HC Deb 28 June 1994 vol 245 cc713-42 18.—(1) The compensation payable for any year in respect of a holding to which section 17 of this Act applies shall be a sum equal to the annual borrowing cost for that year of the market value of the rights conferred by the compulsory rights order in relation to the holding. (2) For the purposes of this section the market value of any rights conferred by a compulsory rights order shall be equal to the amount which, as at the date of entry, would (apart from the order) represent the fair market price, as between willing and independent parties, for the grant of those rights by a person entitled to grant them and for the period for which the order is to have effect. (3)(a) In calculating for the purposes of this section the fair market price for the grant of any rights, regard shall be had to any entitlement to compensation which may arise, otherwise than by virtue of section 17, under any of the provisions of this Act. (b) Where the holding is subject to a tenancy under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986, the fair market price shall be calculated on the assumption that the holding is available for occupation with possession and in any such case the fair market price shall be apportioned between the freeholder and the tenant according to the respective value of their interests. (4) For the purposes of this section the annual borrowing cost for any year of any amount ("the market price") is the aggregate sum would fall to be paid in that year by way of payments of interest and repayments of capital if the market price had been borrowed on the date of entry on terms which—
  1. (a) required interest to be paid and capital to be repaid by way of the relevant number of equal annual instalments; and
  2. (b) provided for interest on outstanding capital to become due immediately before the time for the payment of each instalment, at an annual rate equal, as at the date of payment, to the rate prescribed under section 35(8) of this Act;
and in this subsection "the relevant number" means the number of years for which, when it was confirmed, the compulsory rights order was to have effect.
(5) Nothing in section 17 of this Act shall confer any entitlement to compensation in respect of the annual borrowing cost of any amount representing the value of any person's interest in coal. (6) Where the period for which a compulsory rights order is to have effect—
  1. (a) is extended under this Act, section 178 of this Act and this section shall have effect in relation to the additional period as if the rights conferred for that period had been conferred by a new compulsory rights order; or
  2. (b) is terminated at an earlier date than the end of the period for which the order was made for any reason, the outstanding payments of the annual borrowing cost, being the outstanding repayments of capital and the payment of interest calculated in accordance with subsection (4)(b) of this section, shall become payable on the date of early termination.".'.

Government amendments (c) to (m) in lieu of the Lords amendment.

Lords amendments Nos. 38 to 48 and No. 50.

Mr. Eggar

It is important to put the amendments in the right perspective. We are not discussing whether particular opencast developments are acceptable; that is a matter for the planning system.

My right hon. and hon. Friends recognise the concerns that have arisen about such developments and their environmental impact. As the House will know, Ministers have been reviewing the planning guidance—mineral planning guidance note 3—and have conducted a wide-ranging public consultation exercise. This afternoon, my hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and Planning announced his intention—in the light of the responses that he has received—of removing the reference to the national interest in MPG3.

I am sure that that announcement will be widely welcomed, and I consider it a useful clarification which will help to ensure that the guidance incorporated in what has up to now been MPG3 is seen to be fair by all parties. My colleagues will finalise the guidance as soon as possible.

Mr. Simon Hughes

I thank the Minister for alluding to answers given this afternoon. Presumably he means the answers given to two questions on the Order Paper. Can he —through his officials or his parliamentary private secretary—ensure that hon. Members can at least have sight of the answers, which must have been published by now and must be in the building somewhere, during the debate? This is clearly an issue central to the discussion that will follow over the next hour or so.

Mr. Eggar

I shall do my best to ensure that hon. Members have the text. The answer was given at 3.30 pm in response to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Mr. Trotter).

Mr. Hardy

If the reference to the national interest is to be removed from MPG3, why do we have to maintain until the end of the decade the right compulsorily to acquire other people's land for the purposes of opencast mining? Presumably that right was introduced in what the Minister regards as the national interest. If the Government have recognised that the national interest has changed and are removing reference to it from MPG3, why do we have to go ahead with the compulsory purchase of private land by private business? It is completely hostile to the principles that are supposed to motivate Conservative Members.

5.30 pm
Mr. Eggar

If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I shall address those issues as the debate moves on.

Mr. Gunnell

I understand that there has been a press release this afternoon. It might be helpful if hon. Members could see the comments that have been made, as they may range a little wider than the answer to the parliamentary question.

Mr. Eggar

I shall do what I can to ensure that the text of the answer is available. It might be for the convenience of the House if I try to make arrangements for it to be placed in the Vote Office. I apologise for its non-availability. I understand the concern.

Lords amendment No. 37 provides for compensation based on market values. We have accepted the principle that lies behind that amendment, but we have sought to table a practical and effective replacement for it.

Our replacement amendment makes it absolutely clear beyond any shadow of doubt that the assessment of market value must be based on the fact that the nation owns the coal. We believe that the amendment should not in any way transfer the value of the coal to the landowner either directly or indirectly. Our view on that is absolutely clear.

That is why we have some reservations about the amendment to our amendment (b) in lieu, tabled by my hon. Friends the Members for Romsey and Waterside (Mr. Colvin) and for Harborough (Mr. Garnier). The effect of the omission of subsection (5)(b) of our amendment is to transfer a considerable amount of the value of the coal to the landowner. We have always made it clear in discussions on this issue that the coal belongs to the nation and not the landowner. Although we have always been open to discussions about a fair market value for the surface land, we have not been willing to discuss, as part of the Bill, the transfer of the value of the coal to the landowners.

Other differences between the amendments tabled by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade and my hon. Friends the Members for Romsey and Waterside and for Harborough relate to the way in which the annual payments are calculated. We have gone for a fixed rate of interest rather than a variable rate. We think that that is more straightforward. Given that the average length of time involved in such activities is about six or seven years, that is not an unreasonable approach. Sometimes landowners will gain, and sometimes they will lose, as the variable rate rises and falls.

Another minor difference is that we have used the words "due allowance". The amendment tabled by my hon. Friends uses the words, "regard shall be had". Our calculation is much more precise.

It might be helpful if I put on record a number of important aspects. It is important to know that compensation will not be paid in respect of any interest in the coal simply because, as I have said, the landowner does not own it. It is firmly established that the coal in the ground, just like petroleum and some other special minerals, belongs not to the landowner but to the nation. That must be material to the determination of the market value of rights to occupy land for the purposes of coal extraction.

Equally, no compensation will be payable for any opportunity to win work or get coal arising as a result of interest in or ownership of the land. That is a straightforward consequence of the fact that the landowners do not own the coal. To do otherwise would devalue the ownership of the coal and could transfer a significant part of its value to the landowner. That part of our amendment is consistent with the principles established by the important decision of BP v. Ryder in 1988. The hon. Member for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill) referred to that in a previous debate.

There has been some discussion about whether the move towards a market value approach for compensation is likely to be more beneficial to the landowner. The annual payments under the existing code take account only of the existing use of the land, whereas the market value determined on the principles of the amendment would be capable of taking into account any alternative use of the land other than coal extraction, in so far as the alternatives might reasonably be thought to affect the market price of the rights to use the land.

The result of the move towards the market price is that we have lost some certainty. In reality, the compensation that is determined in individual cases may be better than under the old system, or it could be the same or may even be worse. That will now be a matter for the market valuation of those rights as determined in the light of the principles that I have outlined.

It is clear that the Government do not accept the amendments passed in the other place that relate to compulsory rights orders. Contrary to the view held by the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy), we believe that compulsory rights orders are properly controlled in that they are subject to the agreement of the Coal Authority. As an individual operator, one cannot insist on a CRO without the agreement of the Secretary of State. That must be the right way forward. The CROs come to the end of their period automatically in five years. In the meantime we have agreed to undertake a joint valuation, together with other minerals, to consider the way forward.

The short answer to the point made by the hon. Member for Wentworth is that, if we do not have CROs in place, the existing right of the state to own the coal could be negated by a landowner who refused all reasonable offers to exploit his coal. I say "all reasonable offers" because of the severe restrictions on the CROs.

Mr. Clapham

The Minister talked about CROs running for the next five years. As he knows, the capacity of the deep mines is such that they can easily fulfil their contracts with the two generators. So why is there a need to maintain a capacity of 17 million tonnes of opencast mining when we should be looking to decrease that capacity to no more than 5 million tonnes? Surely, if we did that, there would be no need for CROs.

Mr. Eggar

Future projections of the level of opencasting are critically affected by the need to acquire planning permission, which has always been the effective regulator of opencasting. I am not caricaturing the debate in which the hon. Member for Morley and Leeds, South (Mr. Gunnell) and others have been involved, but they see the planning procedure as the regulator of the amount of opencast mining. [Interruption.] Some activity on the Opposition Benches suggests that the answer to the question has been circulated.

Mr. Eric Clarke

The Minister says that it is for the planning authority to give guidance and, in effect, be the policeman of planning applications, but the planning authorities refuse many applications, only for them to be granted on appeal by the Secretary of State, particularly the Secretary of State for Scotland. It seems that applicants are given a nod and wink and told, "If you don't get it passed by the local authority, it will be passed by the Secretary of State." That is no way to run a country, and certainly no way to run the coal industry.

Mr. Eggar

I understand the hon. Gentleman's concern about the outcome of some appeals. I do not have the statistics at my fingertips, but a considerable number of appeals are turned down. Most hon. Members, if not all, accept that we must have an appeal mechanism. They like the system when an appeal favours their constituents. but dislike it if the decision goes the other way.

The important thing is the change in MPG3—an area that the hon. Member for Morley and Leeds, South, as a fair man, will recognise that we have addressed in the national interest.

I hope that I have described the reasoning behind the Government's amendments, why the amendment tabled by my hon. Friends does not meet with our agreement and why we do not feel able to agree with the Lords amendment on CROs.

Mr. O'Neill

We thought that amendment No. 37 would enhance the Bill as it would go some way towards allowing deep mines to compete fairly with opencast by ensuring that opencast operators paid full compensation when obtaining compulsory rights orders to extract coal against a landowner's wish.

The criteria on which compensation should be based were not those adumbrated by the Minister, that somehow landowners have a claim of right to ownership of the coal—that is vested in the nation, which we accept—but, first, where a loss to business carried out on the land would arise; secondly, where other values resulting from undisturbed ownership of the land such as amenity and sporting use would be endangered; and, thirdly, that account should be taken of disturbance caused by opencast mining, including dust, noise and general disruption. As drafted, amendment No. 37 covered those factors by referring to the market price paid by operators for access to similar sites and the price paid by operators to obtain access to land on the same site owned by other landowners. Without such compensation, there is less incentive to reach an amicable settlement with landowners, and opencast coal production is given artificial assistance in production which is denied to other mineral extraction processes, including deep coal mining.

You will appreciate, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that there is a fair degree of cynicism surrounding the planning mechanism. We all know how, times without number, opencast developers have made applications in the certain knowledge that if they do not win with the local authority they will certainly win with the Minister, and that even if the application goes to a public inquiry the Minister will find in favour of opencasting. In some respects, it must be said that the national interest provision of MPG3 was largely meaningless and perhaps not the best way of proceeding.

5.45 pm

The Government say that somehow Lords amendment No. 37, which commended itself to Cross Benchers, the Opposition and the serried ranks of landowners, is unworkable and that therefore the Government amendments are necessary. They say that compensation should not be available for general disturbance. Many of my constituents have had to put up with opencast mining and have considerable experience of the disturbance caused by dust, noise and general disruption. Such disturbance often arises from the carte blanche that is offered by ministerial diktat to insist that opencast mining goes on and that no provision is made for the legitimate concerns that local authorities would seek to reflect in a qualified acceptance of a planning application. A local authority may choose not to reject an application out of hand but to impose controls that we would regard as a reasonable defence of people's rights, yet we are told that such controls are not necessary as they cover matters of a different character. We do not accept that that recognises the ownership of the coal by landowners. We recognise that in some instances compulsory rights orders will be necessary.

Under amendment No. 38, we recognise that they might be necessary for large operations and for markets that cannot be satisfied from another source. Coal mines adjacent to electricity power stations produce coal that needs some form of sweetening which can come only from other sources. More of our deep mines are being closed, for whatever reason, thereby denying access to reserves of coal with the sweetening potential. On occasions, it will be necessary to have certain opencast development. We do not rule out opencasting completely, but it must be subject to the most stringent conditions possible. That is the thrust of amendment No. 38. A landowner who has refused a reasonable offer for access to coal should have the chance to protest, but we would not wish opencast to have an advantage over deep mining where all other things were equal.

The two amendments address several concerns that have been expressed throughout the passage of the Bill. There have been repeated references to and discussion of opencast, the problems that it creates and the difficulties that we have encountered with it in our own areas. Indeed, those concerns found a ready echo in the dying moments of Report stage, just before Third Reading, when Conservative Members almost rebelled. They went as close as they could to the brink, but then they fell back on their own side, into the arms of the Government. They had tabled the amendments, but we had to move them because they chickened out at the last moment. It would appear that this evening, at or even beyond the last hour—the amendment is starred and might not have been selected —another attempt is being made. Yet so far as I can see, one of the Conservative Members whose name is attached to the amendment is not even in the Chamber. I am sure that he realises that we have reached the appropriate stage in the handling of the Bill and that he ought to be in his place, but he still has not arrived.

We regret the Government's approach. We think that the House of Lords achieved a substantial improvement to the Bill which would have afforded a degree of protection far greater than the sop offered today by the Secretary of State for the Environment. We believe that opencasting will be a continuing and accelerating problem in the months and years ahead, especially with a regulatory authority as weak as the Coal Authority to look after this country's coal reserves.

For that reason, we oppose the Government's intention to disregard the Lords amendments and we give notice that at the appropriate time we shall go into the Lobby to resist it.

Mr. Edward Garnier (Harborough)

The rudeness of the hon. Member for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill) about my hon. Friend the Member for Romsey and Waterside (Mr. Colvin) does him no credit, especially as my hon. Friend may well support much of what the hon. Gentleman has said. That is not the hon. Gentleman's best point. I should explain to him that my hon. Friend has been chairing two Committee sittings this afternoon. He has been to the Door of the House, but owing to other commitments he has been unable to be here, so I am afraid that the hon. Member for Clackmannan and other hon. Members will have to listen to me instead for a moment or two.

Mr. O'Neill

No gratuitous offence was intended, but it is up to the hon. Member for Romsey and Waterside (Mr. Colvin) to establish his own sense of priorities. On an issue of such significance, and at this stage in the passage of the Bill, I should have thought that his priorities would lie here rather than elsewhere.

Mr. Garnier

I shall not detain the House further by having a spat with the hon. Gentleman across the Floor of the House. I want to advance some arguments rather than to have a row, because those may produce some answers from my hon. Friend the Minister of State, a man whose integrity and intellect I respect and admire.

I shall deal briefly with the amendment tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Romsey and Waterside and myself to the Government amendment. It suggests a different form for new clause 15A. My first argument is about our proposed new subsection (3)(b) which, as hon. Members will see, would constitute an addition to the Government amendment. I shall not read it out, because it is on the amendment paper, but I shall explain why my hon. Friend and I—and, I dare say, others—find it of importance.

We note that the Government have still not addressed the concern for landlords where the holding is let. At present the compensation is due to the person who occupies the surface for farming—that is to say, the tenant—yet the compensation covers greater losses and interests in the land. A reference should be made to ensure that the market value is assessed on the basis of vacant possession, to recognise all interests and to apportion between the landlord and the tenant in relation to their interests. As I have opened my remarks in that way, Mr. Deputy Speaker, it will not surprise you to hear that I am a co-opted member of the Rutland and Leicestershire committee of the Country Landowners Association, and sit on its parliamentary and legal sub-committee in London.

My second point relates to the proposed new subsection (4)(b), which deals with interest. Our complaint here—or at least, our concern—is that for compulsory rights orders covering seven years or more, the imposition of a fixed rate of interest from the outset could work unfairly. I acknowledge that my hon. Friend the Minister dealt with that problem to some extent, but when the market value is to be repaid in instalments over several years the payments should reflect the arrangements that the owner may have made following the making of the order. We suggest that interest should be paid at the rate prevailing at the time of each instalment.

My next point relates to our proposed new subsection (6). Again, I shall not read it out as it is on the amendment paper, but one can see that it is an enlarged version of the corresponding part of the Government amendment. Our complaint is that provision should be made for all outstanding sums to be paid if the order is ended early for any reason. In the open market the parties would accept such provision in their freely negotiated agreement, but that does not happen under the compulsory rights orders arrangements in the Bill. We suggest that the arrangements should be incorporated into the Bill to ensure that the person against whom the order is made is paid the full market value of the rights.

I now come to what may be the most contentious aspect of our proposals—our rewriting of the proposed new subsection (5). Our amendment sought to remove the Government's proposed new subsection (5)(b), which refers to any amount representing the value of any opportunity arising by virtue of an interest or right in or in relation to any land to obtain or make use of any rights to win, work or get any coal. That flows from the preamble in subsection (5): Nothing in section 17 of this Act or this section shall confer any entitlement to compensation in respect of the annual borrowing cost". I have a preliminary point to make about that: the English in proposed new subsection (5)(b) is impenetrable. I have been at the Bar since 1976, and a Member of the House for a little more than two years, and I suggest that the time has come for Parliament to pass legislation capable of being understood at a glance. It should not require the assistance of hot towels and hot drinks to disentangle the English. That piece of English is appalling, and the Minister would do well to ask for it to be clarified. By way of background, I refer the House to what the Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry, Lord Strathclyde, said on Report in another place when dealing with the various sorts of compensation orders and the Government's attitude to compensation: One other obvious category of potentially reasonable request from the landowner would be for better compensation for disturbance. There may be some kind of disturbance which would be caused by the proposed workings and which is particular to the case. A request for extra compensation in such circumstances might well be reasonable. In fact, I believe that it would be eminently reasonable. Here I interpose to say that I wholeheartedly agree. The noble Lord continued: A further factor I would mention is the possibility of alternative uses for the land. If the landowner has a good case that, but for the opencast development, he would be able to go ahead with a different kind of development he would naturally seek greater compensation. I believe that this is sometimes called 'hope' value. I do not think that it would necessarily be unreasonable for the landowner to seek compensation enhanced by the 'hope' value of the land, although of course everything will turn on how realistic those hopes may be. But all these matters would have to be considered in the particular circumstances, and what I have said must be taken to be just an indication of what may be relevant matters."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 13 June 1994; Vol. 555, c. 1569–70.] Unless I am being deeply obtuse, it appears that the Government's attitude to that aspect of the Bill has changed somewhat since it left the other place.

There is no dispute between the Government and myself over proposed new subsection (5)(a); the exclusion of the coal is understood. However, the assessment of the proper market value must take account of the purpose for which the order is made, and the physical effects of the exercise of all the rights, including the operations undertaken on the land. In other words, the assessment of value must take full account of the matters set out in sections 5(4) and 5(5) of the Opencast Coal Act 1958.

I notice that my hon. Friend the Member for Gelling (Mr. Mitchell) is here. The factors set out in our proposed subsection (4)(b) would be taken into account by operators seeking access by negotiation, as they are supposed to do in the free and open market. To exclude such provisions will again disadvantage those who are subject to an order for the use of their land. We suggest that in an ideal world the Government's proposed subsection (5)(b) should be deleted.

6 pm

Lords amendment No. 38 is most important. Throughout the passage of the Bill, the Government have said that compulsory rights orders would be available only in the last resort and that an operator would have to show that an owner of an interest in the land had been unreasonable in refusing to negotiate the terms he had sought. There has been no requirement on an operator for him to show that there is a need for the coal under the land. The wish to work the coal appears to be enough.

The basis for compulsory rights orders is partly set out in the Coal Authority explanatory note. Amendment No. 38 seeks to impose strict conditions on the power to grant a compulsory rights order. Most important is the need to show that the relevant coal is needed to fill a market that cannot be met from elsewhere. If there is no need for a deposit of coal to be worked other than to profit the coal mining company, it cannot be right for any person to have his interest in the occupation of the surface confiscated from him. If there is no need for the coal and access cannot be negotiated, the company should look elsewhere.

If the Government cannot accept the amendment, surely it would be right to firm up the policy set out on page 29 of the explanatory note to make it clear that the powers are of last resort and that there is a duty on the operator to show that it would be reasonably necessary for the coal to be worked. It should be made clear that the owner can take all such steps as would normally be taken to obtain security in the performance of the obligations under the CRO.

Those are important issues which have not been set out adequately or clearly by the Government during the passage of the Bill. For the future benefit of those affected or those involved in the coal mining industry, these matters should be spelt out in the Bill or in the explanatory note. As my parting shot, I invite the Minister to see whether he can apply his mind and those of his officials to the need to firm up the explanatory note to make matters clearer. It is not my job to embarrass the Government and I do not intend to force my difficulties or dissensions to the vote. However, I ask my hon. Friend the Minister to bear in mind the landed interests of this country. They are the bedrock, in so many respects, of the Conservative party.

Mr. Redmond

When speaking on an earlier amendment, the Minister said that he had heard it all before, time and again. He could probably say the same about Lords amendments Nos. 37 and 38. However, if he had taken heed of what was said earlier, there would not have been so many Lords amendments. The tragedy is that the Government have refused to listen to Opposition Members when they have sought to give guidance and to protect the national interest.

This debate concerns landowners, but does that include people with gardens adjacent to roads that will be blighted as a result of heavy lorries moving along them if planning permission is given?

The Minister said that coal belonged to the nation. That is rich coming from a Government who have sterilised millions of tonnes of coal underground and who appear to be going for opencast, which is environmentally unacceptable. In my constituency, there is a piece of land that may be used for opencast. It is owned by British Coal and rented out to farmers. I would never want that piece of land to be used for opencast, irrespective of any amount of compensation given. The area has been blighted for many years as a result of coal mining activities. I hope that the Minister will take note of that point in relation to the amendments.

We asked earlier about the importation of coal. If we cut coal imports as well as the amount of opencast, there would be less need to talk about compensation as we could go back to extracting coal from the deep mines to which we are geared and for which we have the skills.

What is the interest of the general public? We talk about compensation for landowners, but we do not talk about compensation for the general public who will suffer as a result of the noise and pollution caused by heavy lorries. Will local authorities be compensated as they have to maintain the roads? The side roads and country lanes were not built for heavy vehicles, so they will obviously fall into disrepair. Landowners move from A to B along country lanes, so it is perfectly proper for the Government to consider the depreciation in the standard of roads when opencast takes place.

I thank the Minister for making available to hon. Members the answers to two questions given by one of his ministerial colleagues. I hope that the Minister can clarify the following point. A local authority may have said in its long-term development plan that no opencast extraction will be allowed. Does the answer imply that if the local authority's long-term plan does not include opencast, opencast will be debarred for ever and a day? I should be grateful if the Minister would clarify that point. The answer also refers to proper protection for the environment. Does that mean protection for the public who live adjacent to opencast mining sites?

Mr. Simon Hughes

I rise to speak in support of Lords amendments Nos. 37 and 38. The Minister for Local Government and Planning made an announcement, which the Minister for Energy brought to the House. That announcement will be welcomed. I am grateful to the Minister's parliamentary private secretary for circulating copies of the answers displayed upstairs and in the Library at 3.30 pm. We do not yet have the new guidelines but today we have a trailer which deals with the one issue that was extremely controversial. It came up often in debates in which widespread opposition was voiced.

I know that there is also widespread opposition in the country. I have realised, when I have been in Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, that the biggest single point that the local community groups campaigning against opencast have always argued is that their local applications should not be decided on a notional definition of the national interest. That point has come out in the advance notice of the guidelines, which we shall get in July. I welcome that.

A nuance in the announcement suggests that the Government did not think that that point altered the basis of planning decisions. I must say, looking at the guidelines as they were before, understanding the way in which inspectors work and seeing the way in which decisions were arrived at, that it was always possible for somebody to say that a national interest was involved, and that it did not matter how environmentally destructive opencast mining was, how good the quality of the agricultural land was or how much it would impact on the villagers. It is like the argument for nuclear power stations. I welcome those guidelines going.

The case for amendments Nos. 37 and 38 has been put simply and I want to reinforce it with two statements of principle and then specifically address the reason why I hope that the Minister will, on reflection, accept the amendments. I realise that he comes here with his brief written by his civil servants, that the President of the Board of Trade has told him to stand by the brief and that his discretion may be limited at this stage. However, I hope that he is a Minister of sufficient longevity in the Department of Trade and Industry—indeed, this may be his last opportunity—to show that he has the authority to throw away the brief and to say, "I have decided that the amendment carried with all-party support in the Lords, and moved from the Cross Benches, is an amendment to support." I challenge the Minister to stand up to the President of the Board of Trade and the civil service and to back the all-party coalition in the other place behind the amendment.

Clearly, the amendment was a good thing. We should remember that somebody could have said, no matter what the owner of the land wanted to do, "We shall override you and insist on the land being used for opencasting." Amendment No. 38 says: A compulsory rights order shall not be made or confirmed unless it is shown that it has not proved practicable to obtain the right by private arrangement because the owner has acted unreasonably and that —there is a second condition— the coal in the relevant land is required to supply a market which cannot adequately be met from other sources which are currently being worked or capable of being worked where a coal-mining company has secured all the relevant planning consents and has required the necessary interests in land, and —a third condition— the amount of marketable coal to be extracted as a result of the rights order being made exceeds 250,000 tonnes". There are also alternatives to that. The Government, as has been said from the Opposition Front Bench by the hon. Member for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill), in the place of Lord Strathclyde in the other place, effectively said that the position as outlined in the amendment was perfectly reasonable and that they were willing to undertake it. This is another example of Opposition Members trying to hold the position attained by the Lords, which has said that it is not happy with the undertaking, that it wants something written into the Bill, and that it wants it to be clear—hon. Members are saying amen to that.

Those of us who want to see amendment No. 38 retained believe that it is wrong for legislation to permit land to be compulsorily acquired. I heard what the Minister said and I accept, understand and appreciate that we are talking about the land and not about the mineral rights. Ever since my hon. Friend the Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) and I came to the House, in 1983—during that time we have both done our spokesmenship jobs on these issues—we have made it absolutely clear that we believe in coal remaining a Crown asset and a national asset and in it not being sold off. So there is no dissent between the Government Front-Bench spokesmen and us on that point.

However, we argue that there should be other conditions. First, one must ensure that, if there has been a reasonable reaction by the owner of the land, if he says that it is needed for agriculture, that there is a long-term agricultural programme or that it is high-grade agricultural land, or if it includes on its edge a site of special scientific interest or is part of an area of outstanding natural beauty, that should be taken into account.

6.15 pm

Secondly, and most importantly—this is where we reach the national test from the other side—a compulsory rights order cannot be permitted when the argument is made that the land is not needed for opencasting because the market can be met from other sources. The argument that has been made over and again from this side of the House and that was made in the previous debate from the Tory Benches—

Mr. Eggar

Does the hon. Gentleman recognise that that precise wording "met from other sources" could mean from imports? Therefore, since all grades of coal can be imported, the effect of the amendment which he is supporting would be that compulsory rights orders could never, in practice, be implemented.

Mr. Hughes

The answer to the Minister's specific question is yes, of course it means from imports. When his noble Friend in the other place said that he gave an undertaking that that was, indeed, the attitude that the Government would adopt, he clearly believed that that was a valid position to take. The debate in Nottinghamshire, in south Yorkshire, south of Leeds or in west Glamorgan, or in other places, about opencast mining would be relevant if the question was whether they would prefer the land to be ripped up or the coal to be imported. If that is the debate, let us have it.

Of course, it has to be a market which cannot be met adequately from other sources. For example, the best anthracite coal is from the Betws colliery in south-west Wales. Therefore, it could not be met adequately from other sources because the best source of that quality of coal is underground coal from an underground pit. If the planning inspector or the adjudicator were asked to rule—

Mr. Eggar

indicated dissent.

Mr. Hughes

The Minister shakes his head, but that is exactly the case. One could have an evaluation of whether it was possible that the coal could be provided from elsewhere. The argument, put simply, is that it is often in the interests of the exploiter—the company—to go in and take opencast coal. However, first, there are plenty of pits underground which we ought to be using before that; secondly, opencast produces little work and little employment; and, thirdly, it results in such environmental destruction that often, for decades if not for ever, that countryside cannot be returned to its original quality and state.

The argument about whether we have deep-mined coal, imported coal or opencast coal involves the way in which we protect acres and entire sectors of the country from being at risk, as they still are, from opencasting. We know, because British Coal has made no secret about it, that ii has designs on huge amounts of remaining open land in certain areas of the country. The plans are there, many of us have seen them and we know how many parts of our country are under threat. We believe that, to protect what was accepted in the House on both sides—I repeat on both sides—and by many Conservative Members, which was pushed almost to the point of rebellion, as the hon. Member for Clackmannan said, in the hope that it would be won in the Lords, we must accept the amendment. One of the most destructive forms of environmental degradation, endorsed by the Select Committees, is opencast mining. We either have to say that we believe in a mining industry and in supporting it and use the existing mining resources or we say that we are not worried about environmental destruction and, therefore, it may all be opencast in future.

The Government have gone far enough down the road of closing the pits and of not making use of the best assets that exist underground. Some of us want the Government to be firm and to say that they are prepared further to countenance that, as an alternative, the country be left open to rape, ravage and violation—often, it cannot be put right—in the interests of cheap coal. I urge the Minister to use his authority, to stand up for the environment and to ensure, at last, that we support what was agreed on both sides of the House in the other place a couple of weeks ago.

Mr. Henry Bellingham (Norfolk, North-West)

I shall be extremely brief and I shall try to confine my remarks to within two or three minutes. I declare an interest, as a member of the Country Landowners Association, that, to the best of my knowledge, none of the land in which I have an interest is coal-bearing.

Obviously, I support the principle of privatisation, but if anyone is in any doubt at all about the sheer devastation of the countryside that opencast mining can cause, he should look at the speech made in the other place by Viscount Ridley, who spelled the position out very clearly. The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) also touched on that point.

As for coal supply, when there is an emergency such as a war, it is obvious that we must have an Act like the Defence of the Realm (Acquisition of Land) Act 1918, and that of 1920. Unfortunately, those measures were incorporated into the Opencast Coal Act 1958. As the Minister has said, compulsory powers have rarely been used by either the Coal Board or British Coal. I am therefore extremely surprised to see them being made available to the private sector. While huge devastation to the countryside might be acceptable at a time of national crisis or when there is a critical coal shortage, it is certainly not acceptable when there is a world surplus in coal. Furthermore, the production of coal does not need special compulsory powers any more than the production of any other mineral.

The Minister in another place talked about the last resort and negotiations. When negotiations are taking place between a private operator and a landlord or a farmer, how can those negotiations be free and fair when, as Viscount Ridley pointed out, there is the sword of Damocles—the compulsory rights order—hanging over the landlord? Can the Minister comment on that?

I am concerned about the five-year period for the operation of the compulsory rights order. Surely, when a time scale is put on such an operation, there is frenetic activity during the last few months or weeks of the operation. The danger is that some of the larger private mining operators, such as Budge and Hanson, will want to ensure that they get the areas of potential opencast mining sorted out. There may well be intense negotiations, which would not be free and fair.

We are talking about a fundamental principle. Whereas it might make sense for compulsory powers to be vested in the state vis-a-vis a private operator, surely it does not make sense that those compulsory powers be carried over to a private operator. An important principle is at stake. The Lords amendments recognised—reluctantly—that compulsory rights orders could continue, but they wanted to tilt the balance more in favour of landowners. That is why I am sympathetic to them, and that is why I would like the Minister to answer those specific points.

Mr. Ronnie Campbell

I have participated in previous debates on opencast mining. I have said this before and I shall say it again: it does not matter what the Government do—they intend to dig as much opencast coal as they can get their hands on, especially in the north-east of England. If one lives in a Tory constituency, or if one is a Tory Member, one may get away with an appeal if one gets the ear of the President of the Board of Trade. However, if one lives in my constituency, which has never won an appeal, or in the constituencies of my hon. Friend the Member for Wansbeck (Mr. Thompson) or of the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes), one cannot win an appeal about opencast mining. Whatever is on the table does not make a blind bit of difference.

In Northumberland, we have applications galore. Indeed, at the last count, the county council had at least 15 applications for opencast mining. It goes beyond the imagination when one thinks that the Government are trying to convince us and the people out there that they are restricting opencast mining. I should like to hear hon. Members talk about the need for coal and the country's coal needs. It is not a question of what the country needs.

I know what the entrepreneurs who want to opencast will do with the coal: they will export it. They will put it on ships. A ship takes opencast coal abroad from my town. That is what the entrepreneurs will do with the coal. They are coming to this country because opencast coal is cheap. That is the idea.

I do not believe for one moment that this or any other amendment will make any difference to opencast mining and the Government's intention to restrict it. As the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey said, the Government will rape and pillage wherever they can get the coal. Indeed, they would dig up my back garden if they thought that they could make a quick buck. That is the trouble with the Government.

I shall refer briefly to Ellington colliery because it has been mentioned with regard to deep mining. Ellington is the only colliery left in the north-east. We hope that it will reopen. We think that it will because the entrepreneurs have made a bid for not only the colliery but the opencast that surrounds the colliery. That raises a good question.

At present, Ellington colliery has two faces that could be manned and in production within a fortnight. Another face could be won out quickly and away within a matter of months. We also have the undersea reserves and the Amble seam with millions of tonnes of reserves. I must ask the entrepreneurs who are bidding for the colliery and the Minister whether the Amble seam will be developed. Will it simply be a case of raping the colliery, selling off its assets and then handing over the opencast mine so that it can be used, as was the original intention? If that is the case, it would be much better to shut the colliery and pull it to the ground, as the Government have done with every other colliery. That is what I believe the Government and the entrepreneurs are about. In Northumberland, all they are interested in is opencast mining—I shall be proved right before too long.

Mr. Hardy

I shall try to be brief, not least because the Minister has heard me speak on this subject on numerous occasions. However, there are some important points to make.

In the coalfield areas, there is bitterness because coal will be locked away for ever and our pits closed prematurely when two or three miles away someone will come along and make a considerable nuisance of himself on an opencast mining project that might take 10 years. We are talking about huge civil engineering exercises.

I have supported, and will continue to support, opencast mining where the dereliction that it causes does not present an appalling nuisance to people who happen to live in close proximity to the site. Any hon. Members who look at areas to the east of Sheffield will see some superb sites which have been opencast for the benefit of the local community. The exercise did not cause an enormous nuisance to the community.

In some parts of the country—my area is one—there are attractive green-field areas and substantial coal reserves which are accessible for opencast mining. However, opencast mining can take place in those areas only if it causes an enormous nuisance to people in the vicinity. We are talking about the capacity to go very deep. I believe that the deepest opencast mining site in the British Isles today is about 850 ft. Such a project must operate on a considerable scale and exist for perhaps 10 years. After the war, there were opencast mining schemes in my area which went down to 250 ft. We marvelled at that; we used to go and look at them. The area looks rather nice 50 years later, but farmers cannot grow root crops there. The range of agricultural activity is still, and will for ever be, restricted. I discussed this matter with farmers in my constituency only a couple of weeks ago.

I must ask the Minister to go a little further about the parliamentary answer that we were kindly given this afternoon. We have been given an assurance that such schemes will not go ahead unless they are environmentally acceptable—but environmentally acceptable to whom? Reference has been made to landowners, but who has made reference to local residents? If a landowner in my constituency decides that he will not sell his land or allow opencast mining to take place in response to the representations of his neighbours, who do not want to bear the banging, noise, nuisance and dust of an opencast operation, will he be regarded as acting unco-operatively or unreasonably?

Mr. Ian McCartney (Makerfield)

Some of the landowners in my constituency are trying to use opencast as part of the set-aside scheme that the Ministry of Agriculture operates. Opencasting is being promoted as a way of filling the quota of arable land taken out of production. Despite opposition from the whole community, opencasting will be allowed on green belt land. It is a serious problem, in which Government Departments are colluding so as to obtain benefits under the common agricultural policy. In that collusion, environmental matters are put completely to one side and the short-term gains from reaching targets for set-aside are put first. Unless the Minister gives a clear commitment that inspectors will not be allowed to use set-aside as an excuse, there will be large-scale, long-term opencasting in areas of high agricultural production for the purposes of taking land out of agricultural production at the expense of the environment and the community.

6.30 pm
Mr. Hardy

I am delighted that I was able to give my hon. Friend the opportunity to make that point. I should have thought that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food would not allow people to gain a double benefit by obtaining a set-aside grant as well as money from opencast mining. That would seem to be a fairly simple thing and one which even this Government could control.

My hon. Friend might like to know that during the Minister's speech the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Luff) kindly gave out the answer to a question of enormous significance. The hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I again ask the Minister what is meant by the phrase "environmentally acceptable"? Does it mean what I hope that it means? Does it mean that the project has to be environmentally acceptable to the local community and the local authority? Does it mean that the Minister will no longer overturn local authority planning refusals for opencast mining? I am delighted by this development. I wonder whether there is a slight chance that the suggestion that I made in Committee had some influence.

At the time of the Committee proceedings and subsequently, I contacted the British Geological Survey and asked a number of questions to establish where coal reserves were. I wanted to point out that opencast mining might not be entirely restricted to existing coalfields in future. The hon. Member for Norfolk, North-West (Mr. Bellingham) blandly said that there was no coal in Norfolk. However, there are coal reserves along, and close to, the Norfolk coast. I am not sure where the boundary of the hon. Gentleman's constituency is, but perhaps he will not be there to defend it should someone come along to extract the coal.

I must tell the Minister that I took great care to find out whether there was any coal in the area around the home or constituency of the President of the Board of Trade. If there was, a number of people might be eager to set up a company, to be known as the Henley Opencast Mining Company, and to apply to Henley local authority to serve a compulsory purchase order on the President of the Board of Trade so that he could have the opportunity to experience the dust, noise and degradation that might well follow that exercise.

Unfortunately, at this point, I have been unable to find any viable coal reserves in Henley. However, those researches led me to establish that in the green-field areas in the constituency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Oxfordshire and the constituency of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, there are such reserves. Perhaps the Minister's colleagues have taken the view that they had better insert the phrase "environmentally acceptable" in the Bill. I welcome the insertion, but we shall need some clarification from the Minister and his colleagues before very much longer.

Mr. Tipping

Opencasting has been a major theme in the debates on the Coal Industry Bill. I shall return to it briefly. Many of us are worried about the balance between deep-mined coal and opencasting. Perhaps, if I can catch the Minister's eye, he will listen to what the private companies have been telling him. Those companies which have pre-registered have seen the profit in opencasting, but there is a view among the potential private owners that there is no profit to be made from deep-mined coal. They believe that, in the central coalfield perhaps, there is no profit in deep-mined coal and the real profit lies in opencasting. Therefore, some of the private sector companies are falling away. Perhaps the Minister will comment on a rumour which is widespread in the industry that, in the light of that disappointment, documents have been sent out to companies such as Hanson which have not pre-registered. In the past they have not shown an interest, but they are now being encouraged by the Government to buy the industry. Will the Minister confirm or deny that rumour this evening?

I welcome the announcement this afternoon that national interest will not be taken into account in opencasting. That is significant for coal mining areas. It sticks in the craw of people in Nottinghamshire that our pits are being closed down at the same time as permission is being sought for opencast mining in west Nottinghamshire. That is the landscape of the Robinettes sites, the Cossall site and the Moorgreen site, that D.H. Lawrence loved or, as people put it, made love in. They are important sites which should not be destroyed. I hope that issues surrounding opencasting will be discussed and decisions made at local level rather than at national level.

Given the announcement made this afternoon, why will not the Minister accept Lords amendment No. 38? In the other place Lord Strathclyde said that compulsory rights orders would be used only in the most exceptional circumstances. Lords amendment No. 38 defines those circumstances. It limits compulsory rights orders. If the Minister still wants to make friends in coalfield communities, he will accept amendment No. 38.

Mr. Michael Spicer (Worcestershire, South)

I wish to make one point which was prompted by what the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) said. He said that we should dig up all the deep-mined coal and worry about opencast coaling afterwards. I must confess to a bias on the matter. When I was Minister for Coal I was alone one day in between Secretaries of State in the Department. I managed with the assistance of the admirable civil servants to sign the orders to liberalise opencasting and increase it to the present level of 250,000 tonnes.

The point I make to all those who argue against opencast coaling is that they should bear in mind that if we are truthful, we will admit that deep-mined coal in Britain, especially if one takes into account the environmental considerations such as the sulphur content and so on, is not truly economic under almost any circumstances compared with imports. That has been the position of the unions for many years. That is the truth of the matter if one takes into account the genuine cost of raising the coal and the total costs associated with doing so.

Mr. Clapham

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Spicer

In a moment. I wish to make one point. Then I will certainly give way.

The only way in which we can make British Coal in its wider sense competitive is by blending deep-mined coal and opencast coal. That is due to two factors. One is that opencast coal is mined at half the cost of deep-mined coal. The other is that opencast coal is sulphur and chlorine-free and, therefore, a clean form of coal. So if we are to have any competitive coal industry in Britain, there has to be an opencast coal industry.

Amendment No. 38 deals with a fairly marginal matter. Compulsory rights orders are not made very often. Nevertheless, people such as the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey hide behind such amendments. They say that it would not matter if we accepted the amendment because what they really want to do is stop opencast coaling. They should be honest.

Mr. Ronnie Campbell

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Spicer

I shall give way to the hon. Member for Barnsley, West and Penistone (Mr. Clapham). Then I will certainly give way to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Clapham

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we are closing down collieries that produce at 88p per gigajoule, which is level with market prices? Does he agree that if we opencast for technical reasons such as sweetening because of chlorine content and so on, all that we need is about 5 million tonnes? I use that figure because when the Trade and Industry Select Committee examined the issue it suggested that opencast mining should be reduced to 10 million tonnes. That was within a market of about 60 million tonnes. We are now down to a market of 30 million tonnes, so all that we require is 5 million tonnes of opencasting. That would mean that we could tackle it in a reasonable manner and not need CROs.

Mr. Spicer

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is very knowledgeable about the details of the costings of British deep-mined coal. Suffice it to say, and without going into too much detail, that those costings are often not very transparent. If one takes, for instance, a pit such as Selby, the way in which the sunk capital is computed into the pricing and costings is very dubious indeed. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman would dispute the fact that there are massive hidden costs within the industry which somebody will have to account for one day.

Mr. Ronnie Campbell

The hon. Gentleman will remember that, when he was Minister, we had in the north east of England—if my memory is right—only 17 deep-mined coal pits. At least half of them took in opencast coal, and we did not argue against that. The hon. Gentleman was right when he said that it sweetened deep-mined coal. We do not have any deep-mined coal in the north east now but, by God, we have plenty of planning consents for opencast coal at the moment. It is sweetening nothing.

Mr. Spicer

The sweetening point is important, but the other important thing is the financial sweetening. Opencast coaling can be produced on average at half the costs of deep-mined coaling if we take into account the proper costing.

I make my point in response to the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey and in support of my hon. Friend the Minister. It is nonsense to say that there should be an amendment which in effect makes a CRO totally impossible—that is what the effect of the amendment would be—because of the undoubted value to this country of opencasting.

An obvious qualification is that it must be done properly from an environmental point of view. The hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy) acknowledged that nowadays, in most cases, the long-term environmental effects of opencast coaling are being properly addressed.

Mr. Simon Hughes

I understand the hon. Gentleman's argument. The hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy) made the point that there are occasions when there is an acceptable proposal for opencasting, and there are places in the country where proposals have been accepted.

The debate is that when there is not an acceptability within the local community, there can be a compulsory power to go ahead. In that case, there should be a test asking if there is an alternative. I understand that sometimes opencast coaling is needed, but the community must accept it.

Mr. Spicer

I do not want to prolong the debate, and I do not think that there is much between the hon. Gentleman and I on that point, except to say that there will perhaps be circumstances in which a CRO is appropriate. The amendment might make it completely impossible to introduce CROs and, for the reasons I have given, I think that that would be a bad thing.

Mr. Harry Barnes (Derbyshire, North-East)

There has been a massive run-down in the coal industry because of the fix in fuel market prices. It has always been my contention that if arrangements could be fixed, they could be unfixed later.

During the previous Session, I introduced a Bill which would have unfixed the arrangements. If I could do that, I am sure that the Government will be able at some stage to introduce measures which mean that the getting of coal is more economically viable than in the present circumstances. A massive resource exists throughout the country which will lead to fortunes being made by certain people. That will be done by opencast techniques which will have serious environmental consequences, as many hon. Members have stressed.

In my constituency, there is a stark distinction between the western and eastern sections. The western section is a rural area where mining goes back to the 16th century, and there was certainly a great deal of mining in that area in the 17th and 18th centuries. There are massive amounts of coal in that area not far from the surface.

The eastern side is where the pits were shut, and there are no pits left now in Derbyshire. In that area, the disgraceful activity of further opencast developments will take place, and already opencast developments have been accepted in those areas.

My hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy) referred to the parliamentary question which we managed to table, and he said that the Minister had kindly supplied us with the answer. I do not look upon the question in quite the same way as that. I think that it is disgraceful that a matter concerning opencasting should have been presented by planted answers.

6.45 pm

It came out at half-past three today, and nobody in the Chamber knew about its existence until the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Luff) scurried along the Benches and dished out the pieces of paper so we could see the answer. I found out about it a little earlier because a Lobby correspondent met me outside the Chamber and asked me what my views were on the press release from the Department of the Environment.

When we have opencast provisions in the Lords amendments, and a whole series of Government amendments, the House should know in advance what the position is. Furthermore, I think that the answer tells us that the final guidance arrangements—the new mineral planning guidance—will be available to us only just before the summer recess. That is not acceptable. The House is considering Lords amendments and the Government's counter-proposals, and an argument is taking place on the planning agreement provision. That has knock-on consequences for what we think should be put forward in the legislation.

Mr. Jack Thompson (Wansbeck)

I must apologise to the House for the fact that I was called away to an important meeting for the last half hour, and I missed the beginning of this debate.

I think that the impression which might be created that the Opposition are totally opposed to opencast is not accurate. My experience of opencast in my constituency goes back to the mid-1940s when it was essential to get coal to keep the war effort going. There was no opposition at that time, and it was recognised as a national issue that it was important to get that coal out.

The opencast exercise at that time was very crude. There is a golf course in my constituency which is on the remains of an opencast site which was developed in the 1940s, and it is impossible to play on. It is certainly impossible for me to play on, and I think that the condition of the ground is the problem, and not my playing.

When I was involved in local government in the late 1970s and early 1980s, we had an arrangement in my county council in Northumberland—which probably has the biggest potential opencast field anywhere in Britain—with the then National Coal Board opencast executive and then the British Coal opencast executive where there was a 10-year rolling programme. The executive came to the planning authority with proposals for projects which were 10 years ahead.

We then sat down calmly and talked through the proposition. We adjourned the meeting, and came back after three months to talk about it again. But we had a reasonable and sensible programme based upon the national target throughout those years of 15 million tonnes per year being obtained nationally from opencast. The matter was dealt with reasonably.

Obviously, there were problems. There were complaints and resistance to opencast sites being developed, but in general it worked extremely well. The real problem arose in recent years when freedom was given to almost anybody for opencast sites. One site was developed in my constituency a quarter of a mile from a pharmaceutical factory, and that caused all sorts of problems because of the environmental effects. There was even a mild threat that the factory would close because of the small opencast site.

That is the sort of problem which we are facing at present and which, in my view, will be aggravated by the privatisation of the industry and by the free-for-all which will exist in terms of opencast site development. We shall not have the right balance in terms of local or national interest. It will be a free-for-all and if someone can sell his coal at a lower price than the guy along the road, he will prosper. That is not how I want my county to develop.

I hope that the amendment will be accepted because it will ensure the right proportion of opencast coal mine development.

Mr. Eggar

I seem to spend a lot of time putting to rest scurrilous rumours which the hon. Member for Sherwood (Mr. Tipping) mysteriously hears about and then repeats in the Chamber. His comments have no substance whatever. He knows perfectly well, because I answered a parliamentary question on the matter, how many people have applied for qualification. I assure him that no more information has been sent out to people who have not pre-qualified.

There have been two strands to this debate. First, a number of Opposition Members and one or two of my hon. Friends who have not spoken are basically anti-opencast. They are determined to use whatever mechanism is available to stop whatever opencasting may be contemplated. Secondly, my hon. Friends who spoke in the debate wished, in some way, to give landowners the value of the coal.

In fairness to the hon. Member for Wansbeck (Mr. Thompson) and my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Mr. Spicer), they recognised the balance and the fact that there is a place for opencasting, given the correct environmental and other controls.

The hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy) is very much involved in these matters. But it is for my right hon. and hon. Friends in the Department of the Environment to expand on the issues which he raised. He kindly recognised the fact that the debate had moved on as a result of the answer to the parliamentary question.

I was surprised at the point made by the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes). After all, the Government could easily have held this debate without making the announcement. My hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and Planning and I thought that it would assist the House if we made that announcement, even though we could not make the full announcement on MPG3. Hon. Members, with the exception of the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East, who has not been present for most of our debates, will recognise that, throughout the discussions in Committee and subsequently, I have been extremely forthcoming with the documents and have always responded to requests from hon. Members on both sides of the House. It therefore annoys me to hear the churlish response that we have had from the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Barnes

Could not we have had the answer 24 hours earlier, as that would have provided a framework for our discussion?

Mr. Eggar

The fact is that we had the answer in time for the debate. With the exception of the hon. Gentleman, all hon. Members present welcomed that.

Mr. Redmond

Does the Minister agree with the answer in relation to the document that has been discussed?

Mr. Eggar

Of course I agree with the answer given by my hon. Friend.

Some of my hon. Friends argued that more of the value of the coal should, in some way, accrue to the landowners. My hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Mr. Garnier) has followed this issue carefully. He was, however, less than objective in assessing how the Government have responded to the interests and genuine concerns of landowners. May I spell out exactly what we have done?

The power to initiate CROs no longer lies in the hands of the mining industry. In the future, it will lie in the hands of the Coal Authority. My hon. Friend did not recognise the fact that we have set out the intended policy of the Coal Authority to make CROs only in the last resort and after all reasonable efforts to obtain the landowners' agreement has failed. The Coal Authority will also ensure that any reasonable requirements for appropriate financial security are met. Once that has been done, the orders will be made, subject to confirmation by the relevant Secretaries of State. The Bill also sets out an absolute limit of 31 December 1999 for the continuation of those compulsory rights orders. At the same time, we have announced that we are initiating a comprehensive review of compulsory access powers for all minerals.

As if that were not enough, since the Bill's introduction we have accepted the principle that compensation should be based on market value. We have agreed that there should be notification of all applications for coalmining licences and the transfer of existing licences. We have introduced a mechanism to ensure that landowners can revert to the operator's best offer, even at the last possible stage, and compensation for non-coal minerals has been given in coalmining operations. So for my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough to say that we are not taking account of landowners' genuine interests is—I am being charitable—not putting the whole debate in context.

On my hon. Friend's comments on the drafting of the Bill, I agree that we should all strive for clear drafting. It is a technical matter that relates back to the 1958 Act. Although its clarity may not be ideal, it is more understandable than my hon. Friend led us to believe.

May I tell my hon. Friend bluntly that the Government have always made it clear that we shall not give the value of the coal to the landlords. The net effect of his amendment is that a significant proportion of the coal's value is likely, as a result of market negotiations, to lie with the landowners. It has always been made clear to my hon. Friend, representatives of the Country Landowners Association and others that we will not do that. I am sorry that he does not accept that, despite the fact that I have explained to him, and again in my opening speech, that that was the effect of his amendment.

I recognise the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South about CROs. The absence of any CRO power, ahead of the review of compulsory access powers for all minerals, has the same potential effect in terms of giving additional value to the landowners. We have listened carefully to the landowners' wishes and consulted widely, but we have always drawn a bottom line. We are simply not prepared to go below that line.

I hope that I have dealt with all the issues that arise from the amendments and that we can now move to a Division, should that prove necessary.

Question put, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 291, Noes 223.

Division No. 274] [6.58 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia
Aitken, Jonathan Bowis, John
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Brandreth, Gyles
Amess, David Brazier, Julian
Ancram, Michael Bright, Graham
Arbuthnot, James Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv) Browning, Mrs. Angela
Ashby, David Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Aspinwall, Jack Budgen, Nicholas
Atkins, Robert Burns, Simon
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Burt, Alistair
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North) Butcher, John
Baldry, Tony Butler, Peter
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Butterfill, John
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Carlisle, John (Luton North)
Bates, Michael Carrington, Matthew
Batiste, Spencer Carttiss, Michael
Bellingham, Henry Churchill, Mr
Bendall, Vivian Clappison, James
Beresford, Sir Paul Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Blackburn, Dr John G. Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Body, Sir Richard Coe, Sebastian
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Colvin, Michael
Booth, Hartley Congdon, David
Boswell, Tim Conway, Derek
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham) Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Cormack, Patrick Hunter, Andrew
Couchman, James Jack, Michael
Cran, James Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire) Jenkin, Bernard
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon) Jessel, Toby
Davies, Quentin (Stamford) Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Davis, David (Boothferry) Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Day, Stephen Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)
Deva, Nirj Joseph Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Devlin, Tim Key, Robert
Dickens, Geoffrey Kilfedder, Sir James
Dicks, Terry King, Rt Hon Tom
Dorrell, Stephen Kirkhope, Timothy
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Knapman, Roger
Dover, Den Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Duncan, Alan Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Duncan-Smith, Iain Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)
Durant, Sir Anthony Knox, Sir David
Dykes, Hugh Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Eggar, Tim Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Elletson, Harold Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter Legg, Barry
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield) Leigh, Edward
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon) Lennox-Boyd, Mark
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) Lidington, David
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) Lightbown, David
Evennett, David Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Faber, David Lloyd, Rt Hon Peter (Fareham)
Fabricant, Michael Lord, Michael
Fenner, Dame Peggy Luff, Peter
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Fishburn, Dudley MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Forman, Nigel MacKay, Andrew
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Maclean, David
Forth, Eric McLoughlin, Patrick
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring) Madel, Sir David
Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley) Maitland, Lady Olga
Freeman, Rt Hon Roger Malone, Gerald
French, Douglas Mans, Keith
Gale, Roger Marland, Paul
Gallie, Phil Marlow, Tony
Gardiner, Sir George Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Garel-Jones, Rt Hon Tristan Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Garnier, Edward Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Gill, Christopher Mates, Michael
Gillan, Cheryl Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian
Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair Mellor, Rt Hon David
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Merchant, Piers
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Mills, Iain
Gorst, Sir John Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Grant, Sir A. (Cambs SW) Mitchell, Sir David (Hants NW)
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Moate, Sir Roger
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Monro, Sir Hector
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N) Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Grylls, Sir Michael Moss, Malcolm
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Needham, Rt Hon Richard
Hague, William Nelson, Anthony
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie Neubert, Sir Michael
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Hampson, Dr Keith Nicholls, Patrick
Hanley, Jeremy Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Hannam, Sir John Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Hargreaves, Andrew Norris, Steve
Haselhurst, Alan Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley
Hawkins, Nick Oppenheim, Phillip
Hawksley, Warren Ottaway, Richard
Hayes, Jerry Page, Richard
Heald, Oliver Paice, James
Heathcoat-Amory, David Patnick, Irvine
Hendry, Charles Patten, Rt Hon John
Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L. Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham) Pawsey, James
Horam, John Pickles, Eric
Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A) Porter, David (Waveney)
Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk) Redwood, Rt Hon John
Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W) Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Richards, Rod Taylor, John M. (Solihull)
Riddick, Graham Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Robathan, Andrew Temple-Morris, Peter
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn Thomason, Roy
Robinson, Mark (Somerton) Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne) Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent) Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela Thurnham, Peter
Ryder, Rt Hon Richard Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)
Sackville, Tom Tracey, Richard
Sainsbury, Rt Hon Tim Tredinnick, David
Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas Trend, Michael
Shaw, David (Dover) Trotter, Neville
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Twinn, Dr Ian
Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Viggers, Peter
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Shersby, Michael Walden, George
Sims, Roger Walker, Bill (N Tayside)
Skeet, Sir Trevor Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Waterson, Nigel
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Watts, John
Soames, Nicholas Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John
Speed, Sir Keith Whitney, Ray
Spencer, Sir Derek Whittingdale, John
Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset) Widdecombe, Ann
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Spink, Dr Robert Wilkinson, John
Spring, Richard Willetts, David
Sproat, Iain Wilshire, David
Squire, Robin (Hornchurch) Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Steen, Anthony Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)
Stephen, Michael Wolfson, Mark
Stern, Michael Wood, Timothy
Stewart, Allan Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Streeter, Gary
Sweeney, Walter Tellers for the Ayes:
Sykes, John Mr. Sydney Chapman and
Tapsell, Sir Peter Mr. Bowen Wells.
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Abbott, Ms Diane Chisholm, Malcolm
Ainger, Nick Church, Judith
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Clapham, Michael
Allen, Graham Clark, Dr David (South Shields)
Alton, David Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Clelland, David
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale) Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Ashton, Joe Coffey, Ann
Austin-Walker, John Cohen, Harry
Barnes, Harry Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Barron, Kevin Corbett, Robin
Battle, John Corbyn, Jeremy
Bayley, Hugh Corston, Ms Jean
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret Cousins, Jim
Beith, Rt Hon A. J. Cox, Tom
Bell, Stuart Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Dafis, Cynog
Bennett, Andrew F. Dalyell, Tam
Bermingham, Gerald Darling, Alistair
Berry, Roger Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)
Betts, Clive Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Blair, Tony Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Blunkett, David Denham, John
Boateng, Paul Dixon, Don
Boyes, Roland Dobson, Frank
Bradley, Keith Dowd, Jim
Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E) Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Eagle, Ms Angela
Burden, Richard Eastham, Ken
Byers, Stephen Etherington, Bill
Caborn, Richard Evans, John (St Helens N)
Callaghan, Jim Fatchett, Derek
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Faulds, Andrew
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Flynn, Paul
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Cann, Jamie Foster, Don (Bath)
Chidgey, David Fraser, John
Garrett, John Morris, Rt Hon A. (Wy'nshawe)
George, Bruce Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Gerrard, Neil Mowlam, Marjorie
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Mudie, George
Godman, Dr Norman A. Mullin, Chris
Golding, Mrs Llin Murphy, Paul
Gordon, Mildred Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) O'Brien, William (Normanton)
Grocott, Bruce Olner, William
Gunnell, John O'Neill, Martin
Hain, Peter Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Hanson, David Paisley, Rev Ian
Hardy, Peter Parry, Robert
Harman, Ms Harriet Pendry, Tom
Harvey, Nick Pickthall, Colin
Henderson, Doug Pike, Peter L.
Heppell, John Pope, Greg
Hill, Keith (Streatham) Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)
Hinchliffe, David Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Hodge, Margaret Prescott, John
Hoey, Kate Primarolo, Dawn
Home Robertson, John Purchase, Ken
Hoon, Geoffrey Quin, Ms Joyce
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Radice, Giles
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd) Randall, Stuart
Hoyle, Doug Raynsford, Nick
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Redmond, Martin
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Rendel, David
Hutton, John Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Illsley, Eric Roche, Mrs. Barbara
Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H) Rogers, Allan
Jamieson, David Rooker, Jeff
Janner, Greville Rooney, Terry
Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side) Ruddock, Joan
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn) Sedgemore, Brian
Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O) Sheerman, Barry
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham) Short, Clare
Jowell, Tessa Skinner, Dennis
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Keen, Alan Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
Kennedy, Charles (Ross, C&S) Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn) Snape, Peter
Khabra, Piara S. Soley, Clive
Kilfoyle, Peter Spearing, Nigel
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil (Islwyn) Steinberg, Gerry
Kirkwood, Archy Stevenson, George
Lestor, Joan (Eccles) Stott, Roger
Lewis, Terry Strang, Dr. Gavin
Livingstone, Ken Straw, Jack
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Sutcliffe, Gerry
Loyden, Eddie Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Lynne, Ms Liz Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
McAvoy, Thomas Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
McCartney, Ian Timms, Stephen
Macdonald, Calum Tipping, Paddy
Mackinlay, Andrew Turner, Dennis
McLeish, Henry Tyler, Paul
McNamara, Kevin Vaz, Keith
MacShane, Denis Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
McWilliam, John Walley, Joan
Madden, Max Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Mahon, Alice Wicks, Malcolm
Mandelson, Peter Wigley, Dafydd
Marek, Dr John Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S) Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Martlew, Eric Winnick, David
Meacher, Michael Worthington, Tony
Meale, Alan Wright, Dr Tony
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew Tellers for the Noes:
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby) Mr. John Cummings and
Morgan, Rhodri Mr. Jon Owen Jones.
Morley, Elliot

Question accordingly agreed to.

Government amendments in lieu of Lords amendment No. 37 agreed to.

Lords amendment: No. 38, in page 117, line 29, at end insert— ("Conditions to be satisfied before a compulsory rights order is made A compulsory rights order shall not be made or confirmed unless it is shown that it has not proved practicable to obtain the right by private arrangement because the owner has acted unreasonably and that—

    1. (a)(i) the coal in the relevant land is required to supply a market which cannot adequately be met from other sources which are currently being worked or capable of being worked where a coal-mining company has secured all the relevant planning consents and has acquired the necessary interests in land, and
    2. (ii) the amount of marketable coal to be extracted as a result of the compulsory rights order being made exceeds 250,000 tonnes; or
  1. (b) there is a present likelihood that the coal will remain unworked on account of other development proposed on the relevant land; or
  2. (c) the persons with power to grant the right, or any of them, cannot be ascertained or cannot be found; or
  3. (d) the persons from whom the right must be obtained or any of them, have not the necessary powers of disposition, whether by reason of defect on title, legal disability or otherwise.")

Motion made, and Question put, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 287, Noes 221.

Division No. 275] [7.12 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Carttiss, Michael
Aitken, Jonathan Chapman, Sydney
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Churchill, Mr
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Clappison, James
Amess, David Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Ancram, Michael Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Arbuthnot, James Coe, Sebastian
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Colvin, Michael
Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv) Congdon, David
Ashby, David Conway, Derek
Aspinwall, Jack Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)
Atkins, Robert Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Cope, Rt Hon Sir John
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North) Cormack, Patrick
Baldry, Tony Couchman, James
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Cran, James
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)
Bates, Michael Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon)
Batiste, Spencer Davies, Quentin (Stamford)
Bellingham, Henry Davis, David (Boothferry)
Bendall, Vivian Day, Stephen
Beresford, Sir Paul Deva, Nirj Joseph
Blackburn, Dr John G. Devlin, Tim
Body, Sir Richard Dickens, Geoffrey
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Dicks, Terry
Booth, Hartley Dorrell, Stephen
Boswell, Tim Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham) Dover, Den
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia Duncan, Alan
Bowis, John Duncan-Smith, Iain
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes Durant, Sir Anthony
Brandreth, Gyles Dykes, Hugh
Brazier, Julian Eggar, Tim
Bright, Graham Elletson, Harold
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)
Browning, Mrs. Angela Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)
Budgen, Nicholas Evans, Roger (Monmouth)
Burns, Simon Evennett, David
Burt, Alistair Faber, David
Butcher, John Fabricant, Michael
Butler, Peter Fenner, Dame Peggy
Butterfill, John Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Carlisle, John (Luton North) Fishburn, Dudley
Carrington, Matthew Forman, Nigel
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Maitland, Lady Olga
Forth, Eric Malone, Gerald
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring) Mans, Keith
Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley) Marland, Paul
Freeman, Rt Hon Roger Marlow, Tony
French, Douglas Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Gale, Roger Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Gallie, Phil Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Gardiner, Sir George Mates, Michael
Garel-Jones, Rt Hon Tristan Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian
Garnier, Edward Mellor, Rt Hon David
Gill, Christopher Merchant, Piers
Gillan, Cheryl Mills, Iain
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Mitchell, Sir David (Hants NW)
Gorst, Sir John Moate, Sir Roger
Grant, Sir A. (Cambs SW) Monro, Sir Hector
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Greenway, John (Ryedale) Moss, Malcolm
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N) Needham, Rt Hon Richard
Grylls, Sir Michael Nelson, Anthony
Hague, William Neubert, Sir Michael
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Nicholls, Patrick
Hampson, Dr Keith Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Hanley, Jeremy Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)
Hannam, Sir John Norris, Steve
Hargreaves, Andrew Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley
Haselhurst, Alan Oppenheim, Phillip
Hawkins, Nick Ottaway, Richard
Hawksley, Warren Page, Richard
Hayes, Jerry Paice, James
Heald, Oliver Patnick, Irvine
Heathcoat-Amory, David Patten, Rt Hon John
Hendry, Charles Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L. Pawsey, James
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham) Pickles, Eric
Horam, John Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter Porter, David (Waveney)
Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A) Redwood, Rt Hon John
Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk) Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W) Richards, Rod
Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne) Riddick, Graham
Hunter, Andrew Robathan, Andrew
Jack, Michael Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn
Jackson, Robert (Wantage) Robinson, Mark (Somerton)
Jenkin, Bernard Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Jessel, Toby Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Ryder, Rt Hon Richard
Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr) Sackville, Tom
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Sainsbury, Rt Hon Tim
Key, Robert Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas
Kilfedder, Sir James Shaw, David (Dover)
King, Rt Hon Tom Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Kirkhope, Timothy Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian
Knapman, Roger Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash) Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Knight, Greg (Derby N) Shersby, Michael
Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n) Skeet, Sir Trevor
Knox, Sir David Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Kynoch, George (Kincardine) Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Soames, Nicholas
Lawrence, Sir Ivan Speed, Sir Keith
Legg, Barry Spencer, Sir Derek
Leigh, Edward Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)
Lennox-Boyd, Mark Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Lidington, David Spink, Dr Robert
Lightbown, David Spring, Richard
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Sproat, Iain
Lloyd, Rt Hon Peter (Fareham) Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Lord, Michael Steen, Anthony
Luff, Peter Stephen, Michael
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Stern, Michael
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Stewart, Allan
MacKay, Andrew Streeter, Gary
Maclean, David Sweeney, Walter
McLoughlin, Patrick Sykes, John
McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick Tapsell, Sir Peter
Madel, Sir David Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, John M. (Solihull) Waterson, Nigel
Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E) Watts, John
Temple-Morris, Peter Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John
Thomason, Roy Whitney, Ray
Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V) Whittingdale, John
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N) Widdecombe, Ann
Thornton, Sir Malcolm Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Thurnham, Peter Wilkinson, John
Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th) Willetts, David
Tracey, Richard Wilshire, David
Tredinnick, David Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Trend, Michael Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)
Trotter, Neville Wolfson, Mark
Twinn, Dr Ian Wood, Timothy
Vaughan, Sir Gerard Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Viggers, Peter
Waldegrave, Rt Hon William Tellers for the Ayes:
Walden, George Mr. Robert G. Hughes and
Walker, Bill (N Tayside) Mr. Bowen Wells.
Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Abbott, Ms Diane Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)
Ainger, Nick Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Allen, Graham Denham, John
Alton, David Dixon, Don
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Dobson, Frank
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale) Dowd, Jim
Ashton, Joe Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Austin-Walker, John Eagle, Ms Angela
Barnes, Harry Eastham, Ken
Barron, Kevin Etherington, Bill
Battle, John Evans, John (St Helens N)
Bayley, Hugh Fatchett, Derek
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret Faulds, Andrew
Beith, Rt Hon A. J. Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Bell, Stuart Flynn, Paul
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Bermingham, Gerald Foster, Don (Bath)
Berry, Roger Fraser, John
Betts, Clive Garrett, John
Blair, Tony George, Bruce
Blunkett, David Gerrard, Neil
Boyes, Roland Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Bradley, Keith Godman, Dr Norman A.
Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E) Golding, Mrs Llin
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Gordon, Mildred
Burden, Richard Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Byers, Stephen Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Caborn, Richard Grocott, Bruce
Callaghan, Jim Gunnell, John
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Hain, Peter
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Hall, Mike
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Hanson, David
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Hardy, Peter
Cann, Jamie Harman, Ms Harriet
Chidgey, David Harvey, Nick
Chisholm, Malcolm Henderson, Doug
Church, Judith Heppell, John
Clapham, Michael Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Clark, Dr David (South Shields) Hinchliffe, David
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Hodge, Margaret
Clelland, David Hoey, Kate
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Home Robertson, John
Coffey, Ann Hoon, Geoffrey
Cohen, Harry Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Corbett, Robin Hoyle, Doug
Corbyn, Jeremy Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Corston, Ms Jean Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Cousins, Jim Hutton, John
Cox, Tom Illsley, Eric
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)
Darling, Alistair Jamieson, David
Janner, Greville Pope, Greg
Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side) Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn) Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O) Prescott, John
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW) Primarolo, Dawn
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham) Purchase, Ken
Jowell, Tessa Quin, Ms Joyce
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Radice, Giles
Keen, Alan Randall, Stuart
Kennedy, Charles (Ross, C&S) Raynsford, Nick
Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn) Redmond, Martin
Khabra, Piara S. Rendel, David
Kilfoyle, Peter Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil (Islwyn) Roche, Mrs. Barbara
Kirkwood, Archy Rogers, Allan
Lestor, Joan (Eccles) Rooker, Jeff
Lewis, Terry Rooney, Terry
Livingstone, Ken Ruddock, Joan
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Sedgemore, Brian
Loyden, Eddie Sheerman, Barry
Lynne, Ms Liz Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
McAvoy, Thomas Short, Clare
McCartney, Ian Skinner, Dennis
Macdonald, Calum Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Mackinlay, Andrew Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
McLeish, Henry Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
McNamara, Kevin Snape, Peter
MacShane, Denis Soley, Clive
McWilliam, John Spearing, Nigel
Madden, Max Spellar, John
Mahon, Alice Steinberg, Gerry
Mandelson, Peter Stevenson, George
Marek, Dr John Stott, Roger
Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S) Strang, Dr. Gavin
Martlew, Eric Straw, Jack
Meacher, Michael Sutcliffe, Gerry
Meale, Alan Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Milburn, Alan Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Miller, Andrew Timms, Stephen
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby) Tipping, Paddy
Morgan, Rhodri Turner, Dennis
Morley, Elliot Tyler, Paul
Morris, Rt Hon A. (Wy'nshawe) Vaz, Keith
Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley) Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold
Mowlam, Marjorie Walley, Joan
Mudie, George Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Mullin, Chris Wicks, Malcolm
Murphy, Paul Wigley, Dafydd
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)
O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire) Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
O'Brien, William (Normanton) Winnick, David
Olner, William Worthington, Tony
O'Neill, Martin Wright, Dr Tony
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Young, David (Bolton SE)
Paisley, Rev Ian
Parry, Robert Tellers for the Noes:
Pendry, Tom Mr. John Cummings and
Pickthall, Colin Mr. Jon Owen Jones.
Pike, Peter L.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With the leave of the House, I shall put the remaining amendments together.

Subsequent Lords amendments agreed to.

Committee appointed to draw up a Reason to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their amendment No. 38: Mr. Stuart Bell, Mr. Neil Hamilton, Mr. Andrew Mitchell, Mr. Martin O'Neill and Mr. Tim Eggar be members of the Committee; Three to be the quorum.—[Mr. Eggar.]

To withdraw immediately.