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Baroness Byford: I shall speak to Amendments Nos. 539K and 539L. The first amendment suggests that the term of office should be limited so that it is not an ongoing office that somebody holds for ever and a day. That is why I suggest that that period should be 10 years.

Amendment No. 539L deals with the whole question of filling the vacancy. I suggest that that should be done within six weeks. I believe that the Scottish Parliament requires its vacancies to be filled within four weeks.

Lord Whitty: Clearly, some people object to the Secretary of State appointing anybody onto these boards. For them to work and for there to be a national network of AONB conservation boards, there needs to be some representation which is not automatically from the local authorities within the area. In fact, the proportions being discussed are not

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as wildly different as the debate may have suggested. We are saying that 60 per cent should be from the localities; that is, 40 per cent from the local authorities and 20 per cent from the parish councils.

There is an argument as to how the parish people should be appointed. We are using the same provisions as those which apply to representation in the national parks legislation.

I am not sure that I understand the argument that the Secretary of State should not appoint the 20 per cent, but in larger areas someone has to sort out the representatives from the parishes. Whether the parishes are happy about that being sorted out by the district council, for example, probably depends on the part of the country one lives in.

However, I am not persuaded by any of these alternative formulae. If the noble Lord, Lord Renton of Mount Harry, suggests putting a ceiling on the situation, I can see some benefit, but it makes the calculations more difficult when one has to deal with a significant number of local authorities and parishes within the area. I am not convinced that any alternative formulation is better than ours. No doubt we shall return to this matter. I shall consider it further, as the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-smith, suggests. At the moment I am not convinced of anything that has yet been proposed.

On Amendment No. 539K, which relates to the term served, I agree that there should be a limit as suggested by the noble Baroness. I am not sure whether that would be less disruptive, but there is some merit in the proposal and I shall be happy to consider it further.

Amendment No. 539L is a precise amendment that says that vacancies must be filled within six weeks. My experience of public appointments suggests that that would be difficult. I believe that it is best left to the detail of the regulations rather than being put on the face of the Bill, particularly as I believe that the point may be unachievable.

Lord Renton of Mount Harry: I thank the Minister for that reply. This is an extremely important point. The practical demonstration of local democracy will centre largely around the number of local people who are on a conservation board and how they are appointed. The thought of the Minister thinking more about this is irresistible at this time of night. I shall gladly accept the suggestion that we refer to the matter on Report. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 539B to 539L, as amendments to Amendment No. 539, not moved.]

On Question, Amendment No. 539 agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 540:


    After Schedule 10, insert the following new schedule--

("SCHEDULE
SUPPLEMENTAL POWERS OF CONSERVATION BOARDS

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Interpretation

1. In this Schedule--
"common", "disposal" and "open space" have the same meaning as in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990;
"relevant order" has the same meaning as in Schedule (Areas of outstanding natural beauty: conservation boards).
Power to acquire land

2.--(1) For the purposes of any of their functions under this or any other enactment, a conservation board may acquire by agreement any land, whether situated inside or outside their area of outstanding natural beauty.
(2) The reference in sub-paragraph (1) to acquisition by agreement is a reference to acquisition for money or money's worth as purchaser or lessee.
Power to dispose of land
3. Subject to paragraphs 4 to 6 and to the provisions of the relevant order, a conservation board may dispose, in any manner they wish, of land which is held by them but no longer required by them for the purposes of their functions.
4.--(1) Except with the consent of the Secretary of State (as respects England) or the National Assembly for Wales (as respects Wales), a conservation board may not--
(a) dispose under paragraph 3 of land which consists of or forms part of a common, or formerly consisted of or formed part of a common, and is managed by a local authority in accordance with a local Act,
(b) dispose under paragraph 3 of land, otherwise than by way of a short tenancy, for a consideration less than the best that can reasonably be obtained.
(2) For the purposes of this paragraph a disposal of land is a disposal by way of a short tenancy if it consists--
(a) of the grant of a term not exceeding seven years, or
(b) of the assignment of a term which at the date of the assignment has not more than seven years to run.
5. A conservation board may not dispose under paragraph 3 of any land consisting of or forming part of an open space unless before disposing of the land they cause notice of their intention to do so, specifying the land in question, to be advertised in two consecutive weeks in a newspaper circulating in the area in which the land is situated, and consider any objections to the proposed disposal which may be made to them.
6. Section 128 of the Local Government Act 1972 (consents to land transactions by local authorities) applies in relation to a conservation board as if a conservation board were a principal council and as if paragraphs 3 to 5 were contained in Part VII of that Act.")
Provisions as to charges

7. In section 152(2) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (provisions as to charges), after paragraph (ja) there is inserted--
"(jb) a conservation board established by order under section (Establishment of conservation boards) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000;";
and section 151 of that Act (power to amend existing provisions as to charges) shall have effect as if references to an existing provision included references to any such provision as applied by or under Part IIIA of this Act.").

[Amendment No. 540A, as an amendment to Amendment No. 540, not moved.]

On Question, Amendment No. 540 agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 541:


    After Schedule 10, insert the following new schedule--

("SCHEDULE

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AREAS OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY: CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS
PART I
CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS
National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 (c. 97)

1. In section 1 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 (the Countryside Agency and the Countryside Council for Wales), in subsection (2)(a) after "National Parks or" there is inserted "under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000".
2. In section 112(2) of that Act (provisions not applying to Epping Forest and Burnham Beeches), for "eighty-seven" there is substituted "eighty-nine".
3. In section 114(1) of that Act (interpretation), for the definition of "area of outstanding natural beauty" there is substituted--
""area of outstanding natural beauty" means an area designated under section (Designation of areas) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000;".
Harbours Act 1964 (c. 40)

4. In Schedule 3 to the Harbours Act 1964, in paragraph 1, in paragraph (i) of the definition of "sensitive area" for "section 87 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949" there is substituted "section (Designation of areas) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000".
Highways Act 1980 (c. 66)

5. In section 105A of the 1980 Act (environmental impact assessments), in subsection (6), for paragraph (e) there is substituted--
"(e) an area of outstanding beauty designated as such under section (Designation of areas) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.".
Derelict Land Act 1982 (c. 42)

6. In section 1 of the Derelict Land Act 1982 (powers of Secretary of State), in subsection (11), in the definition of "area of outstanding natural beauty" for "section 87 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949" there is substituted "section (Designation of areas) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000".
Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (c. 27)

7. In section 22 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (traffic regulation for special areas in the countryside), at the end of subsection (1)(a)(ii) there is inserted "designated as such under section (Designation of areas) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000".
Housing Act 1985 (c. 68)

8. In section 37 of the Housing Act 1985 (restriction on disposal of dwelling-houses in National Parks, etc), in subsection (1)(b) for "section 87 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949" there is substituted "section (Designation of areas) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000".
9. In section 157 of that Act (restriction on disposal of dwelling-houses in National Parks, etc), in subsection (1)(b) for "section 87 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949" there is substituted "section (Designation of areas) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000".
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c. 8)

10. In section 87 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (exclusion of certain descriptions of land or development from a simplified planning zone), in subsection (1)(d) for "section 87 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949" there is substituted "section (Designation of areas) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000".
Environmental Protection Act 1990 (c. 43)

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11. In section 130 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (countryside functions of Countryside Council for Wales), in subsection (2)(a) after "National Parks or" there is inserted "under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000".
Water Industry Act 1991 (c. 56)

12. In section 156 of the Water Industry Act 1991 (restriction on disposals of land), in subsection (8), in paragraph (a) of the definition of "area of outstanding natural beauty or special scientific interest", for "for the purposes of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949" there is substituted "under section (Designation of areas) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000".
Environment Act 1995 (c. 25)

13. In Schedule 13 to the Environment Act 1995 (review of old mineral planning permissions), in paragraph 2(4)(c) for "section 87 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949" there is substituted "section (Designation of areas) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000".
Housing Act 1996 (c. 52)

14. In section 13 of the Housing Act 1996 (restriction on disposal of houses in National Parks, etc), in subsection (1)(b) for "section 87 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949" there is substituted "section (Designation of areas) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000".
PART II
TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

15. In this Part "commencement" means the commencement of section (Designation of areas).
16. Any order under section 87 of the 1949 Act (designation of areas of outstanding natural beauty) which is in force immediately before commencement is to be taken to have been made under section (Designation of areas) in accordance with the provisions of Part IIIA of this Act, and may be amended or revoked by an order under that section.
17. Any reference in any instrument or document (whenever made) to designation as an area of outstanding natural beauty under section 87 of the 1949 or to an order under that section is, in relation to any time after commencement, to be taken to be a reference to designation as such an area under section (Designation of areas) of this Act, or to an order under that section.
18. Anything done before commencement in connection with a proposed order under section 87 of the 1949 Act is, as from commencement, to be taken to have been done in connection with a proposed order under section (Designation of areas) of this Act.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.


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