Clause 89 - Changes to functions of the Commission

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 27th 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 have a simple question for the Minister. In what circumstances does he envisage changes to the commission's functions being necessary? This is the second attempt in the Bill to   change those functions by statute. I understand that there will be a draft order, which I presume means a statutory instrument. Will that be debatable in the House, so that the contents and the changes to the commission's functions are subject to parliamentary scrutiny?

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

An order can confer a further function on the commission only if the new function is connected directly or indirectly to an existing or former function of the commission. In other words, it would not be possible to add functions that had nothing to do with the main thrust of CABE's responsibilities. The point of the clause is to provide flexibility should other functions arise that are complementary to the commission's existing or previous functions.

It is difficult to anticipate exactly what the new functions might be, but let me give an example. The commission's role has changed since its inception. It started off promoting high standards in design and management of buildings and structures, and moved on, as I said earlier, to working on the design and management of parks and public spaces. I have seen some of its publications, which are excellent. They consider the improved use of what have sometimes been quite derelict public spaces, and make constructive suggestions. It would have been a pity if that logical extension of the work of the commission had not been possible. In placing it on a statutory basis, we want that flexibility to continue. I understand that allowing that type of development of the commission's work is the intention behind allowing the flexibility in the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 89 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 90 to 92 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 3 agreed to.

Clause 93 ordered to stand part of the Bill.