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The noble Baroness said: We were trying to urge the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, to share his thinking with us since my noble friend Lord Bradshaw did not feel capable ofperhaps that is unfair; he did not wishto put words into the mouth of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley.
In speaking to Amendment No. 35, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 36 and 37. Clause 7 deals with street lighting and cleaning. Those of us who have criticised the lack of detail in other areas may feel that this part of the Bill has suddenly become very detailed indeed. Clause 7(1) requires the ODA to undertake street lighting and cleaning,
My amendment is not as full as I had intended it to be; I should have taken out "in a specified manner". Nevertheless, proposing that "specified standard" should be "a reasonably specified standard" enables us to have a short exchange on the matter. One is interested in reasonable outcomes, not outputs, and the detail here is surprising given the generality of much of what surrounds it. Will the Wednesbury principle apply to the standard to be reached, and the manner, importing the concept of reasonableness? I hope that the Minister can confirm that, because if he cannot there is potential for some very difficult arrangements to be put in place. It is inappropriate for the ODA to tell an authority precisely what to do about cleaning and lighting in the detail that the clause suggests.
that is, non-compliance by the authority with the specified manner and standard, I suppose. That seems to be more than the normal contractual provision that one would expect between two agencies. I have tabled the amendment in order to ask the Minister whether the provision would, for example, allow the ODA to level a penalty without regulation or restriction if an authority did not comply.
The third amendment would add a new subsection providing that the ODA should indemnify the owners of structures and installations, which are the subject here. For example, if cleaning and lighting are taken over and drains blocked because the cleaning is done incompetently, with rubbish pushed down drainsas happensor if lighting is taken over, is not maintained and there is an accident, there will be arguments about who is responsible. I know that the arguments will take place between the parties' insurers but that does not dispose of the concern. I am over-simplifying the position but, despite the level of detail, it is not wholly clear to me how this will work in practice. I beg to move.
Lord Dixon-Smith: My Amendment No. 38 is grouped with those of the noble Baroness because it deals with the same clause and to some extent relates to the same subject. I have some sympathy with the noble Baroness's plea for reasonableness in this matter, but it was the detail of the clause that invited her amendments. However, I criticise the clause for the opposite reasonit is not too detailed; in my view, subsection (5) is unbelievably lax and casual. The clause states:
I have a picture in my mind of some canny Scotsman getting dressed in full regalia and saying that he is setting out for the Olympics because he requires another street light. It seems to me that that would be permitted. There has to be some limitation, and I hope that the Minister will assure me that, by the time we finish with the Bill, there will be some limitation to the open-ended commitment in Clause 7(5)(c). Adding the words "within five miles of" or some such phrase would be reasonable but, as it is, the provision could cover every road in the country and is simply not what the Government intend. I am sure that the ODA would not wish to be burdened with that responsibility.
Lord Berkeley: I have sympathy with all the amendments in this group. I apologise for not moving Amendment No. 34 but I could not be present at the
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Committee on Tuesday and I thought that it had already been debated. I will read what my noble friend says and perhaps come back to it at another stage.
As noble Lords have already said, this group of amendments is extraordinary. Of course the Olympic site needs to be kept clean, as do all the sites. That includes the roads immediately outside and leading to them, as is the case with football stadiums. The mess one finds after a football game is clearly not an example that we would want to follow for the Olympic Games. But, as the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, asked, where does it stop? We shall be debating the transport plan and transport routes later on. Perhaps it is the transport routesI hope that the Minister will tell us about them laterwhich will be kept spotlessly clean in order that the VIPs do not see any litter on the road. Does that apply not just to VIPs but also to the Olympic athletes?
The noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, gave the crazy example of someone coming from Scotland or Cornwall. I do not see why Clause 7(5)(c) is necessary. Paragraphs (a) and (b) would cover the need to keep the area reasonably clean"reasonable" is a good wordand we should stop there. Otherwise, every railway line with litter on it, every road, every footpath and every canal walk could in theory be covered by the provision. I am sure that the Minister does not want a bureaucratic army of millions of people going round picking up litter somewhere because one person happens to be walking to an Underground station or, let us say, Portsmouth station, to go to the Olympics. I look forward to the Minister's reply.
The ODA will be expected to arrange with the relevant local authorities for cleaning and lighting to be provided in a specified way or to a specified standard during all or part of the Olympics period. The ODA can pay the authorities to carry out this work and arrangements can also be set out in the event of their failing to deliver the services as agreed. That is the intention. Agreements are to be struck and objectives are to be realised. I shall turn to the question of the Scotsman who cannot find the streetlight in a moment. It is intended that, within the normal parameters, the ODA work in consultation with local authorities.
The trouble is that all the amendments would weaken the ODA's ability to play this role effectively, and there is not a Member of the Committee who does not desire the end event. It has been suggested that there would be a danger of roads becoming too clean, pavements too well swept and lighting too effective. That is not an assertion that we normally hear from
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serious Members of this House, and certainly not those in another place, about the position in Britain. We will need to make significant efforts to improve the quality of these services, because none of us is complacent about the present standard. I remember, as certainly will noble Lords opposite, a Prime Minister coming back from elsewhere and being so shocked that she went to collect litter in St James's Park to demonstrate that up with that she would not put. I hope that her noble colleagues are not suggesting that the Government are pitching standards too high in asking the ODA to carry out these operations in 2012.
We want high standards. The question is how we achieve them. What we do not want are amendments that would detract from the ODA's ability to reach these objectives. The standard expected of local authorities in any service-level agreement would have to be reasonable. I am advised that the Wednesbury agreement is not appropriate in these circumstances. Wednesbury reasonableness applies to decision-making in the public law context; for example, where a Secretary of State takes a decision. We are talking about reasonableness in a negotiation between two bodies and the deal to be struck on the effectiveness of the outcome. That is the concept of reasonableness in the Bill that I want to retain.
The amendment is unnecessary because the relevant local authorities and the ODA will reach an agreement on what is reasonable. If they disagree on that, the agreement will not be struck. But that is the whole point: the ODA will set out terms and then it is for agreements to be arrived at and the price to be paid for those standards. Amendment No. 35 does not add to that at all.
Amendment No. 36 would remove from the ODA the ability to stipulate what will happen when services are not deliveredservices that have been agreed on a reasonable basis. That would place the ODA in a very odd position. In whatever service-level agreements are entered into, there will need to be a clear understanding about how, when and where the ODA might need to step in if a local authority does not do what it has agreed to under the bargain struck. That seems a perfectly normal feature of such agreements and I do not see how the amendment does anything other than weaken the ODA's side of the bargain.
Amendment No. 37 would require that the ODA indemnified local authorities against any effects of actions that it needs to take to use or repair street lighting, cleaning structures or installations. That may well be a sensible step, but this is a matter that local authorities will certainly take up. I recognise the fervour and effectiveness with which the noble Baroness presents her caseand I know how she carries the same fervour and effectiveness into her role in the GLAbut I presume those virtues to obtain with the local authorities that will be involved in these negotiations. They will ensure that when they strike agreements, they will do so carrying out the negotiations effectively in their terms. They will have a reasonably strong bargaining hand. We rely on
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sensible agreements between the ODA and local authorities, and I have confidence in them, as we all do.
On the geographical scope, and our wandering Scotsman who does not have a streetlight, we do not expect the ODA to concern itself with all the roads between here and Glasgow but we want more than just the Olympic arenas to be covered. We want the approaches and the approach roads to look good, because this is a showcase for this nation. It not just about the stadiums; it is a showcase for everybody who is in London at the time of the games. Television cameras will focus on what happens in the arenas and on the sporting eventspeople pay very large sums for them to do sobut there will be enormous coverage of London and its surrounds at this time. Television cameras will explore all sorts of angles, in every sense of the word "angles", along with their crews and commentators. London will be a focal point, which is why the games are such a colossal gain to the nation in terms of the potential tourist traffic.
All that means that London will have to look very good, and the present standards may not be good enough. The ODA must be able to make stipulations in those terms. My noble friend Lord Berkeley may think that only VIPs in their darkened limousines go on these roads, at excess miles an hour, so that it does not matter whether the road is clean or not, but we want the roads to be clean not only for them but for every member of the public. We are concerned about the elite because it will enjoy the same facilities but we are also concerned about everybody in London who is close to the games and wants to attend them; the whole area should look as good as possible. That will not, regrettably, stretch as far as Edinburgh, in terms of continuous street lighting or street cleaning, but it will go way beyond the immediate area of the Olympic venues. Surely that is a reasonable expectation.
It may be suggested that the Bill's language in that regard is too general. Of course, the major concentration will be on the relationships of the local authorities immediately adjacent to that site. We should, within the framework of the Bill, have an ODA that can deliver the best-looking games we have ever seen.
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