HC Deb 21 April 1989 vol 151 cc340-1W
Mr. Wilson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the actions taken by Her Majesty's Government in respect of each of the recommendations of the Popplewell report.

Mr. John Patten

The action taken relating to the recommendations of the final report of the Popplewell inquiry has been as follows.

Designation under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 has been extended to all sports grounds used for either association football, rugby union, rugby league or cricket and identified as having accommodation for over 10,000 spectators (recommendation 2).

As from 1 January 1988 parts I and II of the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987 abolished the distinction in the 1975 Act between "sports grounds" and "sports stadia" (recommendation 1), introduced a power for local authorities and fire authorities to issue prohibition notes or restriction notices (recommendations 7 and 8), and required local authorities to arrange annual inspections of designated sports grounds (recommendation 9(ii)).

As from 1 January 1989 part III of the 1987 Act introduced a system of safety certification for stands able to accommodate at least 500 spectators under cover at undesignated sports grounds and for their periodical inspection by local authorities (recommendations 3 and 4).

As from 1 June 1988 part IV of the 1987 Act extended entertainment licensing to indoor sports entertainments to which the public are invited as spectators (recommendations 5 and 6).

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 which came into force on 1 January 1986 had already extended the police powers of search and arrest in ways which help them to deal with troublemakers at football grounds (recommendations 11 and 13). The Public Order Act 1986 created a new offence of disorderly conduct to cover hooliganism in football grounds as elsewhere (recommendation 12).

Following a review (recommendation 14) a relaxation of the controls over the sale and possession of alcohol in executive boxes was introduced in the Public Order Act 1986.

The Government's existing proposals for a membership scheme are contained in the Football Spectators Bill [Lords]. This follows previous efforts to encourage the football authorities to introduce membership schemes on a voluntary basis (recommendation 15).

The question of structural fire precautions and means of escape in buildings (including covered sports stands) (recommendation 10) is under review as part of the Government's comprehensive overhaul of the building regulations. It is the intention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment to issue a consultative paper by the end of this year seeking comment on a package of proposals dealing with these issues.

Mr. Wilson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps have been taken by Her Majesty's Government in pursuit of recommendations 34 and 35 of the report from the working group on the green guide on football grounds, published as an adjunct to the Popplewell report.

Mr. John Patten

The guide to safety at sports grounds was revised in 1986. It provides guidance on the function of pitch perimeter fences including the importance of providing gates or access points to allow full access to the playing area (or perimeter track) where it is likely to be used as a place of safety in an emergency.