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Lord Whitty: The effect of these amendments will be to remove the power of the Secretary of State to direct the mayor to amend the special development strategy where he considers it is inconsistent with current national policies or regional planning guidance or has a detrimental effect on interests outside Greater London.

The noble Baroness says that she recognises the mayor should not do things to the detriment of other aspects of national policy in other parts of the country. Nevertheless these amendments, taken together, would exclude the power of the Secretary of State to come in and alter that. The mayor is placed under a duty to have regard to such matters under Clause 33 to start with and then under Clause 273. We fully expect the mayor to act responsibly in that regard, but it is possible that agreement would not be reached and the Secretary of State needs to have some way of protecting wider interests.

The proposals are based on normal planning provisions which would allow the Secretary of State to deal with development plans elsewhere in the country, with one qualification. It must ensure that the Secretary of State's powers cannot be used on matters which will solely be the responsibility of the mayor. The circumstances in which that power can be exerted have

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been limited in subsection (5) to defined circumstances. That limitation does not apply elsewhere in the country: hence our proposal for giving the mayor responsibility for London to a greater extent than planning authorities elsewhere will have. Nevertheless we wish to ensure that where there are conflicts with wider interests there is a means whereby the Secretary of State can intervene. My own amendments in this group, Nos. 393C and 393E, clarify the circumstances where that could happen.

If I may refer to Amendment No. 393E, the Bill currently provides for the Secretary of State to be able to direct the mayor to amend the strategy if it was inconsistent with these wider aspects. However, we need clarification, and for the avoidance of doubt the Secretary of State's powers to direct amendments can be made at any point before the final publication of the strategy and not just, as it could be read at present, on the initial consultation draft. It is possible that the mayor might seek to put in a later version aspects which were not there originally and which would have a detrimental effect on wider aspects of national policy in other parts of the country.

Similarly, Amendment No. 393C seeks to clarify and avoid doubt on procedures regarding the SDS under Clause 274, the main procedures for the mayor to follow, to ensure that the Secretary of State has an opportunity to exercise the power of direction to which I have referred. At a later point I should like to move those amendments to clarify these powers, but in the meantime I hope that the noble Baroness recognises that to remove these powers would lead to a situation where we could not resolve these difficulties.

Baroness Hamwee: I did talk about balance and I had hoped I had made it clear that in moving the amendment I was well aware of the comments I had already made regarding the interests of areas outside London. The Bill talks about avoiding any detriment, and I am concerned about the situation where, for instance, there may be a detriment but also some counterbalancing advantage. I am not sure that I recognise the need as it is dealt with in the Bill, but I do recognise the Government's concern to retain these powers as drawn. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

7.30 p.m.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Lyell): I must inform the Committee that, if Amendment No. 391A is agreed to, I shall be unable to call Amendment No. 392.

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 391A:

Page 143, line 5, leave out ("findings") and insert ("recommendations")

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 391A is grouped with Amendments Nos. 392, 402A and 403. I advise the Committee that Amendments Nos. 391A and 392 have the same effect. My filing system may

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have slipped slightly because virtually the same amendment appears twice. However, there is a marginal difference in wording, which explains why the Clerks accepted it. I apologise for taking time to give that explanation.

I begin with Amendments Nos. 402 and 402A. All of these matters relate to examination in public and the consequences of it. The present wording of the Bill suggests that the examination in public can make findings. If one has an examination in public of any other planning document it finishes up with the panel making recommendations. I do not believe that "findings" has quite the same force. I do not see the purpose of having an examination in public if all that it does is report its findings. It should be incumbent on the mayor to do something about what is found and I believe that the word "recommendations" is superior.

The Bill deals with publication of the spatial development strategy before the examination in public. However, the amendments to change "findings" to "recommendations" in Clause 267 in relation to publication do not make sense without the amendments relating to examination in public in Clause 268. Therefore, the grouping is essential and the amendments are consistent. I commend this matter to the Committee. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: I admit that the noble Lord has a point. Our initial intention when drafting the Bill was that the term "findings" should be broader than "recommendations" but would clearly include the panel's recommendations on which the mayor would have to give a response. I am advised that in similar provisions in planning Acts and associated legislation relating to development plans the terms "report" and "recommendation" are found more often than "findings". The use of both terms may be a possibility. I am also advised that there is another reference to "findings" in line 17 on page 143 of the Bill which has not been picked up in these amendments. In response to the noble Lord, I shall take away all of these amendments with a view to considering whether at Report stage the Government should provide clarification of all the references in this part of the Bill.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I am most grateful to the Minister for that response. I look forward to seeing what the Government bring forward on Report. At this stage, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment Nos. 392 and 393 not moved.]

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 393A:

Page 143, line 12, after ("with") insert ("this Act and")

The noble Baroness said: Clause 267(4) provides that before publication the mayor must consider representations made under the regulations. Amendment No. 393A is a probing amendment to discover what obligation is on the mayor to consider representations made under the Bill, for example those made before publication under Clause 265(2)(e). There may be a

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drafting error in my amendment, in that I believe that the "and" should be "or". However, the substantive point remains. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I believe that I now understand a little more the purpose of Amendment No. 393A, but its meaning is still a trifle obscure. It would require the mayor to consider representations,

    "made in accordance with the Act".

Clause 267(4) of the Bill imposes on the mayor a duty to consider representations. Clearly, there needs to be a definition of what is a valid representation. That is the intention of Clause 265(6). It provides for regulations to define the period within which representations can be made and how they should be made: for example, whether they should be made in writing. It is only those representations,

    "made in accordance with the regulations",

that the mayor must consider.

Amendment No. 393A introduces the further concept of,

    "representations made in accordance with the Act".

Yet that phrase can have no meaning. The Bill does not prescribe, for example, whether representations must be in writing, or within what period they must be made. For these reasons, the amendment risks creating confusion, and we are unable to accept it.

I hope that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw the amendment. If as a result of my explanation the position remains unclear, perhaps for the sake of clarity it would help if I wrote to the noble Baroness and other members of the Committee who have taken part in the debate.

Baroness Hamwee: I thank the Minister for that response. She said that the form of representations must be in accordance with the regulations. My concern is that in some way this provision will exclude the substance of representations, because the reference to regulations appears to override other provisions that may be found elsewhere in the Bill as currently drafted. But if the point is that the representations must be in a particular form, or that they should be made within a particular period, I am happy to accept that explanation. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 393B:

Page 143, line 15, at end insert (", or
( ) he has discussed any representations with the Assembly")

The noble Baroness said: Clause 267(4) prevents the mayor from publishing the spatial development strategy until certain steps have been taken. Amendment No. 393B proposes that at that stage there should be a discussion with the assembly. The Minister is well aware of our concern that the assembly, which in shorthand is referred to as a scrutiny body but, according to the Government's definition of that term, includes

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scrutiny in advance, should have a role of which the mayor can usefully take advantage. We are concerned that the assembly is resoundingly left out of the process.

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