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The Earl of Lindsay: One of the issues I should refer to is the difficulty that the word "marauding" has caused in legal terms. In fact Amendment No. 82, if I remember correctly, sought to remove that term from part of the Act. The side notes have no legal effect. I do not want to prejudge discussion on Clause 4 because I realise there are many significant issues which we want to look at within Clause 4.

Amendment No. 21 changes the introduction, because Amendment No. 35 inserts a new subsection into Section 6, and the previous version amended only subsection (1). As I said, it is a technical drafting amendment that we would not be entering into were it not for the drafting exercise and the demands made on us by the Consolidation Bill which we hope shortly to have in the pipeline.

I allude to just one other amendment which deals with terminology and the fact that the term "farm animals" is better replaced by the term "livestock" because of legal definitions that arise from the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968. It is also desirable to clarify in the context of control agreements and control schemes that the animals against which action may be taken refers only to deer. We are simply clarifying some drafting amendments in this group of amendments.

Lord Glenarthur: I only have one very brief comment to make and that is that, having raised a particular concern at Second Reading, that Clause 4(1)(a) refers to "on any land, deer are causing" etc., I am most grateful to my noble friend for finding ways to leave out that term. He has not explained precisely why he has decided to leave it out. I can only assume that

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the representations that were made at Second Reading have been well understood by him and that he has taken them on board. I am very grateful for that.

The Earl of Lindsay: I shall probably speak to that point very briefly when I deal with Amendments Nos. 23 and 34 which come up later.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Earl of Lindsay moved Amendment No. 22:

Page 3, line 16, leave out from ("(1)") to ("there") in line 17.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Earl of Lindsay moved Amendment No. 23:

Page 3, line 20, leave out ("on any land").

The noble Earl said: In moving Amendment No. 23 I shall also cover Amendments Nos. 25, 30, 31, 32, 34, 89, 100 and 101.

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy: I beg your Lordships' pardon, but Amendment No. 25 is one of my amendments.

The Earl of Lindsay: My noble friend is correct. I shall reintroduce this by saying that I will be speaking to Amendments Nos. 23, 30, 34, 89 and 100. I apologise to the Committee for misleading it.

Amendments Nos. 23 and 24 do indeed arise from points raised by my noble friend Lord Glenarthur at Second Reading. I am grateful to him for raising those points. I hope my response is adequate to meet the concerns that he raised.

As regards Amendment No. 30, I made it clear on Second Reading that the revised power to deal with marauding deer under Section 6 of the 1959 Act, which are proposed in Clause 4 of the Bill, would be used only in emergency situations when there was a need to take urgent action to deal with deer damage. I repeated this clear intention when I appeared before the Scottish Select Committee. Nevertheless, a number of individuals and organisations have expressed the concern that the terms of the clause as drafted could, in certain circumstances, be used where there was not an emergency. In order to clarify this point I am therefore moving Amendment No. 30 which requires the commission to be satisfied that none of its other powers is adequate to deal with the situation at hand before proceeding with action under this section.

For the most part I expect the commission to proceed through agreement with deer managers using its range of advisory and authorisation powers to meet its objectives. In circumstances where there are particular, often long standing, problems, I see the commission using the flexibility offered under new Clause 5 to reach control agreements to promote effective action. Only when early action needs to be taken and no other means of bringing the situation under control are apparent will the powers under revised Section 6 be appropriate. In the last resort, emergency powers such as these are needed to ensure that deer, which belong to no one, can be effectively controlled if they are causing serious damage to public or private interests or danger to public safety which needs to be stopped. In reaching decisions

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on Amendment No. 30 and the proposals we are putting forward, the commission must have regard to its balancing duty to ensure that the interests of owners and occupiers are taken into account before decisions are made.

The revised Section 6 will retain the existing provisions that apply to the commission to request action by the person with the right to shoot deer before taking action itself and to give such notice as may be reasonable in the circumstances before action is taken on the ground. The important point is that the circumstances should be exceptional and that emergencies should be genuine; in other words, that no other power is available to the commission to respond to a particular set of exceptional circumstances. We hope our amendment makes that clear.

I shall speak to Amendments 89 and 100. When the Red Deer Commission was established in 1959 it made sense to envisage the marauding deer powers under Section 6 being delegated in certain circumstances to local panels. Local agricultural executive committees had played a role in authorising action against marauding deer before that time and it was thought that the local panels might play a similar role. In practice the commission has been able to perform the function effectively thanks to improved communications, as I explained to the Committee, and effective work locally through deer management groups. We do not any longer feel that this delegated power needs to be thrust upon local panels.

Now that the powers in Section 6 are to be extended to cover emergency threats to the natural heritage and to public safety and are expressly made appropriate only when other powers are adequate it makes sense to restrict the use of this power to the commission alone. Local panels could well play an important part as advisers to the commission, and indeed to local managers in the future.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: I am grateful to my noble friend for that explanation, but even with the government amendment it seems that Clause 4 can still be used against deer on their normal territory; that is, when they are not marauding and not coming from other land. We shall return to this area in greater detail soon, but I remind my noble friend that in the committee in Edinburgh he said that the definition of marauding was quite important. Clause 4 cannot be triggered if the deer that are inflicting the damage are resident or established on the site. They must be marauding deer moving from another site to cause that damage.

I am not sure that the Bill, even with Amendment No. 23, fulfils the intention expressed by my noble friend in Edinburgh. We shall come to more detail on Clause 4 and the meaning of "marauding". I am not sure that we have adequately dealt with it yet.

The Earl of Lindsay: Perhaps it will help if I focus briefly on Amendment No. 23. The purpose of these linked amendments is to make it clear that authorisation to control marauding deer under Section 6 of the 1959 Act can only proceed in the specific circumstances of each individual case. They also have the effect of

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ensuring that action can be taken on whatever type of land on which deer are causing trouble where emergency action needs to be taken.

Given the nature of the new grounds for action introduced by Clause 4, it is important that the commission has the powers to take action wherever this is warranted by the circumstances of each case. It is, however, equally important that the authorisations to control marauding deer only proceed in the specific circumstances of each individual case and are bound to it so that they cannot run on beyond the circumstances of a specific case. I hope my noble friend Lord Pearson will welcome that clarification and improvement contained in Amendment No. 23 which stems from concerns expressed to us at Second Reading.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch moved Amendment No. 24:

Page 3, line 20, after ("land") insert ("marauding").

The noble Lord said: We now come to the specific amendments on Clause 4 regarding the expression "marauding". I, and other Members of the Committee, are very keen to pin down exactly what the word "marauding" means. Amendment No. 24 replaces the words "on any land", which have just been removed by my noble friend, with the word "marauding". Amendment No. 79, in Clause 9 of the Bill--the schedules to the Bill--attempts to give a definition of what a marauding deer is, as follows:

    "'marauding deer' means deer which have left their normal range",

for the time of year in question. I would add,

    "and have caused or are likely to cause damage to agricultural production or woodland, and where remedial action is required without delay and where the procedures under section 5 above would not prevent further immediate damage".

I am sure that, once again, that definition is not perfect legally, but I am far from persuaded that a definition of marauding cannot be found. A marauding deer, against which the very considerable and immediate powers of this clause can be used, must be one which is marauding. That does not mean to say that it is on its normal territory, going about its normal business--grazing the heather and so on. There must be an element of surprise that the deer arrived where it was not expected to arrive. It must have come from somewhere and go back somewhere.

In the original Act, and indeed in this Bill, the suggestion arises that those who will have to deal with marauding deer will have to follow them and kill them. That means, presumably, that they run away from where they are marauding and go back to where they came from. I am not going to the stake or indeed to the corral on the definition of the word "marauding", but I believe these amendments are important and we must make some attempt to define this area before we move onto other areas of Clause 4. I beg to move.

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