The deputy Mayor of London has voiced concern over powers in the Localism Bill to pass fines to local authorities for national infringements of EU targets.
When giving evidence to a public bill committee, which will debate and consider amendments to the Localism Bill, Sir Simon Milton, who is also responsible for spatial development and planning at the Local Government Authority said: “We object in principle to the concept of delegating fines without also delegating the funds, resources and powers to take the steps necessary to avoid the fines.
“Fines should not simply be levied until Government had exhausted all their other powers—powers of direction, policy powers and so on—that could have a mitigating effect. In other words, fines should not be the first resort; the delegation of the fine should be the last resort.”
Milton also recommended that Ministers should not delegate the fine, and instead recommended a judicial process.
Chair of the think-tank and lobby group London Councils Mayor Jules Pipe voiced particular concern over the use of the charging powers in the context of waste.
Pipe, who is also directly elected Mayor for Hackney used the example of his own Borough, in which half of all properties are flats, told the committee: “How one would go about apportioning a failure to achieve a particularly high recycling rate would have to be very carefully thought through if it is to be seen as acceptable by local authorities.”
The possible use of the powers to charge for failed waste targets was first reported on by MRW last month, when Aaron & Partners LLP associate Claire Petricca-Riding described the powers as a “fairly draconian provision”.