Byelaws and local legislation
Byelaws are local laws made by bodies such as local authorities under statutory powers.
Their purpose is to prohibit or regulate comparatively minor localised activity.
Contravention is a criminal offence and proceedings could be brought by either the local authority or the Police. In the future powers are likely to be given for fixed penalty notices to be issued, in which case proceedings would only brought if the fixed penalty was not paid.
Where national legislation covers the same activity then, although the byelaw may be enforceable, it is generally better to bring proceedings under the national legislation. One reason for this is that many of this Borough’s byelaws are quite old and pre-date national legislation (for example on noise and nuisance) and the penalties which may be imposed by the court are lower than under the national legislation.
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Council was formed in 1965 following local government re-organisation. The former Boroughs of Richmond (Surrey); Twickenham and Barnes were amalgamated. The former Boroughs had their own sets of byelaws and, unless specifically repealed, remain in force. The byelaws still apply within those areas. The only byelaws which may still have significance, however, are the Good Rule and Government byelaws made under section 235 of the Local Government Act 1972 (and its equivalent predecessor legislation).
The Good Rule and Government byelaws have therefore been included although it will be noted, for example, that the first good rule and government byelaws for the Borough of Richmond date back to 1896 and include a prohibition against cattle being driven through the streets of Richmond between the hours of 10am to 5pm unless they arrived by train during those hours! Those same byelaws also deal with advertising in the street, which would now be covered by Advertisement Regulations made under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, and disorderly conduct which the Police would deal with under other legislation.
A situation could arise, however, where an activity is not adequately covered by national legislation and the byelaw comes to the rescue.
If you have any queries about the byelaws please email the Legal and Electoral Services Department.
Since 1965 the Council has made a number of byelaws which apply to the whole Borough. These are quite wide ranging and include Pleasure Grounds and Open Spaces; the Commons; registered premises and persons for Acupuncture, Ear Piercing and Electrolysis, and Tattooing; Public Libraries; Employment of Children etc.
These have all been included.
Under the Good Rule and Government byelaws a local authority may prohibit cycling on footpaths not alongside roads. To be enforceable a sign regarding the prohibition has to be conspicuously displayed. The byelaws made under this legislation have been listed separately.
The Borough has a number of Commons and Open Spaces.
Several Acts of Parliament have been made under the Metropolitan Commons Acts 1866 to 1898 transferring the regulation and management of Barnes, Ham, Petersham, East Sheen and Palewell Commons to the former Boroughs. The Council is now responsible for these.
The Council also has responsibilities regarding crematoria in the Borough and the Mortlake Crematorium Act 1936 and the South West Middlesex Crematorium Act 1957 have therefore been included.