Clause 9 - Fixed Penalty notices: supplementary

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 18th January 2005.

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

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Minister (Transport)

I want to discuss something that is consequential on my earlier comments and to press the Minister. He will know that Conservative Members are always extremely reluctant to give carte blanche to secondary legislation without any parliamentary scrutiny. I make a request to, and seek a commitment from, the Minister in relation to subsections (3), (4) and (5). I presume that a negative resolution is envisaged in subsection (5). I want him to assure us that there will at least be some opportunity for parliamentary scrutiny. I ask that because I am not that familiar with negative and positive resolutions.

Will the Minister confirm that subsection (5) relates to a negative resolution? It states:

''A statutory instrument containing an order or regulations made by the Secretary of State under this group of sections is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.''

Does that mean that it will go through without any consideration by a Statutory Instrument Committee? Perhaps the Clerk might be able to assist on that point. It is quite important because we have had an excellent debate and there seem to be some fairly blank expressions in the Room in regard to this matter.

We prize parliamentary scrutiny. The Minister said in response to a number of issues we raised that the purpose of the Bill, as it is primary legislation, is not to set out the level of detail that I am discussing. He will   accept that there are a number of interested parties—local authorities, the police, those who will be affected by the fixed penalty notices and others—who rightly and properly should be consulted. Will he give us some clarification?

Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Minister of State (Rural Affairs), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I am happy to give that clarification. The fact that a negative resolution is set out in the clause does not have the implication that the hon. Lady suggested, which was that there would not be parliamentary scrutiny. If there is a prayer against the order by the Opposition, or, as happens in some cases, by Government supporters, a Committee must be established to give scrutiny to the measure. I would suggest that this is the right and proportionate means of ensuring that there is that scrutiny. We take both the process of making regulation and its scrutiny very seriously—it is allowed for in an appropriate way in the clause. I hope that that provides the hon. Lady with the reassurance that she needs.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 9 ordered to stand part of the Bill.