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Baroness Hamwee: Not only do I feel able to withdraw it, but as that is the answer I was seeking I am glad to do so. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 277 agreed to.

Clause 278 [Mayor's functions in relation to planning around Greater London]:

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 450PA:


Page 148, line 34, leave out ("or") and insert ("and")

The noble Baroness said: I wish to speak also to Amendment No. 450PAZA. The numbering of the amendments is longer than the amendments themselves. I seek in the first amendment to change "or" to "and", and the second amendment is consequential.

Clause 278(1) provides for the mayor to inform local planning authorities in the areas near to Greater London of his views on matters of common interest, or he may inform a body on which those authorities are represented. I moved an amendment earlier to write into the Bill a reference to SERPLAN or a successor body. Perhaps I should have used different terminology, but in this instance I am concerned that it will not be adequate for the mayor to inform a representational body. It would be more appropriate for the mayor to have direct contact.

SERPLAN might be the sort of body that would fall within Clause 278(1)(b) and it is not a body on which every authority has a representative. When I was a member, the districts had several representatives but--unless things have changed in the past few years--the body did not have one from each district. I look forward to the Minister's explanation as to how the provision will be adequate, other than a suggestion that if the mayor thinks that a particular authority has a particular interest it would be inconceivable for the mayor not to approach that authority. I beg to move.

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9.15 p.m.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: This clause deals with the mayor's role in representing London's interests on strategic planning matters in relation to areas surrounding London or across the south-east as a whole. I am sure that in most cases the mayor will want to discuss with, and make his views known to, both individual local authorities where they have an interest and any representative bodies. But there may well be cases where it is entirely appropriate for the mayor to deal with either one or the other. For example, a broader strategic body may have little direct interest or locus in a planning matter relating to one particular authority. Conversely, there could be circumstances where a representative body is charged by individual local authorities outside London with representing their interests. In such cases these amendments would risk locking the mayor into unnecessary consultation. In the light of that, and the assurance that we see the mayor approaching the appropriate group, I hope that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Hamwee: I hope the Minister will not take it amiss if I say that that was the kind of response I expected but had hoped a little not to get. However, I do not wish to be too dismissive. I shall consider the matter carefully. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 278 agreed to.

Clause 279 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 450PAA not moved.]

Clause 280 agreed to.

Clause 281 [The Mayor's environmental report]:

[Amendment No. 450QA had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

[Amendment No. 450RA not moved.]

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 450RB:


Page 149, line 22, leave out ("to be known as a") and insert ("dealing with the matters provided by subsection (3) (in this section called the").

The noble Baroness said: In moving Amendment No. 450RB, I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 45OH, 451ZAA, 451ZQ and 451ZZA. We have moved on to the part of the Bill dealing with the mayor and the authority's environmental powers and duties. This group of amendments addresses a point made by my noble friend Lord Tope and myself at an earlier stage, although perhaps this issue is not as dramatic as that of the mayor being stuck with the politically correct titles of "The State of London Debate", "The People's Question Time" and so on. However, the Bill again requires the authority to use for its various strategies titles that are imposed by the Bill.

I do not think it is appropriate for primary legislation to describe what documents should be called. The report on the environment in Greater London is to be known as "a", in this case rather than "the",


    "state of the environment report".

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The waste management strategy is to be known as the "municipal waste management strategy" and so on. However, the mayor may wish to call it the "Greater London waste strategy". Well, why not? This is a small point, but I believe it is important. The drafting of the provisions indicates the Government's wish not to let go. However, I think the Government could release the titles of the documents without fear, given that the duties are spelt out adequately in the Bill. The titles of the documents do not need to be prescribed.

I have drafted the amendments in such a way that amendments have not been tabled to change titles throughout the Bill. That would have meant tabling and speaking to huge numbers of amendments. I beg to move.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: I support my noble friend's amendment. We know what a difference a word can make. For example, the mayor may wish to name a document the "New waste management strategy", rather like New Labour, which has made such a difference.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I cannot beat that one! My insistence on this wording is in no way intended to restrict or inhibit the creative expression of the mayor. As far as I am concerned, the mayor can use whatever titles he or she likes for these strategies. However, there has to be a statutory definition of them.

The effect of these amendments will be to remove the statutory status of these strategies and make them relevant only to the particular clauses of the Bill, whereas they need to be relevant through the mayor's overall strategy. If there was a deletion of the words "to be known as", the effect would be to remove the statutory authority. If the mayor wishes to call them something else with a small sub-title in 10 point print which reflects the statutory definition, I have no objection to that. A "new waste strategy" would be quite appropriate. If some of the candidates were to be elected, they would no doubt think of more trendy, catchy names. That is not the point. The point is that we need a definition which has some statutory authority. It is important that the mayor is able to signal that the strategy he is talking about relates to the authority within the Bill.

The strategies will be important documents. The London boroughs and others will need to have regard to them. The waste and air quality strategies also have powers of direction associated with them. For those reasons, it is very important that the status of the document should not be ambiguous. What the mayor says in his manifesto or in any other presentation of it to the electorate of London and others is a political decision that I am quite happy to leave to the mayor. However, the legal definition must be clear in the text of this Bill.

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I therefore hope that the noble Baroness, given my commitment not to restrict the artistic freedom of any putative mayor, will feel able to withdraw these amendments.

Baroness Hamwee: I am sure that the Minister would not wish to prevent the mayor, for instance, calling one of the strategies "the people's waste strategy" or "the new people's waste strategy"! It is a little early to be so silly!

I will read what the Minister has said about the statutory definition. Listening to him, I do not believe that I agreed with the point. I am concerned that the mayor may be in a position where the law will be broken. To put the statutory term in 10, 9, 8 or 5 point type on a document would be absurd. I hope that there might be a way round this matter. Of course, I take the point that there has to be a mechanism for leading into and enforcing the duties that are contained in the Bill. I will reflect on that.

For the moment, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees: Before calling Amendment No. 450SA, I should point out to the Committee that, if this amendment is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment Nos. 450UA or 450WA.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 450SA:


Page 149, line 26, leave out paragraphs (a) and (b) and insert ("not less than two years six months and not more than three years six months after the first or as the case may be previous ordinary election.")

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 450SA, I will speak also to Amendment No. 450XA. Amendment Nos. 450UA and 450WA are grouped with this.

These amendments deal with the period within which a state of the environment report is to be published. Under Clause 281, the first report can be published at any time within the first three years, and subsequent reports within four years from the previous report. Reading this provision, it seemed to me that it would be possible for the mayor to publish the first report very early, in order to distance it from the second round of elections for the mayor and the assembly. This, of course, would have a knock on effect on the timing of subsequent reports. Therefore, I suggest a minimum as well as a maximum period and, in all cases, I have calculated the periods from the previous election. As drafted, I hope that the amendment will mean that there will be a maximum period between reports.

It seems to me that it would not be inconceivable--indeed, it might be quite smart--for the mayor to publish the report rather early on, so that he can say, perhaps accurately, that the state of the environment in London is pretty frightful and there are all sorts of things that need to be done about it, but not to have to report again formally on the success of his strategy until after the next election. He could go into that election saying, "Well, it is not my fault. The Government haven't

27 Jul 1999 : Column 1483

actually achieved anything". That is the sort of situation that one would not want to see, but perhaps even to have thought of the point shows that I have had too many years of electioneering.

Amendment No. 450XA proposes that the report shall be published at a point when information would be available for the annual report and the debate. I accept that this is not quite so easy a thing to govern, but information is always historical in a report. This is, perhaps, a rather inadequate attempt to ensure that it is reasonably up to date at the time of the annual report and debate. I am aware that the Minister in another place said that there was nothing to prevent production of the report more frequently than every four years, but our amendments are intended to apply the proper pace to such reports rather than to stop more frequent reports and more proper reporting. I beg to move.


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