Housing Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:30 pm on 20th July 2004.

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Photo of Baroness Hanham Baroness Hanham Shadow Minister, Local and Devolved Government Affairs, Deputy Chief Whip, Whips 2:30 pm, 20th July 2004

I thank the Minister for his detailed reply. I come back to the question of whether a "vicinity" is a vicinity or an immediate vicinity. The concept of a vicinity goes very wide, and in terms of individual properties, one has to ask "How wide is wide?". Would a house in danger of collapsing in the street behind be in the vicinity? I presume, if it was a hazard to property, it might be. If there was a tree whose roots were coming through, and nobody knew quite how far but the tree was two streets away, would that be in the vicinity?

One has to be really careful about this definition. We have clearly defined some things, but if we do not clearly define this then the environmental health officers will use their own discretion as to how near or how far they are going on what could potentially be a fishing expedition. Perhaps the Minister has an answer to that, then I will come to the next point.