§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Tony Baldry)
My Department commissioned an independent review of noise control policy in 1990 and has already taken action on more than half the recommendations.
§ Mr. Bowis
Does my hon. Friend agree that a curse of modern urban living is musical mega-decibels in the night? Hitherto, police and local authorities thought that they did not have power to deal with it adequately. Now that it has been shown in Liverpool that there are powers to confiscate offending equipment—as there always have been in Scotland—may I ask my hon. Friend to draw those powers to the attention of local authorities—and, through the Home Office, the police—so that the public may be protected from this menace?
§ Mr. Baldry
There has been considerable comment in recent months about the need for environmental health officers to have power temporarily to remove equipment. We have advised environmental health officers that they already have power under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 temporarily to remove equipment such as audio equipment to ensure that a noise abatement notice is complied with. The courts have recently demonstrated the existence and effectiveness of that power. Any environmental health officer who is in doubt about the existence of that power should examine schedule 3 to the 1990 Act, where it is clearly set out.
§ Mr. Haynes
Mr. Speaker, Sir, when we had a Greater London Council, the noise of lorries in London was controlled. Is the Minister aware that when I lie in my flat at night I cannot sleep for noise? I need to be fit so that I can stay awake in that Committee upstairs. Will the Minister do something about it?
§ Mr. Baldry
The hon. Gentleman is conversant with the problem of noise pollution in every way. He will be glad to know that we have set up a noise review working party and that one of the issues that it has been considering is traffic noise and how to deal with it more effectively.