HL Deb 23 March 1939 vol 112 cc382-412

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly:

[The EARL OF ONSLOW in the Chair.]

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2:

Advisory Committee.

2.—(I) For the purpose of advising the Department of Agriculture for Scotland (hereinafter referred to as the Department) with regard to the exercise and discharge of their powers and duties under this Act there shall be constituted an Advisory Committee, consisting of a chairman and not less than four other members appointed by the Department.

The MARQUESS OF ABERDEEN AND TEMAIR had given Notice of two Amendments in respect of the Advisory Committee—namely, in subsection (I), to leave out "not less than," and, after subsection (I), to insert the following new subsection: (2) The four members to be appointed by the Department under the preceding subsection shall consist of—

  1. (a) one representative of the Forestry Commission;
  2. (b) one representative of the county councils;
  3. (c) one representative of landowners;
  4. (d) one representative of agricultural tenants.
The representative of the Forestry Commission shall be appointed by the Department after consultation with the Commission, the representative of the county councils after consultation with the Association of County Councils in Scotland, and the representative of the landowners and agricultural tenants after consultation with any associations of landowners or of agricultural tenants respectively whom the Department think it expedient to consult. The noble Marquess said: I do not propose to move these Amendments, but perhaps the noble Marquess who is in charge of the Bill will give us an idea as to how the Advisory Committee will be composed—whether it is to be on the same lines as the local deer committees, or whether it is to be different.


In reply to the noble Marquess, I would say that it was never intended that the Central Advisory Committee should be a constituent body. The intention is that it should be made up of persons with a special knowledge of the problem upon which it will have to advise. In that respect it differs somewhat from the local deer regulation committees which, as the noble Marquess will see by reference to the Schedule in the Bill, are to be representative committees. I may say that I quite appreciate the importance of the forestry interest being duly represented on the Central Advisory Committee. I can give the noble Marquess an assurance that my right honourable friend will bear that in mind, and no doubt, when considering the appointment of someone on to the Central Advisory Committee who will be expected to have a knowledge of forestry matters, he will consult the Forestry Commission. I hope I have made clear to the noble Marquess the distinction which we draw between the composition of the Central Advisory Committee and the composition of the local deer regulations committees.


I am much obliged to the noble Marquess.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 agreed to.

Clause 4

Powers of committee on failure of landowner to reduce number of deer.

4.—(1) It shall he the duty of a deer regulation committee to inquire into any complaint that may be made to it of damage caused by deer on any lands within their area to agricultural or sylvicultural interests and if the committee are satisfied—

(2) If an owner after negotiation with him in pursuance of the last foregoing subsection declines to take such steps as aforesaid or having undertaken to do so fails within one month after the conclusion of such negotiation to take such steps the committee shall report to the Department, and may make recommendations to the Department on any of the following matters— (c) whether the circumstances are such that the owner of any such lands should be required to provide and maintain a deer-proof fence round the lands.

(4) After consideration of any advice tendered to them by the Advisory Committee in pursuance of the last foregoing subsection, the Department shall have power to do any one or more of the following things, that is to say— (c) to require any such owner as aforesaid to provide, within such time and on such conditions as the Department may think fit, a deer-proof fence round his lands, and to maintain such fence.

(5) A right conferred in pursuance of paragraph (a) of the last foregoing subsection on the occupier of an agricultural holding shall not be exercised— (c) except by the occupier himself and such number of persons authorised by him in writing in respect of any year as the Department on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee may determine.

(9) A committee authorised as aforesaid shall not be entitled to enter on the lands at any time between the tenth day of April and the sixteenth day of October in any year and shall, before entering on any lands for the purpose of killing deer thereon, give to the owner and any tenant thereof one week's notice of their intention to do so, and shall allow such owner or tenant, if they so desire, an opportunity of assisting in any operations undertaken for the purpose of reducing the number of deer on such lands.

(10) If an owner of lands who is required, in pursuance of subsection (4) of this section, to provide a deer-proof fence around the lands, fails to comply with the requirement he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one pound for each day during which such failure continues.

(11) If an owner of lands who is required, in pursuance of subsection (4) of this section to maintain a deer-proof fence round the lands fails in the opinion of the deer regulation committee to maintain the same in an adequate state of repair, they may serve on him a notice requiring him to execute such works on the fence as they may think necessary. An owner aggrieved by such notice may, within fourteen days thereafter appeal to the Department, who may confirm, vary or cancel the notice. If an owner on whom any such notice has been served fails within six months after the date thereof or, in the event of an appeal, after the decision thereon, to execute the works required of him, the committee may themselves execute the works and recover from the owner the expenses reasonably incurred in so doing.

THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND moved, in subsection (1), to leave out "it" ["made to it"] and to insert "them." The noble Marquess said: I am indebted to my noble friend Lord Bertie, whose vigilant eye seldom allows a literary lapse or a grammatical solecism to pass unnoticed, for pointing out to me the desirability of this Amendment. I may say that I have no objection to the word "committee" being treated as either a singular noun or as a plural noun, but it is singularly distressing to one's sense of literary propriety that it should be treated as a singular noun and a plural noun in the same sentence. It is in order to remove that ground of complaint that I am proposing this Amendment. It is quite true that in subsection (4) of Clause 2, the Bill does start by treating the committee as neuter, and I had in mind to move Amendments to treat it in the same way throughout the Bill; but I found that if I were to do that I should have to move what would be an unnecessarily large number of Amendments. Moreover, I am given to understand, with what truth I do not know, that we Scottish people prefer to treat a word of this kind as plural. What our reason is I am not quite sure, but possibly it is because the English prefer to treat it as singular. I hope your Lordships will pass the words used in the subsection to which I have referred, and be content with the one Amendment which l now move.

Amendment moved— Page 2, line 37, leave out ("it") and insert ("them").—(The Marquess of Zetland.)


I am very much indebted to my noble friend for moving this Amendment, and I, willingly, will not pursue the matter of the other Amendments which really ought to be made.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD ELPHINSTONE moved, in subsection (2), to leave out paragraph (c). The noble Lord said: The object of this Amendment, and of some that follow later standing in my name, which are consequential, is to remove from the Bill all reference to deer fencing. I pointed out on the Second Reading that the cost of erecting a deer fence, to say nothing of maintaining it afterwards, would be absolutely prohibitive. I do not know a single deer forest owner in Scotland who would be able to do it, if called upon. In many parts of Scotland, owing to the nature of the land—in some parts rock, and others bog—it would be quite impossible to erect a fence at all, and apart from the initial cost of erection and maintenance afterwards, in the opinion of those from Scotland best qualified to know, it would not achieve the object in view. It is not at all an uncommon thing in Scotland—I have noticed it myself—to see a long fence being completely blown down in one winter storm, entailing a futile expenditure of money in the first instance and doing nothing to stop deer from coming down on to agricultural land.

Another point to be considered is that if the deer are found on agricultural land it is quite impossible to say from whose forest they have come, and therefore who should be held responsible. As things stand at present, the tenant has the right, under the Agricultural Holdings Act, if damage is done to his crops, to claim and get compensation, and in addition to that, under Clause 1 of this Bill, he is given the unrestricted right to kill any deer found on arable, garden, or permanent grass land. I am confident that all owners of deer forests in Scotland are only too anxious to make this Bill a good and workable Bill, recognising, as they do, that an undoubted grievance does exist. I would therefore appeal to the noble Marquess in charge of the Bill to accept this Amendment and the consequential Amendments and so ensure what we all desire, which is that the Bill should go through with the consent and the approval of all parties concerned. As the Bill is drawn at present, I am afraid the only result, in view of the expense, would be to drive a great many deer forest owners into the Bankruptcy Court, and it would do nothing, or very little, to prevent the deer getting on to agricultural land.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 27, leave out paragraph (c).—(Lord Elphinstone.)


I can only repeat what the noble Lord, Lord Elphinstone, has already said. A deer fence has certain advantages, but nowadays, when labour costs so much, quite clearly fencing would be a very expensive remedy. In these days the cost of a deer fence is approximately £350 a mile. Quite obviously that is prohibitive. And there is the converse side of the question of deer fences. Your Lordships are aware that it is of no use bolting the stable door when the horse has gone. When damage has been done and deer have encroached beyond their bounds they cannot be treated as domestic stock. You cannot drive deer back through the fence which has been constructed to keep them out. It is the deer in the agricultural areas that do the damage, and those are the deer which should be destroyed. I understand that that is the purpose of this Bill.


If I may do so, I should like to add very briefly a plea to those that have already been made on this question. I spoke a word or two on the Second Reading, when I said that I considered—and I think it is the opinion of many—that this proposal in the Bill is neither practicable nor economical at the present time. It is not practicable from the point of view mentioned by the noble Lord who has just spoken. It is the case, as I think I said during the Second Reading debate, that at a time when deer are hungry and are apt to come down in search of food, there are large snowdrifts up against these fences which make it totally impossible to prevent the deer coming across, because they have simply to step across the fences. From the economic point of view it has already been very strongly stressed how great the expense would be. It is true that this provision was recommended by the Heather Burning Committee of 1921, but since then the circumstances have changed a good deal, and I think it is quite fair to point out two things. The first is that most of these holdings, certainly in my part of the country, are rented according to the circumstances. The fact that deer are apt to make depredations is taken into consideration by the landowner in fixing the rent. I feel that if His Majesty's Government insist on keeping this in the Bill, they will not be doing anything which it is really right or proper to do at the present time.


I fully agree with what the noble Lord has just said. The other day I had an estimate made of constructing a deer fence on one side only of four sides of a forest which I know, and I found it would cost the proprietors £11,985, which is, of course, perfectly prohibitive. There are no doubt certain places where it is a good thing to have a deer fence in order to keep deer out of a definite area, but I am not at all sure that farmers generally, and sheep farmers in particular, would be too pleased to have deer fences put up between them and their holdings. Although very often we see sheep fences, sheep undoubtedly get through them, and nine out of ten sheep farmers thus get free grazing for their sheep. That is not talked about, but if the landlord gets free grazing for his deer, it is very much talked about.


May I say one word on this subject? Although I do not know much about deer forests, I have seen deer fences put up, and, although they were very good deer fences, I have seen deer charge and go straight through them. It is an extraordinary thing how they do it, but they can get through almost any fence if they so desire. I think that is another reason why this provision should be omitted.


Speaking as one who is not a forest owner I entirely agree with what has been said by noble Lords who have spoken on this matter. The deer which, totally against my wishes, have been invading my property for some years, do not come from adjacent deer forests. There is no forest within about thirty miles, and it would require a succession of strong fences to stop them coming on to my property. Therefore, things being as they are, and deer having for a number of years been accustomed to go outside their own particular grounds, it would, I think, be a useless as well as an unnecessary expense to have these fences at the present time.


I quite realise that so far as the discussion on this Amendment has gone I am at present in a minority of one. It is quite true, as one noble Lord mentioned, that the Game and Heather Burning Committee, which was known as the Buccleuch Committee, made a quite definite recommendation that when economic conditions allowed deer forests should be generally fenced, but I am bound to say that I never myself contemplated that under the provisions in this Bill there would be any general requirement made upon the owners of deer forests to fence their land. What we had in view was certain special cases. I can very easily imagine cases where it would be very desirable that we should fence land upon which deer have recently been introduced—a small area of pastoral land, for instance, adjoining a grouse moor or something of that kind. I rather had hoped that in the course of our debate on the Second Reading I had made it clear to your Lordships that with the safeguards which the Bill contains, these provisions would not really be operated in a harsh or arbitrary manner at all, for, as I pointed out, no action would be taken under them without the approval of the Central Advisory Committee.

Nevertheless, I am very much impressed with the arguments which have been put forward, especially with regard to the cost of establishing deer fences. The cost no doubt varies according to the character of the fence, but I should imagine that if the fences were of the kind which Lord Gainford had in mind, the cost would not be very great. I have had a very long experience of deer fencing on my property for many years, and I am bound to say I have never found that a deer forced its way through in the way which the noble Lord suggested deer were in the habit of doing. I admit the fencing is expensive; it has to be very strong and it has to be very high. I have had some figures taken out also and I agree that at the present time any large extent of deer fencing would be very expensive. So far as my investigations go, it would probably cost from round about 3s. up to round about 7s. 6d. a yard, and when you come to cover a good many miles with fencing at that cost, of course, as the noble Duke told us from his own experience, it does become a very expensive matter.

In view of all these circumstances, although as I say I should like to have retained these pro visions in the Bill—perhaps more for The effect which they might have in stimulating owners to reduce the number of their deer than anything else—and in view of the very strong feeling which has been expressed, I am prepared to accept this Amendment. I hope your Lordships will see in that a proof of my desire to go as far as I reasonably can go to meet those who, I admit, have gone a very long way to meet me on the provisions of this Bill.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The next Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 20, leave out paragraph (c).—(Lord Elphinstone.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF LEVEN AND MELVILLE moved, in paragraph (c) of subsection (5), after "year," to insert "and approved by the deer regulation committee." The noble Earl said: This Amendment is intended to deal with a difficulty which some of my noble friends have in mind with regard to the type of person who might be appointed by the occupier to deal with the question of destroying deer which should be destroyed. It is not framed, I can assure the noble Marquess, with any intention of reducing the efficiency of the Bill, but with the intention of trying to ensure that if deer have to be killed they shall be killed not only with efficiency but with humanity. A small occupying farmer, faced with the necessity of killing or the right to kill deer and unable to do it himself, living perhaps in a very isolated part where it is not easy to get the choice of many people, may find it necessary or think it advisable to appoint someone to kill the deer who is not fully qualified to do so in a manner consonant with efficiency and humanity. I understand that there is no great objection to the Amendment, and therefore I will not take up more of your Lordships' time, except to say that I trust very much that the noble Marquess will be able to accept the Amendment, which will not in any way, as I understand, decrease the efficiency of the Bill.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 34, after ("deer") insert ("and approved by the deer regulation committee").—(The Earl of Leven and Melville.)


I agree that there is a good deal of force in the argument put forward by the noble Earl in support of the Amendment, and I certainly think it would be reasonable to introduce into the Bill words which would give effect to that which he has in mind. But I am informed that if this Amendment as it stands were accepted it would probably mean certain consequential Amendments which at the moment I am not in a position to put forward. I would like to suggest to the noble Earl that he should give me an opportunity of looking into this a little further with a view to bringing forward such Amendments as may be necessary on the Report stage.


As I understand the noble Marquess agrees to the principle of the Amendment I am only too pleased to do what he asks, and I beg leave to withdraw.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

THE MARQUESS OF ABERDEEN AND TEMAIR moved, in subsection (9), to leave out "one week's" and insert "not less than fourteen days'." The noble Marquess said: I am sure that all noble Lords will appreciate the point of this Amendment. There are vast tracts in Scotland where the post does not move so fast as it does in the South. We feel therefore that one week is not long enough to allow owners to receive notices, especially if they are away from home and letters have to be forwarded. Not only that, but this clause invites owners to take part in any proceedings for reducing the number of deer. It would take much longer than a week, especially if an owner were away from home, to make the necessary arrangements so that the intention of the Bill could be carried out. Therefore in this Amendment my noble friends and myself suggest that a minimum period of fourteen days would be a reasonable time. We think one week would not be reasonable to enable all parties to make arrangements for reducing the deer in a proper, organised manner. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 27, leave out ("one week's") and insert ("not less than fourteen days'").—(The Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair.)


I should like to support what the noble Marquess has said in regard to the time given. I think it is essential that distances in Scotland and the length of time taken for the post to be delivered should be taken into consideration. It takes much longer than in England to communicate with people. I would like also to point out another matter. There is no mention of whether the notice is to be given in writing. I appreciate that Clause 19 says: Any notice or other document required to be served or any intimation required to be given by this Act may be served or given personally or by registered post. It may be that my apprehensions are too great, but I should like to be assured that it is necessary that notices should be given in writing and not verbally.


I rather hope that the noble Marquess will not press the Amendment, and I will tell your Lordships why. It is thought that it is unlikely that complaints will be received before November. It must be remembered that no entry to the land is allowed between April 10 and October 16. Since the weather in Scotland in the winter is often of a kind which prevents deer-stalking operations, it may be that there will be some little time before the committee can carry out their duties. I would like to call the attention of the noble Marquess to another fact. The owner will already have had much more notice than a notice of one week that operations are likely to be undertaken, because a whole series of proceedings will be necessary before the stage is reached at which a deer regulation committee will be entitled to enter upon land and kill deer. There are for example the negotiations which are initiated by the deer regulation committee under Clause 4 (1), and then, after various procedure, there is the opportunity of a hearing before the Advisory Committee. Therefore there will be a whole series of operations under the machinery of the Bill before anything can actually take place. In these circumstances, and for the other reason which I gave, I hope that the noble Marquess will not feel it necessary to press the Amendment. With regard to what the noble Earl, Lord Airlie, said as to notice being given in writing, I think I can safely assure him that that would be so. At any rate I will look into it and see that it is so.


I am rather disappointed by the reply of the noble Marquess because the very fact that the operations will have to take place out of season renders it all the more likely that the owner will be absent from his property. His employees may be scattered perhaps, and a very strong point in regard to this clause is that the owner or tenant shall be allowed to have an opportunity of assisting in any operations undertaken for the purpose of reducing the number of deer on such land. It is true that he may have heard from the deer regulation committee before, but there is nothing here to guarantee that he is going to get more than one week's notice, and as I have said one week is a very short time to give to an owner when he is away from home. Very often a letter has to be delivered by means of a ferry, or boat, which may never get across the water in winter time on account of storm, or by the time it does get there the notice may have expired. The owner, too, may be away, and about a week after he may hear that a notice has been received. I do feel inclined to ask the noble Marquess to reconsider this matter. Perhaps he would do so before the Report stage. In the meantime, to give him plenty of opportunity of considering it, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment, reserving the right to raise it again on the Report stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


The next Amendment in my name is consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 32, leave out subsection (10).—(Lord Elphinstone.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


This Amendment is also consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 5, line 38, leave out subsection (11).—(Lord Elphinstone.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clause 6:

Cost incurred by committee in killing deer.

6.—(1) The cost incurred by a deer regulation committee in carrying out operations in pursuance of Section four or Section five of this Act on any lands shall be recoverable from the owner of the lands, or, where the lands belong to two or more owners, from those owners in such proportions as the committee may determine, and in so allocating the cost among two or more owners, the committee shall take into account any services rendered by any owner in connection with the carrying out of operations on his lands.

THE EARL OF MANSFIELD moved to add to subsection (1) "and have regard to the fact whether there has or has not been any failure on the part of any owner to take such steps as were reasonably practicable to reduce the number of deer found on his land." The noble Earl said: I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name, the purpose of which is to protect the owner of a small forest, or of agricultural ground, which has been invaded by deer, from what would appear to be possible injustice. Under Clause 6 we are told that a committee shall take into account in allocating the cost of operations, "any services rendered by any owner in connection with the carrying out of operations on his lands." But we are not told whether, should the owner, for reasons which I will enlarge upon in a moment, be unable to to do anything to assist, he therefore can have his share of the expenses remitted. The cases which have occurred to me are, first of all, that of a small forest with only one stalking-time employee, others being taken on during the stalking season, and probably being paid off before the deer come down and begin to do damage, in which case the one permanent man would be of very little assistance. The other case, and perhaps the more important, is where deer have taken up their abode on a sheep farm, or in a wood on an arable farm, which may be occupied by an elderly man with very few helpers and no one qualified to assist in destroying deer. In these circumstances it would seem somewhat unfair that such an owner should be called upon to pay a portion of the costs when it is quite impossible for him to give any assistance whatever. Therefore I suggest that this Amendment would avoid the risk of any unfortunate happening of the sort.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 40, at end insert the said words.—(The Earl of Mansfield.)


My Lords, I agree with the noble Earl in what he has said, but I do not agree with him that provision is not made to cover such cases in the Bill. I quite agree that it is not very easy to pick out all the provisions of the Bill which bear upon this particular question and put them together. Nevertheless they are to be found in the Bill and I can direct the noble Earl, I think, to the particular clauses which cover his point. For example, under Clause 4, subsection (2), and under Clause 5 it is only when an owner after negotiations with the committee fails to take reasonably practicable steps to reduce deer that he becomes liable under Clause 6 for the cost of the operations. If the noble Earl will also read Clause 7 in conjunction with subsection (3) of Clause it he will find that where the committee are not satisfied that the owner has failed to take reasonable practical steps to reduce deer no part of the cost of any operations would be charged against him. In these circumstances, since the existing provisions of the Bill really do cover the noble Earl's point, he will see that the Amendment he proposes would be purely redundant. I hope in those circumstances he will feel that it is not necessary to press his Amendment.


I am grateful to the noble Marquess for his assurance, although I cannot say that I think Clause 5 exactly covers the point. Clause 5 says that the committee shall negotiate with the owner, with a view to his taking such steps as are necessary and reasonably practicable to exterminate the deer. But in the cases which I have mentioned it would not be possible for the owner to take any steps because there would be no steps lying within his power to take. In view, however, of what the noble Marquess has said, I am not prepared to press this Amendment at the moment, but before withdrawing it I would just like to say that I do it with the proviso that it may be put down again for Report if on further investigation it seems to us that the noble Marquess's optimism is hardly justified.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 6 agreed to.

THE EARL OF LEVEN AND MELVILLE moved to insert the following new clause: 7. Where lands are held by the National Trust for Scotland or by any other body or corporation on behalf of the public to which lands the public are given access throughout the year for recreational or other purposes, the Department shall on the application of the National Trust for Scotland or such other body or corporation direct that the cost incurred by the National Trust for Scotland or such other body or corporation in killing deer on such lands so far as considered necessary by the Department for the prevention of damage shall be repaid to the National Trust for Scotland or such other body or corporation.

The noble Earl said: The National Trust for Scotland is in the difficult position of owning a piece of land, or more than one, which is in effect deer forest land, and, under the terms on which it holds it, it is laid down that the Trust shall open this land to the public on every day of the year. This puts the Trust in a most difficult position. If it is asked to keep down deer it is not easy to deal with the matter of destroying the deer on land to which the public are admitted without causing danger to members of the public, who may be on the land on those particular days. I am sure your Lordships will all be anxious to help the National Trust in this matter, and nobody, I am sure, more than the noble Marquess who is in charge of the Bill. If anything can be done to help the Trust I hope the noble Marquess will do it, and I believe he will. I put this Amendment forward in the hope that he may be able to make some suggestion.

Amendment moved— Page 7, line 16, at end insert the said new clause.—(The Earl of Leven and Melville.)


I would like to support the noble Earl. The National Trust for Scotland has done, and is continuing to do, great work in our country, and it is not blessed with great funds. I am asking the noble Marquess purely for mercy. After all, what does it matter to the Government? The financial aspect of the matter cannot be of any importance to them. The Government can afford a certain amount of disbursement in a matter of this kind, and the National Trust certainly cannot.


I hope the noble Earl will express similar sentiments to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I have had some encounters with my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer myself, and I did not find that he despises any sums at all in the way of savings, even if they are quite small. I sympathise with the noble Earl in this matter, but I am afraid it would be very difficult to make an exception in the case of this particular landowner. As a matter of fact, I should have thought there was very little chance of the National Trust being let in for any appreciable expenditure under this head. I think the property which the noble Earl has in mind is the property near Glencoe in Argyllshire.




I understand that in that property there are no agricultural undertakings of any kind, and therefore, since the property is fringed by deer forests on all sides, I do not see where the complaints could come from. But perhaps the noble Earl has in mind the possibility of the National Trust for Scotland acquiring further properties in future, where circumstances might be rather different. If that is so, I would suggest that it might be wise to make certain conditions with regard to the access of the public, that is to say, to retain the right to close the property to the public for certain specified periods and at certain specified times of the year in order that operations may be undertaken, if necessary, by or on behalf of the National Trust, for the destruction of the deer. The National Trust can, I think, really escape any expenditure, apart from what it may expend in actually destroying the deer, by taking all reasonable steps, should a complaint be made, to meet the case and then, under the provisions of Clause 7 read with Clause 11, no expenditure will fall to be met by the landlord.

There is a further difficulty which I have in accepting this Amendment. Quite apart from the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is unwilling to see his liabilities under this Bill increased, the question of Privilege, I think, must necessarily arise, and, that being so, when this Bill reaches another place, this Amendment would be treated as nonexistent. I hope in those circumstances that the noble Earl will realise my difficulties and will not press the Amendment.


There does not seem to be any reason why the National Trust, or any other similar body, should be treated differently from an ordinary landlord. If it plays the game, this Bill cannot touch it; if it does not play the game, this Bill should touch it. The only thing that could really have hurt it was the provision about fencing. That has now been dropped out of the Bill. The place we are talking about has no agriculture near to it, and I do not think it is likely to be populated with deer. There are people walking about every day of the year, and deer in those circumstances either get timid or clear out. In those circumstances I do not think the National Trust would really wish to press this Amendment, subject to one thing, and that is that there should be some arrangement, if it is possible under their charter, that people should not have access on certain days if it is necessary to kill down the deer. In that case they would probably not be shooting the deer for the sake of venison or for sport. Being proprietors they could shoot deer at any time of the year themselves. I did not see this Amendment before. I think I should have opposed it in another place. I happen to be the President of the National Trust for Scotland and so the noble Marquess should not put the blame on me.


I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 7 [Powers of committee to reduce number of deer where no failure of landowner]:


There is a consequential Amendment here. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 7, line 26, leave out ("other than the provisions relating to fences").—(Lord Elphinstone.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 7, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 8 and 9 agreed to.

Clause 10:

Entry and inspection of lands.

10. Any person authorised for the purpose by the Department and any member or officer of the Advisory Committee or of a deer regulation committee shall, for the purpose of any duties devolving on him under this Act, be entitled, on production of his authority or, as the case may be, of such evidence as may be prescribed by the Department, that he is a member or officer of such a committee, and after giving forty-eight hours' notice of his intention to, do so, to enter on and inspect any lands on any day named in such notice (not being a day during the period from the first day of August to the fifteenth day of October, both inclusive).

THE EARL OF LEVEN AND MELVILLE moved to leave out "forty-eight hours'" and insert "to the owner and occupier of the land not less than seven days'." The noble Earl said: This Amendment really raises two points, the first one being that the amount of notice to be given under the Bill is too short, and the second the point about the owner and occupier. On the first point, forty-eight hours is really very short notice in the Highlands of Scotland where these deer forests lie. The noble Marquess in charge of the Bill may say this is not an important matter and that even when the thing that is to be done is done no great damage is suffered. That is so, but I put it to your Lordships that if notice is by law to be given to an individual, it is surely not unreasonable that steps should be taken to ensure that he should, at any rate, receive the notice before the thing that is to be done is done, not a day or two afterwards. Under the clause as it stands, only forty-eight hours' notice is given, and it is conceivable that even if the owner were at home at that moment he would not receive the written notice by the time action was to be taken. There are still, unfortunately, places in the North of Scotland where the post does not arrive, as in London, every hour or two or even every day. There are places where posts arrive only three days in the week, which makes a longer warning necessary. With regard to the second point, I wish notice to be given to both the owner and occupier, and I hope very much that the noble Marquess will find it possible to agree to this Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 8, line 22, leave out ("forty-eight hours'") and insert ("to the owner and occupier of the land not less than seven days'").—(The Earl of Leven and Melville.)


I do really think His Majesty's Government should consider this Amendment. We have already had the question of notice brought before us. In that case it was a question of one week or two. This is a question of one week as against forty-eight hours, and I do not think it is unreasonable to suggest that forty-eight hours' notice is too short for many areas in Scotland. It is very important that both the owner and the occupier should receive notice, otherwise circumstances may easily arise where the owner's representative will not know that this notice has been given, and you will get friction between the representative of the owner and the occupier, which is the one thing under this Bill you want to avoid. Therefore in both respects the Bill needs alteration, and I trust His Majesty's Government will agree to the Amendment.


Again I find myself very much in agreement with the two noble Earls who have spoken on this Amendment. I do know some of the out-of-the-way parts of Scotland myself, and I know the difficulty sometimes of getting one's post with any degree of punctuality. Since I am in a very accommodating and amiable mood, I am prepared to accept the noble Lord's Amendment.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 10, as amended, agreed to.

Clause II:

Expenses incurred under the Act.

(3) Any expenses incurred by a deer regulation committee in pursuance of Section seven of this Act, and any expenses incurred by such a committee under Section four or Section five of this Act in so far as such expenses are not recovered in pursuance of Section six of this Act, shall, to such amount as may be approved by the Treasury, be paid as to one half out of moneys provided by Parliament, and as to the other half by the councils of the counties whose areas are in whole or in part comprised in the area of the committee in proportion to the rateable valuation of such counties or parts.

THE EARL OF LEVEN AND MELVILLE moved, in subsection (3), to leave out "as to one-half." The noble Earl said: This Amendment deals with a question, which has arisen before both in this House and elsewhere, of fresh legislation being brought in by Parliament under which local authorities, as they sometimes claim, have had no very fair chance of raising objection and yet finding themselves in the position of having to pay some part, and in many cases as much as one-half, of the expenses arising from that new legislation. Here is a good case in point. This matter of dealing with deer and ground game under this Bill is one in which the local authorities have no rights and no powers whatever which they may exercise in one way or another. If, however, within the area of any local authority something arises which involves the expenditure of money, the unfortunate representatives of the ratepayers in that area find themselves left to find part or, as in this case, one-half of the total cost without their having any powers to avoid the expenditure. This seems to local authorities to be unfair to them.

I am not quite sure if I am correct, but if my understanding is right—if it is not, I hope the noble Marquess will correct me—this raises another point which is one in which members of local authorities take no little interest. I understand that His Majesty's Government take the view that local authorities have been consulted in this matter. I further understand that the consultations which have taken place have been with a few individual permanent officials of local authorities, and that the matter has not been brought to the notice of any members of the local authorities themselves, that is to say, of the representatives of the ratepayers. I think complaints in this matter have been made before, and I venture once again to bring the point to your Lordships' notice. I do so not because I suggest: that the permanent officials of the local authorities are anything but absolutely efficient, but because I believe it is unfair that representatives of the Government or of the Civil Services should approach permanent officials and ask them to commit themselves to a view on behalf of the county council, whose members have never heard anything of the matter. That puts everybody concerned in an unfair position and, speaking as a very humble member of a local authority, I think it puts me and everybody else like me in an impossible position.

It does, of course, become a burning question with local authorities when in their endeavours to run their local affairs reasonably and economically, and keep the rates at a reasonable level for the people whom they are elected to represent, matters of this kind, and others, are entirely taken out of their hands, and expenditure on which they have no opportunity to give any opinion is forced upon them. As I said before, the difficulty is also that sometimes it has been believed by local authorities that representations have been made by the Government to the local authorities simply through their permanent officials. I do not wish to labour this point further except to say that it does put the permanent officials of local authorities in a difficult position when they are asked, as sometimes they are asked, at short notice, "What is the opinion of your county council or burgh council on this point?" and some unfortunate individual is then expected, and largely forced, to give his view of what the opinion of his authority would be if the matter had been brought to their notice. If this has not happened in this case I withdraw everything I have said, but, subject to contradiction by the noble Marquess, I understand there is some truth in it.

It is a little unjust to local authorities if His Majesty's Government, in your Lordships' House or anywhere else, should take the view that local authorities had been approached on this matter and it was understood that they had no objection. From my not very wide experience of local authorities, there is sure to be objection on a matter where, once again, they have to pay out money on matters over which they have no control. I trust very much that the noble Marquess may find it possible to relieve the local authorities of this added expenditure, or possibly added expenditure.

Amendment moved— Page 9, line 1, leave out ("as to one-half").—(The Earl of Leven and Melville.)


I do not wish to labour this point, though I desire to support the noble Earl who has just spoken. I find myself between two stools. As a deer forest owner I naturally rejoice at the thought that possibly some expenditure may be shared by someone else, though I hope it will not be necessary in my case and that my deer will be properly killed down; but as a county councillor, and I hope a good one, I have a fellow feeling for the position of the county councils in Scotland, and I suppose across the Border as well. It is the fact that in many cases in Scotland the burghs find a very large proportion of the rates, and it is not unreasonable for them to suggest that they do not think it fair that, because some owner does not kill his deer, someone in the burgh who perhaps has not even seen a deer, and does not know what a deer looks like, should have to pay. As I say, I am between two stools, but as a good county councillor I believe that the point of view of the local authorities should receive attention from the Government.


I should like to support the Amendment. I come from a county in Scotland which, I suppose, is more highly rated than any other county in Scotland, and I must protest against any further burden being put on any county council. When I think of these poor Highland counties, which find the greatest difficulty in raising the money to provide roads and so on, it seems to be iniquitous that any further burden should be put on them. I realise of course that it may not be a heavy burden, but it is a burden, and as a matter of principle it should not be put on them. I hope the noble Marquess may consider this, and if the noble Earl presses his Amendment to a Division I shall be pleased to support him.


The County Council of Perth, of which I am a member, requested me to state most emphatically that they object strongly to being charged under this clause, and I therefore support the noble Earl who moved this Amendment.


I can sympathise with all members of county councils who see a prospect of some further financial burden, even if it be a very small one, being placed upon them. On the other hand, it is surely not unreasonable that the county councils should make some contribution out of the rates towards a purpose which is essentially a local purpose and which it is to their interest should be achieved. It does not really seem to me to be unreasonable in these circumstances that the county council should be asked to bear some small part of the cost.

Let me say a word in reply to the noble Earl, Lord Leven and Melville, when he spoke about the consultations which I think I said on the Second Reading of the Bill had been held with the county councils. It is quite true that I said we had been in consultation with the county councils. We were in consultation actually with the clerks of the councils, as the noble Earl suggested, and particularly with the clerks of those county councils in whose areas the deer forests are situated. The provisions of the Bill were discussed with them, and they were asked to let the Department have their observations if they desired to make any. Up till quite recently no observations had been made in response to that suggestion, and it was only this morning that a letter was put into my hands which came from the Association of County Councils, pointing out a dislike of the suggestion that they should be called upon to bear any part of the cost involved in these operations. The county councils will be represented on the local deer regulation committees. They will have a large part in determining the action of those committees, and no doubt the question of possible expense will be one of the considerations which they will hear in mind.

With regard to what was said by the noble Earl, Lord Glasgow, with regard to the poor county councils in the Highlands where the deer forests are situated, let me remind your Lordships, as indeed you were reminded by my noble friend Lord Airlie, that they do draw a very large part of their rates in those areas from the owners of the deer forests, and it is not in my view very unreasonable that some small part of the money which they draw from the owners of deer forests should be available, if required, for the purposes of this Bill. Finally, there is the objection which. I pointed out existed to an earlier Amendment—namely, that this Amendment would impose an additional burden upon public funds, and that therefore the question of Privilege arises. It really is, therefore, if I may suggest it, a matter which could be much better dealt with in another place. I am quite willing on behalf of my right honourable friend to assure noble Lords that we will enter into further consultations with the local authorities principally concerned, but I cannot really hold out any hope that the Government would be willing to agree that the local authorities should be called upon to find no part of the cost of the operations under this Bill.


I desire to make only one observation, and it is totally unconnected with the merits of this matter. I want to thank the noble Marquess for what he said, because if ever there was an Amendment that was privileged it is this one. It puts a charge straight upon the Treasury. I have heard it alleged that your Lordships are not able to discuss such an Amendment in this House, and I only want to thank the noble Marquess for having dealt with it from the point of view of merits and only very generally from the point of view of Privilege. It is perfectly clear that your Lordships have the right to discuss such questions as much as you like whether they are privileged or not. I am obliged to the noble Marquess for not having simply quoted Privilege and left it at that.


Would the noble Marquess consider including a clause on the Report stage under which the county councils would be able to recoup themselves by selling the deer which would be killed as a result of their operations?


I should be very willing to consider that.


I should like to thank the noble Marquess very much for the courteous way he has dealt with my Amendment. I understand from him that there will now be further consultations with the local authorities, and for that I am indeed most grateful. I only want to bring to the notice of His Majesty's Government that here is a definite case, unless I misunderstood the noble Marquess, where the Government are under the impression that local authorities have been consulted and where the local authorities concerned are perfectly clear that they have not heard anything about it at all. That is a most unfortunate position. I am sure nobody would more quickly than the noble Marquess himself agree with that. In view of what he has said I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 11 agreed to.

Clause 12:

Power of Department to require prevention of damage, by rabbits.

12.—(1) Where the Department are satisfied that by reason of land in the occupation of any person being infested with rabbits, substantial damage is being caused or is likely to be caused to crops, trees, pasturage, fences, banks or works on land in the occupation of any other person, the Department may after giving the occupier of the first mentioned land art opportunity of being heard, serve on him a notice in writing requiring him to take such steps as may be reasonably practicable for the destruction of rabbits on such land within such reasonable time, not being less than twenty-one days, as may be specified in the notice; and if an occupier upon whom such a notice is served fails to comply with the requirements thereof he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty-five pounds, and to a further fine not exceeding five pounds for each day on which the failure continues:

(2) Where a notice is served by the Department under the last foregoing subsection, any person authorised in writing by the Department may, on giving twenty-four hours' notice to the occupier on whom the notice under the said subsection was served, and (if the land to which the notice relates is the subject of a tenancy, and the name and address of the landlord are known to the Department) to the landlord, enter on the land for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not the requirements of the notice are being or have been complied with.

THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND moved, in subsection (1), after "continues," to insert "after conviction." The noble Marquess said: The purpose of this Amendment is merely to bring the Scottish Bill in this respect into line with the English Bill which your Lordships dealt with a short time ago. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 9, line 29, at end insert ("after conviction").—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND moved to insert after subsection (1): (2) Where a person incurs any expense necessary for the purpose of compliance with the requirements of a notice served on him under the last foregoing subsection, then, if he alleges that the expense ought to be borne wholly or in part by some other person having an interest in the land to which the notice relates, he may apply to the sheriff and the sheriff, after hearing the parties and any witnesses whom they desire to call, may make such order for securing that the applicant is wholly or in part indemnified by that other person in respect of the said expense as the sheriff considers just and equitable in the circumstances of the case. The noble Marquess said: The same applies to this Amendment. This provision appears in the similar Bill which applies to England, and it is thought desirable that it should be included also in this Bill for Scotland. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 9, line 35, at end insert the said subsection.—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The next Amendment in my name is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 9, line 37, leave out ("the last foregoing subsection") and insert ("subsection (1) of this section").—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE EARL OF AIRLIE moved, in subsection (2), to substitute "forty-eight hours" for "twenty-four hours." The noble Earl said: This is another question of notice. I do not want to labour the point again, but twenty-four hours does seem too short, and we are anxious if possible to get it extended. If it would be a convenience to the noble Marquess I might mention that the next Amendment on line 39 also deals with the question which he has already answered and promised to go into.

Amendment moved— Page 9, line 38, leave out ("twenty-four") and insert ("forty-eight").—(The Earl of Airlie.)


This is a case of getting notice from the Department and not from the local committee—that is to say, from Edinburgh; and the post from Edinburgh does not always arrive next morning. Therefore we do require more than twenty-four hours.


That being so I am prepared to accept the Amendment of the noble Earl. I also agree that it is reasonable that it should be made perfectly clear that the notice should be in writing. I therefore will accept the second Amendment of the noble Earl.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 9, line 39, after ("notice") insert ("in writing").—(The Earl of Airlie.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND moved to insert: (4) In this section the expression 'occupier' includes, in relation to any land, any person who by virtue of any interest he has in that land is entitled to kill the rabbits thereon. The noble Marquess said: This Amendment only provides for the insertion of a definition of the word "occupier." I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 10, line 3, at end insert the said new subsection.—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 12, as amended, agreed to.

THE DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH AND QUEENSBERRY moved, after Clause 12, to insert the following new clause: 13. Where the Department are satisfied that, by reason of any land situated in England being infested with rabbits, substantial damage is being caused to crops, trees, pasturage, fences, banks, or works on land in the occupation of any person in Scotland, the Department shall communicate with the county council within whose area such first mentioned land is situated with a view to the said county council putting into force their statutory powers to require the occupier of the said land to take such steps as may be reasonably practicable for the reduction of the rabbits within a reasonable time.

The noble Duke said: May I ask your Lordships to turn for a moment from the possibility of damage by deer to the far greater and more frequent damage by rabbits? For many miles along the Border between Scotland and England the passage of rabbits from one country to another is just as likely as the passage of rabbits from one farm to another in Scotland. It is just as important to prevent damage by rabbits coming from England as from any other place. I understand it has always been customary to accept cattle or sheep that stray from England into Scotland, but we do not want any rabbits. There are many cases where this is happening now. I know an actual flagrant case where the occupier on the English side prefers and encourages rabbits, while the owner and occupier on the Scottish side prefers and encourages good farming and afforestation. It may be realised that the annual damage and expense in destroying rabbits from this estate which is now a rabbit warren is very considerable.

At present under the Bill there is no means of meeting this, and I would like the noble Marquess to make good the omission and accept this Amendment. An Amendment would presumably be required in the English Bill as well, as the case would be the same on both sides of the Border. It may be suggested that it cannot be ascertained whether the rabbits come from England or not, but I think your Lordships will agree that it is just as easy to tell whether rabbits come across the Border from Cumberland into Dumfriesshire as to tell whether they come from another neighbouring county of Dumfriesshire in Scotland. I hope the noble Marquess will either agree to this Amendment or take steps to avoid a situation along the Border where the owners and occupiers would have no redress at all if their neighbours chose to have rabbits.

Amendment moved— Page 10, line 3, at end insert the said new clause.—(The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry.)


I would like to support the noble Duke. Why are these English rabbits allowed in Scotland? I realise that, vice versa, Scottish rabbits may get on to English land, but I suggest that probably the objection of the Government to this Amendment is that it is going to lead to inter-departmental trouble. This Amendment is not the result of any hallucination. It is based on facts. These things are happening on the Border, and they are very dangerous things to happen. I hope that the noble Marquess, in spite of the possibility of inter-departmental trouble, will see his way to meet the case.


I should also like to associate myself with the noble Duke. I feel rather strongly on this matter. It may be asked "Why don't you like English rabbits, when you like English tourists?" The reply is that we reckon on the whole to make money out of the tourists, but not out of the rabbits, and so we would be glad to get rid of them. What we really want is an assurance that some understanding will be come to by which this difficulty will be overcome. I feel myself that there should be no insuperable obstacle to doing this, because, as the noble Duke said, it is obvious that a rabbit can run across the frontier between England and Scotland as easily as from one farm to another. If we can be assured that when rabbits are in large numbers on the English side the local authorities and those concerned will have their attention drawn to the matter, so that they may exercise the powers which they may have been granted, I think that would probably satisfy my noble friend.


I think it must be remembered that there are also rabbits on the northern side of the Border. I trust that if the noble Marquess is going to implement the proposal of the noble Duke he will provide for reciprocity. The presumption is that the Scottish rabbit occasionally comes into England and reciprocity is obviously required.


In that case, I think the noble Marquess ought not to overlook the possibility of dealing with the Welsh rabbit also.


I quite appreciate Scottish dislike of English rabbits, but my reason for opposing this Amendment is quite different from the one assumed by the noble Earl, Lord Glasgow. It is not the case that we are afraid of inter-departmental trouble. On the contrary, relations between the Departments on each side of the Border are close, and I might almost say intimate. The noble Earl can rest assured that if complaint arises in the case of Scottish property of an incursion of English rabbits, and complaint is made to the Scottish Department of Agriculture, the officials of that Department will at once get in touch with their opposite numbers in England and ask them to consider putting the provisions of the English Bill into operation in that particular area. The objection to inserting such a clause in an Act of Parliament is that the Scottish Department would not have the right to inspect the land complained of, since it was on the English side of the Border, and so the Department's officials would not be able to satisfy themselves as to the source of the trouble.


Is not that an inter-departmental matter? Is not that a question which could be put right between the two Departments?


What I said was that they would have no right to inspect English property. It is therefore much more convenient that they should invite the English authorities to do their own work. For these reasons I hope the noble Duke will not press the Amendment.


If I am correct in gathering that the Scottish Office will have power to approach the English authorities who have responsibility, I think that is what we want. I beg leave to withdraw.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 13 agreed to.

Clause 14:

Amendment of 43 & 44 Vict. c. 47, s. 1.

(3) The Department may at any time recall or vary any sanction granted under the last foregoing subsection: provided that the number of persons who may be authorised as aforesaid shall not be increased without giving the landlord an opportunity of being heard.

THE EARL OF MANSFIELD moved, in subsection (3), after "Department," to insert "shall consider any objection made to them by the landlord to any of the additional persons authorised by the occupier under the preceding subsection and." The noble Earl said: This Amendment raises a point of considerable importance. In the past, while farmers have not been permitted to employ more than one bona-fide rabbit killer, there have been undoubtedly a number of cases—some occurring in my own experience—of these so-called rabbit trappers being nothing more nor less than poachers whom the farmer has permitted under the pretext of killing rabbits to appropriate grouse, partridges and other game. Hitherto we have only had one such person given permission, but it would appear from this Bill that the number of persons who in future may be permitted ostensibly to destroy rabbits on agricultural ground or moorland may be quite without limit. The fact appears quite clearly that a gang of poachers could easily obtain the privileges which in some circumstances in the past have been accorded to a single poacher, and in that case the results might, and probably would, be absolutely disastrous for the game in the immediate neighbourhood. In the case of rough moorland and the edges of hill ground it would be impossible for the keeper, who has several thousand acres of ground to look after, to watch the activities of alleged rabbit destroyers in every hollow, whether those activities be on lawful or unlawful occasions. Where the owner has reason to believe that the persons whom the occupier wishes to have employed as alleged rabbit trappers are really persons addicted to poaching, he should be given the right to protest to the committee, who, of course, need not accede to his protest unless they consider it to be justified.

Amendment moved— Page 10, line 37, after ("Department") insert the said words.—(The Earl of Mansfield.)


I think this is a very fair Amendment. We do desire to secure efficiency in the reduction of rabbits. It is important to promote and not to obstruct this, but I think it is also important to secure a good type of person properly qualified, and to keep good relations between owners and occupiers.


I have inquired into the effect of this Amendment, and I am told that it would not be effective for the purpose for which it is intended, since the person objected to would already have been authorised—I am told that it would be also difficult and irksome to administer—but it is clear, I think, from the clause as it is already drafted, that the Department, if necessary, can and will revoke an authorisation which has already been given. If the noble Earl feels very strongly about this, I will certainly look further into it between now and the Report stage, but on the information which I have at present I am told that it is not likely to be effective, and in practice will be difficult to administer.


I thank the noble Marquess for his reply, and I must say that I do feel very strongly upon the Amendment. Although I am in no way committed to the form in which the Amendment is drawn, nor would I object to any other alteration which might bring about a similar result, I do believe that unless something on the lines of this Amendment is brought into being the result is likely to be in many instances very serious indeed. It is true that the Department has power to revoke a permit already given, but surely this would be more difficult than merely to refuse to grant a permit, for very often the person of poaching proclivities may not have many convictions against him, although he is well known in the neighbourhood as a poacher. On the assurance of the noble Marquess that he will look into the matter further before Report, however, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 14 agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

Schedule agreed to.

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