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Baroness Hollis of Heigham moved Amendments Nos. 142 to 145:

    Page 156, line 16, column 3, at end insert-

    ("In Schedule 1, paragraph 19(2).")

    Page 156, line 30, column 3, leave out ("paragraph 3(2)") and insert ("paragraphs 3(2) and 8(1)(i)").

    Page 156, line 37, column 3, at end insert-

    ("In Schedule 1, paragraph 22(2).")

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 87 [Commencement and transitional provisions]:

Baroness Hollis of Heigham moved Amendment No. 146:

    Page 96, line 16, leave out (", 9, 11 and 12") and insert ("and 9 to 12").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I shall be extremely brief. This is a straightforward technical amendment which allows Schedule 5(10) to be brought into force on a date to be specified by commencement order instead of on the date of Royal Assent. Again, I suggest that your Lordships accept it. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 147 not moved.]

Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate Bill [HL]

Returned from the Commons agreed to with a privilege amendment; the amendment considered and agreed to.

        House adjourned at eleven minutes before eleven o'clock.

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27 Jun 2000 : Column 1

Official Report of the Grand Committee on the

Transport Bill

Tuesday, 27th June 2000.

The Committee met at half-past three of the clock.

[The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Ampthill) in the Chair.]

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Ampthill): Before I put the Question that the Title be postponed, it may be helpful to remind your Lordships of the procedure for today's Committee stage. Except in one important respect, our proceedings will be exactly as in a normal Committee of the Whole House. We shall go through the Bill clause by clause; noble Lords will speak standing; all noble Lords are free to attend and participate; and the proceedings will be recorded in Hansard.

The one difference is that the House has agreed that there shall be no Divisions in the Grand Committee. Any issue on which agreement cannot be reached should be considered again at the Report stage when, if necessary, a Division may be called. Unless, therefore, an amendment is likely to be agreed to, it should be withdrawn.

I should explain what will happen if there is a Division in the Chamber while we are sitting. The Committee will adjourn as soon as the Division Bells are rung and will then resume after 10 minutes.

Title postponed.

Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 [Restrictions on providing services]:

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston) moved Amendment No. 1:

    Page 2, line 42, leave out from ("area") to end of line 43.

The noble Lord said: I welcome Members of the Committee to this rather novel procedure in the Moses Room. The purpose of today's sitting of the Grand Committee is to consider government amendments to the Transport Bill. A revised Bill, as amended by the Grand Committee, will be printed overnight and will be available tomorrow. I am grateful to Members of the Committee for agreeing to remove all their amendments from the Order Paper for today's purposes. I understand that the Public Bill Office has offered assistance to noble Lords in retabling their amendments so that the references refer to the new version of the Bill. We are grateful for the help of the House authorities. The Bill will return to the Floor of the House for consideration in Committee in the usual way.

This group of amendments deals with the application of relevant provisions of Part I of the Bill to the Crown. The amendments consist of two new

27 Jun 2000 : Column CWH2

clauses, the first of which lists the provisions that will bind the Crown or may be applied to Crown aircraft. The second new clause provides that the Crown may not be found criminally liable by way of Part I, but persons acting on behalf of the Crown may, in certain cases, be found liable for criminal offences.

The provision that the Armed Forces of the Crown are not required to hold a licence to provide air traffic services is also moved into this section from Clause 3. Finally, provision is made that nothing in these Crown application provisions may affect Her Majesty in her private capacity. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston moved Amendment No. 2:

    Page 3, line 9, leave out subsection (5).

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 4 [Exemptions]:

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston moved Amendment No. 3:

    Page 3, line 38, at end insert--

("(e) may be granted subject to such conditions as may be specified.").

The noble Lord said: This group of amendments concerns regulatory and licence-related matters. The amendments are largely technical, and the bulk of the group--Amendments Nos. 6 to 11, which concern the powers of the Competition Commission to veto licence modifications proposed by the CAA--is merely bringing our Bill into closer alignment with other utility legislation.

Amendments Nos. 3 and 4 also make the Bill more consistent with other utility legislation. Amendment No. 3 permits conditions to be attached to exemptions from the offence created by Clause 3 of the Bill. Amendment No. 4 sets out in greater detail the provisions which may be included in the licence and in particular those provisions of the licence which will depend on the CAA giving the licensee a notice or a consent or making determinations.

Amendment No. 5 is important. It will allow the CAA to relieve the licensee of his Clause 8 duty in respect of services which he is not providing. While the licensee, who of course will be NATS, will be the main provider of air traffic services in licensed airspace, it will not be the sole provider and it would be unduly onerous if NATS were to be bound by statutory duties for services provided by others.

Amendments Nos. 12 and 13 extend Clause 31 so as to require the CAA to investigate alleged or apprehended contraventions of the licensee's Clause 8 duties, in the same way as it is required to investigate alleged contraventions of licence conditions.

Amendments Nos. 14 and 15 relate to Clause 32, which requires the CAA to maintain a register of provisions, modifications, notices and other matters for the purposes of Chapter I. Amendment No. 14 makes the wording of Clause 32 consistent with Clause 7, as amended by Amendment No. 4.

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Amendment No. 15 extends Clause 32 so as to include the terms of every notice made in connection with Amendment No. 5. I beg to move.

Lord Peyton of Yeovil: I rise to address the Deputy Chairman as much as other Members of the Committee. I am not quite sure what role we all have; that is, those of us who are not singing the solo which the Minister is singing, or supporting him. I wonder whether at any stage we are to debate the merits of any of these amendments. This is a rather puzzling procedure. We have 167 government amendments which, even if the noble Lord's singing is not interrupted by any discordant sounds from here, will put quite a strain on him and we should like to provide him with some intervals so that he can at least get his breath. I congratulate the noble Lord on the very suitable shyness on his part and on that of the Government with regard to wishing to get rid of this stage of the Bill as quickly and as quietly as possible without too much of the glare of public attention being directed to this thrilling subject.

In passing, I congratulate the Government on the choice of the Moses Room for our discussions on this particular occasion. The Moses Room has a wonderful quality--most of what one says in it is totally inaudible! Not even the skill of the Hansard Reporters will be equal to the task of getting down every sentence that is spoken. So one pays tribute to the Government's judgment in choosing this most doubtful of all arenas.

The Government had this Bill in another place for three months where a docile majority let it through after limited debate, and now we have to make up for the deficiencies in the Bill that the House of Commons did nothing to disturb. It seems a very odd procedure. This is probably the first time ever that such a long series of government amendments has been sidelined in this way, whereby the Bill can be "comfortably cleansed", at least in the Government's eyes. The whole procedure is very confusing.

Lord Islwyn: Would it not be appropriate to say that what the noble Lord is referring to has been arranged through what we call the "usual channels"?

Lord Peyton of Yeovil: I am neither a part of the "usual channels", nor an expert in their procedures and I tend on the whole to be suspicious when agreements are reached between the usual channels on matters of procedure. When the Government start to attract the congratulations and the agreement of the Opposition Front Bench I always become worried, whichever side I am on, and I am somewhat worried today.

I do not wish to prolong my remarks at this stage but I am concerned to know whether anybody expects anyone on this side of the Committee to say anything about the merits of the amendments that the

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Government are making. Alternatively, are they simply being put into the washing machine for a suitable piece of laundering?

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