Clause 44 - Forfeiture of vehicles

Part of Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:15 am ar 25 Ionawr 2005.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Minister of State (Environment and Agri-Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 11:15, 25 Ionawr 2005

I thank my hon. Friends for the strong support that they have given. The various circumstances of confiscation are covered in subsection (7). It outlines what the courts should take into account, such as the value of the vehicle, the likely financial effects on the offender, and

''the offender's need to use the vehicle for lawful purposes'', which probably covers the point made by the hon. Member for Guildford. However, the court's decision would depend on the circumstances. Someone may have been towing a caravan with a battered old transit van, but if it was not worth much, they could go out and buy another one. The court will take the circumstances into account, and must also have regard to whether

''the offender is engaged in a business which consists wholly or partly in activities which are unlawful by virtue of section 33.''

There is also the question of repeat offending. Someone who is a repeat offender would get much less sympathy from the court when deciding how the measure should be applied than others might.

The provision is effective. People try to avoid penalties, but if someone is engaged in illegal activities—some of which could be worth a great deal of money—the sanction of confiscating the vehicle is important. The provision also sends a clear message to people who are involved in domestic fly-tipping that that is not a minor issue, and that their car is at risk. I have already made that point in press notices to my local paper. It is a significant sanction, because we are dealing with significant offences. I hope that the Committee will support the clause.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 44 ordered to stand part of the Bill.