HC Deb 29 April 1958 vol 587 cc323-4
Mr. Amery

I beg to move in page 9, line 12, to leave out "seven" and to insert "fourteen".

Perhaps it would be convenient if at the same time I were to deal with the following Amendment in line 23. The first of these two Amendments increases from seven to fourteen days the minimum period of notice which must be given to an occupier of land before entry can be made on his land for any of the purposes envisaged in Clause 6.

An Amendment in this sense was pressed on us in Committee. It was then represented to us that it would contribute greatly to the maintenance of good relations between the Services and the farmer or landowner concerned if longer notice of the intended use of land could be made.

Our main difficulty over this Amendment arose, as I explained at the time, from the fact that the Bill already provides that a minimum period of fifteen days should elapse from the expiry of one period of use and the service of notice of the subsequent intended use. With the period of notice of seven days, this already meant that three weeks—that is, seven days and fifteen days—must elapse between the holding of one exercise on the ground involved and the next exercise. If the period of notice were raised from seven to fourteen days as we were asked, the interval between exercises would have been extended to nearly a month. This would seriously hamper the training programme during the best training months.

I undertook to try to reconcile giving a longer initial notice to the occupier with the needs of the Army. We have tried to do this in such a form as to make it possible to increase the initial notice to fourteen days without allowing the gap between exercises to exceed twenty-one days. This is what the second of the Amendments provides for. The wording is a little complicated, but I think it gives effect to the wish of the Committee that there should be an initial notice of fourteen days but that the interval between one exercise and another should not exceed twenty-one days.

Sir F. Soskice

This is another example of the Government's endeavour to meet the point of view of the Opposition in these matters, and we are again very grateful indeed to the Under-Secretary of State for what he has said. He has increased the initial period of notice from seven to fourteen days and, speaking for myself, the compromise which he has introduced by his second Amendment so as not to leave the interval between exercises too long—namely, a month—is one which I would have thought was reasonable and acceptable. I should like to thank him for both Amendments.

A mendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 9, line 23, leave out "less than fifteen" and insert: so as to expire less than twenty-one".—[Mr Amery.]