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Deregulation Act 2015

Schedule 13: Other measures relating to animals, food and the environment

Part 1: Destructive imported animals

740.The Destructive Imported Animals Act 1932 provides for the prohibition or control of the importation into, and/or keeping within, Great Britain of destructive non-indigenous mammalian animals, and facilitates the eradication of any such mammals established in the wild. The Act assumes that, where there are such animals at large, the policy will be to destroy them before the wild population becomes so established that eradication ceases to be viable.

741.Amongst other controls, it requires occupiers of land to report the presence of such animals at large on their land, so as to facilitate their eradication.

742.The 1932 Act applies expressly to musk rats (which were eradicated in the 1930s), but section 10 permits its provisions to be extended to other similarly destructive non-indigenous mammal species via an order. Such orders now include the Grey Squirrels (Prohibition of Importation and Keeping) Order 1937.

743.The amendment to the Grey Squirrels (Prohibition of Importation and Keeping) Order 1937 removes the obligation under section 5(2) of the Act upon occupiers to notify the authorities of any grey squirrels (save those kept lawfully under licence) on their land, and the associated offence provision (in section 6(1)(f) of the Act) for failing to do so.

744.Eradication of grey squirrels is currently considered neither feasible nor widely supported, so the general obligation to report grey squirrels at large to the authorities serves no useful purpose and is neither observed by occupiers (who thereby commit an offence) nor enforced by government.  It undermines the criminal law to maintain unenforced offences.

745.The amendment to section 10 of the 1932 Act revises the test that must be satisfied before an order may be made or amended.  Rather than the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers (as the case may be) needing to be satisfied that it is desirable to destroy all such animals at large it will be enough if they are satisfied that it is desirable to keep under review whether any which may be at large should be destroyed.

746.These amendments, like the 1932 Act, form part of the law of England and Wales only.

747.These amendments come into force at the end of the period of 2 months beginning with the day on which the Act is passed.

Part 2: Farriers

748.The Farriers Registration Council is the regulatory body for the farriery profession in Great Britain. Its responsibilities are set out in the Farriers (Registration) Act 1975. The constitution of the Council is also prescribed in the Act, in Part 1 of Schedule 1. Five of the 16 persons on the Council are "lay members" and are appointed by named organisations.

749.Part 2 of Schedule 13 amends Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Farriers (Registration) Act 1975 by replacing two of the named appointing organisations.

750.The regulatory responsibilities of the Jockey Club were transferred to the British Horseracing Authority Limited; thus the former will be replaced by the latter.

751.The Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas (CoSIRA) no longer exists. There was no legal succession provided for when this body was abolished. There is a clear link, however, to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Therefore, Lantra (the UK’s Sector Skills Council for land-based and environmental industries) will replace CoSIRA as an appointing body to the Council.

752.Without these amendments, the number of members of the Council would be reduced and there is a concern that it would not then be able to function properly.

753.Like the 1975 Act itself, Part 2 of the Schedule forms part of the law of England and Wales and Scotland. Part 2 comes into force at the end of the period of 2 months beginning with the day on which the Act is passed.

Part 3: Joint waste authorities

754.Part 3 of Schedule 13 repeals, in relation to England, Part 11 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, which allows for the establishment of joint waste authorities. The provisions repealed continue to have effect for the purposes of the exercise by the Welsh Ministers of the power conferred on them by section 210 of that Act (which enables them by order to make provision in relation to Wales applying any provisions of sections 205 to 208 with modifications).

755.Joint waste authorities (“JWAs”) were intended to integrate services across more than one local authority area to achieve efficiencies for member authorities and ensure quality of service for residents. However, the powers have never been used and there are no JWAs established under this legislation. The repeal of these provisions is a deregulatory measure which removes an unused layer of statutory regulation. Local authorities remain able to make their own arrangements amongst themselves without the need for this legislation, establishing more informal partnerships based on local needs.

756.The repeals in paragraph 4 of Schedule 13 form part of the law of England and Wales; however, their practical effect is limited to England. Part 3 of Schedule 13 comes into force on a day to be appointed by the Secretary of State in a commencement order.

Part 4: Air quality

757.Part 4 of the Environment Act 1995 outlines a regime for the domestic control of air pollution by local authorities. Part 4 of the Act extends to England and Wales and Scotland. Local authorities are required under section 82 of the Act to review the air quality and likely future air quality in their area. As part of this review, the local authority must assess whether the air quality standards and objectives are being achieved or are likely to be achieved. The local authority must identify any parts of its area within which those standards are not being achieved.

758.If air quality standards are not being achieved in any parts of its area, then the local authority must designate the relevant part as an Air Quality Management Area (section 83 of the Act). Section 84(1) of the Act requires that the local authority must undertake a further assessment of air quality (“Further Assessments”) in relation to the designated area to supplement information it already has.

759.Local authorities see Further Assessments as an unnecessary burden that is an impediment to speedy implementation of local action plans, which are required under section 84(2)(b) of the Act. This view has been confirmed in recent consultation where the majority of local authority respondents in England were content for the repeal of Further Assessments to go ahead.

760.Part 4 of Schedule 13 repeals the requirement for local authorities to carry out a Further Assessment. This repeal forms part of the law of England and Wales only. It comes into force at the end of the period of 2 months beginning with the day on which the Act is passed. Scotland is making the repeals, to apply to Scotland, by means of their Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act, which was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 16 January 2014.

Part 5: Noise abatement zones

761.Part 5 of Schedule 13 repeals provisions within the Control of Pollution Act 1974 on the establishment of noise abatement zones and makes consequential amendments to other legislation.

762.A local authority currently has the power to make a noise abatement order establishing a noise abatement zone in all or part of its area. This enables the local authority to set maximum noise levels for premises covered by the noise abatement order. The local authority is required to measure the level of noise emanating from these premises and record this in a publicly accessible register. Noise from these premises may not exceed the level of noise recorded in the register without the local authority’s consent. The local authority may also serve noise reduction notices in certain circumstances. The local authority may also determine set maximum noise levels for new buildings or premises which will become subject to the noise abatement order in the future because of works being undertaken.

763.These powers are not being widely used by local authorities in England and Wales. Investigations carried out by Defra indicate that only 49 local authorities have noise abatement zones in their areas, and that there are only 81 noise abatement zones of which only 2 are actively managed. Some local authorities have indicated that they are reluctant to use these powers because they find them difficult to use. Local authorities have other more effective powers for managing noise including the planning, licensing and statutory nuisance regimes. The existence of noise abatement zones which are not being actively managed may give rise to uncertainty for premises in those areas particularly in relation to property transactions. The repeals made by Part 5 will automatically revoke the remaining noise abatement orders.

764.The Control of Pollution Act 1974 forms part of the law of England and Wales and Scotland. Part 5 of Schedule 13, however, forms part of the law of England and Wales only. Steps are already being taken in Scotland to repeal the provisions about noise abatement zones in relation to Scotland by means of the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act, which was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 16 January 2014.

765.Part 5 of Schedule 13 comes into force on a day to be appointed by the Secretary of State in a commencement order.

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