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Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I shall check what I said by reading Hansard carefully. I am clear that I intended to refer to the existing provision for dealing with a statutory nuisance.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for that intervention. That makes sense.

I emphasise that not every hedge becomes a nuisance. The procedure would start with a complaint by someone that he or she was adversely affected. The procedure would then start to roll. Although it is suggested in the Environment Protection Act that local authorities themselves might go round looking for problems, my experience is that local authorities have enough problems to deal with without going to look for them. They would wait until someone made a complaint. But when that

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complaint was made, they would investigate the situation and the particular case. That would be good.

The Minister said that after the results of the consultation the Bill might be a vehicle. If there were anything to be gained by holding back later stages of the Bill until after the consultation exercise, I would certainly arrange that.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, for the record, it is important that I stress that I acknowledged that this question had been raised and undertook to consider it as an option.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, I understood exactly what the Minister said in that respect. I was the person who said to the noble Baroness that the result of the consultation might be such that this vehicle would be appropriate. If it is the appropriate vehicle, the possibility of amending the Bill should perhaps be held over a little longer. Otherwise I would press to move on with the other stages of the Bill after what I hope will be its successful Second Reading today. However, we can discuss at a later stage whether there is any advantage in holding back action on the next stage of the Bill. Meanwhile, I ask the House to give the Bill a Second Reading.

On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

        House adjourned at twenty-two minutes before nine o'clock.

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