HC Deb 14 January 1975 vol 884 cc224-61
Mr. Alexander Fletcher (Edinburgh, North)

I beg to move Amendment No. 40, in page 1, line 9, leave out 'exploitation' and insert: 'extraction and onward despatch'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Oscar Murton)

With this amendment we are to debate the following amendments:

No. 41, in page 1, line 14, leave out 'exploitation' and insert: 'extraction and onward despatch'. No. 42, in Clause 20, page 13, line 22, leave out 'exploitation' and insert: 'extraction and onward despatch'.

Mr. Fletcher

The terminology in this part of the Bill was the subject of considerable debate in Committee. The object then, as now, was to make obvious just what development powers are in the Bill and to relate them as reasonably as possible to the extraction and onward transmission of North Sea oil. The Minister tried to clarify the matter in Committee by tabling an amendment which has been incorporated in the amended Bill. That amendment, helpfully, specifically excludes the refining of crude petroleum, except so far as is necesary for its onward transmission.

So far, so good, but when exceptional powers are being taken by Ministers, those Ministers should not be bashful about making exceptions to the powers to the fullest possible extent. Better still, they should state positively the specific items for which they wish the powers to be granted. That is why in the amendments we are taking as our starting point the desirability of deleting "exploitation" and inserting. extraction and onward despatch In re-examining the matter we cannot find anything in the use of the word "extraction" which would alter the purpose of the Bill, but it would define more clearly the method by which the Bill is intended to be employed.

We do not believe that any activity truly related to the development of offshore petroleum would be excluded by the amendment. If the Minister believes otherwise, perhaps he would tell us just which activities would not be included. We feel that the terminology of the Bill, even as amended, will give Ministers an over-powered general purpose vehicle rather than the limited and specific powers that the development seem to require.

In Committee, the Minister expressed his willingness to reconsider the question. I hope that he has done so to the benefit of hon. Members on both sides of the House who reflect the views of many people who are concerned about the matter.

Mr. T. H. H. Skeet (Bedford)

As is customary, I should declare that I recently went to the United States and Canada to study the ramifications of the oil industry and energy, a trip for which I did not pay. It is only right that I should declare that to the House.

If the Government intend to use the word "exploitation" in oil terms, then it means only for the development of oil on the continental shelf. I do not think that there can be anything objectionable if it means only the acquisition of land to ensure that the oil is lifted and recovered by mechanical platforms and devices.

As I did not serve on the Committee, I am happy to note that the Government have included subsection (3), which excludes refining. That seems to imply, from the intention of the clause, the acquisition of land for the purpose of developing offshore petroleum, which would curtail the operation of the clause for the acquisition of land for any other purposes. But the Secretary of State should make this perfectly clear. Does he intend that it should be used for purposes beyond what is normally indicated? Does he intend to give the word "exploitation" purely and simply a dictionary meaning, which would entitle the Government to go into further areas for the acquisition of land? If the Minister will give an assurance on the matter, I am sure that it will satisfy hon. Members on the Opposition benches.

The Under-Secretary of State for Energy (Mr. John Smith)

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, North (Mr. Fletcher) raised the matter in some detail in Committee, where I undertook to reexamine the terminology in the light of the fears he expressed. We have done so, and we are grateful to the hon. Gentleman for the effort he has made in trying to find alternative phrasing, avoiding the use of the word "exploitation".

However, there are some difficulties. Basically, we face the perennial problem of legislation which is trying to deal not only with what we know now but with what is likely to happen. In a world where fast-changing technology is one of the hallmarks of the oil industry, we must be careful not to limit the powers to what is required now. We must have powers relevant to technology that will be in operation in perhaps only a few years' time. We cannot come back to Parliament every month or two to clarify legislation. The difficulty that we find with the definition which has been put forward as an alternative is that I am advised that it does not cover the reception and storage of oil. Further, it might not cover the processing, short of refining, which is necessary for onward transmission. If we did not have that practical problem to face I would be inclined to accept the amendment.

It is because of the practical problems that we do not believe the amendment would cover adequately that I must ask the House to resist the amendment. I think that I have given an explanation which the Opposition might find satisfactory. Perhaps the hon. Member for Edinburgh, North will accept that even as things stand there are some difficulties and that we do not know what future technology will provide.

Mr. Skeet

Is the Minister prepared to give an assurance now that the acquisition of land will be limited to the purpose of extraction and will not extend to other spheres?

Mr. Smith

The difficulty is that we want to give ourselves a certain amount of elbow room. That is why we have chosen the wider rather than the narrower definition. It is difficult to look into the future. The Government's intention is to provide the necessary facilities for extracting oil. We would not use the word "exploitation" unless we wanted some flexibility. I am not averse to settling fears, but I cannot look into the future of oil technology.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I am grateful to the Minister for having considered this matter and for what he has said. However, I feel that he has to some extent missed the point that we are trying to make. In moving the amendment my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, North (Mr. Fletcher) said that the clause as it stands, and its phraseology in particular, is all-embracing. It covers almost anything to do with the exploration or exploitation of oil.

As the hon. Gentleman admits, exploitation covers a multitude of different activities. It covers such a multitude of different oil-related activities that the Government themselves in Committee brought forward an amendment which restricted the Bill's all-embracing powers. At least it took away one of the multitude of activities related to refining. It took away one particular power because the Government's intention was to remove an operation which they did not intend to be covered. That illustrates how all-embracing are the powers relating to exploitation.

In Committee we put forward an amendment which confined matters simply to extraction. By withdrawing that amendment we accepted the spirit of what the Minister said in Committee. The use of the word "extraction" alone would tend to be too restrictive and would limit the powers of the Bill beyond what we believe is necessary. What we said originally in Committee, what my hon. Friend said again this afternoon, as I repeat, is that we are desperately worried that a Bill that gives such tremendous powers to the Government should not specify them more closely.

The spirit of the amendment is also included in the next group of amendments which we shall be discussing. If we can restrict the powers of the Bill to those that we believe are necessary we shall make the Bill in many ways much less objectionable than it might be otherwise. If the Bill extends certain powers beyond those which we believe are necessary there will be left in people's minds a measure of doubt as to the Bill's future application. Secondly, if such powers are necessary for particular purposes which are directly related to exploration, extraction, onward transmission and storage terminals, I do not accept the Minister's argument that we necessarily want to keep the matter open for a future hypothetical situation when some need or purpose may arise which we do not see today.

With great respect, the Minister is asking the House and the country to take far too much on trust. We are prepared to legislate in this House for what may be necessary and foreseeable now. We accept within certain limitations that it is in the country's interests to speed up exploration and, in some circumstances and in certain areas, the exploitation of offshore oil. We do not believe that it is necessary to go beyond the purposes which "exploitation" covers.

5.15 p.m.

The Minister has fairly said that he accepts that we tried to make an improvement in Committee by putting forward the words "onward transmission". He suggests that they might be taken to exclude such matters as reception, storage and processing for onward transmission. He has put forward only three restrictions. If that is so, and if the amendment, which represents our second attempt, still does not cover everything, there are further stages which allow the Government to table suitable amendments. Alternatively, I can arrange for the necessary amendments to be tabled. It is our purpose to make legislation specific so that it can be understandable outside the House. Legislation should be specific rather than all-embracing and possessing blanket provisions.

I believe that the Government are asking the House to approve blanket powers for hypothetical situations. It is possible to restrict such powers more specifically within the Bill in the way that we have attempted. I am prepared to ask my hon. Friend to withdraw the amendment if the Government can give us an assurance that they will consider the matter again and cover the points that the Minister has mentioned. I agree that they should be covered at a later stage. If the Government are to be adamant and wish to maintain the blanket power represented by "exploitation", I must ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to divide the House. As it stands the Bill is far too wide. I want to see within it the powers that are necessary. I do not want to see within it hypothetical powers for the future any more than unnecessary powers. Unless the Government can give me an assurance on this point I must ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to support me in the Lobby.

Mr. Smith

I cannot give the hon. Gentleman the assurance that he seeks. We have considered the matter carefully. I do not think that further consideration will give us a more original approach. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman is being entirely fair to the Government. We went a long way towards meeting the one practical fear which has been expressed—namely, the fear about refining. We took that on board and specifically excluded it from the Bill. I am not aware of any other practical fear being expressed. Most of the argument that we have had from the hon. Gentleman has been theoretical rather than practical.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith


Mr. Smith

I have already mentioned one or two matters that the amendment does not cover. We have genuinely considered the matter and we have carefully considered the amendment. I am grateful for the effort that has been put into it. We feel that we must leave some leeway for the future. Oil technology changes extremely quickly.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

The Minister accuses me of being theoretical regarding the future. To some extent I am theoretical in that I do not want the Bill to cover hypothetical situations. With respect, I am being no more theoretical than the Minister in that he wants the Bill to cover situations which he says may arise in the future. If that is not theoretical I do not know what is.

Mr. Smith

The hon. Gentleman must accept that I have put forward practical objections arising from the amendment. We have considered the matter carefully. We have made a major concession in making it clear that refineries are totally excluded from the operation of the Bill, In the fast-moving world of oil technology the Government must have some flexibility. We have gone as far as we can. I cannot give any further assurances to the hon. Gentleman. We have gone a long way towards meeting the wishes of the House. I must ask the House to resist the amendment.

Mr. Skeet

Is the hon. Gentleman prepared to give an assurance that the word "exploitation" will have the interpretation which the oil companies give it?

Mr. Smith

I am not prepared to give any such assurance. That would be handing over the interpretation of legislation to the oil companies, which we are not prepared to do. We are not prepared to adopt interpretations put forward by oil companies.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 169, Noes 204.

Division No. 43.] AYES [5.20 p.m.
Adley, Robert Grylls, Michael Parkinson, Cecil
Aitken, Jonathan Hall, Sir John Pattie, Geoffrey
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Price, David (Eastleigh)
Banks, Robert Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Beith, A. J. Hannam, John Rathbone, Tim
Bell, Ronald Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Rees-Davies, W. R.
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Hawkins, Paul Reid, George
Benyon, W. Heath, Rt Hon Edward Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Biffen, John Henderson, Douglas Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Boscawen, Hon Robert Hooson, Emlyn Rifkind, Malcolm
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Brittan, Leon Hunt, John Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Brotherton, Michael Hurd, Douglas Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hutchison, Michael Clark Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Sainsbury, Tim
Buck, Antony James, David Scott, Nicholas
Budgen, Nick Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd) Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Bulmer, Esmond Jessel, Toby Shelton, William (Streatham)
Burden, F. A. Jopling, Michael Shepherd, Colin
Carlisle, Mark Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Shersby, Michael
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Kershaw, Anthony Sims, Roger
Churchill, W. S. King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Skeet, T. H. H.
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) King, Tom (Bridgwater) Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Clark, William (Croydon S) Knight, Mrs Jill Spence, John
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Lamont, Norman Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Cockcroft, John Lane, David Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Lawrence, Ivan Sproat, Iain
Cope, John Lawson, Nigel Stainton, Keith
Corrie, John Lloyd, Ian Stanbrook, Ivor
Costain, A. P. Loveridge, John Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Crawford, Douglas Luce, Richard Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Crowder, F. P. McAdden, Sir Stephen Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Dodsworth, Geoffrey MacCormick, Iain Stradling Thomas, J.
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James McCrindle, Robert Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Macfarlane, Neil Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Durant, Tony MacGregor, John Tebbit, Norman
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Elliott, Sir William Madel, David Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Thompson, George
Eyre, Reginald Mates, Michael Townsend, Cyril D.
Fairgrieve, Russell Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Trotter, Neville
Farr, John Mayhew, Patrick Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Fell, Anthony Meyer, Sir Anthony Viggers, Peter
Finsberg, Geoffrey Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Fisher, Sir Nigel Mills, Peter Warren, Kenneth
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Moate, Roger Weatherill, Bernard
Fookes, Miss Janet Monro, Hector Welsh, Andrew
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Montgomery, Fergus Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Fox, Marcus Moore, John (Croydon C) Wiggin, Jerry
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Wigley, Dafydd
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Neave, Airey Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Goodhart, Philip Neubert, Michael
Goodhew, Victor Onslow, Cranley TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Page, John (Harrow West) Mr. Hamish Gray and
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Mr. Fred Silvester.
Grist, Ian Pardoe, John
Allaun, Frank Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Cryer, Bob
Archer, Peter Buchan, Norman Cunningham, G. (Islington S)
Armstrong, Ernest Buchanan, Richard Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)
Ashton, Joe Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Dalyell, Tam
Atkinson, Norman Campbell, Ian Davidson, Arthur
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Carmichael, Neil Deakins, Eric
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Carter-Jones, Lewis de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Bates, Alf Cartwright, John Delargy, Hugh
Bean, R. E. Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Dell, Rt Hon Edmund
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Cohen, Stanley Dempsey, James
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Coleman, Donald Doig, Peter
Blenkinsop, Arthur Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen Dormand, J. D.
Booth, Albert Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Douglas-Mann, Bruce
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Corbett, Robin Duffy, A. E. P.
Bray, Dr Jeremy Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Dunn, James A.
Broughton, Sir Alfred Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Dunnett, Jack
Eadie, Alex Kaufman, Gerald Roderick, Caerwyn
Edge, Geoff Kelley, Richard Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Kerr, Russell Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Kinnock Neil Rooker, J. W.
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Lambie, David Roper, John
English, Michael Lamborn, Harry Rose, Paul B.
Ennals, David Lamond, James Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Rowlands, Ted
Evans, John (Newton) Lee, John Sandelson, Neville
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Lewis, Arthur (Newham N) Selby, Harry
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Lipton, Marcus Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)
Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W) Litterick, Tom Sillars, James
Flannery, Martin Lomas, Kenneth Silverman, Julius
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Loyden, Eddie Skinner, Dennis
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Lyon, Alexander (York) Small, William
Ford, Ben Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Freeson, Reginald Mabon, Dr J. Dickson Spearing, Nigel
George, Bruce McCartney, Hugh Spriggs, Leslie
Gilbert, Dr John McElhone, Frank Stallard, A. W.
Golding, John MacFarquhar, Roderick Stewart, Rt Hn M. (Fulham)
Gourlay, Harry Mackintosh, John P. Stoddart, David
Grant, George (Morpeth) Maclennan, Robert Stott, Roger
Grant, John (Islington C) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Grocott, Bruce McNamara, Kevin Swain, Thomas
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Madden, Max Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Magee, Bryan Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Hamling, William Marks, Kenneth Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Harper, Joseph Marquand, David Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Tinn, James
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Tomlinson, John
Hayman, Mrs Helene Mendelson, John Urwin, T. W.
Hooley, Frank Millan, Bruce Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Horam, John Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Hoyle, Douglas (Nelson) Moonman, Eric Ward, Michael
Huckfield, Les Murray, Ronald King Watkins, David
Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Newens, Stanley Weetch, Ken
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Noble, Mike Weitzman, David
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian Wellbeloved, James
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Orbach, Maurice White, Frank R. (Bury)
Hunter, Adam Orme, Rt Hon Stanley White, James (Pollok)
Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Ovenden, John Whitehead, Phillip
Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Park, George Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Janner Greville Parry, Robert Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Perry, Ernest Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Prescott, John Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
John, Brynmor Price, C. (Lewisham W) Wilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
Johnson, James (Hull West) Price, William (Rugby) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Radice, Giles Woodall, Alec
Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Richardson, Miss Jo Woof, Robert
Jones, Parry (East Flint) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Mr. Thomas Cox and
Judd, Frank Robertson, John (Paisley) Mr. Laurie Favitt.

Question accordingly negatived.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Gordon Wilson

I beg to move Amendment No. 24, in page 1, line 10, leave out 'include in particular' and insert 'consist of'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Oscar Murton)

With this, we can also discuss the following amendments:

No. 25, page 2, line 1, leave out 'sources of material' and insert 'schools, clinics, health centres, community centres, sports grounds, recreational facilities'. No. 26, in page 2, line 5, a end insert 'or improvement of communities affected by such development or use of land'.

Mr. Wilson

This is a continuation of the argument we had on the preceding set of amendments. It seeks to define and to restrict the purposes of this measure to certain items mentioned in Clause 1(2), namely classifications (a), (b), (c), (d). The reason for this is that without such a restriction we are left with the general guideline in the Bill contained in the phrase "include in particular". This clause allows any Government to go beyond the specific purposes enumerated.

The argument has been advanced by the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) that it is one of the purposes of an Opposition to seek to restrict the wording of Acts to matters which are envisaged or are likely to be envisaged at the time when the Act is in force. Without the restriction proposed here, this and future Governments will have the opportunity to extend this measure far beyond the purposes for which it is presently envisaged. I do not think the amendment will meet with the drafting disadvantages said to exist in connection with the previous amendments since, if my memory serves me right, no such point was made in Committee.

I come to Amendments Nos. 25 and 26 and to this question of "sources of material". On looking at the arguments put forward by the Government in Committee it seems that there is little protection afforded by the planning procedures to which reference was made. It is possible that there will be competing planning applications concerning a certain quarry or source of aggregate. Then it may be possible for the Government to intervene with the expedited acquisition procedure and to take over that source of material for the benefit of someone who may not be commercially active in the locality. Earlier I referred to an unhappy example which seems to have occurred at Loch Kishorn.

Without going over the arguments again, I recommend the Minister to accept this proposal. The amendment would still allow the Government, by the compulsory acquisition procedure, to take over sources of material if at any time they considered that to be essential. In the course of the construction of the platform yard the need for the sources of material arises at a later date than that which might be anticipated as the date for the acquisition of land on which to build the yard.

I come to community development, which is dealt with in Clause 1(2)(b) There is a reference to housing as one of the classes of purpose for which the land may be required. I would not object to that social need being taken care of with the same sense of expedition as the Government might consider necessary for their use of the special powers for the early acquisition of land. If we can justify that commercial judgment, we also justify the need for social and community development taking place at the same time.

I am aware that powers may be available to the Minister under other legislation which enables him to take over ground for certain other important purposes connected with the development of communities. If the Minister accepts that housing should figure in the special purposes, the other things mentioned in Amendment 25, namely schools, clinics, health centres, community centres, sports grounds and recreational facilities, should also be included. I cannot see the arguments against this. We all know that one of the worst features of community development has been that houses have been built, to be followed many years later by the other facilities which help to make the community a living community. I refer once again to the example of Alness New Town. I have heard complaints about a lack of community facilities. Even if this were not to apply to Alness, there are other possibilities which can be envisaged.

Mr. Grimond

I support Amendment No. 24. These matters were debated fully in Committee and I will not make a long speech. The anxieties which gave rise to this amendment and to Amendment No. 40 upon which we have just voted certainly persist. In my view Clause 1 is too wide. It is drafted much too vaguely. It makes me think that the Government do not know exactly why they want the Bill. I sometimes think that the Bill is too late, too vague and may well do more harm than good. I beg the Government to think again. Not only is the whole shopping list of possibilities included but at the moment anything else which is relevant to oil is encompassed. The spirit behind the amendment deserves support.

I have doubts about Amendments Nos. 25 and 26, not because I dispute the need which they underline, which is very great. In Shetland we need health centres and so on. I am deeply worried about the whole progress of the services in Shetland.

Is it right to encourage the Secretary of State to intervene in all this? I would prefer the local authorities to be given resources to carry out these things themselves. Resources are certainly necessary. Therefore, I have some reservations about adding to the immense list in Clause 1, but I am wholly in agreement with the principle which animates the amendment. When the Bill goes to another place I hope that the Government will clarify their minds on exactly what they want and will try to make more precise the drafting of Clause 1.

Mr. Hamish Gray (Ross and Cromarty)

I support the amendments. I agree with what has been said on Amendment No. 24. I also support Amendments Nos. 25 and 26, but I have certain reservations on them, principally of drafting. However carefully the amendments have been conceived there is always a danger that something may be left out so that it might be necessary in future to amend the Act, as it would be, to include something which we consider to be essential.

The hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson) referred to Alness, which is in my constituency. It offers a good example of what we seek to avoid by the amendments. In Alness there is a series of attractive housing sites on which are living the people who work in the oil industry. Regrettably, and largely because of the lack of local and Government finance, it has not been possible to provide all the facilities which are necessary. For example, a new swimming pool is being built which, because of the lack of finance, is not as elaborate as we would wish. There are certain restrictions attached to it which in an area which is developing as quickly as Easter Ross should not be necessary.

The amendment also deals with health centres. Even in parts of the country which are developing at a normal rate health centres are not yet provided. In an area such as Easter Ross which is developing so quickly health centres are most important.

I support the principle of the amendments. Perhaps the details are not so expertly drafted as we might wish but I fully support the principle involved and the thinking behind it.

Mr. Alexander Fletcher

I congratulate the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson) on moving Amendment No. 24. Our failure with the previous amendment makes it even more desirable for us to add our support to this group of amendments. I share the reservations expressed by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) and my hon. Friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Gray) about Amendments Nos. 25 and 26.

The Government should think harder and more specifically. They should do their homework more thoroughly in legislation of this kind so as to minimise doubts about their intentions. Nothing could be more desirable than the removal of doubt about what the Government are trying to do by many of their policies. By failing to be specific the Government leave the people either in ignorance or in puzzlement about what they have in mind.

5.45 p.m.

In legislation which contains such powers as the Bill contains the Government should contribute to confidence in their purpose and not create more doubts and fears and a general lack of confidence about the future. I do not believe that the Government have tried hard enough or that their efforts have been successful, and I therefore support Amendment No. 24.

Taking the advice of my hon. Friend the Member for Bedford (Mr. Skeet), I declare an interest. I should have done so earlier. During the recess I spent almost two weeks in the United States and Canada on energy business, a trip that I did not pay for out of my own pocket.

Mr. Millan

Amendment No. 24 and Amendments Nos. 25 and 26 are interconnected although they have contrary consequences. Amendment No. 24 confines Clause 1 completely to the provisions which would then be set out in subsection (2).

May I remind the House how the clause is constructed? Subsection (1) contains the general power for the acquisition of land. Subsection (2) gives some examples of that, but it is very much related to the possibility of whether or not there can be an expedited acquisition order. In subsection (5) the reference back for expedited acquisition orders is limited to subsection (2) and not to subsection (1). It is important to keep that distinction in mind because both in Committee and on Report certain amendments have been contrary to arguments which have been put forward on other amendments or at earlier stages.

The effect of Amendment No. 24 and of using "consist of" rather than "include in particular" in subsection (2) is that there would be no general power for the Government to acquire land for the purposes of oil exploitation or exploration but only for the limited purposes set out in subsection (2). The effect of the amendment is that everything in the Bill would be subject to the expedited acquisition procedure, which is not the way in which the Bill is drafted. The Government would not be able to acquire, even by agreement voluntarily, or compulsorily through the full compulsory procedure, anything that is not mentioned in subsection (2). That would include land for supply bases, pipe coating works, storage facilities and several other purposes. Amendment No. 24 removes that necessary degree of flexibility from the Bill, and I cannot recommend its acceptance.

Amendments Nos. 25 and 26 are directed to subsection (2). They are specifically related always to the possibility of an expedited acquisition under the further provisions of the clause. The deletion of "sources of material" removes from the Bill a matter which is of extreme importance when dealing with a remote production platform site. If the question of urgency arises generally, it will certainly arise in relation to sources of material because that is likely to be a matter of intrinsic and essential importance and urgency in developing the site.

Secondly, it is important that we should arrive at the right solution over sources of material. It is essentially a matter for planning permission, and certainly planning procedures will be undergone. However, there is also the question of urgency to be considered if the project is to get going. In a particular area there may be a choice of sources of materials, one of which can be obtained quickly because there will be no difficulty about the compulsory purchase of land or the acquisition of land by voluntary means, and another of which can be obtained less quickly because of difficulties in obtaining land even after planning permission has been given. The second source may be preferable to the first in terms of impact on the local community, problems of transport and access to the site.

To take Kishorn as an example, although I do not want to enter into the merits of any particular application, hon. Members who know the area will appreciate that access to the site and the way in which materials are allowed in are of crucial importance in terms of impact on the local community. Therefore, to remove the provision from the possibility of expedited acquisition procedures may, far from pleasing local inhabitants, displease them considerably. It may mean that in view of the urgency of the situation a less favourable decision will be reached about the sources of material, resulting in a greater and more deleterious impact on the local community than would occur if the expedited acquisition procedures remained in the Bill. The sources of materials, such as quarries and so on, may give rise to local difficulties, and what the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Gordon Wilson) seeks may exacerbate local feelings rather than alleviate them. I am not disposed to agree to such a deletion from subsection (2).

Amendment No. 25 seeks to insert, among others, the words schools, clinics, health centres …". In dealing with services or facilities required in meeting the needs of persons employed or to be employed in connection with oil-related activities, any facility related to such activities is already included in the provision. It includes schools, houses and hospital facilities. Therefore, there is no difficulty in applying the procedure if need be to the acquiring of land for the purpose of educational or medical facilities.

I should mislead the House if I were to say that the Government in normal circumstances would wish to use the expedited procedures in connection with sports grounds or recreational facilities, where the normal procedures of compulsory acquisition would apply without the expedited procedure. In other words, I should be reluctant to set out in the Bill the fact that that would be a matter which we should have in mind. If we needed expedited acquisition procedures to bring about community developments that could be done, but it would be misleading to write such things specifically into the Bill. If that were done, we should also have to mention all sorts of other facilities, and it would give the impression that we simply wanted to use the expedited acquisition procedures regardless of circumstances, which undoubtedly would be the target of criticism in this House.

The same considerations apply to Amendment No. 26 which seeks to include the concept of the improvement of communities. I do not suggest that it is not extremely important that everything should be done to achieve a balanced development, but the wording of the amendment is very wide and would import into the Bill the implication that we intend to use expedited acquisition procedures for anything connected with oil-related developments. That would be quite wrong. We are saying that we should use the procedure where the matter is urgent and where facilities should be provided quickly, but that we do not intend to use the procedure unnecessarily for a whole variety of purposes.

The group of amendments in one sense limits the clause. In a second sense it widens the expedited acquisition procedures and applies them to any acquisition by means of the Bill. That is going much more widely than we intend. I hope that the hon. Gentleman, having heard that explanation, will withdraw the amendments.

Mr. Gordon Wilson

I am grateful to the Minister for his long examination of the terms of the amendments. Had that argument been deployed in Committee, I might have taken steps to draft amendments on Report in a different way, but the Minister did not take a similar view at an earlier stage.

I was not impressed by the hon. Gentleman's argument on the alteration that is sought to be made to Clause 1(2) involving the inclusion of the vital words "consist of" instead of "include in particular". I think the Minister was working round to what I was intending to imply—namely, a restriction of the general powers of the Bill and a removal of the degree of flexibility since it might be thought to give too wide a degree of discretion. I should not wish to back down on what I said about Amendment No. 24.

There may be something in the Minister's argument on the question of sources

of material, but in the present Bill the Government are seeking to make available land in Scotland for the benefit of large and no doubt powerful construction companies and commercial interests. Therefore, we believe that the Bill should provide some protection for local interests. It would help the situation if expedited acquisition orders did not apply to sources of material. The Minister's arguments were most ingenious, but I regret that I did not find them convincing.

As for the Minister's comments about Amendment No. 26 relating to the improvement of community facilities, I must remind him that certain criticisms have been made on this point by other hon. Members but where one seeks, as in the Bill, the advancement of commercial interests in regard to the building up of sites which might affect local communities, it is important to give some priority to their development.

If the Government had excluded from the provision the concept of housing, his argument would have had more validity in terms of rights being available to take over land for various unspecified purposes but purposes ultimately related to social development. But the Minister has included the concept of housing in the Bill and surely it is sensible that other necessary and desirable aims also should be included. It is a matter of laying down guidelines in the Bill, and we believe that it is up to the Government in implementing the provisions to advance the intentions of the Parliament. I commend the amendments to the House.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 163, Noes 206.

Division No. 44.] AYES [6.00 p.m.
Aitken, Jonathan Bulmer, Esmond Dodsworth, Geoffrey
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Burden, F. A. Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Banks, Robert Carlisle, Mark du Cann, Rt Hon Edward
Beith, A. J. Chalker, Mrs Lynda Durant, Tony
Bell, Ronald Churchill, W. S. Eden, Rt Hon Sir John
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)
Benyon, W. Clark, William (Croydon S) Elliott, Sir William
Boscawen, Hon Robert Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray)
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Cockcroft, John Eyre, Reginald
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Fairgrieve, Russell
Brittan, Leon Cope, John Farr, John
Brotherton, Michael Corrie, John Fell, Anthony
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Costain, A. P. Finsberg, Geoffrey
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Crawford, Douglas Fisher, Sir Nigel
Budgen, Nick Crowder, F. P. Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N)
Fookes, Miss Janet McAdden, Sir Stephen Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) MacCormick, Iain Shelton, William (Streatham)
Fox, Marcus McCrindle, Robert Shepherd, Colin
Freud, Clement Macfarlane, Neil Shersby, Michael
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) MacGregor, John Silvester, Fred
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Sims, Roger
Goodhart, Philip McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Skeet, T. H. H.
Goodhew, Victor Madel, David Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Gray, Hamish Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Spence, John
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Mates, Michael Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Grist, Ian Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Grylls, Michael Mayhew, Patrick Sproat, Iain
Hall, Sir John Meyer, Sir Anthony Stainton, Keith
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Stanbrook, Ivor
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Mills, Peter Stanley, John
Hannam, John Moate, Roger Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Monro, Hector Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Hawkins, Paul Montgomery, Fergus Stokes, John
Heath, Rt Hon Edward Moore, John (Croydon C) Stradling Thomas, J.
Hooson, Emlyn Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Nelson, Anthony Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Hunt, John Neubert, Michael Tebbit, Norman
Hurd, Douglas Onslow, Cranley Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Hutchison, Michael Clark Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Page, John (Harrow West) Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
James, David Pardoe, John Townsend, Cyril D.
Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd) Parkinson, Cecil Trotter, Neville
Jessel, Toby Pattie, Geoffrey Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Jopling, Michael Price, David (Eastleigh) Viggers, Peter
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Pym, Rt Hon Francis Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Kershaw, Anthony Rathbone, Tim Warren, Kenneth
King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Rees-Davies, W. R. Weatherill, Bernard
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Reid, George Welsh, Andrew
Knight, Mrs Jill Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts) Wiggin, Jerry
Lamont, Norman Ridley, Hon Nicholas Wigley, Dafydd
Lane, David Rifkind, Malcolm Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Lawrence, Ivan Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Lawson, Nigel Roberts, Wyn (Conway) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Lloyd, Ian Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire) Mr. Douglas Henderson and
Loveridge, John Sainsbury, Tim Mr. George Thompson.
Luce, Richard Scott, Nicholas
Allaun, Frank Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Archer, Peter Deakins, Eric Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Armstrong, Ernest de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Hooley, Frank
Ashton, Joe Delargy, Hugh Horam, John
Atkinson, Norman Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Hoyle, Douglas (Nelson)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Dempsey, James Huckfield, Les
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Doig, Peter Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)
Bates, Alf Dormand, J. D, Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Bean, R. E. Douglas-Mann, Bruce Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Duffy, A. E. P. Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Bidwell, Sydney Dunn, James A. Hunter, Adam
Blenkinsop, Arthur Dunnett, Jack Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)
Boardman, H. Eadie, Alex Janner, Greville
Booth, Albert Edge, Geoff Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) John, Brynmor
Broughton, Sir Alfred Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Johnson, James (Hull West)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) English, Michael Johnson, Walter (Derby S)
Buchan, Norman Ennals, David Jones, Alec (Rhondda)
Buchanan, Richard Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Jones, Barry (East Flint)
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Evans, John (Newton) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Judd, Frank
Campbell, Ian Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Kaufman, Gerald
Cant, R. B. Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Kelley, Richard
Carmichael, Neil Flannery, Martin Kerr, Russell
Carter-Jones, Lewis Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Kinnock Neil
Cartwright, John Foot, Rt Hon Michael Lambie, David
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Ford, Ben Lamborn, Harry
Cohen, Stanley Freeson, Reginald Lamond, James
Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen George, Bruce Latham, Arthur (Paddington)
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Gilbert, Dr John Lewis, Arthur (Newham N)
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Golding, John Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Gourlay, Harry Lipton, Marcus
Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Grant, George (Morpeth) Litterick, Tom
Cryer, Bob Grant, John (Islington C) Lomas, Kenneth
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Grocott, Bruce Loyden, Eddie
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Lyon, Alexander (York)
Dalyell, Tam Hamling, William Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)
Davidson, Arthur Harper, Joseph Mabon, Dr J. Dickson
McElhone, Frank Price, C. (Lewisham W) Swain, Thomas
MacFarquhar, Roderick Price, William (Rugby) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
McGuire, Michael (Ince) Radice, Giles Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Mackintosh, John P. Richardson, Miss Jo Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Maclennan, Robert Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Tierney, Sydney
McNamara, Kevin Robertson, John (Paisley) Tinn, James
Madden, Max Roderick, Caerwyn Tomlinson, John
Magee, Bryan Rodgers, George (Chorley) Urwin, T. W.
Mahon, Simon Rodgers, William (Stockton) Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Marks, Kenneth Rooker, J. W. Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Marquand, David Roper, John Ward, Michael
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Rose, Paul B. Watkins, David
Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock) Weetch, Ken
Mendelson, John Rowlands, Ted Weitzman, David
Millan, Bruce Sandelson, Neville Wellbeloved, James
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Selby, Harry White, Frank R. (Bury)
Moonman, Eric Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South) White, James (Pollok)
Murray, Ronald King Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C) Whitehead, Phillip
Newens, Stanley Sillars, James Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Noble, Mike Silverman, Julius Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Ogden, Eric Skinner, Dennis Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian Small, William Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Orbach, Maurice Smith, John (N Lanarkshire) Wilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Spearing, Nigel Wise, Mrs Audrey
Ovenden, John Spriggs, Leslie Woodall, Alec
Park, George Stallard, A. W. Woof, Robert
Parry, Robert Stewart, Rt Hn M. (Fulham)
Pavitt, Laurie Stoddart, David TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Perry, Ernest Stott, Roger Mr. James Hamilton and
Prescott, John Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley Mr. Donald Coleman.

Question accordingly negatived.

Mr. Grimond

I beg to move Amendment No. 1, in page 2, line 20, at end insert 'but such an order shall not be made in respect of land already being used for oil-related purposes'. I accept that the amendment will probably need redrafting and possibly placing in a different part of the Bill, but the point is clear and it is one that was not touched on in Committee. My arguments will show again that the Bill is too late, too vague, and possibly, at this stage, unnecessary. Several rig and platform building sites have already been agreed and work is in progress. This may be true also of other forms of oil-related development. There may be a case for delaying oil exploitation; there is certainly a case for expediting it and an even stronger one for controlling it, but there is no case at all for causing confusion.

If an undertaking such as rig or platform building has already started and an agreement has been made by the contractors and the landlord, do the Government intend to apply these provisions? To do so will cause confusion. If I can be given a clear assurance that the Government do not intend to apply the Bill to such cases I should be three-quarters convinced that the amendment is unnecessary. One of the most prominent builders has said that the Bill will cause considerable confusion and anxiety if applied in such cases.

A connected question is the designation of sea areas, because rigs have to be towed out to be completed. One subsection allows the Secretary of State to revoke a licence. He does not have to give any reason, or pay any compensation. It has been represented to me that this also causes rig builders anxiety. Do the Government intend to apply this procedure to the sites that I have mentioned? If they do so and damage the landlord or the contractor, or both, will they pay compensation? There is no power to pay under the Bill as it stands.

Mr. Gray

I support the amendment. This is an unfortunate Bill. The Government have been overtaken by circumstances. They went to a great deal of trouble on Second Reading and in Committee to point out that the Bill did not interfere with normal planning procedures. We wanted to know, in that case, what its purpose was. It would not speed up the acquisiiton of sites, so we felt that it was irrelevant. The Government have recently given further permissions for platform building yards and it appears to many of us that when they all become functional the critical need for new yards will largely have been met. Without the amendment, what is the Bill's purpose? It can have only one purpose—the nationalisation of the sites and the companies operating there.

6.15 p.m.

This is surely part of a pattern. First, one nationalises and acquires a site, and then it is only a short step to full nationalisation—

Mr. John Smith

Oh, no.

Mr. Gray

The Minister may not accept this—

Mr. Smith

It is ridiculous.

Mr. Gray

It is far from ridiculous. Let the hon. Gentleman consider the activities of his right hon. Friend, that technological whizz-kid, the Secretary of State for Industry. Let him consider what would happen if he were let loose among these companies.

If the Government do not accept the amendment they will have shown that they have other ideas in mind. When companies in oil-related industries have made their investment and are contributing to oil exploration, they are surely entitled to an assurance that the land on which they operate will not come into the Government's grasp. This is a reasonable amendment, and I hope that it will be accepted.

Mr. John Corrie (Bute and North Ayrshire)

I too, support the amendment, particularly in regard to the Hunterston situation, where a buyer and seller are willing to go as far as platform sites but the Government still intend to take over the area. Will the Minister clarify the situation? Will the process be held up until the area is taken over by the Government, or will those sites be allowed to go ahead under private development? Would not the amendment cover that situation?

Mr. Skeet

There is a presumption in a Bill of this kind that land will be acquired only when it is not otherwise available. I should therefore have thought that the Government would be ready to accept the amendment. Why have legislation to acquire land which is already being used for oil-related purposes?

I agree that the Government have already missed the bus. Five sites are already available and they have given notice of other sites which are marked out for acquisition at Campbeltown, Portavadie, Loch Fyne and Hunterston. As my hon. Friend has said, at Hunterston there is a willing buyer and a willing seller. Why use this special procedure—this hard fist—of special powers to acquire land?

I hope that the Minister will say that the power will not be used. What distresses me about this procedure, is the exceptional nature of these powers. Schedule 1 contains a provision to which we cannot refer too often, that, on account of representations which are being made, the Secretary of State shall not be obliged to cause any inquiry to be held or afford to any person an opportunity of being heard. That is an example of modern democracy.

This will be debated later, but I fear that this procedure will be extended beyond cases in which there is a requirement for additional land to those where there is no requirement because land is already being used for oil-related purposes. Perhaps this extraordinary provision is not so surprising, since it appeared in the Land Commission Act several years ago. Fortunately, when we form a Government we shall be in a position to repeal this provision.

I have two further anxieties. I think that the Government are in some difficulty when they do not define the term "exploitation" in subsection (1). Indeed, it appears again in subsection (2)(a). They are getting themselves deeper and deeper into difficulties. What is meant by "exploitation"? A problem arises, because related to it is the use which will be made of the special procedure under Clause 5. I hope that the Minister of State will say precisely when this procedure will be used and what is an emergency. Does he say that in any conditions, because he sees fit that there should be an emergency, this procedure will be used, or will it be used only on rare occasions? If the procedure will be used only on rare occasions, he can accept the amendment.

My other grave anxiety is that the Minister is simply acquiring bits of land throughout Scotland which are required for platform building and other purposes, which the Government will put aside and then hand over to the British National Oil Corporation under the major Bill to be introduced later in the year. This is obviously a policy of nationalisation by stealth. I think that the Opposition should be decidedly against it.

Mr. William Small (Glasgow, Garscadden)

I hope that the amendment will be resisted. The hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Skeet) suggested that the Government's proposal was for nationalisation by stealth. We all understand straightforward nationalisation. Nationalisation Bills contain the word "nationalisation" in their Titles.

When the Opposition talk about nationalisation by stealth, they should remember their legislation on housing finance, which should have read "nationalisation of rents", which took away the discretion of local authorities, and they should compare that with the present Government's legislation on housing, which hands back control to the local authorities.

There is nothing hidden in the word "exploitation". The word is unique. Everyone understands its meaning.

Mr. Millan

In considering this amendment a number of extraneous matters have been brought in which, for the purposes of making progress with business, I propose to deal with briefly.

We shall not, under this clause, amended or unamended, nationalise the production platform companies, nor could we do that. The clause has nothing to do with the fears expressed by the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Skeet) that, somehow or other, everything will be handed over to the BNOC. It has nothing to do with the sea designation orders mentioned by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond).

I remind the House what the clause does—because the amendment is related only to the expedited acquisition order procedure. It would not prevent any of the so-called undesirable things happening by means of a compulsory procedure under the normal compulsory purchase procedures which are provided for elsewhere in the Bill. We are dealing only with the question of the expedited acquisition order.

If all these tremendous nefarious steps can be taken by the Government under this clause it seems slightly odd that we should be dealing with it under an amendment which deals only with the expedited acquisition order. This is what we have said generally about the public ownership of sites. I said on Second Reading and in Committee that in cases where a site was being operated satisfactorily there would be no intention on the part of the Government to interfere in its operation. I gave specific assurances, for example, about Sullom Voe, which I am glad to say the county convener of Shetland has acknowledged as meeting the points put to me by the Shetland County Council. There is no question of interfering in situations where the work is proceeding satisfactorily.

Mr. Grimond

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's assurance. Although I appreciate and acknowledge what was said about Shetland and the rig-building sites, it was not only Shetland that I had in mind.

Mr. Millan

There are no rig-building sites involved, with the exception of Marathon, at Clydebank. The right hon. Gentleman is talking about production sites and not rig-building sites. Apart from Marathon, there are none in Scotland, which is a matter of considerable regret to me, since that unfortunate situation arises from the neglect by the previous Government in the important area of semi-submersible rig building. I do not want to detract in any way from what I said about Sullom Voe, about which I have given categorical assurances which have been accepted.

In the normal course of events, when one is dealing with production platform sites, the same principle will apply—that so long as a situation is proceeding satisfactorily the Government will not intervene. However, situations may occur later at a particular site when, for the full exploitation of that site and for the maintenance of employment in the local community which has been built up because of the use of the site in the past, it will be necessary for the Government, for these and perhaps other reasons, to take the site into public ownership. At that time a question of urgency may be involved, and it may be very much in the interests of the local community that the site should be taken over and properly exploited, so that its full economic benefit can be obtained, both in the national interest and in the interests of the local community. It is in circumstances such as those that the powers we wish to have under the Bill will be necessary.

Mr. Gray

Will the Minister say a little more about the way in which he sees this situation developing? He has mentioned a situation where matters are going all right. Who is to determine whether a company is being run properly? How will the Minister decide?

Mr. Millan

One of the tests obviously ought to be whether the site is being used for full activity or, indeed, for any activity. One of the difficulties which have been impressed upon us by hon. Members on both sides of the House has been the need to ensure that once a site has been obtained and is in use there should be a long-term and continuous use for it. That may not be happening and it may be very much in the public and national interest and in the interest of the local community that it should happen. To change the use of the site, the Government's powers are essential. It is because we believe that the long-term flexibility which this power gives us may need to be used that we cannot accept the amendment.

I wish to repeat the point concerning the acquisition generally—that one is concerned here not just with the short-term problem of acquiring sites on time but also with the long-term development and eventual reinstatement of the site. Of course public ownership gives a protection to the local community in terms of reinstatement or conversion to an alternative use which cannot be obtained under private ownership, where the site is owned by the developer. The impression is given by the Opposition that the powers we are taking in this respect are somehow resented by the local communities. Nothing could be further from the truth. The local authorities concerned in this operation, and the local communities, want the Government to acquire these powers because they believe that they will afford protection for them, particularly when taken in conjunction with the specific obligations that will be placed on the Secretary of State once a site has been publicly owned.

Mr. Skeet

Surely the restoration of land is entirely different from special acquisition. Special acquisition will be used only for very brief periods. After all, if there are 10 sites, they will be required for a number of years ahead. Therefore why is the Minister not prepared to accept the amendment?

6.30 p.m.

Mr. Millan

For reasons which I have explained already. In a given situation, there might be a good deal of urgency, from the point of view both of the local community and of the Government. In certain circumstances, if delay occurred the original solution might no longer be available. That would affect the immediate situation and also the longer-term problem of reinstatement.

It is flying in the face of the facts to suggest that the Bill is overtaken by events, bearing in mind that the Government announced last week that the three new sites at Portavadie, Campbeltown and Hunterston will be taken into public ownership.

I was asked to say a brief word about Hunterston. I do not intend to add anything to what I said last week when the decision was announced that the site would be taken into public ownership. I visited it last week and saw some of the problems on the ground. I think that the case for public ownership is overwhelming and possibly stronger than that in respect of any other site in Scotland. A large number of interests have to be reconciled at Hunterston, and the only effective way of doing that is for the Government to take the site into public ownership, which is what we intend to do.

There have been reports that our intention in this respect is resented by the Hunterston Development Company to an extent which may prejudice any development that we would want to see on the site in the immediate future. That is not my information from the company itself. I think that some of these statements have been taken rather out of context. I do not anticipate any substantial difficulty at Hunterston. In any event, by having the power in the Bill and by having the power to use the expedited procedure, we can achieve at Hunterston what is very much wanted by people in Scotland generally, which is as rapid a development as possible, not just in the short term but consistent with the longer-term requirements. In the Hunterston case, I feel that public ownership is the only answer, and I repeat the assurance which I gave last week that there will be no avoidable delay in its development. We are doing everything possible to see that the site is developed rapidly.

For all those reasons, I cannot recommend the House to accept the amendment. In the event, it may be that this provision for expedited acquisition rather than for compulsory or voluntary acquisition under the normal procedures will never have to be used, but, given the context in which the Bill is prepared and the powers that it contains, it would not be right to deny this additional power to the Government. It would not be exercised simply in the national interest, because it could be very important for the local communities involved.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

We have had an interesting debate on this amendment, because it has resulted in our obtaining from the Government information about some of their intentions in relation to the application of the Bill, although I am left in some confusion about the precise way in which the Government intend to apply the expedited order procedure.

The Government have always made it plain that in most circumstances they believe that these sites should be acquired, yet I had the feeling that in certain circumstances, if all was going well in the Government's judgment, they might not decide to acquire compulsorily. That means that the Government will not do so in every case. But that puts the Government in a very powerful position. Who is to decide whether a site should be taken into public ownership? The hon. Gentleman justified it in certain circumstances. He said that a site should be acquired if it was not being fully utilised, where there were difficulties about reinstatement, and so on.

I question the whole outlook of the Government. I question it directly in relation to Hunterston, which provides perhaps the best practical example. The hon. Gentleman said that he thought that the development company at Hunterston would not be too much opposed to the Government's proposal. My information is to the contrary. The development company has every intention of resisting any attempt to nationalise the facilities at Hunterston.

Mr. Millan

Let us be quite clear about this. I did not say that the company was quite willing to acquiesce in any nationalisation proposals. It has made it clear that it does not approve of the principle of nationalisation. However, it has said that it will not allow that to obstruct development of the site. That is the view which has been expressed to me, although there have been certain indications to the contrary in the Press. Regardless of the principle of nationalisation, no one will wish to encourage the Hunterston Development Company in any action which might obstruct development of the site.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

No more than I hope the Government will do anything to obstruct development. The company takes a national viewpoint and will not do anything to obstruct it. But, just because the Government hold the threat of nationalisation over its head, I do not think that the company should be blackmailed into withdrawing its opposition to the Government's proposals and having its actions labelled as being against the national interest. That would be an unjustified use of Government power. If the Government held that threat over the company, it would be a form of blackmail. My discussions with the company revealed that it wants to develop the site in the best way possible. Unless the Government can justify their decision to take over the site and show that it is demonstrably in the public interest, the company has every right to stand up for its own position. The very suggestion that this may not be the situation makes me even more glad that we have written into the Bill the need for the affirmative resolution procedure, so that the House can put the Government's proposals to the test.

Taking the example of Hunterston, would it necessarily be in the public interest to acquire the site? Considering the present position, which is precisely covered by the amendment, agreements have been entered into between the owners of the site and the potential builders of platforms. In one case it is proposed to build a platform which is on the Government's approved list. The company has not yet got an order, but the lease is already drawn up between the development company and the construction company.

In these circumstances, when all the negotiations between the development company and the construction company are at such an advanced stage, I ask what purpose will be served by taking this step of bringing it into public ownership.

The second point I want to make in relation to Hunterston is that I do not see that all the arguments about reinstatement necessarily apply, because Hunterston is already designated an industrial site, which, because of the interest of the British Steel Corporation, will obviously be developed in the future as an industrial site. So it is pre-eminently a site where there will be continuity of industrial activity, unlike Loch Kishorn—which is in a crofting area—or Portavadie. Therefore, the argument of reinstatement used by the hon. Gentleman as a reason for taking the site into public ownership does not necessarily apply.

The third point in relation to Hunterston, which I believe calls into question the whole of the hon. Gentleman's and the Government's philosophy and policy in relation to this is that I understand there is an agreement between the Hunterston Development Company and the British Steel Corporation that once platform construction is completed the corporation can exercise the option it has on the site at Hunterston. So we see that already, at this stage, under the agreement between the development company and the Steel Corporation, that site will revert to industrial use by the corporpation.

In these circumstances, therefore, I ask what purpose will be served by taking that site into public ownership. This underlines the point made by the right hon. Gentleman in moving the amendment, on the question of the purpose that will be served by the Government's provision in this Bill in relation to sites where development is already to take place.

To take this one stage further—as I understand it the delays that are taking place in relation to Hunterston are connected not with the question of who owns the site and will develop it but with the question of planning permission. That is the only thing holding matters up. As I understand it, the Government have approved one part of the site, at the south end, for development for building these production platforms, but they have not approved the site at the north end. This may hold up development for a particular reason, but I use this as an example because it shows that it is not the company but the Government that are holding up development.

In order to justify the amount of reclamation that is necesary the company wishes to develop two sites at Hunterston. That would be commercially economic and would justify the tremendous expenditure needed for reclamation. The one thing that makes the company hesitate is the fact that the Government have given outline planning approval, first, for the reclamation necessary before work starts and, secondly, in relation to only one site. That makes the company hesitant, because, before starting reclamation, they want permission to develop both sites. Therefore, if there is going to be a holdup at Hunterston it will not be through any unwillingness on the part of those who own the site to develop it for the purpose of building a production platform but because of the Government's failure to issue outline planning permission for the second site, which would justify the very expensive work of reclamation needed.

I apologise for going into a certain amount of detail on this matter of Hunterston but I believe that it demonstrates quite clearly that the blanket powers which the Government are taking do not necessarily apply and are not necessary—full stop—so far as many of these developments are concerned, and this is particularly so in relation to Hunterston, the one site which the Government have made it quite clear they intend to take over.

For these reasons, therefore, the powers the Government are taking are not necessary on sites such as Hunterston, where the development is going to take place anyway and the safeguards are going to be there anyway. I believe they are using these powers for purposes which go beyond what we think is necessary. Therefore I recommend my right hon. and hon. Friends to support the amendment of the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond).

6.45 p.m.

Mr. Grimond

May I say a word in reply? I thank the Minister for his courteous answer to the points I made, but he will not be surprised if I say that I am rather unsatisfied. I fully agree that there may well be a case for taking land into public ownership for the proper development and planning of oil-related industries. That is particularly so because the previous Government took no proper powers to exercise control. However, the whole point is to take over the land before the development starts. Here we have a situation—or may have a situation—in which the development has been through the planning procedures, everybody is agreed, the agreement has been drawn up, and then the Government step in. That does not make sense. We feel that the minimum necessary powers should be taken—not the maximum.

The Minister went on to argue that it might be necessary, in the public interest and to achieve full exploitation, to take the site into public ownership. I do not think that often happens. I cannot see any Government allowing expensive machinery and sites to stand idle, but if that does happen there are normal procedures for taking it into public ownership. What we are talking about is whether other Governments should be able to use the expediting machinery in such a case. I confess that I do not think there is a case for writing this into the Bill. All the Minister's arguments—I give him full credit for them—really apply to a situation before development has taken place, where there is a case for taking land into public ownership or a case in which it is necessary to go through the normal procedures for compulsory purchase for some reason which must be explained to the House at the time.

I therefore advise hon. Members to support the amendment.

Mr. Millan

First, of course, it is the Government's intention to take sites over before development takes place. We announced that last week, in relation to Portavadie, Campbeltown and Hunterston.

Secondly, the amendment would not affect Hunterston in any way. Since it refers to land already used for oil-related purposes, Hunterston was all we heard

about from the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith), but it is completely irrelevant to relate Hunterston to the amendment.

I find it extraordinary that an Opposition speaker can talk about Hunterston and planning delays there without blushing, considering the long history of the previous Government's procrastination and failure to take any decisions in that situation. We have in fact taken far more important decisions about Hunterston in the past few months than the previous Government took in an equivalent number of years. I really have nothing more to add so far as the Hunterston situation is concerned, except that I wanted to put it on record that the site would be taken into public ownership for the reasons I outlined.

It seemed to me, listening to the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns, that the previous Government's legislation seemed to be directed specifically towards Drumbuie and nowhere else. In other words, the previous Government's Bill would have been directed to taking over inalienable National Trust land but not land from the Hunterston Development Company. I must say that that is a bizarre kind of policy.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Our proposed legislation was related to those areas where there were problems. The trouble with the present Government's legislation is that it is blanket legislation to cover areas whether there is a problem or not. For that reason the policy of the Government is completely plain—it is obviously nationalisation and Socialism for the sake of nationalisation and Socialism.

Mr. Millan

The problem in Drumbuie was that there was a public inquiry going on and his Government did not want all the facts of the situation to be explored because they were frightened there might be an adverse report, which is what in fact happened.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 167, Noes 202.

Division No. 45.] AYES [6.50 p.m.
Aitken, Jonathan Benyon, W. Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Biggs-Davison, John Brittan, Leon
Bell, Ronald Boscawen, Hon Robert Brotherton, Michael
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Pattie, Geoffrey
Budgen, Nick Hunt, John Price, David (Eastleigh)
Bulmer, Esmond Hurd, Douglas Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Burden, F. A. Hutchison, Michael Clark Rathbone, Tim
Carlisle, Mark Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Chalker, Mrs Lynda James, David Reid, George
Churchill, W. S. Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd) Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Jessel, Toby Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Clark, William (Croydon S) Jopling Michael Rifkind, Malcolm
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Kaberry, Sir Donald Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Cockcroft, John Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Kershaw, Anthony Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Cope, John King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Corrie, John King, Tom (Bridgwater) Scott, Nicholas
Costain, A. P. Knight, Mrs Jill Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Crawford, Douglas Lamont, Norman Shelton, William (Streatham)
Crowder, F. P. Lane, David Shepherd, Colin
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Lawrence, Ivan Shersby, Michael
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Lawson, Nigel Silvester, Fred
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Lester, Jim (Beeston) Sims, Roger
Durant, Tony Lloyd, Ian Skeet, T. H. H.
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Loveridge, John Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Luce, Richard Spence, John
Elliott, Sir William McAdden, Sir Stephen Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) MacCormick, Iain Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Eyre, Reginald McCrindle, Robert Stainton, Keith
Fairgrieve, Russell Macfarlane, Neil Stanbrook, Ivor
Farr, John MacGregor, John Stanley, John
Fell, Anthony Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Finsberg, Geoffrey McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Stokes, John
Fisher, Sir Nigel McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Stradling Thomas, J.
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Madel, David Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Fookes, Miss Janet Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Mates, Michael Tebbit, Norman
Fox, Marcus Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Freud, Clement Mayhew, Patrick Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Meyer, Sir Anthony Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Thompson, George
Goodhart, Philip Mills, Peter Townsend, Cyril D.
Goodhew, Victor Moate, Roger Trotter, Neville
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Molyneaux, James Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Gray, Hamish Monro, Hector Viggers, Peter
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Montgomery, Fergus Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Grist, Ian Moore, John (Croydon C) Warren, Kenneth
Hall, Sir John Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Weatherill, Bernard
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Neave, Airey Welsh, Andrew
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Nelson, Anthony Wiggin, Jerry
Hannam, John Neubert, Michael Wigley, Dafydd
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Onslow, Cranley Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Hawkins, Paul Page, Rt Hon R, Graham (Crosby)
Hayhoe, Barney Page, John (Harrow West) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Henderson, Douglas Pardoe, John Mr. David Steel and
Hooson, Emlyn Parkinson, Cecil Mr. A. J. Beith.
Allaun, Frank Cohen, Stanley English, Michael
Archer, Peter Coleman, Donald Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)
Armstrong, Ernest Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen Evans, John (Newton)
Ashton, Joe Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Ewing, Harry (Stirling)
Atkinson, Norman Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Faulds, Andrew
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Crosland, Rt. Hon Anthony Fitch, Alan (Wigan)
Bates, Alf Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W)
Bean, R. E. Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Flannery, Martin
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Dalyell, Tam Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Bidwell, Sydney Davidson, Arthur Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Blenkinsop, Arthur Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Ford, Ben
Boardman, H. Deakins, Eric Freeson, Reginald
Booth, Albert de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey George, Bruce
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Delargy, Hugh Gilbert, Dr John
Bray, Dr Jeremy Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Golding, John
Broughton, Sir Alfred Dempsey, James Gourlay, Harry
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Doig, Peter Grant, John (Islington C)
Buchan, Norman Dormand, J. D. Grocott, Bruce
Buchanan, Richard Douglas-Mann, Bruce Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Duffy, A. E. P. Hamling, William
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Dunn, James A. Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Campbell, Ian Dunnett, Jack Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Cant, R. B. Eadie, Alex Hooley, Frank
Carmichael, Neil Edge, Geoff Horam, John
Carter-Jones, Lewis Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Hoyle, Douglas (Nelson)
Cartwright, John Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Huckfield, Les
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Mahon, Simon Skinner, Dennis
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Marks, Kenneth Small, William
Hunter, Adam Marquand, David Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Spearing, Nigel
Janner, Greville Meacher, Michael Spriggs, Leslie
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Stallard, A. W.
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Mendelson, John Stewart, Rt Hn M. (Fulham)
John, Brynmor Millan, Bruce Stoddart, David
Johnson, James (Hull West) Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Stott, Roger
Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Moonman, Eric Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Murray, Ronald King Swain, Thomas
Jones, Barry (East Flint) Newens, Stanley Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Noble, Mike Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Judd, Frank Ogden, Eric Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Kaufman, Gerald O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Kelley, Richard Orbach, Maurice Tierney, Sydney
Kerr, Russell Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Tinn, James
Kinnock Neil Ovenden, John Tomlinson, John
Lambie, David Park, George Urwin, T. W.
Lamborn, Harry Parry, Robert Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Lamond, James Pavitt, Laurie Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Perry, Ernest Ward, Michael
Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Prescott, John Watkins, David
Lewis, Arthur (Newham N) Price, C. (Lewisham W) Weitzman, David
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Price, William (Rugby) White, Frank R. (Bury)
Lipton, Marcus Richardson, Miss Jo White, James (Pollok)
Litterick, Tom Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Whitehead, Phillip
Lomas, Kenneth Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Loyden, Eddie Robertson, John (Paisley) Wiliams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Lyon, Alexander (York) Roderick, Caerwyn Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Rodgers, George (Chorley) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Mabon, Dr J. Dickson Rodgers, William (Stockton) Wilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
McCartney, Hugh Rooker, J. W. Wise, Mrs Audrey
McElhone, Frank Roper, John Woodall, Alec
MacFarquhar, Roderick Rose, Paul B. Woof, Robert
Mackintosh, John P. Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Maclennan, Robert Selby, Harry TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South) Mr. Joseph Harper and
McNamara, Kevin Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C) Mr. James Hamilton.
Madden, Max Sillars, James
Magee, Bryan Silverman, Julius

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment made: No. 2, in page 2, line 34, at end insert: '(9) An expedited acquisition order shall not be made in respect of any land unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that the land is required for a purpose—

  1. (a) which is in accordance with planning permission in force at the making of the order, granted on an application made under Part III of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1972 or under any enactment replaced by that Part; or
  2. (b) which is in accordance with such permission in force as aforesaid, granted by a general development order under section 21 of that Act or under any enactment replaced by that section; or
  3. (c) which does not involve development for the purposes of that Act'.—[Mr. Millan.]

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