Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Stanley of Alderley: Before my noble friend replies, perhaps I may point out that there is an urgent need to provide productive work in the countryside and, for better or worse, fish farmers do that. I speak as a fisherman rather than as a fish farmer. When my noble friend replies, I hope that he will make quite sure that costly restrictions and practices are not placed on fish farmers.

Earl Howe: The amendment spoken to by my noble friend Lord Mills would have the effect of requiring the intakes and outfalls of fish farms to be fitted with gratings to prevent salmon and migratory trout from becoming trapped.

The fitting of gratings to fish farms is something that has been recommended by the Government's own Salmon Advisory Committee. We do, therefore, have some sympathy with what my noble friend has proposed. Nevertheless, it is clear, as I am sure he will acknowledge, that such a requirement would impose a financial burden on fish farmers, both in terms of the initial cost of buying and installing the gratings and of the ongoing cost of maintaining them and keeping them free from debris. I note the concern of my noble friend Lord Stanley on that issue. It is a point that cannot be ignored. Moreover, the amendment would have the effect of applying the requirement immediately to all fish farms. That would clearly be unreasonable.

The Government would therefore like to consider the amendment in more depth and, if appropriate, will bring forward a suitable amendment in due course. I should like to reassure my noble friend Lord Mills that, in considering the whole issue, we shall bear in mind his suggestion that gratings on outfalls should equally be

14 Feb 1995 : Column 624

capable of preventing the escape of farmed fish. Meanwhile, I hope that my noble friend will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Crickhowell: I have listened with some sympathy to the argument that we must not impose unreasonable costs on fish farmers. However, it is relevant to point out that if fish escape because the proper grilles are not in place, costs and losses can arise for others. Not very long ago, as chairman of the National Rivers Authority, I paid a visit to the West Country. A special meeting was convened of local hoteliers and others interested in the tourist trade who expressed their serious concern about the impact of escaping fish on the business of hotels which concentrated on fishing. People visited those hotels in order to fish for wild trout, but were faced with rivers filled with trout that had been bred. That was not what they were after. It was put to me that that was having a detrimental and damaging impact on the tourist industry in that valley.

Again, it is a matter of balancing different interests. When my noble friend considers the matter again, I hope that he will realise that we are not talking only about burdens, but are addressing a real problem about which other people are expressing a good deal of concern.

Earl Howe: I take on board my noble friend's points. We shall consider that part of the equation very carefully. As my noble friend said, it is a matter of balancing the different interests.

Viscount Mills: I am grateful to my noble friend the Minister and am encouraged by what he has said. I look forward to seeing the Government's amendment at a later stage. Therefore, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 335B:


Page 165, line 36, at end insert:
(" .—(1) In section 35 of that Act (power to require production of fishing licences) in subsection (3), for the words "the National Rivers Authority" there shall be substituted the words "the Agency".
(2) For subsection (4) of that section (definition of "the appropriate office of the National Rivers Authority") there shall be substituted—
"(4) In subsection (3) above, "the appropriate office of the Agency" means—

(a) in a case where the person requiring the production of the licence or other authority specifies a particular office of the Agency for its production, that office; and

(b) in any other case, any office of the Agency;


and for the purposes of that subsection where a licence or other authority which any person has been required to produce is sent by post to an office of the Agency that licence or other authority shall be treated as produced by that person at that office."
. In paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to that Act (close seasons and close times) for the words "the National Rivers Authority" there shall be substituted the words "the Agency".

The Diseases of Fish Act 1983

. In section 9(1) (d) of the Diseases of Fish Act 1983 (disclosure of information for the purpose of enabling the National Rivers Authority to carry out any of its functions) for the words "the National Rivers Authority" there shall be substituted the words "the Environment Agency".

14 Feb 1995 : Column 625

The Salmon Act 1986

. In section 37(3) of the Salmon Act 1986 (byelaws requiring consent of the National Rivers Authority) for the words "the National Rivers Authority has" there shall be substituted the words "the Environment Agency has".").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 12, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 88 [Control of pollution water in Scotland]:

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendment No. 335C:


Page 96, line 22, leave out ("(which amends the control of pollution of rivers and coastal waters)") and insert ("to this Act (which amends the Control of Pollution Act 1974 as respects the control of pollution of rivers and coastal waters in Scotland)").

The noble Viscount said: My noble friend Lord Howe spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 335ZBA. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 88, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 13 agreed to.

Clause 89 [Statutory nuisances: Scotland]:

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendment No. 335D:


Page 96, line 24, after ("Act") insert ("(which makes provision with respect to statutory nuisances in Scotland)").

The noble Viscount said: Again, my noble friend Lord Howe spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 335ZBA. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 89, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 14 agreed to.

5.45 p.m.

Clause 90 [Powers of enforcing authorities and persons authorised by them]:

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon moved Amendment No. 335E:


Page 97, line 15, at end insert ("including carrying out experimental borings or other works on the premises and installing and keeping monitoring and other apparatus there.").

The noble Baroness said: This is an exploratory group of amendments, dealing with other legislation that will be amended by this Bill, and asking for explanations about why, in some cases, powers have been reduced. In speaking to Amendment No. 335E, I should like to speak also to Amendments Nos. 336C, 338A, 342ZB, 342ZC, 342ZD and 401ZA.

The first amendment probes the variation from the power contained in the Water Resources Act 1991, which has been disapplied in this legislation. It suggests that when entering premises there should be a power to examine and investigate what are possibly polluted areas and waters. It suggests that, in addition to the power to examine and investigate, there should also be a power to carry out experimental borings or other works on the premises, as provided under the Water Resources Act. We therefore wondered why that power has not been transferred into the current legislation.

Similarly, there are powers under Amendments Nos. 342ZB, 342ZC and 342ZD which relate to the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act. The

14 Feb 1995 : Column 626

amendments attempt to clear up some confusion which might arise. As drafted, Clause 92(2) defines the offence as failing,


    "to comply with any requirement imposed under section 90".

But Clause 90 lists the "powers" of enforcing authorities and those authorised by them. The other word used is "requirements". The amendment is an attempt to refer to both and to make clear what is meant by "requirements".

Amendment No. 401ZA suggests that it might be possible to absorb the statutory nuisance entry power into the consolidated entry power that is given by this legislation.

In general, the group of amendments is intended to explore why the current powers of entry and examination of possible pollution have been reduced from those contained in the Water Resources Act. This is also an attempt to clarify references in this part of the Bill and to make them logically consistent with those in other parts of the Bill. I beg to move.

Viscount Ullswater: Amendment No. 335E, which has been moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Hilton, seeks to include in Clause 90(2) powers for an enforcing authority to carry out experimental borings or other works on relevant premises—

Lord Williams of Elvel: I am sorry to interrupt the Minister at such an early stage of his reply, but I understand that this group of amendments contains Amendments Nos. 337 and 338. I do not know whether the noble Lord in whose name they stand wishes to speak to them before the Minister replies—


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page