HC Deb 03 August 1976 vol 916 cc1593-7

Lords Amendment: No. 37, after Clause 29, in page 36, line 14, insert New Clause H—

"H.—(1) If it appears to a county council or the Greater London Council that any land in its area which is not part of a highway has been set apart by the occupier of the land for use as a place where vehicles may be driven and parked for the purpose of being loaded or unloaded in connection with a trade or business carried on on or in the vicinity of the land, the council may, by an order made with the consent of the owner and the occupier of the land—

  1. (a) designate the land as an area to which the following provisions of this section apply (hereafter in this section referred to as a "loading area") and
  2. (b) specify the trade or business in question.

(2) A council which has made an order in pursuance of the preceding subsection—

  1. (a) may vary the order by a subsequent order made with the consent of the owner and the occupier of the land to which the subsequent order relates; and
  2. (b) may revoke the order by a subsequent order made with the consent of the owner and the occupier of the loading area in question; and
  3. (c) shall revoke the order by a subsequent order if requested in writing to do so by the owner and occupier of the loading area in question.

(3) An order in pursuance of subsection (1) or (2)(a) of this section may contain provisions prohibiting the parking in the loading area to which the order relates of vehicles of such kinds as are specified in the order, except authorised vehicles, at all times or at times so specified and may make different provision in pursuance of the preceding provisions of this subsection for different parts of the area; and in this subsection "authorised vehicle", in relation to a loading area, means a goods vehicle as defined by section 196(1) of the Road Traffic Act 172 which is in the area for the purpose of being loaded or unloaded in connection with the trade or business specified in the order designating the area.

(4) Section 84C(1) to (4) and (6) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1967 (which relate to the procedure for making orders under the provisions of that Act which are specified in subsection (1) of that section) shall have effect as if subsections (1) and (2) of this section were included among those provisions; and a person authorised in that behalf by a council by which an order has been made in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section may enter on the loading area to which the order relates for the purpose of placing any traffic signs which are required to be placed there by virtue of subsection (3)(e) of that section and for the purpose of maintaining or removing the signs.

(5) A person who, without reasonable excuse, causes a vehicle to be in any part of a loading area at a time when the parking of it there is prohibited by an order made in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £50.

(6) Section 85(2) and (3) and section 90 of the said Act of 1967 (which provide for the giving of information to identify drivers of vehicles who are alleged to have committed offences to which the said section 85 applies and for the admission of certain written evidence in proceedings for such offences) shall have effect as if an offence under the preceding subsection were an offence to which the said section 85 applies and, in relation to an offence under the preceding subsection, as if in the said section 85(2) the words from "and in relation" onwards were omitted and for sub-paragraphs (i) and (ii) of paragraph (a) there were substituted the words "by a notice in writing given to him by a local authority (as defined by section 35(1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976) in whose area the loading area in question is situated".

(7) The Secretary of State may, by regulations made by statutory instrument, provide that sections 20, 52 and 53 of the said Act of 1967 (which among other things provide for the removal, storage and disposal of vehicles left on roads in contravention of a statutory prohibition) shall have effect, in relation to any vehicle which is or was in any part of a loading area while the parking of it in that part is or was prohibited by virtue of this section, with such additions, omissions and amendments as are prescribed by the regulations; and any statutory instrument made by virtue of this subsection shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

(8) References in the preceding provisions of this section to an order in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section include, in the case of such an order which has been varied in pursuance of subsection (2)(a) of this section, references to the order as so varied."

Mr. Guy Barnett

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Service areas in the neighbourhood of shops are often filled with parked cars that have no business to be there. These cars obstruct service vehicles and, in consequence, delivery vans are often forced to manoeuvre and park on the public road, where, of course, they cause congestion and obstruction. Moreover, because the cars are parked on private land and not obstructing the highway, they cannot be controlled.

The clause therefore provides powers for county councils as traffic authorities to designate land by order as a service area, called in this clause a "loading area", so that private cars would be banned from parking on land so designated.

Mr. Speed

I thank the Under-Secretary for that explanation. I totally accept the need for the new clause. However, questions were raised in another place to which there were not satisfactory answers. I have not found satisfactory answers in the Lords amendments or in the Bill. Perhaps my right hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) has found satisfactory answers.

This matter involves the question of notices and publication to people who might be affected. We are, after all, talking of various penalties. In the new clause there are many references to other legislation. Perhaps I have missed something somewhere, but I think the Under-Secretary will find that this specific point was raised in another place. I do not think that his noble Friend gave an answer, and I shall be grateful if he can tell me—if not today, in early correspondence—that he is satisfied that the proper notices and publication to thoee affected are accounted for in the new clause.

The Under-Secretary will, I think, agree that it would be unfortunate if an order were passed and people who had been parking in a certain place for a considerable time suddenly found that they were committing an offence.

Mr. Graham Page

May I take the matter one step further? As I understand it, the clause would be set in motion by the owners of the land where parking was taking place requesting that there be these laws relating to that parking area. But it may not be only the owners or the occupiers of the land who are affected. The neighbours might be seriously affected by the parking provisions. It is therefore necessary to have some provision for notices before the new clause is applied to any area of land. No doubt this can be done by a circular from the Department asking local authorities to be certain that they do not harm the neighbours without giving them notice or an opportunity of being heard in such a case.

This is really a provision to apply yellow lines to provide parking bays, yet the penalty is to be £50—much more than the ordinary parking penalty. Could the clause be applied by a fixed penalty order? Normally, when there is to be a fixed penalty on roads by the application of the yellow line, there can be a simple procedure applying the fixed penalty order—by sticking the parking ticket on the car.

Would that not be sufficient without provision for a possible fine of £50 in every case? If the fixed penalty provisions are not to apply, the courts will be given a lot of trouble and the police will be caused much trouble in attending court to give evidence. I hope that the clause can be applied by means of an order similar to the fixed penalty orders with which we are familiar.

Mr. Guy Barnett

The right hon. Gentleman is right on his last point. The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1967 prescribes a penalty of only £20 for contravening a parking order, while the maximum fine in the new clause is £50. I understand that £50 is the figure specified in recent local Acts, which is why it is included here. Of course, it also takes account to some degree of inflation. Another reason why a fine which means something may be important here is that I can imagine that in loading or service areas unregulated parking can cause considerable congestion and trouble to traders.

Local publicity for an order, coupled with traffic signs clearly indicating the effect of the order to persons entering the area, should do much of the work of keeping the areas clear for their proper use. Local publicity would be much easier to provide for as one would be dealing with specific areas.

The right hon. Gentleman was right to refer to the anxiety expressed in another place that these matters should be advertised and that there should be a chance for local objections. Under subsection (4), the provisions of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1967 about the procedure in connection with the making of orders are to be applied. Therefore, there is provision here for proper advertising and for local objections to be heard.

Mr. Graham Page

May I press the hon. Gentleman on the question of the fixed penalty? I see that under subsection (7) the Secretary of State may by regulations bring in certain sections of the 1967 Act with regard to the removal of cars. Surely it would be convenient for the enforcement of the clause and for the courts and the police if the Secretary of State had power to make the normal fixed penalty orders, so that parking tickets could be stuck on the cars and the offence could be dealt with in that way.

Question put and agreed to.

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