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COMMONS AMENDMENTS
87Clause 55, page 63, line 17, leave out 'Act' and insert 'Chapter'.
88Page 63, line 18, leave out from 'mine,' to end of line 20 and insert:
'(A) subject to paragraph (B) below, includes—'.
89Page 63, line 21, after 'of' insert 'any or all of the'.
90Page 63, leave out lines 23 to 25 and insert:
'(c) the cessation of working of any relevant seam, vein or vein-system;
(cc) the cessation of use of any shaft or outlet of the mine;'.
91Page 63, line 34, at end insert 'but
(B) does not include—
(i) any disclaimer under section 178 or 315 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (power of liquidator, or trustee of a bankrupt's estate, to disclaim onerous property) by the official receiver acting in a compulsory capacity; or
(ii) the abandonment of any rights, interests or liabilities by the Accountant in Bankruptcy acting as permanent or interim trustee in a sequestration (within the meaning of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985);'.
92Page 63, leave out lines 36 to 45.
93Page 63, line 49, at end insert:
'"acting in a compulsory capacity", in the case of the official receiver, means acting as—
(a) liquidator of a company;
(b) receiver or manager of a bankrupt's estate, pursuant to section 287 of the Insolvency Act 1986;
(c) trustee of a bankrupt's estate;
(d) liquidator of an insolvent partnership;
(e) trustee of an insolvent partnership;
(f) trustee, or receiver or manager, of the insolvent estate of a deceased person;'.
94Page 64, line 1, leave out from 'Act' to end of line 18 and insert:
'"the official receiver" has the same meaning as it has in the Insolvency Act 1986 by virtue of section 399(1) of that Act;'.
95Page 64, line 21, leave out from end to second 'to' in line 24 and insert:
'"relevant seam, vein or vein-system", in the case of any mine, means any seam, vein or vein-system

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for the purpose of, or in connection with, whose working any excavation constituting or comprised in the mine was made.
Mine operators to give the Agency six months' notice of any proposed abandonment.

91B.—(1) If, in the case of any mine, there is to be an abandonment at any time after the expiration of the initial period, it shall be the duty of the operator of the mine'.
96Page 64, line 32, leave out '(2)' and insert '(1)'.
97Page 64, line 44, at end insert:
'(4A) Where the operator of a mine is—
(a) the official receiver acting in a compulsory capacity, or
(b) the Accountant in Bankruptcy acting as permanent or interim trustee in a sequestration (within the meaning of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985),
he shall not be guilty of an offence under subsection (3) above by reason of any failure to give the notice required by subsection (1) above if, as soon as reasonably practicable (whether before or after the abandonment), he gives to the Agency notice of the abandonment or proposed abandonment, containing such information as may be prescribed.
(4B) Where a person gives notice under subsection (1), (4) (b) or (4A) above, he shall publish prescribed particulars of, or relating to, the notice in one or more local newspapers circulating in the locality where the mine is situated.'.
98Page 64, line 47, leave out 'the' and insert 'an'.
99Page 64, line 48, leave out 'of a' and insert 'in the case of any'.
100Page 65, line 1, leave out from 'that,' to 'become' in line 3 and insert 'in consequence of the abandonment or proposed abandonment taking effect, any land has or is likely to'.
101Page 65, line 6, leave out 'that local authority' and insert 'the local authority in whose area that land is situated'.
102Clause 56, page 65, line 35, leave out 'Act' and insert 'Part'.
103Page 65, line 36, leave out from 'mine,' to end of line 38 and insert:
'(A) subject to paragraph (B) below, includes—'.
104Page 65, line 39, after 'of' insert 'any or all of the'.
105Page 65, leave out lines 41 to 43 and insert:
'(c) the cessation of working of any relevant seam, vein or vein-system;
(cc) the cessation of use of any shaft or outlet of the mine;'.
106Page 66, line 5, at end insert 'but
(B) does not include—
(a) the abandonment of any rights, interests or liabilities by the Accountant in Bankruptcy acting as permanent or interim trustee in a sequestration (within the meaning of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985); or
(b) any disclaimer under section 178 or 315 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (power of liquidator, or trustee of bankrupt's estate, to disclaim onerous property) by the official receiver acting in a compulsory capacity;'.
107Page 66, leave out lines 7 to 16.
108Page 66, leave out lines 19 to 40 and insert:
'"acting in a compulsory capacity", in the case of the official receiver, means acting as—
(a) liquidator of a company;
(b) receiver or manager of a bankrupt's estate, pursuant to section 287 of the Insolvency Act 1986;
(c) trustee of a bankrupt's estate;
(d) liquidator of an insolvent partnership;
(e) trustee of an insolvent partnership;

11 Jul 1995 : Column 1519


(f) trustee, or receiver or manager, of the insolvent estate of a deceased person;
"the official receiver" has the same meaning as it has in the Insolvency Act 1986 by virtue of section 399(1) of that Act;
"relevant seam, vein or vein-system", in the case of any mine, means any seam, vein or vein-system for the purpose of, or in connection with, whose working any excavation constituting or comprised in the mine was made.'.
109Page 66, line 42, leave out from beginning to second 'to' in line 44 and insert:
'Mine operators to give SEPA six months' notice of any proposed abandonment.

30Z.—(1) If, in the case of any mine, there is to be an abandonment at any time after the expiration of the initial period, it shall be the duty of the operator of the mine'.
110Page 67, line 2, leave out '(2)' and insert '(1)'.
111Page 67, line 14, at end insert:
'(4A) Where the operator of a mine is—
(a) the Accountant in Bankruptcy acting as permanent or interim trustee in a sequestration (within the meaning of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985); or
(b) the official receiver acting in a compulsory capacity,
he shall not be guilty of an offence under subsection (3) above by reason of any failure to give the notice required by subsection (1) above if, as soon as is reasonably practicable (whether before or after the abandonment), he gives to SEPA notice of the abandonment or proposed abandonment, containing such information as may be prescribed.
(4B) Where a person gives notice under subsection (1), (4) (b) or (4A) above, he shall publish prescribed particulars of, or relating to, the notice in one or more local newspapers circulating in the locality where the mine is situated.'.
112Page 67, line 17, leave out 'the' and insert 'an'.
113Page 67, line 18, leave out 'of a' and insert 'in the case of any'.
114Page 67, line 19, leave out from 'that,' to 'become' in line 21 and insert 'in consequence of the abandonment or proposed abandonment taking effect, any land has or is likely to'.
115Page 67, line 24, leave out 'that local authority' and insert 'the local authority in whose area that land is situated'.
116Clause 57, page 67, line 33, leave out 'after' and insert 'in'.
117Page 67, line 36, after 'waters)' insert 'after the words "an abandoned mine" there shall be inserted the words "or an abandoned part of a mine".
(1A) After that subsection'.
118Page 67, line 37, at end insert 'former'.
119Page 67, line 38, leave out 'if the mine in question became an abandoned mine' and insert 'or part of a mine if the mine or part in question became abandoned'.
120Page 67, line 39, at end insert:
'(3B) In determining for the purposes of subsection (3A) above whether a mine or part of a mine became abandoned before, on or after 31st December 1999 in a case where the mine or part has become abandoned on two or more occasions, of which—
(a) at least one falls on or before that date, and
(b) at least one falls after that date,
the mine or part shall be regarded as becoming abandoned after that date (but without prejudice to the operation of subsection (3) above in relation to that mine or part at, or in relation to, any time before the first of those occasions which falls after that date).
(3C) Where, immediately before a part of a mine becomes abandoned, that part is the only part of the mine not falling to be regarded as abandoned for the

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time being, the abandonment of that part shall not be regarded for the purposes of subsection (3A) or (3B) above as constituting the abandonment of the mine, but only of that part of it.".'.
121Page 68, line 5, after 'mine)' insert '(a)'.
122Page 68, line 7, at end insert '; and
(b) after the words "an abandoned mine" there shall be inserted the words "or an abandoned part of a mine".'.
123Page 68, line 9, at end insert 'former'.
124Page 68, line 10, leave out 'if the mine in question became an abandoned mine' and insert 'or part of a mine if the mine or part in question became abandoned'.
125Page 68, line 11, at end insert:
'(4B) Subsections (3B) and (3C) of section 89 above shall apply in relation to subsections (4) and (4A) above as they apply in relation to subsections (3) and (3A) of that section.".'.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, I beg to move that the House to agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 87 to 125. I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 229 to 233, 255 and 256.

The Government's intention, in moving the bulk of the amendments was to ensure that the provisions for pre-notification of the abandonment of mines, and for the removal of the defence and exemption in respect of mines abandoned after the end of 1999, should work as intended. The amendments also serve to make the legislation as clear as possible to the mine operators and owners affected.

I turn to Amendment No. 97. The noble Lords, Lord Ezra, Lord Beaumont of Whitley and Lord Moran, proposed an amendment which would have required a mine operator who served notice of abandonment on the agency to publish the notice in local newspapers as well. A similar amendment was also tabled in another place.

Having considered further the points raised on this proposal, the Government tabled Amendment No. 97 to meet substantially those points. It requires anyone serving a notice of abandonment on the agency to publish particulars of, or relating to, that notice in one or more newspapers circulating in the locality of the mine. Amendment No. 111 has the same effect in Scotland.

Amendments Nos. 118 and 123 amend the provisions in Clause 57 which refer to the removal of the defence against prosecution and the exemption from cost recovery from the owners and operators of mines abandoned after the end of 1999.

Your Lordships may recall that the removal of the defence and exemption was subject to amendments moved by my noble friend Lord Stanley of Alderley, which he regrettably put to a Division, and the Government lost. The Government have now agreed to accept the amendments. We have tabled further amendments (Amendments Nos. 229, 231 and 256) which will bring the law in Scotland into line with that approach. However, we were concerned that one aspect of the wording was unclear. It refers to,


    "the owner or operator of any mine or part of a mine if the mine of the part in question became abandoned after 31st December 1999".

We believe that that could be confusing as any abandoned mine is, by definition, not being operated. That will please my noble friend Lord Peyton: an abandoned mine is an abandoned mine—it is one that

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has been abandoned. The amendments therefore change the wording so that it refers to the "former operator", which clarifies what is meant.

With regard to Amendments Nos. 88, 91, 93, 94, 97, 103, 106, 108 and 111, we have had to have regard to the fact that sometimes the act of abandonment will accompany or follow the insolvency of the operator. We have had to look carefully at the position of office holders in liquidations and bankruptcies who would be prevented from notifying the abandonment of a mine promptly. Private sector office holders, of course, are allowed to review the cases they are offered, and have the right to refuse an appointment. The Official Receiver, on the other hand, when acting in the capacities listed in the amendments, has no choice. He cannot refuse to act. He might therefore be placed in a position of being compelled to continue some mining operations when there are no assets in the company to fund this, or face prosecution for a criminal offence. That would not of course be acceptable. These amendments, therefore, ensure that the Official Receiver, when acting in those capacities, does not commit an offence if he abandons a mine or part of a mine without giving six months' notice, providing he notifies the agency as soon as is practicable.

These are all complicated provisions, but they are designed to enhance the agency's ability to address mine water pollution. The amendments have all been framed to ensure that the provisions will work in practice and address the events preceding and following the abandonment of mines in such a manner as is most appropriate.

Moved, that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 87 to 125—(Earl Ferrers.)


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