Clause 102 - Statutory nuisance: lighting

Part of Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 8:55 am on 1st February 2005.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Minister (Transport) 8:55 am, 1st February 2005

If the Minister is going down that path, can he give the Committee a categoric assurance that the clause will not be interpreted by local authorities or the courts as applying to sports facilities and playing fields? In the spirit of good intentions and co-operation, will the Minister see fit to support amendments Nos. 104 and 105, and will he write into the Bill something to say that such sports facilities and playing fields will not be damaged and affected in the way that they fear? All the bodies to which I referred sought early consultation with the Minister. Perhaps this misunderstanding, as he calls it, would not have arisen if that consultation had taken place at the earliest possible stage.

What possible reason could there be for not writing such an assurance into the Bill? Why rely on departmental guidance that has no statutory basis, is not enforceable and may well lead to an interventionist local authority or housing association targeting sports facilities under the provisions, even though the Minister says that that is not his Department's intention? Surely this is exactly the role that primary legislation should play. It may be for your convenience and that of the Committee, Mr. Forth, if I say now that I wish to press amendments Nos. 104 and 105 to the vote.