HC Deb 24 July 1967 vol 751 cc206-7

Lords Amendment: No. 3, in page 4, line 2, at end insert:

"A.—(1) The Secretary of State shall, as soon as practicable after each regional water board established by virtue of section 1 of this Act come into existence, send to the board a map of their region and shall, as soon as practicable after an order under section 5 of this Act relating to the region of a regional water board comes into operation, send to the board a map of the region as altered or, as the case may be, designated by the order.

(2) Any map sent to a regional water board under this section, except a map which has been superseded by a subsequent map sent thereunder, shall be kept at the principal office of the board; and the board shall provide reasonable facilities for the inspection of the map by any person wishing to inspect it, and for the taking of copies of, and extracts from the map.

(3) Any map sent as aforesaid shall be taken to be a document within the meaning of the Documentary Evidence Act 1868, as applied to the Secretary of State for Scotland."

Dr. Dickson Mabon

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

The new Clause provides for an up-to-date map prepared by the Department, showing the boundaries of each region to be kept and made available at the Board's office for reference by anyone who wishes to see it. It will reduce the possibility of dispute about boundaries. Hon. Members who were on the Committee will recall that not all the boundaries coincided with local authority boundaries and they are mostly described in the Bill by reference to existing limits of supply. The new Clause will facilitate the consolidation which we hope to promote later under the Water (Scotland) Acts.

I hope that it will not be too delayed, but this Clause will be useful on both counts.

Mr. Ian MacArthur (Perth and East Perthshire)

I do not want to argue with the hon. Gentleman, but is this really necessary, when the delineation of the water boards and their undertakings is quite clear? There may perhaps be some difficulty in determining their delineation at some time in the future, but I find it hard to believe that such difficulty would arise. Nevertheless, since the new Clause is harmless, and could conceivably be of some help in some future eventuality, I trust that the House will agree with the Lords.

Mr. Michael Clark Hutchison (Edinburgh, South)

If anyone wants an extract or a copy, will he be charged for it?

Dr. Dickson Mabon

If I may speak again, with permission of the House, I suspect that that last point would depend on the generosity of the regional board concerned or of the Central Board. I express no preference. If there were a great demand, a board might be entitled to charge a small fee.

I am sorry that the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. MacArthur) does not think that the Clause is useful. Earlier, he regarded the division of Perthshire—rightly—with great concern, and a map would have been needed to decide which part of the country came under which board. That does not arise here, but it does arise in places like Fife and Kincardine, and a map would be useful. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman does not recommend that this should be opposed.

Question put and agreed to.