§ Mr. Hardy
I beg to move Amendment No. 37, in page 3, line 10, leave out sub section (1) and insert—(1) A licence may be granted to any person by the appropriate authority stipulated in the next subsection authorising that person, notwithstanding anything in this Act or in any order made under this Act, but subject to compliance with any specified conditions—
- (a) for scientific or educational purposes or for the conservation of wild creatures to kill or take within a specified area by any specified means or to offer for sale or to sell or to have in his possession, any number of specified protected wild creatures;
- (b) for the purposes of any specified zoological gardens or collection to take within a specified area by any specified means, or to offer for sale or to sell or to have in his possession, any number of specified protected wild creatures;
- (c)for the purpose of marking or ringing to take within a specified area by any specified means any specified protected wild creatures or any other wild creatures being bats, to mark such protected wild creatures or other wild creatures being bats, or to attach to them any specified ring, tag or other marking device;
- (d) for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease to kill or take protected wild creatures within a specified area by any specified means; or
- (e) for scientific or educational purposes or for the conservation of plants to pick or uproot within a specified area by any specified means any plant of a specified speciesIn this subsection 'specified' means specified in the licenceThis amendment appears to be substantial. In fact, it makes only a few changes to the clause as originally proposed. The clause has been considered at length and with great care by a number of individuals to whom I wish to express gratitude. 852 I take this opportunity of thanking Mr. Winser of Sherwood's, Mr. Sands of the Council for Nature, and that experienced doyen of the English Conservancy, the Earl of Cranbrook. The efforts of those individuals, assisted by many others, have made it possible for us to bring this amendment before the House. It makes remarkably few changes, but it clarifies the situation and provides a precision which is highly desirable in this part of the Bill.
I regret that Clause 8(1), as it was originally presented, contained the word "specified" 17 times. The clause is now to be improved, but I regret that the word "specified" will now be used 19 times instead of 17 times. Although the repetition is rather tedious, my right hon. Friend the Minister for Planning and Local Government will agree that legal clarity requires that it be included in the Bill. I apologise to the House for this necessity, but it is unavoidable.
However, there is nothing else to regret in the amendment. It is an improvement to the clause and I hope that the House will accept it
§ Mr. Mather
It is extremely difficult when we read the amendment to interpret it in relation to the Bill as it stands. There seems to be minor changes of words which mean much the same thing. I am certainly prepared to take the hon. Gentleman's word that the amendment improves the phraseology of the Bill, but it will need an expert on drafting to interpret what has been done in this case.
The hon. Gentleman will be aware that I introduced an amendment in Committee on this clause to try to establish what the main duty of the Nature Conservancy Council was. I received a letter from one of his hon. Friends giving the reasons why that amendment was not accepted. My point still stands—hat this clause is a charter for experts and that it could be at the expense of nature in its wild and natural state. I should like the hon. Gentleman to bear that in mind as we pass it.
§ Mr. Hardy
I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's comments. Perhaps there could be a danger, although the composition of the Nature Conservancy Council and the approach it adopts to its task suggests that the possibility is remote.
853 It might be for the benefit of the House if we specified what will be the licence provisions which will be administered by the Nature Conservancy Council. They will allow the carrying out of scientific and educational research and related activities. They will allow trading between scientific and educational establishments which have creatures superfluous to their needs, and this will reduce the demand for wild creatures taken from the wild. They will allow zoological gardens or wild life parks to possess and to trade in these creatures, and they will allow marking and ringing, which can serve an extremely useful purpose but which ought to be carired out in a responsible manner. They will allow plants to be picked and to be uprooted and they will allow action to be taken to prevent the spread of disease. The provision in the clause as it is proposed to be amended, is identical to the clause which was considered in Committee
It is essential to make sure that the licence arrangements provided in this clause are absolutely clear. I am persuaded that the amendment will provide the clarity which is required
§ Amendment agreed to