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Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove: My Lords, I understand the point made by the Minister about the records and competition and the disadvantage that could be incurred by people doing specific work of whatever nature for the agency. But I find it difficult to believe that there is any great loss in payment at local photocopying rates, when one considers that practically every new post office in the country has a little machine in the corner from which for two or three shillings (in old money) a member of staff could obtain copies. Also,

2 Mar 2002 : Column 1699

most libraries have a machine that will make copies. It makes one wonder whether there is any eagerness to let the public know what is happening.

The Earl of Lindsay: Perhaps I may point out that this point was touched on earlier at Committee stage. The photocopying machine in the corner of a post office or library which charges a certain number of pence per copy is a machine to which you take the information that you have brought to the premises, photocopy it yourself and again leave the premises. With SEPA you may go in and request information which may not even be stored in that building and which has to be retrieved from another building, and so on. There is a worry that a disproportionate amount of SEPA's resources may be deployed in simply retrieving pieces of paper from other buildings at too low a cost in these circumstances.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove: My Lords, the speech of the Minister cleared up some points. I have no objection to such a situation in that there are bound to be delays and so forth, as there are with wills and things like that. But after a certain time a will can be obtained merely by going to the appropriate office in Edinburgh. We are not suggesting that a person should be able to go to a village in Scotland and demand that somebody be sent to obtain a record. The individual involved must obtain it.

I have a feeling that we are not going to get a great deal further with this matter tonight. We have raised the point and I hope that at some future date we shall be able to look at it again—perhaps not in this Bill but in some other Bill. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments No 72 to 74 not moved.]

The Earl of Kintore had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 75:


Page 25, line 29, at end insert:
("(4) The Secretary of State shall consult the bodies and persons specified in subsection (5) below before giving guidance under subsection (1) above.
(5) The bodies and persons mentioned in subsection (4) above are—
(a) SEPA;
(b) Scottish Natural Heritage;
(c) Historic Scotland;
(d) Scottish Enterprise;
(e) Highlands and Islands Enterprise;
(f) the East of Scotland Water Authority;
(g) the West of Scotland Water Authority;
(h) the North of Scotland Water Authority;
(i) such bodies, representing the owners and occupiers of land, and industry in Scotland, as the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to consult; and
(j) such other persons as he considers it appropriate to consult.").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his comments and look forward to the Government's amendment at Third Reading. In the meantime, I shall not move the amendment.

2 Mar 2002 : Column 1700

[Amendment No. 75 not moved.]

Clause 30 [General environmental and recreational duties]:

[Amendments Nos. 76 and 77 not moved.]

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendment No. 78:


Page 25, line 36, after ("architectural") insert (", engineering").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 43. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Earl of Kintore moved Amendment No. 79:


Page 25, line 40, at end insert "and—
(d) to have regard to the needs of agriculture, fisheries and forestry;
(e) to have regard to the need for social and economic development in Scotland or any part of Scotland; and
(f) to have regard to the interest of owners and occupiers of land and of local communities.").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I can be brief in speaking to this amendment following the acceptance of the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Wade of Chorlton. I hope the Secretary of State for Scotland will be able to consider the Scottish aspect in Amendment No. 79 before Third Reading. I beg to move.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, in supporting Amendment No. 79 I shall recall what I said in relation to the amendment of my noble friend Lord Wade.

I begin by reminding your Lordships of the passage of the Natural Heritage (Scotland) Bill through your Lordships' House. Clause 3 of the SNH Act includes the words,


    "it shall be the duty of SNH in exercising its functions to take such account as may be appropriate in the circumstances of".

It then goes on to identify various categories which SNH is obliged to consider, including,


    "(b) the needs of agriculture, fisheries and forestry; ... (e) the interests of owners and occupiers of land; and (f) the interests of local communities".

I think I am right in saying that all those categories were inserted into the SNH Bill either by Divisions in your Lordships' House or by agreement with my noble friend Lord Strathclyde, who was in charge of the Bill. Here again, exactly the same arguments apply to our consideration of SEPA's duties (especially when they are physically linked with those of the Secretary of State as they are in the first line of Clause 30) as applied to our consideration of SNH's duties in 1991, which then led us to make the changes in that Bill to which I referred.

In those circumstances I hope that my noble friend will feel able to consult with those of us who are interested in the clause before he brings forward amendments similar to the ones made to Clause 7 earlier this evening.

The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, Amendment No. 79, moved by the noble Earl, Lord Kintore, and spoken to by my noble friend Lord Pearson of Rannoch, would place balancing duties on the Secretary of State and SEPA in relation to agriculture, fisheries and forestry, social and economic development and the interests of owners and occupiers of land and of local communities.

2 Mar 2002 : Column 1701

I envisage that the matters addressed by this amendment will be covered by the guidance we will issue under Clause 29. Nevertheless, I shall consider further whether additional balancing duties should be written on the face of the Bill. The Government will bring forward their own amendment at Third Reading. In framing our amendment, we shall certainly wish to take the noble Earl's amendment into account during our deliberations, and indeed everything that has been said tonight. We shall also want to look at any implications for Scotland resulting from the amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Wade to Clause 7 in relation to the environment agency for England and Wales. On that basis, I invite the noble Earl to withdraw his amendment.

The Earl of Kintore: My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for his reply. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 80 not moved.]

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendment No. 81:


Page 26, line 3, after ("architectural") insert (", engineering").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 43. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 82 not moved.]

Clause 32 [General duties with respect to water]:

[Amendments Nos. 83 to 85 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 86 not moved.]

Clause 35 [Incidental general functions]:

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendment No. 87:


Page 29, line 21, after ("property") insert ("and").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, this amendment is grouped with Amendments Nos. 88 and 89. I shall speak to all three amendments. Amendment No. 88, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, seeks to delete the power under Clause 35(1) (b) for the environment agency to institute criminal proceedings. I would stress that the NRA already has this power under Section 4(1) (b). The NRA has made good use of this power. In the circumstances, I am not persuaded that the agency should be denied the power which the NRA now has and has needed to use in order to carry out its functions. I am sure that my noble friend will want to speak to the amendment but I have indicated that I believe that the power is required. Indeed, in Committee I undertook to consider an amendment from my noble friend Lord Crickhowell about the agency's ability to institute civil proceedings also. I am giving careful consideration to what might need to be done in this respect. However, I wish to clarify the position which we have been discussing about the environment agency's powers under Clause 35(1) to institute criminal proceedings. Amendments Nos. 87 and 89 are minor and technical government amendments which make it clear that the environment agency and not SEPA has the power to bring criminal proceedings and that it may do so only in respect of England and Wales. I beg to move.


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