§ Mr. Spring
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what powers are available to local authorities to control car boot sales; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Baldry
The Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1988—GDO—gives a general grant of planning permission for the temporary use of land for car boot sales for up to 14 days in any calendar year. More frequent use requires planning permission to which local authorities may attach conditions to protect amenity.
Local authorities may make a direction under article 4 of the GDO to withdraw this permitted development. Where this is done, a specific planning application would be needed for any temporary market.
Section 37 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 enables local authorities to require a month's notice of a car boot sale. This gives local authorities time to make any necessary provision to avoid disturbance or to make an article 4 direction; where it appears that there has been a breach of planning control —for example, where the 14-day period has been exceeded —the local authority may serve an enforcement notice requiring the breach to be remedied; at any time before an enforcement notice takes effect the local authority can serve a "stop notice" which has the effect of prohibiting any person on whom it is served from carrying out or continuing any specified operations on the land. Failure to comply with a "stop notice" is punishable in a magistrates court with a fine of up to £20,000.
Local authorities have a wide range of other powers to help them. These include powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to control noise and litter, powers under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to regulate parking and powers under consumer protection legislation.