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Division No. 1


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Airedale, L.
Annaly, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Bancroft, L.
Bath, M.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Bridges, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Darcy (de Knayth), B.
David, B.
Falkland, V.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harrowby, E.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Houghton of Sowerby, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Judd, L.
Lawrence, L.
Lytton, E.
McNair, L.
Meston, L.
Nathan, L.
Nicol, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Russell of Liverpool, L.
Russell, E.
Seear, B.
Simon, V.
Somerset, D.
St. Albans, Bp.
Swinfen, L. [Teller.]
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thurso, V.
Tope, L.
Walpole, L.
White, B.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Wise, L.


Aldington, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Astor, V.
Balfour, E.
Belstead, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Butterworth, L.
Cadman, L.
Carnock, L.
Chesham, L.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Downshire, M.
Elton, L.
Ferrers, E.
Gage, V.
Glenarthur, L.
Hardwicke, E.
Harlech, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Henley, L.
Howe, E.
Inglewood, L. [Teller.]
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Keyes, L.
Leigh, L.
Lindsay, E.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Long, V.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Lucas, L.
Lyell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Macleod of Borve, B.
Marlesford, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Mills, V.
Milverton, L.
Monk Bretton, L.
Morris, L.
Moyne, L.
Norrie, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Onslow, E.
Peel, E.
Rawlings, B.
Rennell, L.
Renton, L.
Rodger of Earlsferry, L.
Rodney, L.
Seccombe, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shuttleworth, L.
Skidelsky, L.
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stockton, E.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Sudeley, L.
Tollemache, L.
Torrington, V.
Ullswater, V.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wynford, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Motion disagreed to accordingly.

9 Feb 1995 : Column 391

Social Security (Incapacity for Work) (General) Regulations 1995

8.38 p.m.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, I beg to move that the first Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper be approved.

Moved, That the draft regulations laid before the House on 30th January be approved [7th Report from the Joint Committee].—(Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Social Security (Incapacity Benefit) (Transitional) Regulations 1995

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, I beg to move that the second Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper be approved.

Moved, That the draft regulations laid before the House on 30th January be approved [7th Report from the Joint Committee].—(Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Environment Bill [H.L.]

8.39 p.m.

House again in Committee.

Clause 79 [Hedgerows]:

Lord Wade of Chorlton moved Amendment No. 309C:

Page 86, line 33, at beginning insert ("Subject to subsections (1A) and (1B) below").

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment I shall speak at the same time to Amendment No. 311B. We now reach that stage of the Bill where we begin to speak about hedgerows. This Bill lays down that,

    "The appropriate Ministers may by regulations make provision for, or in connection with, the protection of important hedgerows in England or Wales".

I am sure that all Members of the Committee will agree with me that most of the hedgerows which we see are part of someone's farming business and, as such, they

9 Feb 1995 : Column 392

can be an important management tool in the effective running of the farm. I accept that there are now many people who are concerned over the loss of certain hedgerows. In certain parts of Britain there has been a great loss of hedgerows. In the north-west, which is my part of the country, there has been very little change in the hedgerows for hundreds of years in certain livestock farming areas. I have to declare an interest in farming although I have never made any pecuniary gain from it.

I am worried that the legislation will impose unnecessary regulations upon people who are trying to run a legitimate business and give regulatory bodies the right to look over farms and take action against farmers who are trying to run a legitimate business.

What is a hedgerow? What is "important"? And important to whom? There will clearly be enormous differences of opinion about what is important or who sees it as important. Our amendments propose that before Ministers make regulations in accordance with the clause they should,

    "consult with such organisations as appear to them to be representative of interests substantially affected by their proposals; and consult such other persons as they consider appropriate",


    "If it appears to the Ministers, as a result of the consultation required by subsection (1A) above, that it is appropriate to vary the whole or any part of their proposals, they shall undertake such further consultation with respect to the variations as appears to them to be approriate".

By the amendments we are trying to insert on the face of the Bill a requirement that the Minister consult all those involved—representatives of the industry and the farmers involved—and appreciate that their views need to be taken into consideration. Whatever business we may be in, we are all aware of the problems caused by over-zealous regulatory bodies.

What worries me about the proposals in the Bill is that they may do exactly that: create another over-zealous organisation made up of local people whose idea of what might be important may be entirely different and impact seriously upon a farmer's business. Farming is still the greatest and most important industry in this country. We need to consider the impact the Bill will have on that industry.

I hope that the Government will respond positively to the amendments. I want the Government to appreciate how important these issues are to those who live and work in the countryside. I hope they will take into account what I and others say on this matter and will include a sensible consultation procedure which will avoid unnecessarily over-zealous regulation. I beg to move.

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon: I shall speak to Amendments Nos. 309D, 311C, and 323A. Although I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Wade, about the importance of consultation, I disagree about the people who should be consulted about hedgerows. This is clearly an enabling clause and therefore extremely weak. We have had enabling clauses in previous Bills, which have never come into effect. The amendments try to put rather more solid flesh upon the bones of this clause.

9 Feb 1995 : Column 393

Amendment No. 309D sets a deadline for the Minister to make regulations for the protection of hedgerows. Although I agree with the noble Lord that there should be consultation, Amendment No. 311C suggests that the definition of "important hedgerows" should be set out in regulations by the Minister after he has consulted the local authorities which represent local people who may have ideas about which hedgerows in their locality are the important ones. Amendment No. 323A is consequential upon that consultation with local authorities.

In the next group of amendments we shall discuss in greater detail why hedgerows should be considered important, but in this group of amendments the intention is to shore up the clause by setting a deadline for the Minister and setting down that there should be consultation with local authorities before the important hedgerows are defined.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: I added my name to Amendment No. 309C, because the whole clause seemed to me to be reminiscent of that lovely clerihew that was reported by the learned Sir Robert Megarry in his wonderful book Miscellany-at-Law. He wrote:

    "If anything shall seem, then the Minister may deem:

    A certificate of demption provides completion exemption".

The clause can mean anything or nothing. Before it means anything, and before anyone will do anything, it is incumbent upon the authorities to consult the people who will be affected. If the noble Baroness, Lady Hilton, had really wanted to alarm the agricultural industry, she could hardly have done it more effectively. She thinks that the most important people to be concerned about this are the local authorities. Anyone who has suffered at the hands of local authority planning departments, and the somewhat junior and often completely unskilled clerks who determine what the size of a window shall be, how high a roof shall be, or what sort of material the building should be constructed of, realise that people will have no confidence in them whatsoever.

If the clause is not implemented carefully it will drive an awful web of discord among the agricultural industry, nature lovers, local authorities and all the parties who have an interest in the well being and conservation of the countryside. When my noble friend said that the most important thing needed is a process of consultation, I cheerfully added my name to his amendments. I hope that my noble friend the Minister will be able to give us some comfort.

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