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The Earl of Shrewsbury: My Lords, I am extremely grateful to the Minister for those words. I appreciate her position and want to place on record the feeling from the shooting community that things have never been so good in the discourse which continues with government, ACPO and many others involved in regulation. We appreciate that.

I listened carefully to what the Minister said but she gave me little cause for comfort on Amendment No. 91. For once, we have the most unusual situation

3 Nov 2003 : Column 574

in which almost the whole shooting community is pressing for stronger action: for a complete ban but with full compensation on an evil little weapon which causes massive damage in the wrong hands.

As my noble friend Lord Peel said, the precedence exists in the two Acts banning handguns. People were compensated for losing those weapons. I am adamantly against the banning of anything—except in the most exceptional circumstances. I believe that these are exceptional circumstances. I shall withdraw all my other amendments but I must press Amendment No. 91.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 82 to 90 not moved.]

The Earl of Shrewsbury moved Amendment No. 91:

    Page 38, line 17, at end insert—

"(7) After section 1(5) of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 (c. 45) (prohibited weapons and ammunition) insert—
"(6) Where an order under subsection (4) may result in a person who has lawfully owned any firearm or ammunition subject to the order being deprived of his property (whether or not a form of licence may be made available) the Secretary of State shall make a draft compensation scheme.
(7) The scheme in subsection (6) shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament as an order at the same time as the order under subsection (4) is laid, and shall be approved in draft by each House of Parliament.""

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I wish to test the opinion of the House.

6.8 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 91) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 102; Not-Contents, 113.

Division No. 3


Addington, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Attlee, E. [Teller]
Avebury, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Biffen, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blatch, B.
Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Cavendish of Furness, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Fearn, L.
Feldman, L.
Fookes, B.
Fowler, L.
Freeman, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Goschen, V.
Gray of Contin, L.
Greenway, L.
Hanham, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Hanson, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hayhoe, L.
Higgins, L.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Jellicoe, E.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kingsland, L.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Liverpool, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbrook, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Parkinson, L.
Peel, E.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Renton, L.
Roper, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Russell, E.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selsdon, L.
Sharples, B.
Shrewsbury, E.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tordoff, L.
Waddington, L.
Wakeham, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.
Wilcox, B.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B. (Lord President)
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Blood, B.
Borrie, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gale, B.
Gavron, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Haringey, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jones, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McCarthy, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Parekh, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Powell of Bayswater, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Radice, L.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Simon, V.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thornton, B.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Warner, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

3 Nov 2003 : Column 576

6.19 p.m.

Clause 48 [Dealing with noise at night]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 92:

    Page 40, line 11, at end insert—

"(5) In section 9 (section 8: supplementary), for subsection (4) substitute—
"(4) A local authority may use any sums it receives under section 8 (its "penalty receipts") only for the purposes of functions of its that are qualifying functions.
(4A) The following are qualifying functions for the purposes of this section—
(a) functions under this Act, and
(b) functions of a description specified in regulations made by the Secretary of State.
(4B) Regulations under subsection (4A)(b) may (in particular) have the effect that a local authority may use its penalty receipts for the purposes of any of its functions.
(4C) A local authority must supply the Secretary of State with such information relating to the use of its penalty receipts as the Secretary of State may require.
(4D) The Secretary of State may by regulations—
(a) make provision for what a local authority is to do with its penalty receipts—
(i) pending their being used for the purposes of qualifying functions of the authority;
(ii) if they are not so used before such time after their receipt as may be specified by the regulations;
(b) make provision for accounting arrangements in respect of a local authority's penalty receipts.
(4E) The provision that may be made under subsection (4D)(a)(ii) includes (in particular) provision for the payment of sums to a person (including the Secretary of State) other than the local authority.
(4F) Before making regulations under this section, the Secretary of State must consult—
(a) the local authorities to which the regulations are to apply, and
(b) such other persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate."
(6) In section 11 (interpretation and subordinate legislation), in subsection (3) after "order", in the first place where it occurs, insert "or regulations".
(7) The reference to the Noise Act 1996 (c. 37) in Schedule 1 to the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/672) is to be treated as referring to that Act as amended by this section."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving, on behalf of my noble friend Lady Scotland, government Amendment No. 92, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 96.

3 Nov 2003 : Column 577

Clause 48 enables all local authorities in England and Wales to issue fixed penalty notices in respect of complaints of excessive noise at night. Amendment No. 92 will allow local authorities to retain their receipts from night noise fixed penalty notices for use on any qualifying functions. That change will offer two main benefits: first, it will encourage local authorities to make more use of the night noise offence by way of fixed penalty notices; and, secondly, it will provide consistency with the proposed handling of receipts from fixed penalty notices issued for graffiti and fly-posting.

This group of amendments also allows the Secretary of State to request from local authorities for monitoring purposes information on the level and use of such income. It also provides for regulations to be made by the Secretary of State specifying which functions, in addition to those that local authorities already have, are "qualifying functions" on which receipts may be spent. That will allow the Government to consider giving additional flexibility in future in the use of such receipts by local authorities. The amendments will encourage and support the increased use of night noise fixed penalty notices with the resulting benefits for people who suffer noise from their neighbours at night.

The Government's determination to tackle the problem of fly-posting is already reflected in other clauses in the Bill. However, during earlier stages, the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, raised some points in relation to fly-posting and the Government have reflected on those points. Government Amendment No. 96 recognises the severity of the offence and increases the level of fines for those prosecuted under Section 224(3) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 from level 3 (up to £1,000) to level 4 (up to £2,500). That recognises the growing incidence of fly-posting and the need for a more punitive deterrent for those responsible for the crime.

I shall also mention my view of the other two amendments in this group. Through Amendment No. 94, the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, seeks to remove the words "or obliterate" from Section 225 of the Act, which empowers a local planning authority to "remove or obliterate" placards and posters which, in its opinion, contravene regulations. As I said in Committee, we feel that local planning authorities should keep the option of being able to obliterate a fly-poster in cases where removal may damage the fabric of the building or structure on which the poster is displayed.

The new clause would also reduce from two days to six hours the minimum period which must elapse before a local planning authority may remove or obliterate a placard or poster where it has served notice on the person responsible for the poster of its intention to do so. It would be unfair to remove any defence from a person who stood to gain from the advertisement just because the local planning authority had posted a note requesting him to remove the advertisement within six hours. Six hours is too short a limit and it would be unsound and unworkable as it is an unreasonably small time period in which to expect the advertiser to take action.

3 Nov 2003 : Column 578

Amendment No. 93, in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, would require an authorised officer proposing to issue a fixed penalty notice in respect of a minor act of graffiti or fly-posting to notify the person to whom the penalty is being given of his or her right to decline the fixed penalty. I do not believe that is necessary. It is implicit in the way that authorised officers will deal with these matters that it will be clear to the offender that refusal or failure to pay the fixed penalty notice may result in his or her being prosecuted. Issuing a fixed penalty notice is an alternative to potential prosecution, and so the person receiving one will know that he or she faces a choice: to take their chance before the courts, or to pay up. That has worked perfectly well in respect of existing fixed penalty notices for littering and dog fouling. I have every expectation that it will do so in respect of graffiti and fly-posting. I therefore cannot accept either of the other two amendments in the group in the name of the noble Baroness. I beg to move.

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