§ 33. Mr. Clark Hutchison
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why a Bill on town and country planning procedures in Scotland is not to be introduced in this Session, in view of the fact that there is to be a Bill for England and Wales.
49. Earl of Dalkeith
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to introduce legislation to make further 1441 improvements in the statutory protection afforded to buildings of special historic or architectural interest in accordance with the undertaking given in paragraph 47 of the Town and Country Planning White Paper, Command Paper No. 3333, dated June, 1967.
§ Dr. Dickson Mabon
in this case and in this complicated field there are clear advantages in introducing separate Scottish legislation. The Bill which is in preparation for next Session will include provisions on the lines indicated in paragraph 47 of the White Paper.
§ Mr. Clark Hutchison
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I do not mind separate legislation? It is probably a good thing. In the forthcoming Bill, will he make sure that there is adequate provision and regulations about notifications because often buildings are pulled down or other buildings are erected and the neighbours and people round about do not know about it and they should have proper advance information?
§ Dr. Mabon
I cannot recollect whether the hon. Gentleman has raised this matter with me before, but I will certainly look into the point and see whether there are provisions along the lines which he has suggested and, if not, I will write to him well in advance. The local authorities have been consulted about this and they accept that, with the recent Countryside (Scotland) Act, the Water (Scotland) Act and our proposals on sewerage, it is reasonable that we should wait one year before we introduce the planning Bill, which is so important and which we all recognise will be a major step forward in planning.
Earl of Dalkeith
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the preservation measures in the planning Bill are a matter of very great urgency? Many buildings could possibly be destroyed in the intervening period and it is too long to wait until next Session. Therefore, would he allow a private Member to introduce the Bill in order to help the Scottish Office out of the timetable difficulties?
§ Dr. Mabon
I always admire the hon. Gentleman's courage and audacity, but it would be an enormous Bill and it would be a very difficult Bill for a private Member. Local authorities would not like a Bill to be introduced in that way because it would involve the complete machinery 1442 of government in supporting the Member concerned. The hon. Gentleman has a very fair point. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about abortion"?] There is more involved in planning than abortion. I have to answer the question in relation to historic buildings On the second point, we recently sent out a circular under the Civic Amenities Act urging authorities to use their existing powers along the lines that the hon. Gentleman suggests. We will streamline the legislation when we have the new planning Bill.