Greg Knight: rose—
Greg Knight: I congratulate my hon. Friend on bringing this debate. The Government talk a lot about localism. Does he agree with me that, if that means anything and is not just meaningless waffle, it should mean that decisions taken by local planning committees should be the final say on the subject of extracting shale gas, and that those decisions should not be subject to being overturned by some...
Greg Knight: I congratulate the Government on bringing in the power to seize a vehicle that is being used for fly-tipping. Can we see a greater use of that power to take vehicles off people who are desecrating our countryside?
Greg Knight: I will do so.
Greg Knight: Discarded litter is a scar on our countryside and more needs to be done to bring home to motorists how unacceptable the practice is. Does my right hon. Friend agree that deterrent sentencing is an answer, and that in the worst cases the court should have the power to endorse the licence of a littering motorist?
Greg Knight: I am grateful to the Minister for moving this Ways and Means motion. If agreed to by the House, it will allow further consideration of the Parking (Code of Practice) Bill to take place. The Bill has all-party support, and I commend the motion to the House.
Greg Knight: What plans he has to reduce road congestion.
Greg Knight: Is my right hon. Friend aware that some councils cause avoidable congestion themselves by the use of unnecessary and poorly-phased traffic lights? Will he encourage local authorities to audit their traffic-light usage to see whether some can be switched off? Will he also encourage the greater use of traffic-sensitive traffic lights?
Greg Knight: Does my hon. Friend agree that our hon. Friend the Member for Solihull (Julian Knight) made a good point when he referred to police response times? The speed with which the police respond is important in snuffing out crime, particularly in developing situations in town centres.
Greg Knight: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it is important for the motorist to know where the charging points are? Most satellite navigation systems have a feature that will display the locations of filling stations. Is it not essential for them also to display the locations of electric charging points?
Greg Knight: Lords amendment 14 deals with the regulation-making power in clause 9 and says that these regulations may, for example, deal with technical specifications. Can the Minister confirm to the House that the regulation-making power is wider than that and could, for example, require the operator to display the price per unit that is to be charged? It is important that motorists know what they will...
Greg Knight: Does my hon. Friend agree that one way forward might be to follow the suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Bim Afolami) to increase the availability of compensation to passengers who have been badly treated?
Greg Knight: I am most grateful to the Minister for giving way. Perhaps he should have gone to Specsavers. Will he say a little bit more about compensation? Some of the people who have to pay rates, which they will now get back, may have deferred business investment decisions, based on a business expense that they were not expecting. There is an arguable case in future for our looking at the issue of...
Greg Knight: First, does my hon. Friend share my disgust that not one Liberal Democrat MP is in the Chamber to discuss an important matter affecting rural communities? Secondly, although retrospection in law is generally to be frowned upon, does she agree that it is most welcome in this case because we are righting a perceived wrong?
Greg Knight: I believe that my hon. Friend’s constituency contains two villages called Bicker and Wrangle, which I have always thought would make an excellent name for a law firm. It was suggested earlier that there should be a compensation fund for those who had had to pay rates in the past, and also for local authorities that had suffered loss. What is my hon. Friend’s view on that, and who...
Greg Knight: The Bill itself does not define what a “nursery ground” is, but the explanatory notes, which are not considered by Parliament and are not part of the legislation, do contain a definition of what a “nursery ground” is. Why is this? Would it not be better to put the definition in the Bill, or does it exist in other legislation?
Greg Knight: Is the Minister in effect saying that all the Bill does is return the law to the same state we all thought it was in before the case of Tunnel Tech v. Reeves?
Greg Knight: I am grateful to the Minister for his generosity in giving way. What would be the position of a business adversely affected by the Court of Appeal decision? Would it be able to claim compensation for any losses suffered?
Greg Knight: Will the Minister clarify something—and if he cannot answer today, will he write to me? In addition to claiming back what has already been paid, will the businesses affected be able to claim costs and any other expenses arising out of the money that they erroneously had to pay?
Greg Knight: Will my right hon. Friend amplify something that he hinted at earlier? Will he confirm that he sees the Government as an interim operator of last resort and that this is not a permanent renationalisation?