back to article Bye-bye to bizarro bye-laws, says

If you have plans to fry fish in Gloucester or beat your carpet along Blackpool promenade or transport a dead horse through Hammersmith and Fulham, you should know all these activities are still subject to local bye-laws. But this may be about to change, with the announcement today by Local Government Minister Grant Shapps of …


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  1. Tom7
    Thumb Down


    I like getting rid of red tape, but how am I going to know if fish frying is legal wherever I am?

  2. Rogerborg


    If there's one group of people more rotten and corrupt than the Westminster trough-brigade, it's the Anytown Council trough-brigade.

    Half of my lot live quite openly in gift-houses from their local crimelord paymaster, and the X Factor watching goons in Anytown just don't give a damn. They'd vote for a gibbon in a shell suit if you pinned the right rosette on it.

    So, on balance, I'd rather not give Anytown Council more powers than they've already got to abuse.

  3. Code Monkey

    Hurry Chester folk

    This could be your last chance to slaughter the Welsh after midnight!

    Although I expect the UK murder prohibition would supersede the Chester by-law if anyone were ever to try it.

  4. rpjs


    In the US, every level of government is empowered to legislate within its competence, without having to get sign-off from the next level up, so why not here? I suppose we will need to define what each level's competence is though.

    1. Mark 65


      Because if the caveat was "within its level of competence" then nothing would ever get done.

  5. Leigh Smith

    What a fantastic idea!

    Local Councils with the ability to make laws without oversite.

  6. Trevor 7

    Wait, what?

    Did they just say they are giving less oversight to the very people that have been caught abusing terrorism laws to catch school boundary cheaters and people that leave dog mess?

    I am sure there will be no abuse of this.

  7. as2003


    So no longer will I be able to shoot Welsh men with my longbow from the crenellations of my Castle on the third sunday of any month beginning with the letter 'J'?

  8. Seanmon


    I dunno about anyone else, but given the intellectual power and political calibre of my local council*... this scares me.

    *hint - begins in G and ends in "lasgow". People in Edinburgh - you lot are really f*cked.

    1. ElFatbob

      Ah, Sunny Red Glesga..

      never mind the 'intellectual power and political calibre', giving more power to those corrupt goons in city chambers is truly frightening.

  9. Sir Smokesalot

    Time to dust of my bow and arrow....

    and line up all the welsh people that are on my "list" in Chester City center.......

  10. Colin Guthrie

    I propose...

    ...that we pass a local by-law in "Vultureville" that spell and grammar checks should be performed prior to publication:

    "They has also been, as safety valve" : WTF?

  11. Christoph
    Black Helicopters

    Just what we needed

    Every time you cross a local authority boundary you'll have to know about a different set of rules - most of them passed more for petty politicians to show off their power than for any sensible reason.

    They may even contradict the ones from the next-door authority.

    And they'll get all changed over to a different set each time a different party gets into power.

    The politicians will be able to pass these much faster than pressure groups can organise to get rid of the worst of them.

    Don't these idiots realise just how stupid, incompetent, inexperienced, and petty some local politicians are? Or how corrupt some local authorities are?

  12. Cholo


    Are they going to force me to rummage through my loft for a "skateboarding is not a crime" sticker from the 80s?

  13. a_mu

    new regs

    SO this is a way to make loads of new by laws with a new fast system,

    oh and remove a few old ones !

    Do you want a new fast way to bring in new laws ?

  14. John Robson Silver badge

    required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Um - so how on earth do I know what is legal anywhere when councils can just make things up without recourse to central Gubbinment.

    At least they had to be bothered before, and the Gubbinment officials had to think it was a good idea.

    That meant that I could go about my life without worrying too much, however much we berate them MPs have shown some intelligence and sticking power to get where they are (and then paradoxically displayed a complete lack of both)

    I know local solutions are required for some problems, but not that many...

    An answer to the "too many laws" issue is to require that all legislation has to have a sunset clause. Max 25 years (for things like murder) down to 6 months (default if not otherwise specified) for things like carrying horses through Fulham.

    Then all we need to do is ignore a law and will fall out of use. Important laws will get re-discussed periodically (important) and the total legislation is limited by the time available in parliament (a good thing).

    1. Sooty


      are you supposed to know what any laws are anyway. Each one, and there are a lot, is made up of pages and pages of lawyerspeak, largely consisting of cross references to other laws, several amendments, ambiguities etc.

      Most people only know the gist of the biggies and hope for the best with everything!

  15. Gordon861

    Nice Idea but ...

    ... this law won't be used to get rid of odd existing laws, instead they will use tha facility to create a whole new set of strange local laws to nick you for.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Hang on a minute....

    its not the old laws that are the problem, its the Nu Libore new ones....

  17. kevin biswas

    As soon as I saw the story in the UK media I thought

    HA ! it's *clearly* a a charter for busybodies and control freaks to regulate the minutiae of our everyday lives. Anyone who knows anything about most local government types knows they are generally petty tyrants who make the late and unlamented Jaqui Smith look reasonable and sane.

    1. PikeyDawg

      Anyone else think "Hot Fuzz" when they read this?

      I for one welcome our new Neighborhood Watch Association overlords and what not...

      But on the bright side I guess this means I might finally be able to get rid of that dead horse been stinkin up the garden!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      big society for small minds?

      Isn't the whole 'Big Society' thing a charter for unelected (but often state-funded) cranks, busybodies and pressure groups to inflict their obsessions on a hapless public? This looks like a piece of enabling legislation to streamline the process by making their 'partnerships' with local government more 'productive' in terms of giving us what we *never* asked for.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    its a bit worrying....

    In my experience of local authorities I have found that they themselves break the laws on a regular basis.

    Has anyone ever ran into that age old “bang your head against the wall” brick wall when the jobsworth you are dealing with, in which ever council department shoots the “but it is against council policy” bullet at you? The problem is that on a number of occasions, in my experience, council policy has been in breach of ether UK or European laws. The only way to deal with it is spend a fortune making lawyers richer and the council back down the week before any court hearing. The council policy still stands and others will suffer.

    Then you have the councils that abuse the powers they were given to catch a parent trying to get their child into a better school by saying the child lives elsewhere. Or to catch whoever it is putting plastics in the newspaper bins. Powers given that abuse your human rights, but were given to them to help catch terrorists but in practice used to dish out fines to people who put the bins out on the wrong day…

    So, would you want to trust them with the ability to scrap or alter laws? Didn’t think so !

  19. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    "Is this true devolution and a necessary tidying up of outdated laws...

    "...or a charter for busybodies and control freaks to regulate the minutiae of our everyday lives?"

    What do you think?? Why should something be an offence in one place but not in another? Surely if it's causing problems in City A it will also cause a problem in City B or C or D.

    The whole idea of the creation of English Common Law was that there would be *ONE* set of rules for the whole country, ones that were (supposedly) fair and equitable and subject to proper scrutiny (yes, ok, I know that New Labour did their best to avoid that, but that was the original idea).

    By all means get rid of old laws, but allowing local councils to introduce new ones is just because some prod-nose gets a bee in their bonnet and manages to persuade others to go along with them doesn't mean that the situation will get any better.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Mosquitoes mosquitoes everywhere and not a place for a young person to drink!

  21. Anonymous Coward

    OK by me

    getting rid of old laws is fine by me - as long as they don't get rid of the one that says you're allowed to use a longbow to kill a Scotsman in York.

    1. Seanmon
      Thumb Up

      re: OK by me

      I'm just dying to see anyone trying to walk through York (or any city) carrying a longbow... how far d'you think you'd get these days?

      Some old laws are cool though. Living where I do, I apparently have the right to graze up to three sheep on any common land. Don't think I haven't thought about it...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pull the other one!

    "For far too long, councils have had to jump through hoops just to get things done for residents. That's why I want councils to use this new power I am offering them, and keep a watchful eye out for outdated rules that will soon be so much easier to scrap."

    Yeah - right!

    What will the jobsworths do now? Council employees (note - I don't say "workers") need these bylaws and twists to avoid actually doing anything constructive!

  23. Anonymous Coward

    More laws...?

    I am all for scrapping old, out-dated laws but also for removing the power from local government to create new laws without judicial review / oversight. You know, the same local governments that used RIPA to spy on people and turned into bin-nazis.

    Criminalising the local population for petty rule-breaking is not your remit so just stop, now.

    And while you are at it, publish all transactions that are greater then 100 quid so I know what you are spending MY money on.

    And scrap all final salary pensions you awarded yourself.

    And scrap all of your bonuses, you are the Public Sector and do not warrant Private Sector incentives because you do not operate in the same domain and with risks or competition. If you did you would all be sacked.

    There, feel much better now so I'll get my coat!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    This does not mean 'bye-bye' to bye-laws. It's much more a big 'Welcome'.

  25. asiaseen

    100% probability

    of new bye-laws being introduced and zero of any being repealed. It's all about control.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Oh, please no!

    That's all we need is the local councils with their power hungry, jobsworth attitude creating a set of laws left, right and centre to ban every little things that is the pet peeve of the local councillor.

    From getting fines for hundreds just for leaving your wheelie bin open an inch, getting fined for littering because a three year old has chucked a chip to the seagulls or using existing terror laws to spy on families in case their kids are living in the relevant school district the local councils are known for over-exaggerating their power.

    So everywhere in Britain it will be necessary to visit the local library to check the current laws of that area just to know whether you are allowed to walk along the pavement wearing a green jacket or whether they only allow blue ones.

    More power to the bureaucrats, hoorah!

  27. Anonymous Coward

    under some bylaw I challenge this to a duel

    Well there has to be one somewere, you just know it. Long-bows at dawn I say :).

  28. LeBeourfCurtaine
    IT Angle

    Who watches the Watchmen?

    "They has also been, as safety valve, the requirement that they be passed under specific empowering legislation, and be signed off by the relevant Secretary of State." - Up with this I will not put!

    Making it easier to scrap outdated bye-laws without a drawn-out central review seems like common sense, but who's reviewing the creation of new bye-laws...? I'm with as2003, some oxbow lakes should remain for posterity.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    that's what we need

    protection from cheap booze. put me back on that single malt drip please.....

  30. Old Tom


    "Thus, as David Cameron suggested earlier this year, it should be open to local councils such as those in the Greater Manchester area to ban cheap booze using a bye-law."

    It's not the local councils, but the unelected Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) Health Commission that are proposing raising the price of reasonably priced booze in Greater Manchester.


  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So how does this new thing work then?

    There would have been a reason for the governmental sign-off. Though useful, small laws made by small lawmakers can be extremely petty. That is probably where the oversight requirement came in. Which is not to say that national laws cannot be petty. I don't mind that oversight mechanism for local rules moved from before enactment to afterward, but some kind of clear and always the same appeal process would be useful. Even for scrapping.

  32. Fisher39

    As long as they don't get rid of...

    The one that allows a welsh person to be shot with a longbow in Chester Cathedral court after midday on a sunday.

  33. David Harper 1

    Good idea

    Just as long as we're still allowed to shoot Welshmen with a crossbow in Shrewsbury on a Sunday. Some ancient English traditions are worth defending!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Please ...

    ... don't devolve any law-making powers to local councils without first of all changing the way they operate so that they are truly accountable to the electorate. eg allowing us to approve changes to by-laws. The buggers have enough uncontrolled power as it is.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And ...

      I'd rather risk the dangers of hanging around in Chester or Shrewsbury than give these people more powers to screw with my life. By the way, why is it that the English commenters seem to cherish laws which allow them to knock of stray Scots- and Welshmen? Scared or something?

  35. Tom 35

    Bye-bye to bizarro bye-laws,

    Hello new bizarro bye-laws.

  36. Mike Kamermans

    "Scrap" does not mean "introduce"

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the article doesn't say that "local government can introduce whatever they want!", it states local governments only get free reign to scrap existing, outdated laws. So... what's the problem? This is good.. Worst case they scrap all of them and you're left with the law you're left with everywhere else in the country...

    1. John Tuffen


      I don't know; perhaps this passage from the article) should set the alarm bells ringing:

      "But people should also be free to contact their council with their concerns and have them addressed easily, so councils should also look to set local byelaws that improve their area - with no ministerial involvement whatsoever."

      So, has your 'Worst Case Scenario' changed now?

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds the sort of thing that's popular with the average Sun reader.

    People of Britain. Prepare to enjoy your new "freedom".

  38. Francis Offord
    Black Helicopters

    Male Bovine Ordure

    And that adequately describes the safety rules regarding the actuality of getting this passed. Local Government will never permit anything which reduces their pettty rules or makes them relevant to other local authorities, adjacent or otherwise. Only one thing would encourage a me to vote for this national government "IMPROVEMENT" and that is they THEY would refrain from passing equally stupid ones in counteraction. Politicians give up a power? Dream on.

    Am I cynical? You bet I am.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Let's make it a double-edge sword:

  40. Malcolm Boura 2


    Free reign to the prejudiced to prohibit near enough anythign that they do not like. The prospect is hrorific. Most existing byelaws should be abolished and it should be made harder to create them, not easier.

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