- `.—(1) Where it appears to SNH, after consultation with such persons as it thinks fit, that an area is of outstanding value to the natural heritage of Scotland, and that special protection measures are appropriate for it, it may recommend to the Secretary of State that the area be designated as a Natural Heritage Area.
- (2) Where the Secretary of State receives a recommendation under subsection (1) above he may designate the area by a direction under this subsection as a Natural Heritage Area.
- (3) Where the Secretary of State proposes to make a direction under subsection (2) above he shall publish notice of the proposal in the Edinburgh Gazette and in at least one newspaper circulating in an area which includes the proposed areas.
- (4) Before making a direction under subsection (2) above, the Secretary of State shall consider any representations received by him about the proposal within six weeks of the date which is the later of the dates on which the publication under subsection (3) above of notice relating to the proposal occurs.
- (5) Where the Secretary of State makes a direction under subsection (2) above he shall publish notice of the designation in the Edinburgh Gazette and in at least one newspaper circulating in an area which includes the Area.
- (6) Where is appears to SNH, after consultation with such persons as it thinks fit, that it is no longer appropriate that an area which has been designated as a Natural Heritage Area or any part of it should continue to be so designated it may recommend to the Secretary of State that the designation be cancelled or, as the case may be, varied.
- (7) Where the Secretary of State receives a recommendation under subsection (6) above he may, by a direction under this subsection, cancel or, as the case may be, vary the designation of the Natural Heritage Area; and subsections (3) to (5) above shall apply to a direction proposed to be made under this subsection as they apply to a direction proposed to be made under subsection (2) above, and for the purposes of such application the reference in subsection (3) to the proposed area shall be construed as a reference to the Area.
- (8) Section 262C of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1972 (National Scenic Areas) shall be amended as follows—
- (a) in subsection (3) for the words "National Scenic Area" there shall be substituted the words "Natural Heritage Area under section [Natural Heritage Areas] of the Natural Heritage (Scotland) Act 1991; and
- (b) in subsection (4) for the words "National Scenic Area" there shall be substituted the words "Natural Heritage Area".
- (9) Notwithstanding the repeal by section 26 of and Schedule 11 to this Act of subsections (1) and (2) of the said section 262C or the amendment by this section of subsections (3) and (4) of that section, any area which, at the date of such repeal, was designated as a National Scenic Area shall continue to be so designated and, until such designation is cancelled by a direction under the said section 262C, the provisions of that section shall continue to have effect in relation to the area as if they had not been repealed or, as the case may be, amended.'.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment to the Commons amendment.
The amendment provides for a longer period for the receipt of representations in dealing with the establishment of a natural heritage area. Six weeks is a standard period for representations in planning legislation, but the longer period is perfectly reasonable here, as allowing a substantial time for commenting on a NHA proposal is, of course, entirely in keeping with the Government's view of NHAs as promoting a co-operative approach between all relevant interests. Such an approach is in tune with the fundamental philosophy of Scottish Natural Heritage.
The extension of the period to three months should ensure that anyone who is absent on holiday or the like at the time of the proposal being published is properly able to be involved in the process. I trust that the House will share that view of what is a simple, but important, amendment.
§ Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland)
Can the Minister give us any information about the
§ " .—(1) The Secretary of State shall appoint a committee (in this section referred to as "the Committee") which shall have the function of giving advice to SNH on such matters concerning areas of special scientific interest as are specified in this section.
§ (2) The chairman and members of the Committee shall be appointed by the Secretary of State from among persons who are not members of SNH or of any committee appointed by it having scientific qualifications and experience in relation to flora or fauna or the geological or physiographical features of land.
§ (3) The chairman and members of the Committee shall be appointed upon such terms and for such periods as the Secretary of State may determine and they shall be paid by SNH such remuneration and allowances as the Secretary of State may, with the consent of the Treasury, determine.
§ (4) The Secretary of State may, from time to time, give directions to the Committee as to its procedure.
§ (5) Where SNH has given notification to the owner or occupier of any land under subsection (1) of section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (areas of special scientific interest) that the land is or forms part of an area of special interest and has received from the owner or occupier of the land, within the time specified in subsection (2) of that section, representations or objections relating to any reason specified in the notification in pursuance of subsection (4)(a) of that section and the owner or occupier does not agree to withdraw such representations or objections, it shall refer the matter to the Committee.
§ (6) Where, as regards any land in respect of which a notification has been given under subsection (1) of the said section 28 before the commencement of this section of this section, SNH receives representations from the owner or occupier of the land that any reason specified in the notification in pursuance of the said subsection (4)(a) has ceased to be valid and, within six months of such representations having been made, they have not been withdrawn—
- (a) in the case of a notification given since the commencement of section 2 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1985 or in the case of a notice of proposed notification given before such commencement, where objections or representations were duly made in pursuance of subsection (2) of the said section 28 at the time the notification or, as the case may be, notice was given; and
- (b) in any other case, where not less than 10 years have elapsed since the date the notification or, as the case may be, notice was given,
§ consequences of designation? If he cannot, can he explain why we should accept that three months would be a suitable time?