HL Deb 16 December 1954 vol 190 cc483-5

4.16 p.m.


My Lords, I hope that your Lordships will not think that I am treating either your Lordships or my native land with any disrespect if I deal with these regulations quite shortly, because they are almost identical, apart from two points, to the English regulations. The first is that in the Scottish regulations an enforcement notice is not necessary, because that is already covered by Section 21 (1) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act, 1947. The second point is that in Scotland the Lands Tribunal Act, 1949, is not yet in force, and therefore the definition has been inserted to cover the position which now obtains in Scotland where, as I understand it, the official arbitrator still carries on. Apart from these two procedural differences, the regulations are identical, except for some minor modifications to comply with the law of Scotland. As I have said, there is no disrespect to Scotland in dealing with these regulations in this way, but as the matters are almost identical I hope that your Lordships will not wish me to repeat my explanation. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Town and Country Planning (Minerals) (Scotland) Regulations, 1954, be approved.—(The Lord Chancellor.)


My Lords, apropos of what my noble friend Lord Silkin said, I ask the attention of the Leader of the House on this point. I think that in future we should avoid this sort of situation. We have a Special Orders Committee performing the most valuable work for us. They direct our attention to Orders at which your Lordships ought particularly to look, and with regard to this Order they said: In the opinion of the Committee the Regulations cannot be passed by the House without special attention. Their Report is dated December 15, which was yesterday, and I suppose that the paper calling attention to that would be published this morning. I do not think it is much good one having a Special Orders Committee doing this sort of work unless there is a reasonable interval of time between the result of their researches and the information they give to the House.

I may be wrong about this particular case, but I am sure we shall all agree that, where this Special Orders Committee do make this sort of report, there ought to be an interval of time so that we may have a chance of looking through the regulations. There are so many regulations nowadays that we cannot look closely at all of them and we have this Committee to tell us what we ought to study. I am not making any complaint. I am not suggesting that we should not pass these regulations, or anything of that sort. I am merely asking the noble Marquess the Leader of the House to look at this matter and, if I am right in the information given to me, I think it is something we ought to try to avoid in the future. In future, when this Committee make this sort of recommendation there ought to be a reasonable interval of time before the Orders come before the House, because it is hardly courtesy to them, if they make this sort of recommendation, that we should be given so little time in which to look into the matter. I commend this point to the notice of the Leader of the House.

4.20 p.m.


My Lords, I do not at all dissent from what the noble and learned Earl has said. What happened was that this regulation, unfortunately, did not come to the Special Orders Committee until December 8. They took at least a week to consider it very carefully, and therefore it did not come away from them until yesterday; and it came to us this morning. Of course, the time is very short. It is one of those things which we all know, in both Houses of Parliament, sometimes happens just before a Recess. It was important that these regulations should be passed through Parliament before the Recess. I am sorry to say that they have been jammed up at the very end of the period, and the time which has been given for the consideration by your Lordships of this Order has not been as long as I should certainly have wished. I can only promise the House that I will do my best to see that these things do not happen if they can be avoided.

On Question, Motion agreed to.