Clause 102 - Statutory Nuisance: Lighting

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 27th January 2005.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Minister (Transport) 4:45 pm, 27th January 2005

I beg to move amendment No. 57, in clause 102, page 75, line 2, after 'premises', insert

'or streetlights on public roads or public rights of way'.

Photo of Eric Forth Eric Forth Conservative, Bromley and Chislehurst

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 58, in clause 102, page 75, line 16, at end insert—

'(j) premises or apparatus used for the provision of electronic communication services.'.

No. 104, in clause 102, page 75, line 16, at end insert—

'(k) a playing field, playing pitch or other outdoor facility used wholly or mainly for sport.'.

No. 117, in clause 102, page 75, line 16, after 'prison', insert,

'; that is necessary to meet statutory requirements relating to national security or public safety, provided that reasonable and practicable steps have been taken to minimise light emissions to the minimum necessary to meet those requirements.'.

No. 105, in clause 102, page 75, line 37, at end insert—

'''playing field'' has the meaning given in Article 3 of the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) (Amendment) Order 1996;''playing pitch'' means a delineated area which, together with any run-off area, is 0.4 hectares or more, and which is used for sport;'.

No. 106, in clause 102, page 75, line 49, at end insert—

'''sport'' is designated as any sporting activity which appears on the list maintained by the National Sports Councils of activities recognised by them, as applicable to Schedule 18 to the Finance Act 2002;'. 

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

The amendment relates to concerns that, without adequate security lighting for apparatus ranging from telephone exchange buildings to telephone kiosks, providers such as utility companies, in particular BT's electronic communication network, would be compromised by the service of abatement notices. Companies who own exchange buildings that have been subject to vandalism and arson and are recognised as potential targets for terrorist attacks have real concerns about the issue. In their view, lighting is also essential for the functionality of telephone kiosks at night and for the safety and protection of the individuals who use them.

In moving the amendment, we wish to note that there is a common desire to reduce pollution and promote the use of minimum artificial light as required at night. However, we wish operators such as telecommunication companies to be able to operate in safe conditions and wish such lighting to be deemed necessary.

Amendment No. 58 relates to similar concerns. It recognises that the Committee would wish to support the integrity and security of telecommunications and that, as the buildings that house the network equipment are the target of arson and vandalism, the companies that own those buildings must be vigilant against attack from terrorists or others who wish no good to their systems. While no one should be subject to vandalism, the consequence of such attacks on operational buildings can be to leave customers   without a service, while, in the case of public payphones, the individual who uses the structure is at risk if it is poorly lit or not lit at all. If the Minister has heard what I have said, it would be helpful if he would be sympathetic to, and accept, the amendment.

I request that the Minister looks equally sympathetically on amendments Nos. 104 and 105 and that he recognises that there is no exception for football fields or sports facilities. I am sure that the Minister has had discussions with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It will assure him that playing fields, pitches and other sporting facilities are not exempt from being listed as a statutory nuisance under the drafting and that that means that floodlighting, or any lower-level outdoor lighting for football and sports facilities, could, under the clause as drafted, be deemed nuisance lighting by a local authority. That affects thousands of facilities throughout the country.

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

I ask the hon. Lady not to misinterpret the clause. It is not individual lighting or lighting on pitches that could be a problem. It is merely that a local authority would be able to treat as a statutory nuisance those particular cases that qualify as a common law nuisance or are prejudicial to health. So I ask her not to suggest that the clause would have an impact on sports facilities—generally, it would not.

Debate adjourned.—[Mr. Ainger.]

Adjourned accordingly at one minute to Five o'clock till Tuesday 1 February at five minutes to Nine o'clock.