§ Mr. Hardy
I beg to move Amendment No. 20, in page 5, line 38, leave out "administrative".
When I looked at this clause after the Committee stage I was horrified to see a mixture of singular and plural tenses in both paragraphs, but I am advised that this is how it should be. Therefore, I do not now propose to amend the clause except to delete this one word.
I am advised and convinced that the word "administrative" is best avoided here. Hon. Members who represent county constituencies, as I have the privilege to do, will be aware that parish councils play a valuable, often invaluable, role within their local communities. Many of them have a responsibility for areas or sites of national interest. An example is the scientific value of Anston Stones Wood in my constituency, which is a concern of the Anston Parish Council. Hon. Members will be able to think of large numbers of similar examples from their constituencies or their own experience.
Parish councils or, if they emerge, neighbourhood councils and many other councils should have some rights under the Bill. Many of them would welcome the power to be involved in the Bill's operation. For this reason it would be wise to delete the word "administrative". We should then be making it plain that bodies without a great deal of administrative work can be involved. They may even be more appropriate than some authorities which are far more vital to the national economy.
The word is not essential anyway, but at least the amendment will draw attention to the wide interests which can be maintained under the Bill. It has also allowed me to pay tribute to the work of parish councils in this type of area, where their contribution is often invaluable and sometimes unique.
§ Amendment agreed to.