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Lord Berkeley: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Howie, raised some interesting matters of detail. Perhaps I may begin with his comments about lighthouses. I thought that lighthouses had been abolished; manned lighthouses certainly have. To a large degree, they have been replaced by floating buoys. One or two, such as the Royal Sovereign, were concrete structures. That buoy was cast ashore somewhere near Eastbourne and floated out with some degree of problem. It did not land on the seabed the first time but it did eventually. I do not know whether that is included. It does not appear to be from the definition that we have had. As one goes down the River Thames one sees steel frames which, I believe, are anti-aircraft batteries from the Second World War. Had they ever been used for the

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extraction of oil they would be excluded but, if not, any demolition of them would be included--and we go on down the route.

The most interesting project to examine is a combined water supply and hydro-electric project involving a dam, some pipelines, a reservoir, some tunnels, an office block and so forth. If it is a water supply project it is excluded under subsection (2). If it is a hydro-electric project it appears to be included. The reservoir is included and the tunnel might be included if the Government accept the noble Lord's amendment. Presumably the office block is included if the whole thing is demolished but if only half is demolished it will not be included. The pipes are excluded. The same applies in respect of flood controls; if they are water supply they are excluded but if they are for flood control only they are included.

Is there a problem of precedence as well as definition between subsections (1) and (2)? We appear to be getting deeper and deeper into the mire and I certainly do not see any way out.

4.45 p.m.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, I hope that it will be possible to find a way out, although I cannot yet enlighten the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, because, as I said, this is a matter upon which we are still cogitating. However, I hope to be in a position to show the House at least the direction of our thoughts, if not the actual wording of amendments, which would be preferable, by Third Reading.

We believe that none of these amendments is necessary. The "construction" in Clause 103(1)(b) is a generality, which is,


    "works forming, or to form, part of the land",
and then there is a selection of illustrations. I expect that there are thousands of individual items and ideas which we could include in the list. However, we have tried to include a sufficient number to give a good general idea of what is meant by the first part of the clause. The first part of the clause is the governing part, which enables us to say without fear of doubt that all the ingenious additions proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Howie, are unnecessary.

Perhaps I may tackle the amendments in order. Clause 103 (1)(a) deals with buildings and structures, which clearly includes parts of buildings and parts of structures, making Amendment No. 114 unnecessary.

As regards Amendment No. 115, we understand the noble Lord's interest in ensuring that his profession is not overlooked. However, the formidable list of examples of civil engineering works in subsection (1)(b) means that that is hardly likely to happen. Furthermore, all the suggested additions in Amendments Nos. 116, 118 and 119 fall within the meaning of,


    "works forming ... part of the land",
in subsection (1)(b). Tunnels are covered in subsection (1)(e), to which Amendment No. 117 relates.

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I hope that with those assurances the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Howie of Troon: My Lords, I have a vague feeling that I ought to be pleased, but I am not sure about that. I ought to be pleased up to a point. I am struck by the thought that if Clause 103(1)(a) covers everything, the other subsections are not necessary. That is what the Minister said. He said that subsection (1)(a) includes all those things, so why list all this lot; or, if we list all this lot, why not list all the others, including the inoffensive items which I have asked to be added? Either the Minister is correct in saying that subsection (1)(a) includes everything or he is not--

Lord Lucas: My Lords--

Lord Howie of Troon: My Lords, do the conventions of Report stage mean that the Minister can interrupt me but I cannot interrupt him?

Lord Lucas: My Lords, we are both allowed, with the leave of the House, to interrupt each other in order to make brief clarifications. The brief clarification that I wish to make is that I said that the first part of paragraph (b) covers all the noble Lord's amendments except for Amendment No. 114, which is covered by paragraph (a), and Amendment No. 117, which is covered by paragraph (e).

Lord Howie of Troon: My Lords, I am sure that the noble Lord is right, as he is in relation to so many things. However, he referred to the first part of subsection (1)(b). It does not have a first part; there is only one part.

I should have thought that if he can include harbours, he can include jetties and breakwaters. If he can include pipelines, he can include a hydro-electricity supply. It is not too difficult and it would not do a great deal of harm. It would make matters clearer for those who are concerned about it. Therefore, I find his argument unconvincing. But I am sure that the Minister will reflect upon these comments.

Lord Williams of Elvel: My Lords, before my noble friend decides what to do with the amendment, will he ask the Minister what is the response to my question about coastal defence?

Lord Howie of Troon: My Lords, I was about to come to that. My noble friend mentioned coastal defence. There are a number of forts in the lower reaches of the Thames and probably elsewhere, so far as I can recall, which are not unlike oil rigs. In fact, they are more like gas rigs because they were designed by Posford and Pavrey, the same people who designed the first gas rigs. They are undoubtedly part of coastal defence in the sense in which my noble friend used the term, although not in the sense that I used it. I was much more specific.

Those are undoubtedly construction civil engineering matters. They were designed by consultant engineers and built by important construction contractors. They were intended for defence. They have guns and other weapons on them and are not meant for fun. Perhaps

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we may never have such things again. Who can tell? I sincerely hope that we do not. But, if we do have them, they should certainly be included in the province of the Bill. Therefore, my noble friend is right to raise those matters.

We talk about tunnels as being an integral part of this, that and the other. I can see the noble Lord's point but, in my opinion, that is where the clause becomes redundant and even--if I may use such a word in this House--otiose. I believe that the Minister is right to say that subsection (1) deals with everything. I agree that it does. I should be happy if we had subsection (1)(a) and left out everything else. I may have second or third thoughts about that. The Minister is taking up this point only because the clause was plagiarised from income tax legislation and he does not want it changed because of the embarrassment that that may cause. That is the simple reason; it is not a bad reason. He is being pressed by people from all quarters not to change the legislation. But, in terms of intellectual purity or even ordinary common sense, if there must be a list, it should be reasonably complete, simple and uncomplicated.

The list that we have is not complete, as I have shown, because I have proposed simple additions which a child might wish to add because they are obvious. There are then the operations that form an integral part. I believe that at an earlier stage of the Bill, an unkindly chap described this as a bit of a shambles. I hope that I did not do that, although I might have done, because it is a shambles. Of course, I shall withdraw the amendments. I believe that the Minister wishes to intervene.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, with the leave of the House, I feel that I should reply to the question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Williams. I have a helpful note in front of me which reads: "Williams: coastal defence. Yes, this is just coastal defence". I am not totally enlightened by that but I believe that the note means that that example refers to coastal defence. But, on my reading of the Bill, building a fortress from which to fire guns at the enemy would also be a construction operation. My mind then runs on to consider whether in Clause 103(1)(a), demolition of buildings or structures (whether permanent or not) would include shooting at it with a howitzer. Therefore, if I may, I shall write to the noble Lord, Lord Williams, on exactly where are the beginnings and ends of the clause in relation to warfare.

Lord Howie of Troon: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for that intervention, which seems to have nothing to do with me. However, it gave me some guidance as to the kind of intervention which can usefully be made on Report since I was rebuked earlier. I shall take that as my guide rather than the advice which I received from the noble Lord and his companions earlier. Therefore, he should look forward to lengthy interventions unless I become more kindly disposed towards him.

I believe that the clause is preposterous. Nobody to whom I have spoken in the industry--and I know a fair number of people in it--believes that there is any sense in this clause. People may have had to put up with this

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when dealing with their income tax but this is a totally different matter. I believe that I could have saved the time of the House by proposing to delete everything after subsection (1)(a) and to leave it at that. But, bearing in mind that that is what the Minister believes although he dare not actually say so, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 115-119 not moved.]


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