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Lord Moran: My Lords, will the Minister consider asking the Department of Transport, when it rightly considers aspects of road safety and reducing the

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number of road accidents—which I am sure we all support—to use white lighting rather than yellow, sodium lighting?

Viscount Ullswater: My Lords, I shall certainly bring the noble Lord's words to the attention of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport.

Lord Northbourne: My Lords, I have read the research to which the noble Viscount refers. The figure of 30 per cent. savings in accidents has some justification. However, what is not at all well researched is the possibility of alternative solutions such as putting barriers down the centre of roads so that drivers are not subjected to the glare of oncoming lights. There has been only one rather inadequate piece of research on that.

However, leaving that aside, I am most grateful to the Minister for the assurances which he has given that the agency will be responsible for the beauty of the landscape, for water and, I hope, the sky, by day and by night. This is an important commitment by the Government for which I am grateful. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Greenway moved Amendment No. 32:

Page 7, line 3, after ("recreational") insert ("and navigational").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, on Second Reading, I voiced the concern of those who used the navigations and the waterways that their interests might well be squeezed between the larger, and admittedly more important, building blocks that will go towards making up the new agency. To try to diminish that, I have endeavoured to raise the profile of navigation in a number of amendments, including one in Committee which would have provided a duty to maintain, improve and develop the navigations on a similar basis to fisheries. The Minister did not think fit to accept that amendment, and I am mindful of his advice that the basic intention of the Bill is to transfer the existing NRA powers and duties to the new agency. I should like to make it quite clear that I do not wish to increase any financial commitment for the new agency or for users.

With that in mind, I am proposing a new amendment which would specifically define navigational interests as well as recreation in order to highlight the promotion of navigation as a recreation. I recognise that my drafting is open to question and that the amendment may well go rather further than I am intending, but I am open to considering any form of wording at a later stage which might achieve the required objective.

I have previously paid tribute to the National Rivers Authority, and I should like now to compliment the regional managers who are involved with navigation on the way in which they have tackled their responsibilities. I also welcome the identification of an NRA board member to have specific responsibility for navigation, and the national meeting of user groups which I believe is due to take place next week.

I suggest that the promotion of navigation would be in line with those initiatives and would not place an undue financial commitment on the new agency. As it would

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be the agency's management that decides priorities, it would not seek to give navigation a priority over other activities, including fishing. I feel that the recent moves by NRA's head office, to which I have just referred, indicate an increased awareness of the importance of navigation and I believe that the new promotional duty would build upon that awareness. I beg to move.

Lord Mottistone: My Lords, I very much support the amendment. It is important that navigation on inland waterways should receive its proper due. From all that the noble Lord, Lord Greenway, said about the NRA, it is obviously working in the right direction. However, it seems to me that so many other activities are encompassed within the clause that it is only reasonable that navigation, which is increasingly important to our inland waterways, should receive its mention in the statute. Therefore, even if my noble friend the Minister wants to alter the wording of the amendment, I hope that he will accept the principle of it.

Lord McNair: My Lords, I very much support the amendment. In terms of the number of people who are involved as suppliers and customers, and in terms of the geographical area of our inland waterways, it seems unfortunate that the legislation seems to leave the waterways as the Cinderella of the family of responsibilities. If the Government cannot accept the wording of this amendment, I very much hope that they will suggest something similar.

Lord Burnham: My Lords, I too support the noble Lord, Lord Greenway, in his amendment. The emphasis of the Bill is placed so heavily on recreation that "navigation" in this sense probably has a more professional air than is intended in the context of "recreation".

As the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, as governor of the Isle of Wight is only too well aware, in many coastal areas there is permanently a very difficult and edgy confrontation between professional and amateur users of the waters. That relationship is working extremely well in the Solent with a good deal of common sense being used on both sides. Perhaps it is a little less successful in terms of fishing and the recreational users of the waters.

If the environment is to be protected properly, the different interests of those two groups—the professional users, who may be said to use it for navigation; and the recreational users, who may not mind so much where they go provided that they go somewhere—must both be recognised and should be included in the Bill.

Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal: My Lords, in supporting the amendment, I should like to ask the Minister a question which perhaps goes a little further. If we do not include in the Bill some words such as those suggested by the noble Lord, Lord Greenway, are we not in danger of leaving those who wish to promote navigation completely at a disadvantage as against the environmentalists who wish to stop it? Surely that is not what we are trying to achieve.

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I have a further point. In the case of canals, it is frequently the users for navigational purposes who ensure that the canals are kept navigable by keeping down weeds and other forms of pollution.

Lord Moran: My Lords, I have no quarrel at all with the amendment which has been moved by my noble friend Lord Greenway in an extremely moderate and persuasive manner. It is important that the new agency should balance carefully the conflicting interests in some areas between navigation and fisheries, and navigation and conservation. The NRA has been doing that. We should at all times be careful not to push that balance in one direction or another. The NRA has been excellent in that regard. It has been both conscientious and careful. I am sure that the environment agency will be equally careful.

Viscount Ullswater: My Lords, I have listened carefully to the arguments put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Greenway, and other noble Lords in asking the House to consider amending Clause 6 to draw attention to the agency's duty to promote our inland and coastal waters for navigation for recreational purposes, although, I am advised that technically, as worded, the amendment would apply to navigation for all purposes. That presents a problem when we are talking about coastal waters.

I have to say that I see no reason to expect that the agency would not promote water recreation any less efficiently than the National Rivers Authority. Clearly, leisure boating is a recreational use of water and the duty to promote such uses where desirable is already included in Clause 6(1) (c), and is a duty which we expect the agency to take seriously. I believe that the concerns expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Strathcona, are already being taken care of by that duty.

As I have said, although we have considered the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Greenway, carefully, the word "navigational" presents difficulties. I think that the noble Lord, Lord Moran, is right. We need to have a balance between the desires of the various sides who use our waterways.

More widely, noble Lords will be aware that the Government have recently published a consultation paper, as I have mentioned, seeking views on the future arrangements for the management of the navigations which are currently operated by British Waterways and the NRA. We are looking to the responses to that consultation to advise us on what changes, if any, should be made in respect of those navigations. Prior to that, we are not looking to make any changes to present responsibilities.

Having said that, although I understand the concerns of the noble Lord, Lord Greenway, I ask him to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Greenway: My Lords, I am grateful to noble Lords on all sides of the House who have supported me in the amendment. I must advise my noble friend Lord Moran that it has never been the aim of the boating interests to try to achieve more than what the fishing interests have already. My noble friend mentioned a balance. That is what we are anxious to achieve. It is to

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that end that I have been endeavouring to raise the profile of navigation—not perhaps to the level that fisheries already enjoy, but to somewhat nearer that.

I am slightly disappointed by what the Minister has said. I take his point about the consultation document, but my concern is how long it will take to get the replies and for the Government to assess them and decide which way they will go. In the meantime, we may well have the new agency. I am concerned about bridging the gap before we can move forward perhaps to an ultimate solution as a result of the review document. I should like to consider what all noble Lords have said. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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