Unopposed Bill Committee Minutes of Evidence

Sections 240-259

London Local Authorities Bill [HL]

Tuesday 18 February 2003

240. MR LEWIS: Can I deal with that point. If we look at the exemption on page 11 of the additions apart it says: "(1) Section 12... shall not apply to any surface which forms part of the operational land of a protected party unless it is a surface to which this section applies.

"(2) This section applies to any surface which abuts on or to which access is given directly from ­ (a) a street; or (b) any place other than a street to which the public have access as of right."

241. If we turn to your bundle of photographs which Mrs Miles handed in, I suspect not all of these properties are Railtrack properties but Mr Miles indicates some are. Perhaps Mr Miles can indicate which are Railtrack properties or London Underground or any other rail network.

242. The first one Mr Miles indicates it seems clear that that is a surface which abuts on or to which access is given directly from the street or any place other than a street. Number 2, the pink bridge, again, would still fall within Section 12.

243. As I explained at the outset, and I think there are others in there as well, the reason this exemption is given is really on the grounds of safety. If you like, the same sort of graffiti which is suffered by Railtrack, as is suffered by other commercial property owner whose properties are on the streets, will still be able to be dealt with in the same way. We are certainly not creating a complete exemption for Railtrack and London Underground here, far from it, we are putting them really in the same position as any other owner of commercial property which abuts on to the street or any place other than the street to which the public have access as a right, which would include all small shopkeepers I would expect. That is the response to that particular point.

244. We really do not think that big, bad Railtrack are being treated that differently. The reason they are is really fundamentally on the grounds of safety and also to ensure that the operation of railways is not interfered with because, of course, that is of great importance to the population of London as a whole.

245. LORD ELTON: Does the Home Office regard that as a satisfactory answer and if not in what respect?

(Mr Sanderson) Could I ask, does that cover the Royal Mail and the Waterways?

246. MR LEWIS: It covers the Waterways, yes. The Royal Mail have a different protective provision which is in Clause 19(a). Their protection provision does not exclude them by any means, it simply provides them with a longer period in which they have to clear it up.

247. The Home Office say they would like to see a common approach to the clearing up of graffiti from commercial premises, I wonder if they have any plans to legislate for that?

(Mr Sanderson) The Government intends to bring forward a Bill on anti­social behaviour, which is being decided as we speak, there may or may not be a measure on graffiti on that. I do not know anything more about that.

248. MR SAUNDERS: That will be against the carrying out of graffiti rather than clearing up afterwards.

249. LORD ELTON: Will it be clear by the time this Bill gets to the other House?

(Mr Sanderson) I am not sure when the Bill will go to the other House.

250. MR LEWIS: Much depends upon how we get on at the third reading, I would hope within a couple of months.

(Mr Sanderson) I think the best thing we can say is later this year.

251. CHAIRMAN: When it gets to the other House it would not necessarily be completed this session of Parliament.

252. MR LEWIS: I would be surprised if we reach Royal Assent before the summer, I would be delighted if we managed to do it in this session. Given past experience we can expect some objection on the floor of the other place and probably by petition as well.

253. CHAIRMAN: Any legislation the Government will put forward in this session would be seen long before the Bill completed its package in the House of Commons

254. MR LEWIS: I would expect so.

255. LORD TORDOFF: When you say this year do you mean this Parliamentary session?

(Mr Sanderson) This Parliamentary session.

256. CHAIRMAN: I do not know if we have any more questions on this point. I must confess I have not done this before. What we now do is make our decision, but not at this point. We will talk amongst ourselves. I am intending to call the break for lunch at just before 1 o'clock and we will try and reach a decision amongst ourselves at that point. In meantime press on. Thank you very much Mr Sanderson.

The witness withdrew

257. MR LEWIS: Can I take it that no more questions will be asked of Mr Miles, if so if he can be released.

258. CHAIRMAN: There is nothing else in this area or field of operation, Mr Miles, is there? Thank you very much indeed, Mr Miles. As a resident in your Borough I shall be monitoring your activities of removing and getting rid of graffiti.

259. MR LEWIS: We are back to Clause 20, which you will see is struck out. Then on to Clause 21, night café licensing, which is dealt with mainly in additions apart on page 12. Although no adverse comments have been received from Government departments on this provision and only amendments of a drafting nature have been proposed by your council this clause which deals with night café licensing intends to amend provisions in the London Local Authorities Act 1990 which if the Licensing Bill currently before your Lordship's House makes it to Royal Assent in its current form will eventually be repealed.

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