High Hedges Bill

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Mr. Rowe: My hon. Friend is hedging his bets.

Mr. John M. Taylor: That remark is probably rooted in experience.

My hon. Friend the Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent referred to roots and different varieties of hedge, but it is openly conceded that the Bill does not deal with roots, which create different problems. Trimming the height of a hedge may produce a collateral saving in terms of root nuisance, but the Bill does not attempt to address that. It is the sort of area in which, with the benefit of experience, a Secretary of State might wish to go further, and the clause makes that possible.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 16 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 17 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 18

Crown application

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. John M. Taylor: Clause 18 applies the Bill's provisions to the Crown, although the Crown, as opposed to its employees, will not be liable to prosecution for a criminal offence. A local authority will be able to investigate and determine complaints about high hedges on Crown land—for example, if a hedge on land owned by a Government Department affects neighbouring domestic property. I hope that that brief explanation provides clarification.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 18 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 19 and 20 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Mr. John M. Taylor: On a point of order, Mrs Michie. This may be a mild abuse of a point of order, but it is well intended. I am sure that members of the Committee will want to join me in thanking you for your kind and helpful chairing of our proceedings. It has always been a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship and today has been typically so. In 18 years as a Member of Parliament, I have not had a private Member's Bill before. It has been an interesting experience I also thank the Minister and, although I cannot see them, as they are not in the Room, his officials, who have been particularly helpful to me. Finally, I thank friends and colleagues from all parties who have helped me to get this far. I might even make the statute book—who knows? The determinant of whether the Bill reaches the statute book will not be want of support, but it might be want of time.

The Chairman: Thank you for that point of order. I have enjoyed chairing the Committee. The sitting has been one of the swiftest and most co-operative that I have ever chaired and it has been a pleasant experience. I add my thanks to the staff who have helped with our proceedings, especially our Clerk, Nick Walker, for his invaluable, clever and helpful information.

Bill to be reported, without amendment.

        Committee rose at twenty-four minutes to Twelve o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Michie, Mrs. Ray (Chairman)
Ainsworth, Mr. Robert
Chapman, Sir Sydney
Flint, Caroline
Hopkins, Mr.
Jones, Dr. Lynne
Madel, Sir David
Rowe, Mr.
Taylor, Mr. John M.

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