Clause 82 - Prohibition of parking at dropped footways

Traffic Management Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 5th February 2004.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 4:45 pm, 5th February 2004

I beg to move amendment No. 84, in

page 50, line 30, before 'occupier', insert 'lawful'.

The amendment would effectively prevent squatters being able to park outside houses they had occupied unlawfully. At the moment there is an exception for the occupier of the premises, and this amendment would limit that exception to the lawful occupier of the premises.

Photo of Mr David Jamieson Mr David Jamieson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport

The term ''occupier'' appears in much existing legislation. In anticipation of the hon. Gentleman's interest in this, we researched how many times the word ''occupier'' appeared in various pieces of legislation. We gave up counting at 7,000. Nowhere does it refer to the ''lawful occupier''. I am sure that this Government did not pass all that legislation, as it stretches back many years. It is unnecessary to make this distinction between ''lawful occupier'' and ''occupier''.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I am grateful to the Minister, and congratulate him and his officials on the diligence with which they are examining the amendments we have tabled.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Clause 82 is worded very similarly to clause 81. I do not want to repeat the arguments, but it is worth making the point that both clauses spell out in a lot of detail what is involved and have given the Committee the opportunity to examine the precise wording.

Under much of this Bill we are talking about giving the Government regulation-making powers, rather than looking at the specifics. As we have the chance to look at the specifics now, will the Minister address the issue of rescue and breakdown vehicles? They are not specifically covered under either clause 81 or clause 82, and I thought it would be more appropriate to raise the issue under clause 82.

The exception in clause 82(3) does not apply to a shared driveway. Surely, though, where there is a shared driveway, the issue should be whether the occupiers of premises which share a driveway consent both or severally to the occupation of parking on the dropped footway outside. It would be unfortunate if the person with whom one was sharing a driveway was blocking one's own entrance. However, in some circumstances, neighbours will be perfectly agreeable to one or the other occupying the road space outside that shared driveway.

The other point that I wish to put to the Minister concerns the differential between the exceptions under subsection (5). The fourth exception is when vehicles are parked for no longer than 20 minutes, whereas the fifth exception covers vehicles parked for no longer than is necessary. Surely, what is most important is that the vehicle should not be parked for longer than is necessary rather than for a specific time. Would the Minister consider including a provision that parking should be for no longer than is necessary in subsection (5) rather than the prescriptive limit of no more than 20 minutes?

Photo of Mr David Jamieson Mr David Jamieson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport

On the latter point, the clause draws a distinction between deliveries and collection of goods, which generally takes a matter of a few minutes—10 minutes or so—and then puts a limit on it of about 20 minutes. Clearly, it would be different for works involving demolition or excavation or for lorries being loaded with goods, which could sometimes take considerably longer.

Emergency vehicles are obviously covered, but the difference for rescue services vehicles is that they would not be parked as such—a rescue vehicle operated by the RAC or the AA or one of the other breakdown services would generally be in attendance with the vehicle. In such cases, it would be with the agreement of the occupier.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Under subsection (4), how is the position of a fire tender, an ambulance or a police car different from that of a breakdown vehicle?

Photo of Mr David Jamieson Mr David Jamieson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport

The clause specifically covers the fire brigade, the ambulance service and the police—and rightly so. There probably would not be a great deal of difference, but rescue services vehicles will not be parked but will have stopped and be giving aid to someone—and they will not be there for long. The driver of a rescue vehicle could also seek the permission of the occupier.

The question of shared drives is a difficult one, and there are many in all parts of the country. The reason for the exception is that there could be all sorts of confusion about who had given permission, or whether both people had given permission.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 82 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 83 to 85 ordered to stand part of the Bill.