London Local Authorities Bill [HL]
Tuesday 18 February 2003
80. MR LEWIS: Absolutely not.
81. CHAIRMAN: If they came every day you might.
82. MR LEWIS: Yes, I suppose so. I suspect that the
council would be very wary of taking action against the AA under
83. CHAIRMAN: I wanted to clarify that.
84. MR LEWIS: My Lord, Clause 16, urination and defecation
in public places, you will see that is being dropped.
85. CHAIRMAN: Why is that? Should I have read this
86. MR LEWIS: It is being dropped because first of
all the Home Office reported against it. They were not happy with
the fact that what we were proposing ways to make the offence
a penalty offence under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001.
We also discovered that at least the main protagonists of the
clause, Westminster City Council, have bylaws which can now cover
87. There are obviously difficulties for the council
in enforcing this provision, whether under the bylaws or under
this clause, because obviously the main culprits are usually those
who have had rather too much to drink on a Friday or a Saturday
night, so there will always be difficulties in enforcing the provision
anyway for the local authority rather than the police, who have
greater powers to deal with the offenders.
88. It is a particularly large problem in the West
End of London and a growing problem which Westminster City Council
are trying to deal with in a number of ways, including the provision
of portable pissoirs which can be found in Soho on a Friday
and a Saturday evening.
89. CHAIRMAN: There has been a marked decline in
the number of public lavatories over a number of years and in
some boroughs they have practically got rid of them altogether,
that is unfortunate. Not Westminster.
90. MR BLACKWELL: The portable pissoirs are
working, as are the bylaws I am pleased to say.
91. CHAIRMAN: Thank you.
92. MR LEWIS: Clause 17, multiple dog walking, we
will deal with that tomorrow.
93. We move on to Clause 18, the sale of spray paints,
as it is now intended to be called rather than the supply of spray
paints, which is due in part to amendments which we will propose
in due course.
94. Your Lordships will see that this Clause has
been quite heavily amended and almost of all of the amendments
have been made in the light of adverse comments received from
the retail sector and comments set out in the report of the Department
of Trade and Industry.
95. I can tell you, as I have already, that the DTI
have confirmed that they are content with the amendments in the
FilledUp Bill. I hope it is not necessary for me to explain
to the Committee the blight which has been caused by the graffiti
throughout all areas of London. It is interesting to the note
that this particular provision was called for initially by outer
London Boroughs, particularly Richmond and also Barnet.
96. It goes without saying that the problem is raised
in all of the London boroughs in practically every area. London
Borough councils already have their own special powers to deal
with the removal of graffiti, and I will come on to those when
we describe the next clause.
97. It is increasingly obvious the problem remains
enormous and the boroughs are keen to increase their powers to
try to prevent the spread of graffiti.
98. The Clause as amended will make it an offence
to sell aerosol paint to any person under 18 years. The offence
attracts a fine of level three on the standard scale, that is
£1,000. It would not, of course, be the first offence of
selling goods of certain descriptions to minors.
99. In the bundle of documents your Lordships will
hopefully have this Report, it is loose, clipped to the back I
think, it is the Report of the London Assembly Graffiti Investigative
Committee on Graffiti, which was made in May last year. The Report
contains evidence from a number of parties, including London Borough
councils, Railtrack and other train operators, and quite interestingly
from some graffiti artist as well.