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Viscount Bledisloe: Can the noble Lord enlighten us on what possible justification there can be for the principle that if the Crichel Down rules apply to the Government they should not equally apply to a government-appointed agency? Is there any argument on this point or is this merely a fact of the passage of time?

Lord Bridges: Perhaps I may ask the noble Lord a related question. I understand that the Crichel Down rules refer explicitly to agricultural land. Land being held by a conservation agency perhaps might not fall into that category. Is it possible for the Minister to clarify that point?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: All these issues will form parts of the subject matter of the review. It is the case that the Crichel Down rules have already been extended beyond agricultural land, but, as I have said, the review will consider all such matters.

Lord Luke: This has been an extremely interesting debate. I am happy with the Government's replies to Amendments Nos. 495, 496 and 497.

However, as regards Amendment No. 497ZA, I am grateful to all those who have spoken in favour of seeking a rather more solid commitment from the Government on this point. I take note of the Minister's words as regards the review which is to take place in January--I believe the Minister confirmed that--but the review itself does not solve the problem. As the Minister rightly pointed out, we do not know what will be the result of the review. The question of limiting compulsory purchase to a measure of last resort is extremely important. Furthermore, it is essential to ensure that, as the result of a compulsory purchase, the previous owner should receive a proper commitment if there is any diminution in the quality of the land--although that may or may not happen.

Baroness Hamwee: I am sorry to intervene, but I do not know what the noble Lord intends to do with his

16 Oct 2000 : Column 704

amendments. To my mind, we have not yet received an adequate response to Amendment No. 497ZA. That amendment seeks to ensure that the former owner will have first refusal to purchase the land. I am not sure whether I have heard on what terms such a first refusal would be granted. However, if the noble Lord intends to return to this matter at a later stage, perhaps it can be dealt with then.

Lord Luke: I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 495.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 496 and 497 not moved.]

Lord Luke: As I have already indicated, I am not at all happy with the response given by the Minister. I beg leave to test the opinion of the Committee.

5.15 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 497ZA) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 92; Not-Contents, 113.

Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Arran, E.
Astor of Hever, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Biffen, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Bledisloe, V.
Boardman, L.
Bowness, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Bridges, L.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller]
Buxton of Alsa, L.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnarvon, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Courtown, E.
Cox, B.
Craigavon, V.
Cranborne, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Deedes, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Fookes, B.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geddes, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goschen, V.
Hanham, B.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hogg, B.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Hylton, L.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
Liverpool, E.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Reay, L.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Sandwich, E.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Skelmersdale, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stewartby, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tenby, V.
Trefgarne, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Weatherill, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Bragg, L.
Brennan, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Crawley, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fitt, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Goldsmith, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gregson, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jeger, B.
Judd, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Mishcon, L.
Mitchell, L.
Molloy, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Serota, B.
Shepherd, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thornton, B.
Turner of Camden, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warner, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

16 Oct 2000 : Column 705

5.26 p.m.

[Amendments Nos. 497A to 498 not moved.]

16 Oct 2000 : Column 706

[Amendment No. 498A had been renumbered as Amendment No. 497B.]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 499:


    Page 103, line 2, at end insert--


("Change of owner or occupier.
28N.--(1) This section applies where the owner of land included in a site of special scientific interest--
(a) disposes of any interest of his in the land; or
(b) becomes aware that it is occupied by an additional or a different occupier.
(2) If this section applies, the owner shall send a notice to the Nature Conservancy Council before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which he disposed of the interest or became aware of the change in occupation.
(3) The notice is to specify the land concerned and--
(a) in a subsection (1)(a) case, the date on which the owner disposed of the interest in the land, and the name and address of the person to whom he disposed of the interest; or
(b) in a subsection (1)(b) case, the date on which the change of occupation took place (or, if the owner does not know the exact date, an indication of when to the best of the owner's knowledge it took place), and, as far as the owner knows them, the name and address of the additional or different occupier.
(4) A person who fails without reasonable excuse to comply with the requirements of this section is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale.
(5) For the purposes of subsection (1), an owner "disposes of" an interest in land if he disposes of it by way of sale, exchange or lease, or by way of the creation of any easement, right or privilege, or in any other way except by way of mortgage.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.


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