
site was 'essential' rather than desirable or suitable? Why did
the consultation close off the issue of alternative sites from
The London 2012 Games will require one of the largest
policing deployments in UK history, involving over 10,000 officers
on peak days. It is vital that arrangements are made to for briefing
and deploying this large number of officers. MBDCs are a tried
and tested way of doing this and have been used for other large
scale events such as the Notting Hill Carnival. A detailed site
selection process concluded that Wanstead Flats was the only suitable
location for such a centre. There were no feasible alternative
sites that would have warranted consideration through the consultation
process. While some consultees raised concerns in principle about
alternative sites (see question 4) any specific proposals for
alternative sites were considered (see questions 7 and 8).
Q 12 Given that alternative sites, and the
criteria for choosing a location were closed off from comment
in the consultation document, why does the Department consider
that there has been statutory consultation complying with section
13 of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006?
As noted above (see question 11) the Government was
satisfied, on the basis of advice from the Metropolitan Police
Service, both that an MBDC was operationally necessary and that,
following the application of detailed site selection criteria,
Wanstead Flats was the only viable option.
Accordingly, the Government consulted on the best
means to achieve the legislative change which would allow, temporarily,
for the construction of the MBDC on Wanstead Flats. Detailed
steps were taken to ensure that those organisations and groups
most likely to be directly affected by the proposals were informed
of, and invited to participate, in the consultation. As noted
above (see question 5), there were other opportunities for affected
organisations and individuals to express a view.
Section 13 of the 2006 Act requires the Minister
to consult those likely to be 'substantially affected by the proposals'.
Opening up the terms of the consultation to include discussions
on alternative sites would potentially include many open spaces
in London and those living and working near them. This would
generate much nugatory discussion and alarm about sites which
had already been determined to be less suitable than Wanstead.
There is also a risk of moving the focus away from the firm proposal
about the use of Wanstead Flats and misleading those likely to
be most affected about the best avenues to raise objections.
For these reasons the terms of the consultation were set carefully
to facilitate discussion with those most affected.
Q 13 A consultation response asserted at several
points that the consultation is fundamentally flawed. It stated
"no purpose for the LRO within the meaning of s.1(2) of the
2006 Act is presented in the [consultation] document", and
then claims this renders any LRO illegal. What is the Department's
assessment of this claim?
The introductory paragraphs to Part 3 of the consultation
document refer to the purpose of the LRO within the meaning of
section 1(2) of the 2006 Act which is to "remove or reduce
any burden, or overall burdens resulting directly or indirectly
for any person from any legislation". On page 12 of the document
(under the heading "legal analysis") the Government
made clear that it considered that removing the criminal offence
which would attach to the enclosure of land was "removing
a burden within the meaning of the 2006 Act". The Government
therefore refutes the assertion that no purpose within section
1(2) of the 2006 Act was presented and equally refutes the assertion
that the LRO is unlawful in any way.
Q 14 A consultation response asserted that
a LRO would not assure the MPS that they would be able to operate
a Muster, Briefing and Deployment Centre on Wanstead Flats. It
states this is because the Commoners of Epping Forest can exercise
their common law right to abate a nuisance at any time, and therefore
the LRO would be disproportionate. What is the Department's assessment
of this claim?
The Government does not consider that the operation
of the MBDC on Wanstead Flats for a limited period of time will
amount to a public nuisance such as can lead to an action by the
Commoners of Epping Forest. A public nuisance must amount to an
unreasonable interference with the public's right to property
and the Government has ensured that the provisions in the LRO
are strictly limited in terms of the place in which the Centre
can be constructed, the time for which it can be enclosed and
the maximum space which it can take up. The Government is therefore
of the view that this is far from being an unreasonable interference
with the public's right to property and is not disproportionate.
Q 15 Paragraph 1.1.16 of the ED states planning
consent from the London Borough of Redbridge has been granted.
Please outline any conditions placed on the planning consent.
Planning consent was grant by the Regulatory Committee
of the London Borough of Redbridge on 24th February
2011. The following conditions were placed on the planning consent:
- The development hereby permitted shall only be
carried out and completed strictly in accordance with the submitted
plans hereby approved.
- No development or works relating to the Muster,
Briefing and Deployment centre hereby approved shall commence
on site before 23rd June 2012.
- All structures and fencing associated with the
Muster, Briefing and Deployment Centre hereby approved shall have
been dismantled and removed from the site by 21st September 2012
and the restoration of the site to have commenced.
- Prior to the commencement of the development
hereby approved, a scheme for the restoration of the site shall
have been produced by the applicants in consultation with the
City of London Corporation, submitted to the Local Planning Authority
and approved by the Local Planning Authority in writing. The scheme
for the restoration of the site shall include proposed measures
to restore any vegetation which has been adversely affected by
the development and a timetable for the restoration of the site
to its former use as open space.
- The development hereby approved shall only take
place in accordance with a programme of archaeological works as
set out in a written scheme of investigation which is to be submitted
to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority prior
to the commencement of work. The archaeological works as approved
shall only be carried out by a suitably qualified investigating
body acceptable to the Local Planning Authority.
- No goods shall be delivered to, nor loaded or
unloaded at the site outside the following times: 0800-1800 Mondays
- Fridays and 0800-1400 Saturdays and Sundays
- No construction or dismantling activity shall
take place at the site outside the following times: 0700-1900
Mondays-Fridays, 0800-1600 Saturdays and 1000-1600 Sundays
- And no heavy machinery associated with construction
or dismantling activity shall be used at the site outside of the
following times: 0800-1800 Mondays-Fridays and 0800-1300 Saturdays
- Before the development hereby permitted commences
at the site, a scheme shall be submitted to and approved in writing
by the Local Planning Authority describing the means by which
construction activity at the site and construction traffic to
and from the site shall be controlled. The scheme shall include
i) construction traffic routes
ii) booking systems
iii) consolidated or re-timed trips
iv) secure, off-street loading and drop off facilities
v) using operators committed to best practice,
demonstrated by membership of TfL's Freight Operator Recognition
Scheme (FORS) or similar
The development shall be carried out and completed
in accordance with the approved scheme.
- Before the development hereby permitted commences
at site, a scheme for the management of police traffic associated
with the Muster, Briefing and Deployment centre shall be agreed
between the applicants and Transport for London. The scheme shall
be submitted to the Local Planning Authority and approved in writing
prior to the commencement of development at the site.
- Disposal of animal waste material: All horse
dung and straw from the stables area within the site is to be
removed from the site and properly disposed of.
- Prior to the commencement of the development
hereby approved, details of the location of and acoustic housing
of proposed generators shall be submitted to and approved in writing
by the Local Planning Authority. Details of reduction in noise
achieved by acoustic housing shall also be submitted.
- Any fuel storage tanks, WCs or other potentially
polluting materials shall be placed on impermeable surfacing and
surrounded by bunds.
- Before the use hereby permitted commences at
site, details of the proposed extraction systems to be installed
on the site shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the
Local Planning Authority. The measures as approved shall then
be retained at the site in accordance with the approved drawings.
- The Metropolitan Police Service has indicated
that it is happy to accept all of these conditions.
Q 16 Paragraph 1.1.17of the ED states that
the MPS will pay the City of London Corporation £170,000
for use of the land. Please explain how this sum was agreed?
The MPS will pay a rent for use of the land for the
specified period during the London 2012 Games. The sum of £170,000
was reached in agreement with the City of London Corporation,
who are the trustees of the land. It was based on independent
valuations and assessments of the specific area by Corporation
of London surveyors and MPS Surveyors.
This money will be used by the City Corporation to
improve facilities. Part of the consultation process allows the
local community to make specific suggestions as to what this might
Q 17 Following your response to question 12,
to what extent does the Olympic Delivery Authority, responsible
under s.6 of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games Act 2006,
accept the assessment of the Metropolitan Police Service that
use of the particular location is essential for safety and security?
The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) do not have
any statutory responsibilities around the MDBC which is principally
an operational matter for the police service. Section 6 of the
2006 Act places a requirement on ODA to consider security in the
exercise of its own functions. Those functions (according to Section
4 of the 2006 Act) relates to preparing for the Games, premises
and facilities and transport.
In this case, there is no proposal to acquire land
or build facilities on a permanent basis with which the Authority
could provide assistance. While facilities for the police
and emergency services are being provided at the Olympic Park,
one of the purposes of the MBDC (mentioned in the Need Case Site
Selection and Decision Process document) was that site for the
MBDC should be 'outside of a 1000 metre post-incident exclusion
zone from the Olympic Park and its environs'.
In carrying out its functions under section 4 of
the 2006 Act, the ODA has worked closely with the MPS, the Home
Office, the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI)
and other bodies to ensure a safe and secure London 2012 Olympic
and Paralympic Games. This includes, for example, ensuring that
facilities for the Games are designed and build to appropriate
security standards. The ODA have been kept informed of work
on the MDBC, but in the light of the Committee's interest the
Government have asked them specifically for their views and they
have confirmed that they have no views on this proposals.
Q 18 Further to Annex C of the ED, which statutory
bodies were consulted in compliance with the consultation duty
in section 13(1)(b)? In particular do these include the Verderers
of Epping Forest and Epping Forest and Commons Committee?
The Home Office is satisfied that the duty under
section 13(1)(b) to consult with statutory bodies whose interests
are affected by the proposed legislation has been discharged,
either directly or through the Metropolitan Police Service discussions
with the main bodies concerned.. The MPS secured agreement to
the proposals in principle with the City of London Corporation
as the statutory authority for Epping Forest, and the MPS and
Home Office have maintained close contact with the Corporation
over the course of this work. The City of London Corporation's
Epping Forest and City Commons Committee formally considered the
initial proposal on 8th March 2010 and had no objections. The
Verderers of Epping Forest are represented on this Committee.
The MPS have also consulted with the officers and political representatives
from the London Boroughs of Redbridge, Newham and Waltham Forest,
Transport for London, the Greater London Authority, the (then)
Government Office for London (GOL), English Heritage, Natural
England and the Environment Agency, as well as local Members of
Parliament. The Home Office has also maintained contact with local
authorities and MPs. No formal objections to the proposals were
received from statutory consultees during last year's consultations.
Q 19 What inquiries has the Home Office made
as to the rights of common that might subsist over Wanstead Flats
and what was the outcome?
General provisions on Rights of Common are set out
in the Law of Property Act 1925. This provides that the powers
under section 193 of the Act (Rights of the Public over Common
and Waste Land) are subject to any Act or scheme for the regulation
For these purposes, the 1878 Act is an Act which
regulates Epping Forest. Therefore to the extent that the 1925
Act provisions apply to Epping Forest, the 1925 Act provisions
are subject to the 1878 Act. With the amendment proposed through
the LRO, the 1878 Act will enable an enclosure to be temporarily
put up on Wanstead Flats; this means that the 1925 Act is
subject to that provision. To the extent that the 1925 Act is
not compatible with the 1878 Act, the 1878 Act, as the specific
Act which regulates Epping Forest, will prevail.
Section 5 of the 1878 Act provides for certain rights
of common to continue in relation to Epping Forest. These rights
are the rights of common of pasture and of common of mast or pannange
for swine. Under the proposed LRO, these rights would be subject
to the new draft section 52A of the 1878 Act.
Section 33 of the 1878 Act also confers on the Conservators
of Epping Forest the right to regulate the various rights of common
over the Forest. For example section 33(1)(x) enables the Conservators
to regulated the time and conditions during which the rights of
common of mast or pannage of swine can be exercised and section
33(1)(xii) makes it clear that the rights of common in Epping
Forest can be subject to rules and orders not inconsistent with
this Act. This provision clarifies that the rights of common are
not an absolute provision, to be exercised freely at any time
and place within the Forest, but rather subject to reasonable
exercise within the overall provisions of the 1878 Act.