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Lord Beaumont of Whitley: The noble Viscount said that the amendments would remove the protection from other elements or other classes. Would he care to elaborate on that? It is very difficult to see how they would.

Viscount Ullswater: To define one form of structure might indicate that other forms of structure were not included and protection would be removed; therefore there would have to be a long list.

What I am saying to the noble Lord is this. If the noble Lord will withdraw his amendments, I will undertake to consider carefully whether the wording provides sufficient protection for the kinds of structure with which he is concerned and whether there is need for some amendment.

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The noble Lord indicated that he wanted to include other amendments which fall under the Scottish provisions. I do not feel that I can commit my noble and learned friend in the Scottish Office to respond in the same way as I do. But I will certainly draw the noble Lord's remarks and my remarks to his attention.

Lord Howie of Troon: I find that a very acceptable reply, except for one thing. I would like the Minister to consider these amendments in consultation with me. If that could be done, I should be very happy to withdraw my amendments.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 84 and 85 not moved.]

Lord Northbourne moved Amendment No. 86:

Page 8, line 42, at end insert:
("(iii) to have due regard to the needs of agriculture and forestry and to the economic and social interests of rural areas").

The noble Lord said: I am under considerable pressure not to press this amendment. I am prepared to withdraw my amendment if the noble Viscount is prepared to see myself and the noble Lord, Lord Wade, between now and Report stage to discuss the proposal. I beg to move.

Viscount Ullswater: For the convenience of the House, I believe that that is a very good proposition.

Lord Northbourne: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 87 to 92 not moved.]

On Question, Whether Clause 7 shall stand part of the Bill?

Lord Coleraine: I wish to detain the Committee for just a brief moment to put to my noble friend a point that has been made to me by the Law Society on behalf of planning practitioners and applicants. I believe that it is a point of which my noble friend has notice.

It is thought that in its present form Clause 7 may unduly impede, prolong and make more complicated the planning application process. I am advised that the clause as drafted may give the agency power to act as a second planning authority, introducing a potentially conflicting second level of regulation. Under the normal development control process an applicant obtains planning permission for a development from the planning authority. As part of the determination process the local planning authority consults the regulatory authorities, currently the NRA and HMIP. The responses of the regulatory authorities are taken into account by the local planning authority when it issues its decision. If having considered the representations of the regulatory authorities planning permission is granted and the developer has to seek consent for works specifically involving a regulatory authority, e.g. land drainage works—

Lord Williams of Elvel: I apologise for intervening. I understand that we are now discussing Clause 7 stand part. I am afraid that I had no notice of what the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, would raise on this matter. I wonder whether it would be better if he raised it with

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the Minister at an appropriate stage so that the Minister could reply to it after consideration. I really do not believe that the Minister can reply off-the-cuff to what appears to be a rather technical point.

Lord Coleraine: I believe that it is a point of which my noble friend has had notice. However, if he feels that I am wrong and he has not had notice I will sit down here and now.

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clause 8 [Environmental duties with respect to sites of special interest]:

[Amendments Nos. 93 to 97A not moved.]

Lord Derwent had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 97B.

Page 10, line 18, at end insert ("finalising any plans,").

Lord Airedale: I do not believe that "finalising" is a very good English expression. I suggest "completing".

[Amendment No. 97B not moved.]

[Amendments Nos. 98 to 101 not moved.]

Clause 8 agreed to.

Clause 9 [Codes of practice with respect to environmental and recreational duties]:

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon moved Amendment No. 102:

Page 11, line 16, at end insert:
("( ) such organisations as he deems representative of local authorities in England and Wales").

The noble Baroness said: In moving this amendment I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 105 and 106. These amendments deal with attempts to increase democratic accountability. Amendment No. 102 requires that Ministers should not make an order without consulting organisations representative of local authorities in England and Wales.

Amendment No. 105 requires that:

    "No order shall be made under this section unless a draft ... has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, each House of Parliament".

Amendment No. 106 deals with a slightly different matter. It attempts to restore into the Bill the obligation on contraventions of codes of practice which appear in the Water Resources Act 1991 and the Water Industry Act 1991. It would require Ministers to take into account contraventions of codes of practice which currently exist in those Acts but which are not in the current Bill. I beg to move.

Lord Greenway: My amendments, Amendments Nos. 103 and 104, have been put with the other amendments and I shall speak to them briefly. This is another instance of trying to give a higher profile to the navigation interests in the Bill. The amendment seeks to apply new words—basically, "seen to represent" —to words which are based on civil aviation legislation. They make it clearer as to whom exactly the Minister

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should consult. I need not say any more than that at the moment. I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say.

Viscount Ullswater: Clause 5 prescribes the list of persons whom Ministers must consult before approving a code of practice in respect of the agency's environmental and recreational duties. The codes offer practical guidance to which the agency must have regard in respect of the underlying proposals in Clause 6(1) and Clauses 7 and 8. These amendments seek to add to that list.

Amendment No. 102, moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Hilton, seeks to add organisations which are representative of local authorities in England and Wales. Amendment No. 103 seeks to insert the words "and bodies" after "persons". Amendment No. 104 seeks to add "recreation and navigation" organisations to the list.

As it stands, the list contains the names of national bodies which have a particular interest in environmental and recreational matters. But the provision also puts Ministers under a duty to consult others as he considers it appropriate. In some cases that might well include local authority associations or navigational or recreational bodies; but there may be others, for example, fisheries groups, which would also need to be consulted in particular cases. It would not be appropriate to single out particular bodies.

On a technical point with regard to Amendment No. 103, there is no legal need to insert the words "and bodies". In law, the word "persons" encompasses both individuals and bodies.

Amendment No. 105 seeks to make an order to approve a code of practice subject to affirmative resolution in each House. Those codes of practice are not statutory guidance, which the agency is under a duty to follow. They provide practical advice and examples of desirable practice, to which the agency is to have regard when exercising duties which Parliament has conferred upon it. For that kind of guidance, the negative resolution procedure provides adequate parliamentary scrutiny.

Amendment No. 106 proposes that a subsection which is included in the parallel provisions of the Water Resources Act 1991 should be reinstated. I imagine that the noble Baroness is looking for an explanation of its omission in the Bill. That subsection derives from a corresponding provision in Section 106 of the Water Act 1989, which dealt with codes of practice for the privatised water companies as well as the NRA. As a public body, the agency, like the NRA, will be susceptible to judicial review. Anyone who is aggrieved can go to the courts and will not need to take the case to Ministers. Amendment No. 106 might have the opposite effect to that intended by introducing an element of doubt about the availability of judicial review in the circumstance stated. I invite the noble Lord and the noble Baroness to withdraw these amendments.

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon: I am grateful to the Minister for that explanation, particularly in relation to the contraventions of codes of practice, which is clearly a point of law that I had not understood. In the circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

19 Jan 1995 : Column 843

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 103 to 106 not moved.]

Clause 9 agreed to.

Clause 10 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 107 not moved.]

9.45 p.m.

Clause 11 [Advisory committee for Wales]:

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