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Lord Norrie: My Lords, I am very disappointed by the Minister's reply. He seems to be telling me that the status in law of "further" and "have regard to" are identical and that the progress we have witnessed under the NRA in recent years is not due to its duty to further conservation. I wish that I could be as optimistic. Those who have monitored the progress of the NRA closely will testify to the enormous value of the duty to further conservation whereas the term "have regard to" has been used for nearly 30 years without having anything like the same effect.

20 Mar 1995 : Column 1028

My amendment may be unduly cumbersome, but I do not claim to be an expert in drafting. Moreover, I do not share the Minister's concern about the agency's ability to draw up criteria to guide its use of the terms "furtherance" and "have regard to" respectively.

All along the Minister has told us how effective the new agency will be. I cannot believe that a task of the kind proposed could not be achieved. I have taken note of the heartening level of support I received for an appropriate amendment at Committee and Report stages. Bearing in mind the enormous anxiety both inside and outside this House which the issue continues to generate, I wish to test the opinion of the House.

3.48 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 5) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 91; Not-Contents, 150.

Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Addington, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Barber of Tewkesbury, L.
Barnett, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Birk, B.
Blackstone, B.
Bottomley, L.
Bridges, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Carter, L.
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
David, B.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Diamond, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Ennals, L.
Ezra, L.
Falkender, B.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Fitt, L.
Foot, L.
Gallacher, L.
Glenamara, L.
Grey, E.
Halsbury, E.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harrowby, E.
Haskel, L.
Hayter, L.
Healey, L.
Henniker, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hughes, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Listowel, E.
Longford, E.
Lovell-Davis, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Mayhew, L.
McCarthy, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L. [Teller.]
Nathan, L.
Nicol, B.
Norrie, L. [Teller.] [Teller.]
Northfield, L.
Ogmore, L.
Peston, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Richard, L.
Rochester, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury, L.
Seear, B.
Serota, B.
Shannon, E.
Shepherd, L.
Stallard, L.
Stedman, B.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Wallace of Coslany, L.
Walpole, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
White, B.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Wilson of Tillyorn, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.

NOT-CONTENTS

Aberdare, L.
Ailsa, M.
Aldington, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Ampthill, L.
Annaly, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Astor, V.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Blyth, L.
Borthwick, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Brigstocke, B.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruntisfield, L.
Burton, L.
Butterworth, L.
Cadman, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Cayzer, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Chelmer, L.
Chelmsford, V.
Chesham, L.
Clanwilliam, E.
Coleridge, L.
Constantine of Stanmore, L.
Courtown, E.
Cox, B.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Cullen of Ashbourne, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Davidson, V.
De Freyne, L.
De L'Isle, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Derwent, L.
Digby, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Downshire, M.
Dundonald, E.
Eden of Winton, L.
Effingham, E.
Ellenborough, L.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Faithfull, B.
Ferrers, E.
Finsberg, L.
Fisher, L.
Flather, B.
Fraser of Kilmorack, L.
Gainford, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Gisborough, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Gridley, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harris of High Cross, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Headfort, M.
Henley, L.
Hives, L.
Hogg, B.
Hood, V.
Inglewood, L. [Teller.]
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Johnston of Rockport, L.
Killearn, L.
Kinnoull, E.
Kintore, E.
Knollys, V.
Lauderdale, E.
Lindsay, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, E.
Long, V.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Lucas, L.
Lytton, E.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Macleod of Borve, B.
Manchester, D.
Mar, C.
Marlesford, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Merrivale, L.
Mersey, V.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Milverton, L.
Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Morris, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moyne, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Nelson, E.
Norfolk, D.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Orr-Ewing, L.
Oxfuird, V.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Rankeillour, L.
Rawlings, B.
Renton, L.
Renwick, L.
Rodger of Earlsferry, L.
Romney, E.
Sandford, L.
Seccombe, B.
Sempill, Ly.
Shaughnessy, L.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Slim, V.
St. Davids, V.
Stafford, L.
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Strathcarron, L.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Sudeley, L.
Terrington, L.
Teviot, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Tollemache, L.
Trumpington, B.
Ullswater, V.
Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Vivian, L.
Wharton, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

20 Mar 1995 : Column 1030

3.57 p.m.

[Amendment No. 6 not moved.]

Clause 25 [Power of SEPA to purchase land compulsorily]:

Lord Pearson of Rannoch moved Amendment No. 7:


Page 24, line 23, at end insert:
("(3) where the Secretary of State or SEPA has prepared a proposal which involves the compulsory acquisition of land, a compulsory purchase order shall be subject to special parliamentary procedure in any case where an objection has been duly made by the owner of the land and has not been withdrawn.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I regret that the amendment appears on the Marshalled List in the name of my noble friend Lord Stanley of Alderley. I trust that that has not conferred an authority upon it which it would not otherwise deserve. I should say in support of that that the amendment is supported by both the Scottish Landowners' Federation and the National Farmers' Union of Scotland.

As we said at Report stage, the purpose of the amendment is to ensure that there will be some mechanism for protecting the rights of an individual whose land is affected by a compulsory purchase order. Those of us who support the amendment take the position that the Secretary of State cannot effectively act as the guardian of the individual's interest because he is effectively in control of everything that SEPA does, both in matters of policy and in matters of detail. I refer your Lordships to Clauses 29 and 38(1) to confirm that.

In our view the Secretary of State therefore has a conflict of interest. I understand—and I should be grateful if my noble friend would confirm it—that SEPA's compulsory purchase powers could be exercised only in relation to its statutory functions. Those are to be found entirely in Clause 21 of the Bill. Their use therefore requires to be authorised by the Secretary of State; if there were any objections, he would be obliged to set up a public local inquiry, as specified in the Acquisition of Land (Authorisation Procedure) (Scotland) Act 1947.

The point remains one of principle. If there are to be compulsory purchase powers, they should be adequately framed and there should be adequate protection for the individual whose land is affected. It may be that SEPA, as at present envisaged, will not have any great need to use such compulsory acquisition powers. I would be grateful if, in responding, my noble friend could confirm in some detail the statutory functions for which compulsory purchase powers may be used. For example, can he confirm whether or not those powers could be used in connection with establishing a system of integrated river catchment management? I look forward to his answer. I beg to move.


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