HL Deb 31 July 1968 vol 296 cc365-7

[No. 10.]

After Clause 6, insert the following new clause—

Functions of British Airports Authority as respects abandoned vehicles

".—(1) The Minister of Transport may by order direct that in their application to land in any aerodrome owned or managed by the British Airports Authority, the provisions of—

  1. (a) section 20, section 21 and section 22 of the Civic Amenities Act 1967 (powers and duties of local authorities to remove and dispose of vehicles abandoned on land in their area) and section 28 of that Act (powers of entry etc.) so far as relating to the said section 20; and
  2. (b) any regulations for the time being in force under any of those sections,
shall have effect subject to such exceptions, adaptations or modifications as appear to him necessary or expedient for the purpose or in consequence of transferring to the Authority the powers and duties conferred or imposed by those provisions on local authorities or local authorities of any description.

(2) In relation to the provisions of—

  1. (a) sections 20, 52 and 53 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1967 (removal of vehicles from roads, if illegally, obstructively or dangerously parked or broken down and from roads or open land if abandoned); and
  2. (b) any regulations for the time being in force under any of those sections,
the powers of the Ministry of Transport under section 12(2) of the Airports Authority Act 1965 (which enable him to adapt the road traffic enactments in their application to roads within aerodromes owned or managed by the Authority for the purpose of conferring on the Authority and the chief officer of its constabulary functions of local authorities and chief officers of police) shall be exercisable not only as respects the application of those provisions to roads within those aerodromes but also as respects their application to other land within those aerodromes.

(3) Where the provisions of—

  1. (a) section 20 of the Civic Amenities Act 1967;
  2. (b) section 20 or 52 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1967; or
  3. (c) any regulations for the time being in force under any of those sections,
apply to land in any aerodrome in accordance with an order made under or by virtue of this section, those provisions shall have effect in relation to vehicles in a building on that land which is used for providing facilities for the parking of vehicles as they have effect in relation to vehicles on land in the open air.

(4) Before making an order under subsection (1) of this section the Minister of Transport shall consult the British Airports Authority; and any such order shall he made by statutory instrument, which shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament, and may be varied or revoked by a subsequent order.

(5) In the application of this section to Scotland or Wales, for any reference to the Minister of Transport there shall be substituted a reference to the Secretary of State; and for the purposes of this subsection Monmouthshire shall be treated as forming part of Wales."


My Lords, I beg to move that this House cloth agree, with the Commons in their Amendment No. 10. This is a very formidable-looking Amendment. It gives powers to the British Airports Authority to deal with vehicles abandoned at aerodromes in the same way as the local authorities can now deal with abandoned vehicles under the Civic Amenities Act 1967 and under Sections 20, 52 and 53 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1967. There is sufficient evidence to indicate that there is such a problem on the airports, and again especially at Heathrow, and I should have thought it would be useful for the Airports Authority to have these powers. I beg to move.

Moved, That the House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment (No.10).—(Lord Beswick.)


My Lords, I am grateful again to the noble Lord for explaining yet another new clause. I am sure we generally welcome these new powers to allow the Authority to carry out their duties, but there are just one or two questions that I should like to put to the noble Lord. First, I wonder whether he can explain—again this is for information purposes—how big a problem is posed by these abandoned vehicles at London Airport. Secondly, can he give further guidance on the definition of the word abandoned"? is particularly important in the case of the multi-storey car park which this clause is intended to cover. One can understand a case where a pilot, or a crew member, or a member of the public, goes abroad and, either through illness or some other reason is delayed, with the result that his car is left in the multistorey car park for some time. One wonders whether such people will find their cars still at the car park when they get back. There is also the question of a person who dies while abroad, and of the executor who may be delayed in obtaining letters of administration and—indeed, may not even know that the car is in the car park. I think the definition of the word "abandoned" is very important, and I hope that the noble Lord can give us some explanation.


My Lords, the noble Lord asks about the size of the problem. I am afraid that I cannot give him any figures. I know from past experience that it is surprising how many people take a car to one of the car parks and forget all about it. All I can say, in answer to the noble Earl's question, is that the Airports Authority have been able to convince the President of the Board of Trade that there is a problem here and that they require powers to be able to deal with it satisfactorily.

The noble Earl has made some cogent points about the safeguards here, and clearly there must be safeguards. But all that is being done here is to give the Airports Authority the same kind of powers as are now vested in local authorities; and as the noble Earl and the House will know, there are a number of safeguards about the necessity of giving notice before the vehicle is moved. These will apply in this case. I think I can give the noble Earl the assurance that, although one can visualise difficulties, such as people going abroad and, as the result of subsequent events, leaving a motor car in the park, the provisions in Section 20 of the 1967 Act and Sections 20, 52 and 53 of the Road Traffic Act 1967 will give the kind of safeguards for which the noble Earl is asking.

On Question, Motion agreed to.