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Baroness Hamwee: I am delighted to beg leave to do so.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 289 agreed to.

Clause 290 [Directions by the Secretary of State]:

[Amendment No. 451ZS not moved.]

Clause 290 agreed to.

Clauses 291 to 293 agreed to.

Clause 294 [Directions under the Environment Act 1995]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 451ZT:

Page 156, line 4, leave out from beginning to ("The") in line 10 and insert--
("(3) After subsection (4) there shall be inserted--

The noble Lord said: This amendment and the following amendments seek to correct an error in the Bill's drafting relating to the mayor's powers to direct London local authorities in respect of European Community air quality obligations and other international agreements. The Bill as drafted would have the effect of giving the mayor the power to transpose EU directives on air quality and so forth. That is obviously nonsense. It is a legislative function properly the responsibility of the Secretary of State. These amendments correct the position and ensure that the power to transpose remains solely with the proper authorities. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

27 Jul 1999 : Column 1513

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 451ZU to 451ZX:

Page 156, line 13, leave out ("(5C)") and insert ("(4B)")
Page 156, line 14, leave out (", or subsection (5) above by virtue of subsection (5A) above,")
Page 156, line 16, at end insert--
("( ) In subsection (5) (power of the Secretary of State to give directions relating to obligations under the Community Treaties or to international obligations) after "local authorities" there shall be inserted ", other than local authorities in Greater London,".")
Page 156, line 21, leave out subsection (5)

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 294, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 295 agreed to.

Clause 296 [Consultation with the Mayor]:

[Amendment No. 451ZY not moved.]

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 451ZZ:

Page 157, line 9, at end insert--
("(c) any local authority other than those in paragraphs (a) and (b) above which shall be otherwise affected"")

The noble Lord said: I am not optimistic about this amendment. However, as regards air quality, the atmosphere moves in mysterious ways. In Clause 296 we see, as a matter of substance on the face of the Bill, that there shall be consulted any local authority in Greater London or any local authority whose area is contiguous to the area of Greater London. Our amendment suggests that we should add to that:

    "any local authority other than those in paragraphs (a) and (b) above which shall be otherwise affected".

Anybody who studies atmospheric movement in relation to pollution knows that it is an imprecise science. As knowledge is built up, one realises that the relationship between a source of pollution and the people it affects can be remarkably remote. The east coast of England, in periods of still, anticyclonic weather, suffers greatly from atmospheric pollution whose source of origin is in the Ruhr in Germany. Much of the sulphur dioxide that arrives in this country is not generated here but in the south of France and Spain. If we wanted to go back to the atmospheric movements that resulted after the Chernobyl disaster when the movement of radioactive materials made chasing what was happening rather more easy in tragic circumstances, we would find some mysterious facts.

Where an authority can show that it is directly affected as a result of air pollution deriving from London, it should be included in this list of consultees. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I am afraid that the amendment does not do what it is intended to do. Clause 296 of the Bill is all to do with whom local authorities consult when carrying out their own air quality management functions. It provides that local authorities in London and those whose areas adjoin London consult with the mayor of London when carrying out air quality reviews, assessments and preparing action plans. That is essential to the mayor's ability to fulfil his or her role.

27 Jul 1999 : Column 1514

The Bill does that by adding the mayor to the long list of consultees listed at paragraph 1(2) of Schedule 11 to the Environment Act 1995, whom local authorities are required to consult when carrying out air quality management functions.

The amendment would provide that any local authority affected by its own air quality management activities would have to consult the mayor. I am sure that that is not what the noble Lord intended.

The Bill already provides that the mayor should consult with the Assembly, the functional bodies, the boroughs, boroughs adjoining London and the Environment Agency when preparing or revising the air quality strategy. The Bill also provides at Clause 34(1)(e) that the mayor shall consult

    "any other body or person whom he considers it appropriate to consult".

That clearly includes local authorities that might be affected by the strategy.

Clause 290 would also enable the Secretary of State to intervene when the air quality strategy was considered likely to be detrimental to an area outside Greater London. That is a further safeguard for authorities outside London.

In the light of that reply, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw the amendment and will understand that the amendment that he intended is not necessary.

11.30 p.m.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I am grateful to the Minister for her explanation, which I shall study with interest. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 296 agreed to.

Clause 297 [The London ambient noise strategy]:

[Amendment No. 451ZZA not moved.]

Baroness Hamwee moved amendment No. 451ZZB:

Page 157, line 25, leave out ("services")

The noble Baroness said: I shall also speak to Amendments Nos. 452WA and 452XA. The clause deals with the ambient noise strategy.

The first is a probing amendment. Ambient noise is defined to include noise related to transport services. I am querying the addition of the word "services". Will the Government confirm that cars, which are not transport services in the normal sense of the term, will be included and the noise from car traffic will be covered by the provision?

The other two amendments would add to the definition of ambient noise caused by construction works and roadworks. On reflection, I am not sure how appropriate the amendments are. Perhaps the Minister will assure me that they are matters for the local authority and that we are not missing an opportunity in the Bill.

27 Jul 1999 : Column 1515

The issues occurred to me on a Sunday morning, when the noise of pneumatic drills started on a building site almost next door to me, followed swiftly by the concurrent noise of the road outside being dug up. There is an expression of frustration in the amendments. The point is that we want to be assured that such noise is covered somewhere. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: It is the Government's intention that the mayor's strategy will include noise related to all modes of transport. That includes services for which the mayor will have responsibility, other road traffic, rail traffic, aircraft and water transport. Local authorities already have adequate powers under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 to control the levels of noise and the times during which it may be emitted from construction and roadworks. It is not intended that the mayor should be consulted on the actions that local authorities may wish to take on local situations as they arise.

The noble Baroness specifically asked me to refer to services, including cars. This is one of the issues we are considering. Road traffic is included. The drafting may not be quite right yet. Nevertheless, I should like to consider in more detail whether or not the provisions in the Bill are sufficient and I wish to retain this clause for the present. I shall write to the noble Baroness when we have more fully considered the wording of the clause and hope that she will therefore feel able to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Hamwee: I shall be happy to do so on that basis. My noble friend asked why I had not included church bells. I had to tell him that at the time the roadworks were taking place I could not hear the church bells which were being rung immediately across the road. I am happy to beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Brabazon of Tara moved Amendment No. 452:

Page 157, line 26, leave out ("aircraft")

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 452 seeks to remove aircraft from the noise regulations. This is purely a probing amendment to discover what are the intentions of the Government as regards the mayor and aircraft noise.

There is concern at Heathrow about this matter because Heathrow is the world's busiest airport. It is a gem in the crown of all airports and a reason why London is such a successful city. There are two areas for consideration. First, at the present time noise is the responsibility of the Government and therefore we want to know what it is conceived the mayor could take over. Secondly, noise regulations are laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation in relation to Chapters 2 and 3, and we recently narrowly avoided a huge dispute with the United States about the phase-out

27 Jul 1999 : Column 1516

of Chapter 2. This is purely a probing amendment. What do the Government consider the mayor may do in that regard?

Furthermore, the planning for Terminal 5 is now in the hands of the inspector and we do not know what he is going to say. Also, we do not want to influence him. The regulations covering noise in relation to London City Airport are laid down in guidelines. So what, if anything, do the Government consider the mayor's position on noise to be? I beg to move.

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