London Local Authorities Bill [HL]
Tuesday 18 February 2003
60. The Clause incorporates provisions providing
additional protection to Railtrack, London Underground and other
statutory undertakers. Their special position is recognised by
enabling them to serve counter notices specifying alternative
measures which could be implemented if, for example, there are
reasons why special provision needs to be made to protect their
undertaking. As I mentioned, my Lords, if you have any particular
questions about the technicalities, then Mr Johnson is here to
answer them, but that is all I was intending to say on that clause.
61. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. I have got one question
and that is on subsection 7, which refers to the British Railways
Board. Paragraph 13 refers to Railtrack. They are all changing
the whole time, at the moment.
62. MR LEWIS: They are. I should mention that negotiations
continue with Railtrack, which will not surprise you.
63. CHAIRMAN: Railtrack still exists? I thought they
64. MR LEWIS: The last letter I received from their
agents was headed "Railtrack". I think Network Rail
may well have taken over responsibility. My understanding, at
least when the Bill was deposited, was that British Railways Board
still existed and held residual property which was not required
for the continued railway undertaking of Railtrack. So there are
a number of disused bridges which continue to be held by the British
Railways Board, which is why they appear in the Bill.
65. CHAIRMAN: Presumably this Bill has got to go
through the next House and any names would be changed. Would we
like to hear how this problem is going to be tackled, briefly?
I am sure you have come all the way here to give us an explanation.
MR DAVID JOHNSON, sworn
Examined by THE COMMITTEE
66. LORD TORDOFF: I am slightly interested in how
you define the magnitude of the problem and how you decide in
a particular case that it constitutes a nuisance rather than just
the average degree of pigeon droppings - for want of a better
(Mr Johnson) The criteria that was used by
the Court of Appeal, I think, my Lord, included not only the amount
of fouling but the usage of the bridge - the number of pedestrians
that passed - as well as the cost to the local authority for cleaning
the bridge and footpath. Those are the three main parts.
67. CHAIRMAN: What is the means of stopping the pigeons?
(Mr Johnson) We found that using netting is
effective, but not in the long-term. Balham Bridge has now had
mesh pinned to the steel work of the bridge, just over the footpath,
not over the road. Since that has been carried out no complaints
have been received.
68. LORD ELTON: The hiring of tame falcons does not
come into this?
(Mr Johnson) This has been suggested. My problem
with that is that it has a temporary success. Also, the effect
of taking a pigeon to earth under an upturned bus is going to
be expensive (?).
69. CHAIRMAN: Since Mr Livingstone has got rid of
the pigeons in Trafalgar Square they presumably have to go somewhere
(Mr Johnson) Not Balham Bridge.
70. CHAIRMAN: Any other questions on this clause?
No. Thank you very much.
(The witness withdrew)
71. MR LEWIS: Turning to Clause 13, this clause finishes
off the job which was not entirely completed by the London Local
Authorities Act 2000. Before that there were different statutory
regimes in relation to the way that dangerous and neglected buildings
had been dealt with in and out of London boroughs. The intention
behind the provisions of the 2000 Act was to ensure that the same
regime existed throughout the whole of London and that there was
no distinction between inner and outer boroughs. Unfortunately,
not all the amendments which were required for the two regimes
were included in the 2000 Act. Therefore, the further amendments
contained in Clause 13 are required.
72. Clause 14, Re-inspection of suspected food and
food safety training is to be dropped. I should mention for the
record that Clause 12 depositing of waste for collection is also
to be dropped.
73. CHAIRMAN: Those two are to be dropped completely.
74. MR LEWIS: Clause 15, Repair etc of Vehicles on
Highways. This clause would alter the provisions contained in
section 5 of the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1982,
which provides for an offence of carrying out works for the repair,
maintenance, servicing, improvement or dismantling of, or of any
part of or necessary to, a motor vehicle or trailer or works for
the installation, replacement, or renewal of any such part or
75. Within section 5 of the 1982 Act there already
exists two defences to this offence. The first is that the works
are carried out so as not to give reasonable cause for annoyance
to persons in the vicinity and the second is that the person carrying
out the work does so otherwise than in the course of, or for the
purposes of, a business or for gain or reward.
76. The effect of Clause 15 is to reverse the burden
of proof in respect of the second of those defences. It is intended
to assist mainly in cases where a person is repairing vehicles
on the street for reward, but not out of premises which would
be recognisable as a car repair centre, in other words from his
home. In those cases whilst it might appear obvious that a business
is being carried on even if there is a high turnover of vehicles
it is difficult to prove.
77. The Clause does follow precedent, the City of
Plymouth has similar powers and in their Act of Parliament the
burden of proving the repairs are not carried out in the course
of the business does rest with the defendant.
78. I should make it clear that the original provision
in the 1982 GLC Act does not prevent the ordinary person from
carrying out repairs and maintenance to his own vehicle on the
highway, it is only in the case where there is a clearly a business
being carried out on the highway where it causes obviously perpetual
annoyance to the neighbours.
79. CHAIRMAN: It has to cause perpetual annoyance.
You would not catch the AA if they came to fix my car outside