Schedule 5 - Repeals

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 1st February 2005.

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Question proposed, That this schedule be the Fifth schedule to the Bill.

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

This is a small point, but I notice from page 94 that the whole of the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996, and substantial sections of the Dogs Act 1906, the Dogs (Amendment) Act 1928 and the Local Government Act 1988 are to be repealed. I should be interested to know what discussions the Minister has had recently with the groups representing the interests of dogs and dog wardens to discuss the proposals to repeal the provisions. Those groups raised concerns about the extent of the repeals and would have appreciated having the Minister's ear at the earliest opportunity. Has he had a meeting with those groups, particularly the National Dog Warden Association, between the consultation paper being published and the Bill coming into Committee?

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

I had a very satisfactory meeting with the Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust, which covered those considerations, to which I referred in Committee when we considered the relevant clauses of the Bill. I am not sure what point the hon. Lady is making. One or two other organisations have written in subsequently, probably as a result of publication of the views expressed to Members of Parliament by the Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust. I have written to a few organisations giving them similar advice and assurances. As I said, we were able to respond positively to all the points raised by the Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust, which will be dealt with in regulations and guidance rather than in the Bill.

We will come shortly to the one outstanding issue that those organisations were concerned about: the transfer of resources in order to transfer the arrangements and responsibilities between the police and the local authority

I also referred in an earlier sitting to the only other meeting I have had: a discussion at the margins of a meeting about policing in Cardiff about how the police deal with stray animals, with particular reference to some of the complications that arise for the police in   satisfying the present requirements, which reinforce the sense of the changes we propose. I hope that my reply is sufficiently detailed for the hon. Lady.

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

It is, indeed, helpful. The record will show that, regrettably, the Minister was not able to meet the National Dog Warden Association.

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

I am not in the habit of meeting organisations that have not asked for a meeting unless there are clearly concerns such as those that arose on the matter we discussed earlier and were put in writing by the Football Association. I have had no request for a meeting from the National Dog Warden Association.

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

My point is that the repeals of existing Acts under parts 5 and 6 are substantial and transfer not just resources but responsibilities from the police. The National Dog Warden Association will be charged with policing stray dogs following the repeals. The Minister might look favourably on a request to meet representatives of that association before Report.

Question put and agreed to.

Schedule 5 agreed to.