HC Deb 02 August 1926 vol 198 cc2769-71

Motion made, and Question, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered," put, and agreed to.—[Mr. R. W. Smith.]

Lords Amendments considered accordingly.

CLAUSE 1.—(Prohibition of muirburn of certain times.)

Lords Amendment:

In page 1, line 9, leave out from "that" to the end of the Clause, and insert (a) It shall be lawful for the proprietor of any lands, or for the tenant with the written authority of the proprietor or of his factor or commissioner, to make muirburn or burn the heath thereon at any time during the period from the sixteenth day to the thirtieth day of April, both days inclusive; and (b) Where the proprietor of any lands or his factor or commissioner has refused or has failed within seven days after written application for such authority has been made to him by the tenant of such lands, being a tenant who is entitled under the provisions of his lease or by virtue of an Order made in pursuance of the immediately succeeding Section of this Act to make muirburn or burn the heath on such lands, the tenant may, after giving to the proprietor or his factor or commissioner written notice of his intention to do so, make application to the Board of Agriculture for Scotland (hereafter in this Act referred to as the Board) and the Board may on such application, if they are satisfied that it is expedient to do so, by Order authorise the tenant to make muirburn or burn the heath on such lands during the whole or part of the period last mentioned in the year to which the Order relates, in accordance with the conditions contained in the lease or in the Order under the immediately succeeding Section as the case may be. A copy of such Order shall be sent by the Board to the proprietor or his factor or commissioner. (2) In the ease of a deer forest more than fifteen hundred feet above sea level, the foregoing Sub-section shall have effect as if the fifteenth day of May were substituted for the thirtieth day of April.

Lords Amendment read a Second time.


I beg to move, in paragraph (b) of the Lords Amendment, to leave out the words within seven days after written application for such authority, and to insert instead thereof the words to give such written authority within seven days after written application therefor. The object of the Lords Amendment and of the Amendment which I am moving is merely to make more clear the purpose of the Bill. It was found, after the Bill had been through Committee, that the wording was not quite what was intended, and, therefore, the alteration was made in the Lords. My Amendment is merely a drafting matter


May we not have a statement from the promoters of the Bill telling us in what respect the Amendment made in the Lords makes the Bill more clear? It is hardly good enough simply to say that this is merely a drafting Amendment or that it makes the Bill more clear. In what respect was the Bill not clear when it left the Standing Committee and how far has it been made more clear in another place? Unless we can get an explanation we propose to debate it.

The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. William Watson)

With regard to the further Amendment of my hon. Friend, it merely makes a verbal alteration. It makes the Lords Amendment which was passed more grammatical because it was found that the words "refused or has failed" were standing in the air. We did not say what the proprietor was refusing or failing to do. In regard to the Lords Amendment the Clause was redrafted in order to make clear, first of all, that, in default of the landlord's consent to burn during this further extended period, permission should be granted only to a tenant who either is entitled to burn under his lease or a tenant who has got an order releasing him from restrictions of his lease under Clause 2 of the Bill. Secondly, it is made clear that the tenant, before making his application to the Board for an order, must give the landlord notice of his intention to do so. Thirdly, it is made clear that. the conditions which govern .the method of burning heather during the normal statutory period should equally apply during this extended period. That was not clear from the original wording, but obviously that was what was intended. Lastly, the Board are required when they make an order to send a copy to the landlord as well as to the tenant.


Perhaps it might be convenient if I were to say for the information of the House that these Amendments have been carefully scrutinised by the National Farmers Union of Scotland, which is satisfied with them as they stand, with the verbal Amendment which has been suggested by the promoter.


Are we to understand that the only respects in which a concession has been made to the landlords is, first of all, that a notice must be sent by the tenant to the landlord before the application is withdrawn, and that after it has been made it shall be sent to the landlord as well as the tenant? Do we understand that it is only in these two respects that any concessions have been made?


I do not think I should call these Amendments concessions, because they are only intended to make clear the machinery of the Bill. It was always intended that the landlord should have a chance of appearing before the Court, and making any representations he wanted to make, and obviously he can only do that if he has notice that a tenant is making an application.

Amendment to Lords Amendment agreed to.

Lords Amendment, as amended, agreed to.

Lords Amendments down to page 2, line 39, agreed to.

  1. CLAUSE 5.—(Construction, short title and extent.) 367 words