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Lord Williams of Elvel moved Amendment No. 345B:


Page 106, line 20, leave out subsection (5).

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment it may be for the convenience of the Committee if I also address Amendment No. 346, standing in the name of the noble Viscount, Lord Ullswater. The Bill as drafted provides for the Secretary of State to exempt any Crown premises from the powers contained in the Bill if he believes that it is in the interests of national security. We take the view that there needs to be a much clearer definition of when such a dispensation shall be available or used.

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There are instances where property or operations covered by Crown immunity have resulted in serious acts of pollution. A particular case in point is the extremely damaging effects that radioactive and other discharges have had on the ground water beneath the Aldermaston plant. If the Bill is left as it is, its provisions would also seem to be against the general tenor of more openness on environmental matters which we believe is both demanded by the public and to some extent recognised by sites formerly covered by Crown immunity. An example is that, as I understand it, the present canteens are now subject to health and safety legislation whereas they had Crown immunity before.

I accept that this is a probing amendment and I hope that the Government will take that line. In the light of that explanation and to encourage more openness we would like to see a much clearer definition of when the dispensation written into the Bill will be used. I beg to move.

Viscount Ullswater: This amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Williams, seeks to remove the subsection which gives the Secretary of state power to issue a certificate under Clause 96. With certain limited exceptions, the provisions of this Bill would bind the Crown; and would give the Secretary of State power, where he thinks fit, to issue a certificate that it is not in the interests of national security that the powers of entry be exercised in relation to certain Crown premises.

I recognise that the noble Lord is concerned about exemptions to the way in which this Bill is applied to the Crown, but I consider it to be quite unacceptable for this power to be removed. The subsection is well precedented. It mirrors an existing provision in Section 159(4) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which, for the same reasons, we are not proposing to amend. I believe it is essential that if the exercise of any power of entry under this Bill to particular Crown premises could pose a threat to national security, the Secretary of State should have the ability to exempt those premises as appropriate.

Considering what the noble Lord has said, it is difficult to come up with a proposal which might satisfy him and yet protect the power of the Secretary of State. I should like to see whether this power can be looked at in view of what he has said. For the reasons I have indicated, I believe that it is quite unacceptable for the power to be removed.

Lord Williams of Elvel: I am most grateful to the noble Viscount. I agree with him in that I do not want the power removed. As I explained, this is a probing amendment. However, the expression "national security" is one which the noble Viscount might wish to think about and perhaps define a little more for us either in the context of the Bill itself and on the face of the Bill or by some future document in the form of a letter or a statement in the course of the passage of the Bill. We are worried that it is unclear what "national security" means. It could mean, for instance, action against riots or civil disobedience, which can come into national security. We need a little more from the Government on this. I understand that the noble

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Viscount is going to look at the matter to see what he can provide for us. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 96 agreed to.

Clause 97 agreed to.

Schedule 17 [Application of certain other enactments to the Crown]:

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendment No. 346:


Page 178, leave out lines 21 to 24.

The noble Viscount said: This is a minor technical government amendment which removes a duplicate reference in Schedule 17 to the Crown Proceedings Act 1947. Reference in subsection (8) of the amended Section 221 of the Water Industry Act 1991 which this amendment will delete is in fact already included in subsection (5). I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 17, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 98 agreed to.

Clause 99 [Application of certain other enactments to the Isles of Scilly]:

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendments Nos. 347 to 349:


Page 108, line 36, at end insert:
("(4) The power of the Secretary of State to make an order under this section shall be exercisable by statutory instrument subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament."").
Page 109, line 8 at end insert:
("(4) The power of the Secretary of State to make an order under this section shall be exercisable by statutory instrument subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament."").
Page 109, leave out lines 9 and 10 and insert:
(6) For section 75 of the Land Drainage Act 1991 (application to the Isles of Scilly) there shall be substituted—

"Application to the Isles of Scilly.

75.—(1) Subject to the provisions of any order under this section, this Act shall not apply in relation to the Isles of Scilly.
(2) The Secretary of State may, after consultation with the Council of the Isles of Scilly, by order provide for the application of any provisions of this Act to the Isles of Scilly; and any such order may provide for the application of those provisions to those Isles with such modifications as may be specified in the order.
(3) An order under this section may—
(a) make different provision for different cases, including different provision in relation to different persons, circumstances or localities; and
(b) contain such supplemental, consequential and transitional provision as the Secretary of State considers appropriate, including provision saving provision repealed by or under any enactment.
(4) The power of the Secretary of State to make an order under this section shall be exercisable by statutory instrument subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament."").

The noble Viscount said: In speaking to Amendment No. 347, I wish to address also Amendments Nos. 348, 349 and 402. In our Memorandum to the Delegated

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Powers Scrutiny Committee we undertook to bring forward amendments to subsections (4) and (5) of Clause 99 to ensure that the Secretary of State's order-making powers should be subject to the negative resolution procedure.

Amendments Nos. 347 and 348 take forward this undertaking. These subsections provide that the Secretary of State may make orders after consultation with the Council of the Scilly Isles to apply the provisions of the Water Industry Act 1991 and the Water Resources Act 1991 to the isles with such modifications as may be specified. Amendments Nos. 349 and 402 ensure that the provisions of the Land Drainage Act may also be applied to the Isles of Scilly by order. I beg to move.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 99, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 100 agreed to.

Clause 101 agreed to.

Clause 102 [Local statutory provisions: consequential amendments etc.]:

[Amendment No. 349A not moved.]

Clause 102 agreed to.

Clause 103 [Directions]:

Lord Williams of Elvel moved Amendment No. 350:


Page 111, line 40, at end insert:
("(6) A draft of any directions proposed to be issued by the Ministers, or either of them, or the Secretary of State under this Act shall be laid before each House of Parliament and shall not be issued until after the period of 40 days beginning with the day on which the draft was so laid or, if the draft is laid on different days, the latter of the two days.
(7) If, within the period mentioned in subsection (6) above, either House resolves that the directions, the draft of which was laid before it, should not be issued, the Ministers, or either of them, or the Secretary of State shall not issue those directions.
(8) In reckoning any period of 40 days for the purposes of subsection (6) or (7) above, no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days.
(9) Any directions issued, and any draft of any directions proposed to be issued by either Agency under this Act shall be in writing and shall be published.").

The noble Lord said: This amendment stands in my name and that of my noble friend Lady Hilton. Clause 103 specifies that directions "shall be in writing". The directions come from the Secretary of State. It is our view that,


    "directions proposed to be issued by the Ministers"—

that is the expression that is used—


    "or the Secretary of State under this Act",

should be reviewed by Parliament in a proper manner. We consider that ministerial and agency directions should be made public as a matter of law. The whole thrust of the policy on sustainable development has to be seen to be implemented in all the directions which the Government give to the agencies—either that in England and Wales or SEPA. I do not see that there can be much difficulty for the Government in conceding that Parliament ought to have an opportunity to comment on

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the directions to ensure that it can follow and, if necessary, correct the Government's policy with regard to the agencies. I beg to move.


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