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Lord Dixon-Smith: I am particularly grateful to the Minister for his tolerance and understanding in allowing this debate to wander across a fairly wide field. However, given the circumstances in which this major extension to the Bill has been brought before us, there was an inevitability about that. Of course, the Minister rightly said that no one should have been surprised that these amendments were coming. We

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were not surprised and we are not unwelcoming. However, the pressure to bring the amendments forward has been around for a very long time.

It is conceivable (but only just) that the amendments could not be designed for the Bill to be considered fully in another place. However, given the pressure, one might have thought that the amendments could have been designed in order to be available to this House so that we might have known by Second Reading what was coming. I accept that there is a procedural difficulty with that but the whole approach which brings forward these amendments in this way is outwith normal parliamentary procedure as I understand it.

If that is the case, then I do not see why some marginal extension could not have been made so that the contents of those amendments were known when the Bill arrived in this House. That did not happen. Therefore, some flexibility at this stage was right and justified.

I am extremely grateful to all those Members of the Committee who have taken part in the debate. The noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer, cited the support of the Local Government Association for these amendments. In fact, the detail of the amendments goes considerably beyond what the LGA conceives of as being appropriate because the LGA is quite clear that statutory planning powers should remain with local government and this Bill permits them to be transferred to a conservation board. That may seem to be only a small matter to some people but to others it is quite important.

There is no great difference between myself and my noble friend Lord Renton of Mount Harry in relation to these issues in principle. I said in my opening remarks that the whole concept of AONBs has been good and successful and there is no intention to detract from that. If the situation can be enhanced, then that should be done.

There are points of detail in the amendments which require to be touched on and points of principle which required the sort of flexible debate which the Minister has so kindly allowed us to have.

I am grateful for the support of my noble friends Lord Peel and Lord Peyton of Yeovil. I certainly should not go along with my noble friend Lord Marlesford when he said that local government would allow the whole of the coast to be developed. Such a statement either reveals a prejudice or belittles local government. That is not the local government that I know.

We have had a very good and full debate. I shall not take up more of the Committee's time. It was important to have the debate and we have had it. We must consider properly the other groups of amendments to deal with matters of detail on what is an extremely important matter. I do not expect that we shall repeat the sort of debate that has taken place up until now. I am most grateful to those who have taken part and grateful also to the Minister for his tolerance. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment No. 522A, as an amendment to Amendment No. 522, by leave, withdrawn.

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[Amendments Nos. 522B to 522D, as amendments to Amendment No. 522, not moved.]

On Question, Amendment No. 522 agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 523:


    After Clause 71, insert the following new clause--

PROCEDURE FOR DESIGNATION ORDERS

(" .--(1) Where the Agency or the Council propose to make an order under section (Designation of areas), the Agency or the Council shall consult every local authority whose area includes any part of the area to which the proposed order is to relate.
(2) Before making the order, the Agency or the Council shall then publish, in the London Gazette and in one or more newspapers circulating in the area of every such local authority, notice that they propose to make the order, indicating the effect of the order and stating the time within which and manner in which representations with respect to the proposed order may be made to the Agency or the Council (as the case may be), and shall consider any representations duly made.
(3) An order under section (Designation of areas) shall not come into operation unless and until confirmed--
(a) in the case of an order made by the Agency, by the Secretary of State, or
(b) in the case of an order made by the Council, by the National Assembly for Wales,
and, in submitting any such order to the Secretary of State or the Assembly, the Agency or Council shall forward to the Secretary of State or the Assembly any representations made by a local authority consulted under subsection (1) or made by any other person under subsection (2), other than representations to which effect is given by the order as submitted to the Secretary of State or the Assembly.
(4) The Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales may confirm an order submitted to him or it under this section either as submitted or with such modifications as the Secretary of State or the Assembly thinks expedient.
(5) Before refusing to confirm an order under section (Designation of areas), or determining to confirm it with modifications, the Secretary of State shall consult the Agency and every local authority whose area includes any land to which the order as submitted, or as proposed to be modified, relates.
(6) Before refusing to confirm an order under section (Designation of areas), or determining to confirm it with modifications, the National Assembly for Wales shall consult the Council and every local authority whose area includes any land to which the order as submitted, or as proposed to be modified, relates.
(7) An order under section (Designation of areas) may be revoked or varied by a subsequent order under that section.
(8) Without prejudice to the powers of the Agency or the Council to vary an order under section (Designation of areas), the Secretary of State (as respects England) or the National Assembly for Wales (as respects Wales) may by order vary any order under that section made by the Agency or the Council; and subsection (1) applies to any order under section (Designation of areas) made by the Secretary of State or the Assembly by virtue of this subsection with the substitution for references to the Agency of references to the Secretary of State and for references to the Council of references to the Assembly.
(9) It is the duty of the Agency and the Council to secure that copies of any order under section (Designation of areas) relating to England or, as the case may be, to Wales, are available for inspection by the public at all reasonable times--
(a) at the office of the Agency or, as the case may be, the Council,
(b) at the offices of each local authority whose area includes any part of the area to which the order relates, and

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(c) at such other place or places in or near that area as the Agency or, as the case may be, the Council may determine.").

The noble Lord said: I beg to move.

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 523A:


    Line 4, leave out ("local authority") and insert ("metropolitan, county, unitary district authority or parish county").

The noble Lord said: This amendment is designed to simplify the Bill. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, would approve of this because he always complains about prolixity in legislation.

The Bill as drafted contains a number of words that are unnecessary. It mentions,


    "such modifications as the Secretary of State or the Assembly thinks expedient".

The first amendment in this group would simply remove those words, so that the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales may confirm an order either as submitted or with modifications. The other words are not needed, because sub-paragraph (5) says:


    "Before refusing to confirm an order ... or determining to confirm it with modifications",

the Secretary of State shall--

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: Perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, can help me. I had thought that we were dealing with Amendment No. 523A relating to local authorities.

Baroness Byford: My noble friend Lord Dixon-Smith was speaking to Amendment No. 523AA. I shall speak to Amendment No. 523A and the others in the group. I apologise to the Committee for the errors in the amendment. The errors occurred before it came to this House. The amendment should read,


    "metropolitan, county, unitary, district authority or parish council".

I apologise. It is not the fault of the House, but it is our fault. This matter is mentioned in the 1999 Act, but the 1992 Act did not include parish councils. I was trying to clarify which Act is relevant to this part of the Bill. We are anxious that parish councils should be included.

I shall also speak to Amendments Nos. 523B to 523F, which are fairly self-explanatory. In earlier debates we considered the word "expedient", about which we are not happy. For that reason we have suggested Amendment No. 523B. We have spoken to the other amendments already.

Lord Whitty: Such mis-drafting occasionally happens to the Government as well, so I shall not make a moral point. The typography does not appear to be at its best in this amendment. A comma is missing and the word "county" appears instead of "council". The noble Baroness is correct in saying that what is envisaged by the Government does not include parish councils, although it does include the other local authorities to which she has referred. The matter is

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quite open and probably within AONB areas, parish councils would be consulted and in all circumstances they would be able to contribute their views. However, the noble Baroness is correct in presuming that parish councils would not automatically be covered by this provision.

Considering that we do not want to extend the list of statutory consultees, we would prefer not to refer specifically to parish councils because one then gets into arguments about other public authorities within an area. We consider that it is better not to limit it to the normal definition of local councils. I am not persuaded by the amendment, even if it were correctly printed.


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