Lords amendment: No. 2, after clause 1, insert—
.(1) A local planning authority or, in Scotland, a planning authority may make a tree preservation order in respect of Crown land in which no interest is for the time being held otherwise than by or on behalf of the Crown if they consider it expedient to do so for the purpose of preserving trees or woodlands on the land in the event of its ceasing to be Crown land or becoming subject to a private interest.
(2) No tree preservation order shall be made by virtue of this section except with the consent of the appropriate authority.
(3) A tree preservation order made by virtue of this section shall not take effect until the land in question ceases to be Crown land or becomes subject to a private interest, whichever first occurs.
(4) A tree preservation order made by virtue of this section shall not require confirmation under section 60 of the Act of 1971 or section 58 of the Act of 1972 until after the occurrence of the event by virtue of which it takes effect in accordance with subsection (3) above; and any such order shall by virtue of this subsection continue in force until—
(5) On the occurrence of any event by virtue of which a tree preservation order takes effect in accordance with subsection (3) above the appropriate authority shall as soon as practicable give to the authority that made the order a notice in writing of the name and address of the person who has become entitled to the land in question or to a private interest in it; and the procedure prescribed under the provisions mentioned in subsection (4)
above in connection with the confirmation of the order shall apply as if the order had been made on the date on which that notice is received by the authority.
(6) In section 58(4) of the Act of 1972 after the words "section 59 of this Act" there shall be inserted the words "and section (Tree preservation orders in anticipation of disposal of Crown land) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1984".
(7) Any order made before the date on which this section comes into force which would have been a valid tree preservation order but for the fact that—
§ Queen's Consent and Prince of Wales's Consent signified.
§ Mr. Macfarlane
I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.
This new clause arises from valuable suggestions made by my hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Chapman) on Second Reading to the effect that the provisions of the Bill should be extended to tree preservation orders. Many other hon. Members echoed the concern that my hon. Friend then expressed.
At present, tree preservation orders cannot be made in respect of Crown land in which there is no subsisting private interest. Where there is a private interest in the land, such as a lease, an order can be made with the consent of the Crown—a term which, in this context, includes Government Departments—but this will bind only the leaseholder and not the Crown. We do not consider that it is necessary to change the position in relation to the Crown itself. We believe that existing safeguards are adequate and that such a move would be both unnecessary and inappropriate.
However, there is a potential problem when Crown land on which trees are growing is sold or let. If the local planning authority concerned considers that the trees ought to be preserved, it can make a tree preservation order as soon as the land ceases to be Crown land or a private interest in it is created. But even the speedy procedure for making a provisional tree preservation order which the 1971 Act contains takes a few days. A tree can be cut down in a few minutes, so there is inevitably a period when the trees are at risk.
The new clause would enable a planning authority to make a tree preservation order in respect of Crown land in which there is no subsisting private interest. The order will not take effect until the land has been sold or a private interest in it, such as a lease, has been created. Even then, it will take effect only provisionally, and it will require to be confirmed within six months of the sale or creation of the private interest that brings it into effect. In this way, the short-term protection of the trees is ensured — the point which my hon. Friend made on Second Reading—but the new owner of the land will have the normal opportunity to have his views properly considered before the order takes permanent effect.
§ Mr. Sydney Chapman (Chipping Barnet)
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for taking note of what I said on this subject on Second Reading.
§ Question put and agreed to.