The amendment is minor and technical. The Bill includes powers for the Secretary of State and, in some cases, the Welsh Ministers, to make three types of secondary legislation: regulations, orders and rules. As drafted, clause 124 provides for powers to make regulations and orders to come into force automatically on Royal Assent, but powers to make rules would need to be brought into force by commencement order. The discrepancy was not intentional, and the amendment would provide for a consistent approach. It means that the Bill and future commencement orders will be a little clearer and tidier.
The Governments policy is to encourage local authorities to take over from the police service the enforcement of parking restrictions. When a local authority does that, police resources are released for more serious matters. It means that a single body, the local authority, is responsible not only for developing parking policies, but for enforcing them. The parking components of part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 came into force on 31 March 2008.
It has come to light that the definition of local authority in the Traffic Management Act, read with other provisions of that Act, means that shire district councils may not be able to make full use of the new enforcement powers in their off-street car parks and in relation to any free, on-street parking that they authorise. That anomaly has no impact on enforcement by London boroughs, unitary authorities or metropolitan district councils, nor does it affect the enforcement of yellow bands or pay and display restrictions.
The Department considers that parking attendants appointed before 31 March, under the provisions of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, are unaffected by the anomaly, so district councils that received parking enforcement powers before 31 March 2008 will have civil enforcement officers they can use for enforcement in off-street car parks and any free on-street parking.
It is important that local authorities have proper parking enforcement powers. New clause 13 seeks to make it clear in the legislation that a shire district council has the power to appoint the civil enforcement officer who would serve the penalty charge notice to a motorist who is parked in contravention of the parking regulations in a local authority owned off-street car park.
Amendment No. 291 seeks to bring those amendments to the 2004 Act into force automatically two months after Royal Assent, rather than by a commencement order, so that the anomaly can be rectified as quickly as possible. Amendment No. 292 amends the long title of the Bill to reflect the subject matter of new clause 13.
I rise merely to say that we are happy to support the Ministers amendment and new clause 13 in particular. I want to put on record that we were grateful that she took the trouble last Friday to alert us to the clause, and to give a detailed explanation as to the rationale behind it. It enabled us to look at it carefully and to support her, and I am grateful for her help.