Noise Working Party

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th January 1995.

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Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons) 12:00 am, 18th January 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects the working party on noise to complete its work; if it will take evidence; and in what form it will publish its conclusions.

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , South Ribble

The working party expects to complete its review shortly, and I intend to consult extensively on its conclusions and recommendations.

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons)

That answer is welcome. I believe, however, that the working party is composed of officials from the Home Office and other Departments, the police and local government; out there, the public want their shout on the issue. I consider that the public take a much harder line than officials on the need to be tough on noise makers. Will the Minister guarantee that they will have their say, and that their views will prevail rather than those of enforcement agencies which often want an easy life?

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , South Ribble

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's support. He will know of the campaign being run by The Mail on Sunday and the responses—more than 30,000—that it has received: it is welcome that the newspaper has taken such a public interest in the issue.

We have sought the advice not only of the Departments to which the hon. Gentleman refers but of others, including environmental health officers, who are very much in the front line. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will welcome the conclusions of the working party, which will report in the not too distant future. I am only too aware of the problems of noise, not only in urban but in rural areas, and I intend to do something about them.