Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Glenarthur: My Lords, I welcome the amendments—as I do my noble friend to his new department. Also, I thank my noble friend Lord Ullswater for the time that he and his department have taken in listening to the views of the aggregates industry and for the courtesy which he always showed to those concerned. I must of course again declare an interest as an employee of Hanson, which owns ARC, which is a fairly prominent member of the aggregates industry, although I am not aware of any cases in which it might have been guilty of any activity described by the noble Baroness, Lady Nicol.

The industry recognises that the issue of old planning permissions is an emotive one. I recognise the difficulty in striking a balance between the environmental pressures which were described by my noble friend Lord Addison, on the one hand, and the industry's desire for fair treatment on the other. Although the industry did not achieve all that it wanted, the result embodied in this series of complex amendments is a fair one which will prove its worth in the future.

As my noble friend described, the main change, and the one about which I spoke mostly at an earlier stage of the Bill, relates to compensation. It is right that compensation should be reflected in the way that it now is, and, should conditions be imposed which would seriously affect the asset value of a site, that compensation should be enshrined in statute, as it now is. That is a great step forward from the original IDO legislation which left the industry with no greater protection except through a statement of intent, as my noble friend the Minister described it, made by a Minister in another place.

Important though the amendment is, it should not be regarded as any great concession to the industry. The new clause does not give the industry a new right to compensation. It does not even enhance the right already held. In fact it marks a significant reduction in the compensation regime to which it was previously entitled. Nevertheless, the position is now clarified and protected. I am grateful to all those in the department for the effort which has been put into finding a solution.

It is important in this case, as well as in many others, to find a balance. That balance has been found. Those who take a different point of view should understand that there are difficulties in trying to strike that balance. While people may have legitimate objections to the activities of an industry—mineral working can have a

11 Jul 1995 : Column 1568

significant effect on the landscape and on people's lives—the industry itself is aware of all that, and it does whatever it can to ensure that it lives up to its responsibilities.

We must always bear in mind that the industry is a crucial element in the economy. Again, I thank my noble friend for all that he and my noble friend Lord Ullswater were able to do. The industry will of course maintain its vigilance as the legislation develops and will be consulted on the mineral planning guidance which will go with it. I am extremely grateful for and welcome the amendments.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Glenarthur for the gratitude he expressed, which goes not to me but to my noble friend Lord Ullswater and many others, including possibly the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel, who is smiling away. I am grateful to my noble friend because a great deal of work has been done on the minerals front which is always a technical subject. It is not always easy to understand it, and nor is it an easy matter on which to legislate.

My noble friend Lord Campbell of Croy referred to the ironstone permissions. As my noble friend Lord Ullswater made clear on Report, the Government believe that it is wrong in principle to revoke consents without compensation. That does not mean that the existing position will be allowed to remain as it is. We shall issue guidance to deal with both active and dormant sites. I hope that that will cover the points referred to by my noble friend Lord Addison. We would expect the industry to bring forward schemes which deal satisfactorily with the questions of access and transport and, where appropriate, the provision of buffer zones between workings and residential property. My noble friend asked whether large areas will be divided into small active sites and large dormant sites. If I may, I must take advice on that matter and write to him.

The noble Baroness, Lady Nicol, referred to sites which have started operating, as did my noble friend Lord Addison. It is regrettable that that has happened and where it has happened. Fortunately, I do not believe that the practice is widespread. I hope that operators will see it as their duty to bring forward full modern planning conditions. Sites cannot start working until those have been approved. My noble friend Lord Addison wanted us to define "prejudice" and "unreasonable degree". That will be covered in the guidance and we will do our best to flesh it out. In the end, common sense is required by all parties.

I hope that with that explanation your Lordships will agree with the Commons amendment.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, I beg to move that further consideration of Commons amendments be adjourned. In doing so, I suggest that consideration be resumed not earlier than quarter past eight.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

11 Jul 1995 : Column 1569

Crown Agents Bill [H.L.]

7.12 p.m.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I beg to move that the Commons amendments be now considered.

Moved, That the Commons amendments be now considered.—(Baroness Chalker of Wallasey.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.


COMMONS AMENDMENT
[Page and line refers to Bill 118 as first printed by the Commons.]
1Clause 7, page 4, line 13, at end insert:
'(2) The existence or exercise of the powers of the Secretary of State under section 1 shall not be regarded as constituting or creating arrangements within the meaning of section 410 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 (arrangements for the transfer of a company to another group or consortium) or as constituting or creating option arrangements for the purposes of paragraph 5B of Schedule 18 to that Act.
(3) Any debt assumed under section 2 shall be treated for the purposes of the Corporation Tax Acts as if it had been assumed—
(a) wholly in consideration of a loan made to the Crown Agents of an amount equal to the principal sum payable under the debt, and
(b) wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade carried on by them.
If the terms of any such debt include provision for the payment of a sum expressed as interest in respect of a period which falls wholly or partly before the debt was assumed, any payment made in pursuance of that provision in respect of that period shall be treated for the purposes of the Corporation Tax Acts as if the debt had been assumed at the commencement of that period and, accordingly, as interest on the principal sum payable under the debt.
(4) Any security (other than a share) issued by the successor company in pursuance of section 3 shall be treated for the purposes of the Corporation Tax Acts as if it had been issued—
(a) wholly in consideration of a loan made to the company of an amount equal to the principal sum payable under the security, and
(b) wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade carried on by that company.
If the terms of any such security include provision for the payment of a sum expressed as interest in respect of a period which falls wholly or partly before the security was issued, any payment made in pursuance of that provision in respect of that period shall be treated for the purposes of the Corporation Tax Acts as if the security had been issued at the commencement of that period and, accordingly, as interest on the principal sum payable under the security.
(5) Any share issued by the successor company in pursuance of section 3 shall be treated for the purposes of the Corporation Tax Acts as if it had been issued wholly in consideration of a subscription paid to the company of an amount equal to the nominal value of the share.'.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 1.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 1.—(Baroness Chalker of Wallasey.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

11 Jul 1995 : Column 1570


COMMONS AMENDMENT
2Clause 15, page 8, line 3, leave out subsection (3).

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 2.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 2.—(Baroness Chalker of Wallasey.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn during pleasure until 8.15 p.m.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

[The Sitting was suspended from 7.13 to 8.15 p.m.]

Environment Bill [H.L.]

8.15 p.m.

Consideration of Commons amendments resumed.


COMMONS AMENDMENTS
155Clause 80, page 95, line 16, at end insert:
'(2A) For the purpose of facilitating the protection of important hedgerows, regulations under subsection (1) above may also make provision in relation to other hedgerows in England or Wales.
(2B) Without prejudice to the generality of subsections (1) to (2A) above, regulations under subsection (1) above may provide for the application (with or without modifications) of, or include provision comparable to, any provision contained in the planning Acts and may, in particular, make provision—
(a) prohibiting, or for prohibiting, the removal of, or the carrying out of prescribed acts in relation to, a hedgerow except in prescribed cases;
(b) for or with respect to appeals against determinations or decisions made, or notices given or served, under or by virtue of the regulations, including provision authorising or requiring any body or person to whom an appeal lies to consult prescribed persons with respect to the appeal in prescribed cases;
(c) for a person who contravenes, or fails to comply with, any prescribed provision of the regulations to be guilty of an offence;
(d) for a person guilty of an offence by virtue of paragraph (c) above which consists of the removal, in contravention of the regulations, of a hedgerow of a description prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph to be liable—
(i) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or
(ii) on conviction on indictment, to a fine;
(e) for a person guilty of any other offence by virtue of paragraph (c) above to be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding such level on the standard scale as may be prescribed.
(2C) Regulations under this section may make different provision for different cases, including different provision in relation to different descriptions of hedgerow, different descriptions of person, different areas or localities or different circumstances.'.
156Page 95, line 43, at end insert:
'"hedgerow" includes any stretch of hedgerow;'.
157Page 96, line 1, at end insert:

11 Jul 1995 : Column 1571


'"the planning Acts" has the same meaning as it has in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 by virtue of section 336(1) of that Act;'.
158Page 96, line 2, leave out second 'prescribed' and insert 'specified, or of a description specified,'.
159Page 96, line 3, at end insert:
'"remove", in relation to a hedgerow, means uproot or otherwise destroy, and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly;'.
160Page 96, line 5, at end insert:
'(6) Any reference in this section to removing, or carrying out an act in relation to, a hedgerow includes a reference to causing or permitting another to remove, or (as the case may be) carry out an act in relation to, a hedgerow.'.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 155 to 160 en bloc. These amendments respond to anxieties expressed by your Lordships that the present provisions in Clause 80 are too broadly stated. They honour an assurance given by my noble friend Lord Ullswater that he would give further consideration to incorporating an appeals mechanism in the regulations on the face of the Bill.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 155 to 160 en bloc.—(Earl Ferrers.)


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page