Byelaws are local laws made by a local council under an enabling power contained in a public general act or a local act requiring something to be done – or not done – in a specified area. They are accompanied by some sanction or penalty for their non-observance.
If validly made, byelaws have the force of law within the areas to which they apply. Generally, byelaws are overseen by the relevant government department or confirming authority who has policy responsibility for the subject matter.
Byelaws are enforced by the local authority through the magistrates’ court and contravening a byelaw can result in a fine upon successful conviction.
Byelaws are considered measures of last resort after a local council has tried to address the local issue the byelaw applies to through other means. A byelaw cannot be made where alternative legislative measures already exist that could be used to address the problem. Byelaws should always be proportionate and reasonable. Where a byelaw is no longer necessary, it should be revoked.
The Byelaws (Alternative Procedure) (England) Regulations 2016
The Byelaws (Alternative Procedure) (England) Regulations 2016 introduce new arrangements for byelaws.
The regulations simplify the procedures for making new byelaws and amending byelaws, including replacing the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government’s role in confirming byelaws. This is now a matter for the local council, having taken account of any representations made about the proposed byelaw.
The regulations also give councils powers to revoke byelaws under an entirely local process.
The regulations do not give local authorities powers to create new categories of byelaws.
Sedgemoor District Council created a byelaw under provisions of section 235 of the Local Government Act 1972 for the Good Rule and Government of the District of Sedgemoor.
The byelaw covers matters such as:
- Skateboarding and roller skating on footpaths
- Noise in streets from shouting, singing, playing musical instruments, radios, cd players
- Dangerous games in streets
- Ball games on the highway
- Urinating in the street
Contravention of the byelaws is a criminal offence and carries a maximum penalty of a fine not exceeding £500.
The Seashore and Esplanade at Burnham-on-Sea, Berrow and Brean
The Council has created several byelaws under the provisions of the Public Health Acts governing the use and control of the beaches and Esplanade at Burnham-on-sea, Berrow and Brean.
- The byelaw covers matters such as:
- Not driving a vehicle at a speed exceeding 15mph on the beach
- Dangerous driving or driving without due care
- No driving on the slipway or in any sand dune
- Sand yachting permitted only at certain times
- Horse riding on the beach
- No camping
- No gliders, microlights or parascending equipment
Contravention of the byelaws is a criminal offence and now carries a maximum penalty of a fine not exceeding £500
The Seashore Burnham-on-Sea, Berrow and Brean
This byelaw controls the use of pleasure boats around Burnham-on-Sea, Berrow and Brean.
A full copy of the all the above byelaws are available to download from the bottom of this page.
Contravention of the byelaws is a criminal offence and now carries a maximum penalty of a fine not exceeding £500.