Clause 102 - Statutory nuisance: lighting

Part of Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:15 am on 1st February 2005.

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Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Minister of State (Rural Affairs), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 9:15 am, 1st February 2005

The hon. Lady strays into new territory when she refers to Christmas decorations. Perhaps I ought to respond briefly to that point, because it is important to understand the way in which that would be dealt with. If the local authority is satisfied that a statutory light nuisance exists, it will have to issue an abatement order. That will require that nuisance to be abated, prohibited or restricted, and can require that works and steps be undertaken to achieve those ends within a time scale. Christmas lights could be covered in that way, although it is unlikely given their temporary nature.

Again, it is a question of striking a balance between enjoyment given and nuisance created. As in many such instances, judgment has to be used if we are to succeed in protecting the public against a genuine nuisance while avoiding excessive restrictions. That is what is meant by the best possible means. That point also applies to agricultural and horticultural activities: are they undertaken in a way that ignores the interests of those affected—are those responsible being cavalier about the impact on others or even deliberate in those actions—or are the best possible means being used? If it is the latter, agricultural and horticultural activities will be able to continue without impact from this or previous legislation.