THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, these regulations are virtually a re-enactment of those which were brought before your Lordships last year, on December 16. They had to be withdrawn for technical reasons of printing in another place, and the date for bringing them into operation was thereby lost. The opportunity has been taken to make a number of drafting amendments in these regulations to bring them nearer in language to the English regulations which have been approved by both Houses of Parliament. I think I can say that there is no change of principle, and no change of any substance, from the last regulations. There is one change, and that is the insertion of a 369 proviso to the definition of "Lands Tribunal" to cover the situation temporarily until such a Tribunal is set up in Scotland. Otherwise, this is purely a reenactment of what your Lordships have approved before. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Town and Country Planning (Minerals) (Scotland) Regulations, 1955, reported from the Special Orders Committee on Wednesday last, be approved.—(The Earl of Home.)
§ LORD MATHERS
My Lords, it was inevitable that these regulations would have to come before us again, in view of the discrepancies between different drafts which were discovered in another place, when they had gone down from this House on a previous occasion. I agree with the noble Earl that there is little change here. If I were to ask a number of questions, which I certainly could ask, in order to clarify the position in my own mind, I am afraid that they would last so long that we might not reach the debate to which we are all looking forward so eagerly. Rather curious things occur in these regulations. I will only point out one. I will not read abstruse clauses, but when I see that a "mineral undertaker" is defined as "any person engaged in mining operations," it occurs to me that, when next the coal miners of this country get an increase in wages, they may be a little surprised if they are told that it is an increase given to "mineral undertakers." The explanation of the regulations themselves would take a good deal of time, and even the explanation of the explanatory memorandum which we have had given to us with them would also be rather a heavy task to impose upon the noble Earl. Therefore, I will content myself simply by asking him whether he is satisfied that, so far as is humanly possible, these regulations are in such a form that this time they can be passed into law without any of the inadvertences occurring which took place on the last occasion.
THE EARL OF HOME
The noble Lord has asked me, in effect, whether I can give him a guarantee that we shall not have to bring back these regulations again to this House. This is a case of "Once bitten, twice shy." I would never give any guarantee about anything to do with the Town and Country Planning Act. I would only express the hope that they will not have to come back again, 370 but it is a hope with no conviction behind it, because the legal gentlemen may easily find another flaw. I hope that, with that rather modest assurance, the noble Lord will allow the regulations to pass.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.