§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. H. Brooke
I beg to move, in page 2, line 14, to leave out from the beginning to "no".
This Amendment is linked with the next Amendment on the Notice Paper, namely, in page 2, line 16, leave out from second "the" to end of Clause and insert:Schedule (Cases where a caravan site licence is not required) to this Act and that Schedule shall have effect accordingly.Perhaps it would be convenient to discuss at the same time the new Schedule to deal with cases where a caravan site licence is not required, because the purpose of the first two Amendments is to get the exemptions out of Clause 2 and to set them out more conveniently in a Schedule at the end of the Bill.
There is an Amendment to the new Schedule in the name of the hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. C. Hughes) and that would be discussed with the new Schedule. Of course, were a Division desired, that would come at a later stage.
§ Mr. C. Hughes
I agree that the Schedule should be discussed now, provided that I shall have an opportunity to discuss my Amendment.
The hon. Member will have full opportunity to discuss his Amendment to the new Schedule, but if he wishes to divide the House, a Division will take place at the time when we reach the Schedule.
§ Mr. H. Brooke
On considering the Bill as it emerged from the Committee stage it appeared more convenient to set out the exemptions altogether in a Schedule at the end of the Bill. The reason was that a number of helpful suggestions were made during the Committee stage and the Schedule seeks to embody in proper language those series of suggestions which appeared prima facie to be generally acceptable. My hope that they are acceptable is strengthened by the fact that the new Schedule has been on the Notice Paper for a week or so and the only Amendment down to it is, as I think the hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. C. Hughes) would agree, not much more than of a drafting character.
It might be convenient if I indicated those features which have been introduced since the exemptions were embodied in the first instance in Clause 2 of the Bill. The first paragraph of the new Schedule to which I shall invite, the attention of the House is paragraph 2. This is designed to afford a further measure of freedom for the touring caravanner. During the Committee stage everyone was anxious that the travelling caravanner should not be discouraged by this Bill. It is not the individual caravanner who creates the problem of caravan sites with which the Bill is mostly concerned. At the same time I think it is universally recognised that the travelling caravanner should not be free from any sort of control or he might so organise his travelling as to stay for a long time on one spot without being 1672 subject to any control. But certainly it is the firm desire of the Government that the Bill should not in any way discourage people who want to spend a caravan holiday travelling from place to place or who may extend their travelling over several nights in order to get to the spot where they intend to spend their holiday.
Paragraph 2 of the new Schedule grants exemptions for the single caravanner who stops anywhere for one or two nights in the course of travelling. During the Committee stage one hon. Friend of mine quoted the example of a vicar who might like to invite his caravanning friends to spend a night in his yard or garden if they happened to be in the neighbourhood. This Clause will entirely free the vicar from any fear that he would be infringing the law in making such an offer.
I hope the House will agree that this freedom for the travelling caravanner to use any place he likes without needing to get a licence should apply only to an occasional use, that is to say that it should be limited to not more than twenty-eight days in a year. If one removed any sort of limit it would open the door to commercial advertising of a caravan site. It is not a site which could be used by a whole series of people travelling through, or there might be a caravan on the spot practically every night of the summer. If anything of that kind is contemplated, a licence will be required.
The next paragraph to which I invite the attention of the House is paragraph 3 which incorporates the exemption which is now in Clause 2 (2, h), but in the new Schedule it includes a further provision to enable the Minister, or in Scotland the Secretary of State, to relax by Order the limit of five acres and the time limit of twenty-eight days in a year in a particular area. That suggestion has been met. It will give a little more flexibility. It is difficult to see that there will be any disadvantage from so providing.
The next paragraph which is of a novel character compared with the original Bill is paragraph 5. This provides an exemption for club sites, on the lines of a proposal which found universal approval in the Standing Committee. The exemption is based on the issue by the organisation of a certificate for each site. The 1673 certificate will be renewable from year to year. That will enable the extent of the exemption to be kept under review and, if any check is needed, it will provide a check on the proper management of sites. The exemption will apply only to sites approved by an exempted organisation for the use of its members, and paragraph 12 of the Schedule makes it clear that only organisations concerned with recreational activities will qualify for exemption.
Paragraph 6 deals with caravan rallies. This was another point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Temple) in the Standing Committee. This paragraph will cover a caravan rally arranged by an exempted organisation which lasts for not more than five days. We have gone into the length of the exemption. My hon. Friend suggested seven days in the Amendment he moved in Committee, but the information which we have been able to gather indicates that the type of caravan rally which this paragraph is designed to exempt does not normally last for more than five days. If anything of this sort is to be of a semi-permanent character, clearly a licence should be required.
I should like, finally, to say a few words about paragraph 10, because I expect that in the House, as in the Standing Committee, everyone will be interested in travelling showmen. This paragraph extends the present exemption given to travelling showmen in Clause 2 (2, g). It extends that exemption to cover the showmen's winter quarters. I will not go further over the case for this. It was fully ventilated in Committee and accepted by the Government. It will be noticed that the exemption in this paragraph will now apply only to showmen who are members of an organisation recognised by the Minister as consisting of bona fide travelling showmen. That idea was mooted in the Standing Committee, and it was acceptable. It will certainly be a safeguard against abuse of these provisions.
I trust that the House will feel that the Government have made a genuine attempt to pay attention to what was said from both sides of the Standing Committee on the scope of these exemptions. If it is suggested from any quarter that one can now drive a coach and four through the control provisions of the Bill, it will be incorrect, because one 1674 cannot. We are dealing here with the fringe of the main body of the caravan problem. We are seeking to give exemption to certain people who we think deserve exemption by reason of the nature of what they are engaged in. We do not want to clutter up the administration of caravan law with a tremendous amount of unnecessary paper and needless control. We are anxious that people should enjoy themselves, provided that they do not infringe the rights and amenities of others. The fact that the new Schedule has stood on the Notice Paper for a week without any substantial Amendment to it being tabled encourages the Government to hope that the House will accept that our attempt to shape the exemptions has been a genuine one.
§ Mr. Edward Short (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central)
We welcome the Schedule. We think that it meets the anomalies, which arise very largely because the Bill, though based on a Report which dealt purely with residential caravanning, is being applied to all cravanning—touring caravanners, showmen, and so on. A great many anomalies were apparent on Second Reading and in Committee. We feel that in the Schedule the Minister has gone a considerable way to meet those difficulties and the points which were made.
Paragraph 2 is new. It helps to make life possible again for the touring caravanner. It is rather restricted. The Minister mentioned the vicar. The vicar's hospitality may be very good indeed and one may wish to stay for more than two nights, but this paragraph limits the stay to one van for not more than two nights. Nevertheless, it is a very great step forward and makes life possible once more for the touring caravanner.
Coming to paragraph 3, we removed in Committee the limitation of rural district councils. As I said in Committee, I felt that five acres was too much. The Minister has at any rate gone some way to meet that by taking power to specify such lower acreage as he may think fit. We shall have to see how it works out. It may well be necessary for caravanning interests some time in the future to ask that some smaller acreage be put in place of the five acres.
1675 Paragraph 4 is the exemption which appeared in the Bill originally. It was sub-paragraph (c) of Clause 2 (2), and not sub-paragraph (h), as the Minister said. Paragraph 5 is largely the amendment which I moved in Committee and which the Minister accepted in principle. It limits the number of vans which may be on such a site to five. There is no limitation on the time. This could cover vans which remain on the same site for the whole of the summer—in other words, weekend vans. It could enable a very large number of small unlicensed sites—I mean unlicensed by the local authority—to grow up throughout the country. I hope that it will not. I simply say that it could happen. What the Minister has in mind here is to help the touring caravanner. Obviously no planning permission is required. It is covered by the General Development Order and it would be quite possible for anyone to set up a site of this kind, provided that it was licensed by one of the exempted organisations, and use the site with five caravans stationed on it throughout the whole of the summer. I do not think that was the Minister's intention.
Paragraph 6 caters for rallies. Five days are adequate and we are grateful that the Minister has put that in. There has been an extension in the case of occupational caravans, and we welcome that. I am rather sorry that in the case of building and engineering sites the caravans must be on the land where the work is taking place or on adjoining land. There may well be cases where the builder can only put caravans on a site a couple of fields away. That will be ruled out, because paragraph 5 provides that it has to be on the site or on adjoining land. However, we shall see how that works out.
We welcome the inclusion of travelling showmen's winter quarters. This is almost a traditional exemption now. Travelling showmen have had it for many years and have never abused it.
Paragraph 11 contains a change which goes some way, but not the whole way, to meet an objection which a number of hon. Members and myself raised on Second Reading and in Committee. The change is that a local authority site 1676 will be exempt if the site is in the local authority's own area. Clause 20 defines a local authority for this purpose as including a joint planning authority. The case which I thought might cause difficulty is a joint planning authority in a National Park setting up a site, but the rural district council or the urban district council within the joint planning area not having a say in the matter. This paragraph does not meet the difficulty. It could still take place. The paragraph goes only part of the way towards meeting it. When I raised this in Committee, the Minister said that he thought that I was on a good thing. Apparently he has not solved that problem. Nevertheless, we welcome this slight change.
I think that there is something wrong with the numbering of the Schedule, because paragraphs 2 to 11 are obviously sub-paragraphs of paragraph 1. No doubt that can be put right. Paragraph 13 is obviously not an exemption. It gives the Minister the power to withdraw all the exemptions, except that applying to local authorities. The exempted organisations should have the power to make representations when the Minister intends to withdraw their exemptions.
Apart from those minor criticisms and observations, we welcome this relaxation and clearing up of the anomalies which were apparent when the Bill was first published.
§ Mr. John M. Temple (City of Chester)
I add my appreciation of the new Schedule to that which has just been expressed by the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short). It is magnificent work on the part of the Parliamentary draftsman concerned. It is so clear that we shall not require a lawyer to explain its provisions to us. That is a triumph.
I want to mention certain aspects of the Schedule, because I had the privilege of making certain representations in Committee. It was recognised on both sides of the Standing Committee that the man in the street, the touring caravanner who was not a member of an organisation, and the oversea visitor who was not a member of any national organisations, would have no chance of staying for one or two nights in any spot which appealed to him. Therefore, I very much welcome 1677 the relaxations in paragraphs 1 and 2, because they will make it possible for the overseas visitor to move around Britain and stay one or two nights in a yard adjacent to an inn, in the vicar's garden, as the Minister said, if the vicar is kind enough to invite him in, or in any other place which may appeal to him. That is a very reasonable relaxation. It should not in any way inconvenience local authorities. It will bring immense flexibility to the life of the touring caravanner, and will be greatly appreciated.
The exempted organisations will be such organisations as the Caravan Club of Great Britain. They are very responsible organisations. Under paragraphs 4 and 5, they will have power to occupy, supervise and approve sites. The occupied and supervised sites will be sites which the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central referred to as being capable of being occupied throughout the summer. Those sites will be under the direst supervision of the exempted organisations. If these exempted organisations do not exercise the control which we expect from them and which we have every reason to expect by reason of their excellent past conduct, their exemption can be withdrawn.
I have one particular point which I want to put to my right hon. Friend. It concerns the approved locations, what I have referred to as the certificated locations, established by exempted organisations. Under paragraph 5 (3) these organisations are to send particulars to my right hon. Friend of the locations. I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend intends in some way to communicate the positions of these locations to the local authorities concerned. It might well be that he might consider adding after "to the Minister" the words "and to the local authorities". Perhaps whoever is to reply will say whether it is the intention of the Minister to inform the local authorities concerned of the certificated locations.
I had the privilege of speaking in Committee on behalf of the travelling showmen. I should like to read to the House a letter dated 30th May which I received from the general secretary of the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain. He wrote:We are very pleased to see the Government Amendment on the Order Paper, which 1678 gives us everything we can reasonably want. I have emphasised to my Council that such an exemption … places the responsibility squarely upon us to see that it is not abused.The general secretary of the Showmen's Guild, which no doubt will claim to be an exempted organisation under the Bill, accepts on behalf of the members of the Guild—and it represents about 95 per cent. of the travelling showmen of Great Britain—the fact that responsibility will lay fairly and squarely on the Showmen's Guild. I think that we can have every confidence that the Showmen's Guild will measure up to its responsibilities. If it does not do so, my right hon. Friend has the immediate sanction of being able to withdraw its exemption. Once again, the long-standing exemption of travelling showmen has been recognised, and rightly, in the Bill.
Paragraph 13 gives the Minister power to nullify the exemption, but equally it gives an exempted organisation three months' grace. By this power local authorities will feel confident that the exempted organisations will have a healthy restriction put upon them, because their exemption can be removed at any time by application to my right hon. Friend, who will retain the ultimate sanction. The period of three months' grace is to enable exempted organisations to notify their members.
I wholeheartedly welcome the new Schedule and hope that it will be added to the Bill.
§ Mr. R. Gresham Cooke (Twickenham)
I must apologise for speaking in the debate, since I was not a member of the Committee which considered the Bill so thoroughly. I have had several representations from my constituents, who are particularly anxious about the position of the mobile caravanner. As I have been a mobile caravanner, I know something of the position. If one goes from Twickenham to North Wales with a caravan, it is obvious that one must stay at least one night on the way. My constituents felt strongly that Clause 2 was far too restrictive and that the requirement that a site would be exempted if it was five acres or more did not meet their case. I am, therefore, delighted to find that their needs have been met to such a large extent in the new Schedule. Obviously the mobile caravanner, whom we want to encourage, must stay from time to time with a friend or with a 1679 householder with a small house. Therefore, as I think that the new Schedule meets the needs of the mobile caravanner, the fears of my constituents should be allayed.
The last point that I want to put to my right hon. Friend concerns the position of a club known as the British Caravanners' Club which, it is hoped, will fall within the list of exempted organisations. This is a highly respected club which has been in my constituency for about 50 years. It is a section of the Camping Club of Great Britain and Ireland. I do not know whether my right hon. Friend can say now what organisations he proposes to list, but I hope that he will look upon this club, which, I understand, is highly thought of, with sympathy and favour and will bring it within the list of exempted organisations. Subject to those two points, I should like to say how much I appreciate the new Schedule.
§ Sir W. Wakefield
Like other hon. Members, I should like to congratulate my right hon. Friend on introducing this new Schedule. In Committee, I said that the wording of that part of the Bill stating that a five-acre site would be exempted needed clarification, and that planning officers who would have to operate the Bill were concerned about its ambiguity. I believe that the new Schedule greatly clarifies the points that I made, and I feel that it will be of very great advantage.
Those of us who were in Committee realise that, while we wished to have adequate control, there was need for giving reasonable freedom to those who wished to tour in caravans. My hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke) can, I think, assure his constituents that, as a result of the discussions in Committee, the person who wishes to do so should have plenty of opportunity and reasonable freedom to do all the touring in a caravan that he wants.
The hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) expressed some anxiety about the possibility of exempted organisations abusing the use of a site by keeping perhaps five caravans on it throughout the year. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for the City of 1680 Chester (Mr. Temple), who dealt with that point. I do not think the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Central need have any anxiety. If any exempted organisation in any way abuses its privileges, since the certificate will be only on an annual basis, the exemption can be withdrawn if those abuses continue. Just as in the case of the travelling showmen, I am sure that all exempted organisations will go out of their way to recognise their responsibility and to ensure that their members live up to the requirements of their organisation to justify continued exemption.
§ Mr. Short
I did not criticise the exempted organisations. There would be no abuse of the law, because, as I understand it, the law permits this. What I said was that surely the Minister intended this for touring caravans. As I understand it, the new Schedule allows a site to have five caravans on it for the whole of the summer without the law being broken. I do not say that there would be abuse on the part of exempted organisations but that, as it stands, the new Schedule would allow it.
§ Sir W. Wakefield
I quite appreciate what the hon. Gentleman is saying. Perhaps I did not mean abuse of the law but of the intention, perhaps, to have this position reserved for the tourer and not to have the sites utilised by the weekend caravanner. That is what I meant when I drew attention to what the hon. Gentleman said.
I conclude by expressing the hope that the Bill, as amended in this way, will be found to be satisfactory and of very great benefit to all those who operate sites, who dwell on sites at the weekends, or who wish to stay on them for a night or two as they tour the countryside. I hope that the Bill, as amended, will give ever-increasing pleasure to the growing number of people who are using the caravan and who will continue to use it in the years to come.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. A. P. Costain (Folkestone and Hythe)
I do not propose to detain the House for more than a few minutes, but I wish to join with my hon. Friends in congratulating my right hon. Friend on producing this Schedule. It gets over a number of objections which I have 1681 received from my constituents in Folkestone and Hythe, where we have the pleasure of having many caravan dwellers.
There is one point which affects the civil engineering industry, and here I declare my interest. The object of paragraph 9 of the proposed new Schedule is constructive as far as industry is concerned and is most helpful. There is, however, one point that I should like to put about hydro-electric schemes. The paragraph says:… a caravan site of land which forms part of, or adjoins, land on which building or engineering operations are being carried out …I am quite certain that my right hon. Friend is sufficiently conversant with hydro-electric sites not to wish the men employed on them to have to live on the top of mountains when they are building dams. It is usual on such sites to find the caravans in the valley where their occupants can enjoy the amenities of the land. I should be grateful if my right hon. Friend could give the assurance that that is the intention of the paragraph.
§ Mr. C. Hughes
You were good enough, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to say that I could speak to my Amendment to the Schedule at this stage.
§ Sir J. Duncan
On a point of order. If the Amendment were discussed now, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, perhaps that would limit the discussion.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Gordon Touche)
The Amendment is not being moved now. It is being discussed with the new Schedule.
§ Mr. Hughes
In referring to the Amendment, the Minister said that it was a drafting one, but it is a little more than that, as I shall hope to prove. Paragraph 9 of the Schedule, to which reference has just been made by the hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain), exempts caravans which are used for accommodating persons employed in connection with building and engineering operations. This is a necessary exemption, and we on this side of the House agree with it. It is primarily intended to cover large-scale constructional works undertaken by big firms which move from one area to another and where mobility of labour is 1682 an important factor, stand that.
However, since the Committee stage it has been brought to my attention that there may be a person who is vitally interested in building operations without actually being employed on them. The words used in the paragraph are:… employed in connection with the said operations.Let us take, for example, the case of a man who has bought a plot of land and who is building a house on it—he and his wife and family have no alternative accommodation and, therefore, they wish to live on the site that they have bought perhaps for six or nine months whilst the house is going up. It seems to me that a case of that kind is not far removed, in spirit at least, from the exemption in paragraph 1 of the Schedule, that is to say, where it states:A site licence shall not be required for the use of land as a caravan site if the use is incidental to the enjoyment as such of a dwelling house within the curtilage of which the land is situated.As I read it, paragraph 1 does not cover the case which I have in mind. If it does, I shall be glad to have that assurance from the Minister.
I am concerned with the use of a caravan in relation to the anticipated enjoyment of a dwelling-house in course of construction and not of a house that is actually built. The Amendment standing in the name of myself and two of my hon. Friends seeks to add the words, "Or engaged" to the paragraph. I think that the Amendment would cover the type of house which I have in mind, because if a person has contracted to build a house, is paying for the house and owns the land on which it is being built, then, presumably, he is engaged in connection with the building operations and would be covered by paragraph 9 if those words were inserted I think that the Amendment is a very reasonable one and well within the spirit of the exemptions included in the Schedule. Therefore, I hope that the Minister will see fit to accept it later in the debate.
There is one other point that I wish to make. It is a general point on paragraphs 10 and 12 dealing with exempted organisations to which the Minister will be granting certificates. Will Parliament and the public be able to know to 1683 which organisations precisely the right hon. Gentleman has granted certificates of exemption? It is desirable, particularly under paragraph 12, that some list should be available somewhere. This is certainly something that local authorities will wish to know, and I shall be glad if the Minister will say how he proposes to make the list known to Members of the House, to local authorities and to the public generally.
§ Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley
I will not detain the House for more than two or three minutes. I was one of those who, on Second Reading, were critical of certain aspects of what was then, and still is, Clause 2 of the Bill as it affected people like myself who enjoy mobile caravanning. I wish to say how much I appreciate the work done by my colleagues in the Committee, as I was not, and in particular by my right hon. Friend the Minister in producing so quickly this new Schedule, which seems to me meet all the points that many of us raised on Second Reading and which were subsequently raised by many of my colleagues in Committee. I particularly like paragraphs 2 and 5 of the new Schedule which go the whole way to meet the points which I raised on Second Reading.
There is one point which I know that my hon. Friend the Member for South Angus (Sir J. Duncan) intended to bring to your notice, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and perhaps I might ask the question on his behalf. It has to do with paragraph 7, which deals with agriculture and forestry workers. From the wording of the exemption for agricultural workers, it is quite clear that the site licence will… not be required for the use as a caravan site of agricultural land for the accommodation during a particular season of a person or persons employed in farming operations …That is perfectly clear concerning agriculture. In that connection "a particular season" is, one imagines, the time of harvest, or a season in which particular work is required on the land, and for that reason accommodation is required for some of the workers. But this is not so clear in the case of forestry, although the same phrase "during a particular season" is used. Forest land may be required for planting—and I hope that here I am making the point 1684 which would have been made by my hon. Friend the Member for South Angus. Planting might be construed to be a particular season.
What so often happens is the kind of thing we were faced with in the north of Scotland three or four years ago, when we had the disastrous wind blow at the end of February. Trees were swept down like ninepins before a 90 m.p.h. gale. It took months, indeed years, to get the trees cleared. Contingents of forestry workers were brought in. Many had to live in caravans because there was no other accommodation for them. This sort of situation, certainly in spirit, ought to be covered by the wording of paragraph (8), and I hope that the Minister will have another look at this to make sure that the words "during a particular season" have, in respect of forestry, the meaning that they are intended to have—namely, that caravans placed on the land for the purposes of forestry when some particular work is to be carried on for a period shall not require a site licence.
§ Mr. H. Brooke
I am grateful for the kind things that have been said about this new Schedule by hon. Members on both sides of the House. It is the case that a number of people in my Department have been working hard under my instructions to try and get forms of words which would satisfactory meet a number of excellent suggestions made in Committee. I think it is further testimony to the splendedly co-operative way in which we have taken the Bill through all its stages up to now that the Government seem to have had considerable success in meeting and overcoming the legitimate criticisms which were made of Clause 2 as it originally stood.
The hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) was a little anxious about paragraph 11. I must apologise for not having specifically mentioned it in my original speech. If he looks at the definition of a local authority in Clause 25, he will find that it does not include a joint planning board, and therefore a caravan site which was run by a joint planning board in a national park would be subject to licensing by the district council. I think that that was what he desired.
1685 A number of questions were raised about paragraph 5 concerning the certified locations, the sites granted a certificate by an approved organisation. I do not remember whether when the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central first raised this general point in Committee he suggested that there should be any time limit on it, but I think that a certain element of time limit is secured by the fact that in paragraph 12 it is laid down that before granting a certificate for exemption to any one of these organisations the Minister must be… satisfied that its objects include the encouragement or promotion of recreational activities.If an organisation then started virtually to certify a number of sites which were not really being used for holiday purposes but for permanent residence, quite frankly I think it would endanger its certificate.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Short
I have not raised this before. I did not suggest that these caravans would be for residential purposes but that they might be left on the site for the whole of the summer and used at weekends by the owners. What the Minister had in mind was to assist touring caravanners. With regard to the other point, the definition of a local authority is in Clause 20. Subsection (8) of that Clause states that the expressionlocal authority '… includes a joint planning board …This surely includes a joint planning board in considering which local authorities can set up caravan sites.
§ Mr. Brooke
The hon. Gentleman may have misunderstood me there. It is true that in Clause 20 the expression "local authority" is defined to include a joint planning board. I accept that, but that definition only defines the words "local authority" for the purposes of Clause 20, and the general definition of "local authority" in the other Clauses is in Clause 25. We are not discussing here the definition of "local authority" under Clause 20. We are discussing the words "local authority" as they will appear in the new Schedule, and these words in the Schedule will be defined by Clause 25. It will be the case, therefore, as I think the hon. Gentleman wishes, that where a general planning board in a National 1686 Park runs a caravan site it will still have to obtain a site licence from the district council concerned.
My hon. Friend the Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Temple) was gratifyingly flattering in his references to the new Schedule. I hope that I have, in the main, met the points which he raised all through. He asked me, I think, whether, under sub-paragraph (3) of paragraph 5, the particulars should only go to the Minister and not to the planning authorities also. It would be our intention, by administrative action, to make certain that when we received particulars of a certificate issued by an organisation we conveyed that information to the local authority concerned. It is desirable that that should be so.
My hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke) asked whether a particular organisation in his constituency was likely to get exemption. I am sure that the House would not wish me to make any forecasts before the Bill is in operation, but I think it is fairly widely known what are the organisations which have exemptions at the present time under Section 269 of the 1936 Act. I am not to be taken as implying that each of those, and only those, will qualify for exemption under this Bill, but it is certainly some guide to the policy which previous Ministers have followed in the past. We had better look at each application on its merits.
The hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. C. Hughes), in this connection, asked whether Parliament and the public would be able to know which organisation received certificates. I do not think we need write anything of that kind into the Bill. I would certainly find some means of letting it be known, when the applications were being made, which were being accepted and approved. Again, if changes were made, we could probably find some means of making sure that those people concerned had the necessary information.
My hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain) asked about hydro-electric schemes. I must say that I can see some difficulties about extending the exemption in paragraph 9 of the Schedule to caravans at a distance from the works without making the exemption altogether too 1687 wide. This, however, is a new point—I do not think that it was mentioned in Standing Committee. Perhaps the Government could be given time to consider it further.
I should like to take this opportunity to say that, without doubt, some Amendments will come back to us from another place. Therefore, when I indicate in what I say that the matter will be considered further, it does not mean that I am simply trying to get away with that because the Government will resist any Amendments in another place. That is not so, and if I might bear out what I have just said, I would say that it has not been possible for the Government, by this stage of the Bill, to settle what we should do about caravans on common land—a question that was raised in Committee. That is something that must be looked at before the Bill receives the Royal Assent.
The hon. Member for Anglesey spoke to his Amendment, and to him I must say much the same as I said before. I confess that I had not envisaged just the type of case that he mentioned—a man living in a caravan while he is building a house, or getting a house built for him. I could not go so far as to say that we would accept that Amendment, but I shall certainly examine that matter and see whether there is any way in which we could cover that rather unusual case, which, however, might occur from time to time.
My hon. Friend the Member for North Angus and Mearns (Sir C.Thornton-Kemsley) asked about the reference in paragraph 8 to "a particular season" in the case of forestry operations. Those words appear in both paragraphs 7 and 8, because I think that it would be the general will of the House that there should not be a continuous exemption from licensing for what is really a permanent caravan colony. The idea is that when work is going on in an area, whether on a farm or in the forest, and it is not of a permanent character, it should be possible to have the people engaged on the job living in caravans for a time without the necessity of obtaining a licence.
The apprehensions that my hon. Friend voiced can be allayed. I do not think that he was seeking to argue that 1688 there should be exemption from licensing if this was to be a permanent installation. It strikes me, although I shall certainly examine the point, which is a new one, that the words "during a particular season" should provide for the sort of contingency or local disaster that he has in mind.
I greatly appreciated what my hon. Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Sir W. Wakefield) said. I know that he has great experience of these matters and is one of a number of hon. Members on both sides who have taken a great deal of interest in these exemptions. I want to express my appreciation of the help that the Government have had over this rather difficult and delicate matter—though, fortunately, it arouses no party feelings—and to thank the House again for the reception that has been given to the Schedule.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendment made: In page 2, line 16, leave out from second "the" to end of Clause and insert:
Schedule (Cases where a caravan site licence is not required) to this Act and that Schedule shall have effect accordingly".—[Mr. H. Brooke.]