HL Deb 09 June 1975 vol 361 cc63-81

5.33 p.m.

Report received.

Clause 2 [New right of Board to withdraw support to enable coal to be worked]:

Viscount LONG moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 3, line 16, leave out subsection (4) and insert— (4) Subject to the provisions of Schedule 1 to this Act, where damage to any land or to anything lawfully on that land whenever constructed or brought thereon arises from the exercise of the right to withdraw support conferred on the Board by this section, the Board shall either—

  1. (a) pay proper compensation for the damage including such consequential loss as would be recoverable in an action of nuisance in respect of that withdrawal, or
  2. (b) with the consent (which shall not be unreasonably withheld) of the person who would otherwise be entitled to the payment of compensation for the damage, make good 64 the damage to the reasonable satisfaction of that person and without expense to him;
and, where appropriate, the Board shall pay such proper compenstion in accordance with paragraph (a) above for damage not made good in accordance with paragraph (b) above. The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I apologise for jumping to my feet when the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor was putting the Question that the Report be now received, but I noticed that the noble Lord, Lord Balogh, was not present, so I wondered what was happening. I shall proceed as slowly as I can until the noble Lord is present, in the hope that when he arrives he can get the gist of the points I wish to make relating to this Amendment.

The Bill has so far been very well received in your Lordships' House and, as I said in my speech on Second Reading—as have other of my noble friends—we do not want to delay the Bill in any way at all. But your Lordships may recall that at the Committee stage there were certain Amendments which we had to raise, and we withdrew an Amendment relating to Clause 2, on the question of compensation, which we considered very important. At that time we felt that to go too far with it, without having the fullest information from the Government, might mean that we would not achieve the right answer in the long run.

The importance of this Amendment is to bring the National Coal Board into line in modern times with the Common Law on consequential loss. The problem at the moment is that I am having to speak rather slowly due to the fact that the noble Lord, Lord Balogh, has not yet arrived, and I am rather nervous to spoil the situation. On Second Reading, we said that we would hurry up the Bill because of the urgency regarding coal. It was noticed and recorded that oil is very important, but coal is now more important than ever before, and one of the important objectives at present is to get the Selby mine moving so that coal can be produced for four coal power stations in the North.

Part of the Bill deals with the emergency power for getting this coal out, and provides for those people who live near or adjacent to a coalmine to have compensation, because if the Coal Board went in too quickly the land could be damaged or could move, and then the Board could be out again, and could disappear, and probably no one would get true compensation. If the noble Lord, Lord Lovell-Davis, is in agreement perhaps I may proceed.

The purpose of our Amendment is to bring into the Bill, as it was at the beginning, just compensation; to make proper provision so that people would be able to define in court what their rights were. Common Law damages can be recovered for the withdrawal of support from land where the plaintiff suffers injury or loss. The plaintiff can get compensation for physical damage to land or property. He may also receive compensation for any financial loss he has suffered that follows from that physical damage. However, he can recover only that financial loss which is reasonably foreseeable, and in its present form the Bill makes no provision for compensation for the financial loss. The Coal Act 1938 made no such provision either, but because it did not give any right to the Board to withdraw lateral as opposed to vertical support, the Board had to pay financial loss as well as compensation for physical damage upon the withdrawal of a lateral support.

Therefore the effect of the present Amendment is virtually threefold. First, it puts the Coal Industry Bill in line with Common Law. It gives people affected by National Coal Board mining the same rights as they would have if their land was interfered with by anyone else. Everyone has a Common Law right of support for their land. We have always known that and we hope it will continue. To withdraw support from land is a "nuisance" in law. We are therefore merely saying that if the National Coal Board withdraw support they have in effect committed what, without statutory approval, would be a "nuisance". They should therefore be obliged to pay such compensation as would be awarded in a Common Law action in respect of such withdrawal of support.

The second point I want to make is that the Amendment extends the subjects of damage to anything lawfully on that land whenever constructed or brought on to it. This part of the Amendment, though considerably widening the Bill in its present form in this respect, is necessary to cover moveable property—on the Committee stage I mentioned tractors, machinery, et cetera. Thirdly, the Amendment ensures that if the Board opt for repairing an injured party's house or property rather than paying compensation for such repairs to be carried out, if there is any financial loss as well as the physical damage (which the Board is dealing with) the Board will have to compensate for that consequential loss as well as paying for the repairs which have been made, necessary.

I am glad to welcome the noble Lord, Lord Balogh, back into his seat. I must say that I have been through the Second Reading all over again. I turn now to the Committee stage of the Bill and would first say that the noble Lord, Lord Balogh, said that in this Bill the complex question of reforming the law of compensation should not be carried out. Therefore the Bill should not be allowed to set any precedent about compensation when it is admitted that the law of compensation is not adequate. For this reason any question of compensation dealt with by this Bill should be most stringently examined. The noble Lord went on to say that there is virtually no case law on this subject under the 1938 Act. This is not because people did not ask for compensation when the National Coal Board withdrew lateral support, but because the Board willingly paid compensation for damage caused by this withdrawal. This fact does not, as the noble Lord, Lord Balogh, says, "still" certain difficulties, but shows that the Board have up till now recognised the need, and indeed were forced to pay suitable compensation.

The third point is that the present proposals contained in Clause 2 do not, as the noble Lord, Lord Balogh, said in Committee clarify the rights the Board have always assumed they had as much as limiting the National Coal Board's duty to pay compensation which up to now they have necessarily had to pay. Neither the 1950 nor the 1957 Acts help in any way in defining what compensation shall be payable. If the National Coal Board are to be given the right to withdraw lateral support, they must accordingly pay for the damage thereby incurred. That in my view would be only just. If the Board thought it correct in the past to pay adequate compensation, whether or not they were obliged to do so by the operation of law, it is appropriate that they should continue to do so rather than subject the unfortunate people under whose land there is coal, to bearing the cost of mining themselves when in fact it is the whole community which ultimately benefits.

Regarding point 4, the noble Lord, Lord Balogh, has constantly urged upon us on this side the word "patience", and we took him up on it; but it would seem that the Government are intent on putting through this Bill despite the fact that (a) compensation is not adequately defined, and (b) their Working Party on Compensation, due to report on this question and to make a suitable recommendation, has not yet reported. It is therefore possible that the provisions of this Bill for compensation may in the end be contrary to what the Working Party propose. During the Committee stage we were rather worried about this because this Committee has been sitting since 1971 and when the National Coal Board Bill came up it was suddenly found that the Committee was there and that nothing had been done.

Recently in another place Mr. Patrick McNair-Wilson put to the right honourable Mr. Eric Varley this Question: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy, what are the terms of reference of the interdepartmental committee appointed in 1971 to consider questions of compensation for damage and injury resulting from mining or other industrial operations; how many times the committee has met; when it is due to report; whether its conclusions will be made public; and whether it is his intention to incorporate the recommendations in the current Coal Industry Bill.

The interesting reply came back from the Secretary of State for Energy: The terms of reference of the Working Group on Mining Subsidence Compensation are: 'To study the problem of damage resulting from coal mining subsidence and to make recommendations with regard to two separate issues, viz

  1. (a) the National Coal Board's statutory liability to pay compensation;
  2. (b) the Board's attitude towards the cost of structural precautions to lessen the risk of damage to new buildings'."

He went on to say: The Working Group has had six full meetings and in addition various consultations have taken place by correspondence and between individual members. It has been asked to report as quickly as possible after it has had time to give proper consideration to the new evidence which has been coming to light and the views which are being expressed during the passage of the Coal Industry Bill through Parliament. As is usual in the case of Committees of officials the report will not be made public but the Government will make a full statement on the subject when it has had time to consider the report. If new legislation is then called for an early opportunity will be sought for it.

I can see no better time for these amendments to be placed in the Bill, because at this stage we have no idea when this inquiry on compensation will be finalised. The Committee has been sitting since 1971, it has only just discovered its importance, and it has only just been discovered that this report is urgently required. I can only express surprise that the Committee has been sitting for so long and has achieved so little.

I feel at this stage that these Amendments are quite appropriate if the Bill is to go through at this time. Even if, in the light of the Committee's report, new legislation is then called for, it may be too late for certain landowners to benefit. Unless something happens quickly some landowners, factories and industries are going to suffer enormously, and there is no way we can tell whether this Committee is to report in six months or in a year or tomorrow. Someone will get hurt in the meantime.

My Lords, I go on to a further point that the noble Lord, Lord Balogh, mentioned. He contends that our first Amendment, and possibly the second Amendment, introduces a substantial measure of uncertainty about the liabilities of the Board. Since our Amendments merely hope to enshrine Common Law rights into the Bill, by the objection he is merely contending that Common Law has a measure of uncertainty about it. This we do not dispute; but we would dispute that this is a valid ground of objection. Finally, the Working Party on Mining Subsidence Compensation has been set up to study the National Coal Board's statutory liability to pay compensation and to examine the Board's attitude towards the cost of structural precautions. These two questions are so crucial to the central issue of this Bill that it is not appropriate that this Bill should be passed until the Working Party's resolutions and decisions are known. To pass this Bill in its present form would mean uncertainty and possibly hardship to many people and the Government should not rely on the future results of the Working Party as an argument for passing the Bill in its present form when it is patently unreasonable and irresponsible so to do.

I feel that we have worked throughout this Bill to try to bring much stronger wording on compensation into Clause 2. The word "compensation" alone was far too weak. The noble Lord, Lord Balogh, was not here when I said that I felt that the panic or rush of driving equipment into the mines would probably result in those around getting hurt. Ordinary compensation will not do in this case. We need compensation with, as I said in Committee, consequential losses for those people who work in factories or on farms. We want to broaden it so that machinery comes into it; because today it is expensive for machinery to lie idle and no factory and no farmer can afford to let this happen. I beg to move.


My Lords, it is clear that in Committee on the matter of compensation for damage resulting from subsidence my noble friends and the noble Lord. Lord Balogh, were largely on common ground. We agreed with the noble Lord when he said that the social cost of coal includes the cost of subsidence and damages. We agree that on the whole compensation has been dealt with fairly by the Coal Board and we have up to now accepted that their assurances for the future are given in the utmost good faith. But notwithstanding those good intentions, there is no dispute that the Coal Board at present has, and will continue to have, under this Bill in its present form no statutory obligation to make good consequential damage. That this state of affairs is unsatisfactory, there is no dispute. The noble Lord, Lord Balogh. said as much in Committee and he reminded us that we have an inter-Departmental Working Party to review the whole question of compensation for mining subsidence.

The one area of difference is that the Government are telling us to wait until the Working Party reports and then all will be put right: while we are saying—and here I agree with my noble friend Lord Long—that a Working Party set up in 1971 and which has met only six times can be proceeding in a way that can only perhaps be described as politely as possible as deliberate. The noble Lord, Lord Balogh, says, "Be patient!" but we have no idea when the Working Party will report and no guarantee that the Government of the day will accept their recommendations; nor, if they do, is there any guarantee that legislation will follow. We do not think it is good enough to do as the noble Lord opposite is recommending and to rely for the time being on the assurances of the Coal Board. However bland these assurances, they are not a satisfactory basis for settling the claims that will arise, especially at Selby.

We were sharply reminded of the statutory limitation on the National Coal Board's liability by counsel for the Coal Board at a recent public inquiry at Selby. He said: There is, as you know, no provision at the present time for compensation for consequential damage resulting from subsidence. He went on to say to one of the firms who were worried about future damage: No one else gets any compensation. Why do you think your company should be treated as any exception? The noble Lord, Lord Balogh, told us in Committee that the Government do not consider this as a Bill in which the very complicated and complex questions of reforming the law on compensation should be carried out and that we must avoid what he called some kind of "Heath Robinson arrangement" without benefit of legal advice. This Amendment is not, I hope, "Heath Robinson" in character. It has certainly been the subject of a great deal of legal advice. I, too, believe with my noble friend Lord Long that it is necessary to have an Amendment in this Bill to tide us over until a new compensation Bill comes forward. I sincerely hope that the noble Lord, Lord Balogh, will meet us today on this point.


My Lords, I welcome the opportunity to support the Amendment in the names of my noble friends because the purpose of this Bill is to give the Coal Board very wide powers indeed to extract coal: and the words of the noble Lord, Lord Balogh, when he outlined the Bill on the Second Reading were that it concerns: …the Coal Board's right to withdraw support from the surface by taking away the coal underneath. That was clearly and succinctly put. The issue which concerns so many people and the issue which is clouded by obscurity in this Bill is that of compensation. To many surface owners this is a Bill of limitation for the surface owner since it bestows almost unlimited powers on the Coal Board to mine but offers less protection than hitherto against the costs and losses from subsidence which the surface owner victims can neither forecast nor can they foresee.

With all the engineering skills and scientific aids available to the Coal Board the underground strata of the earth remains a very varied and a very changing thing in its strength and structure. Inevitably, mining probes weaknesses and subsidence results. For the surface owner, subsidence can be anything from a temporary nuisance to an economic disaster; yet the terms of compensation are quite deliberately omitted from this Bill and limited. For five years, as my noble friend has said—nearly six years now— we have had this Departmental Committee which does not seem to have pursued their objectives with much speed. Why have we not had their findings? Why are their recommendations not incorporated in this Bill? Why rush through this Bill in advance of properly defined terms of compensation as the result of this six-year-old inquiry? Is it any wonder that the local authorities with vast housing estates and industry with millions in capital in plant and machinery and Chambers of Trade involved in great shopping centres and farmers and householders are concerned at the free-way rights given to the Coal Board and, in particular, of the withdrawal of the provisions regarding lateral support which operated and which were compensated hitherto under either the 1938 Coal Bill or the separately-made, what are known as, Robens-style Committee Agreements?

It is just not good enough for the House to be asked to pass this Bill and wait for an undefined period until the Committee comes up with a formula. It puts the surface owner in an intolerable position, and by this Amendment we seek to remedy this. It would do no more than put this Bill in line with common law and give surface owners affected by NCB mining the same rights as they would have if their land was interfered with by anybody else or any other form of mining. Under the law, to withdraw support from the land is a nuisance, and the National Coal Board, if that nuisance were pursued, should be obliged to pay such compensation as would be awarded in a common law action in respect of the results from the withdrawal of that support.

In the Amendment we also seek to extend the subject of damage not merely to fixed structures or buildings, but to anything lawfully on the land, whether constructed or brought on to it. We are pressing for new development areas. There may be a 60 ft. crane, which is not a permanent structure, or a combined harvester on the farmlands in Yorkshire, or a prize herd of cattle, or only somebody's company car; but we believe that these items, properly and lawfully on the land, should also be covered in the forms of compensation.

Thirdly, the Amendment asks that there should be some provision for financial loss where the Board opts to repair an injured party's house, for example, or a factory, rather than paying compensation for such repairs to be carried out. The sewer may be fractured; areas can be flooded. People may have to be re-housed at considerable expense by the local council or, if they were house owners, have to pay for board and lodging elsewhere. A factory may have to halt production and the work force might have to be laid off until such time as the repairs were carried out. No one denies that coal is a national asset, and we accepted the plea of the noble Lord, Lord Balogh. when he introduced the Bill in this House, that the extraction of coal is for the benefit of the whole nation. But when mining results in surface damage, why should some innocent surface owner have to pay for the entire consequential loss which may affect his factory, farm or home?

One matter has concerned me greatly since the Second Reading, when the noble Lord was kind enough to reply to the points I raised. I made inquiries regarding the issue of consequential loss, because there appears to be a sharp divergence of opinion between the noble Lord and his colleagues on the Front Bench, and the National Coal Board. The Government gave us assurances about recognising the consequential loss; they gave us an assurance about the continuance of Robens-type committee agreements. An inquiry made independently of the noble Lord from another source in relation to the possibility of subsidence in the new Selby field, when that comes into operation, elicited a firm statement from the Yorkshire Area Coal Board offices, that in relation to Selby there would be no question of paying any consequential loss. So what are we going to have now? I am sure the noble Lord spoke in good faith. If, for example, Robens agreements are honourable in respect of Coventry, or other areas where they have been paid a consequential loss, are we to have a different form and different pattern of compensation for the unsuspecting people in Yorkshire who never expected to have a coal mine under their feet, and are now going to find they are under a different formula and can only get compensation for structural and physical damage? Small wonder that many people feel that the Government are racing the Bill through Parliament hoping that the unanimous accord for the benefits bestowed on pneumoconiotics will conceal the withdrawal of full and proper compensation for the victims of subsidence. Hitherto the National Coal Board paid up when they withdrew lateral support and when damage resulted. But far from clarifying the rights, which it was claimed from the Government Front Bench the clause did, Clause 2 positively limits the National Coal Board's duty to pay compensation which hitherto it felt in honour bound to pay.

Three times the noble Lord, Lord Balogh, has begged us to be patient, but this Bill does adequately define compensation. The Departmental Committee was one of those things set up to answer a scare some years ago, and it was lost in limbo and only reactivated, or as was reported to me when I rang the Department, "definalised" and brought back into existence solely as a result of pressure in this House and another place because of the unsatisfactory terms for compensation in the Bill. All we are asking for in this Amendment is that the National Coal Board give compensation to those who suffer physical and finan- cial loss as a result of their operations, and that such losses should not in all equity fall on the surface owner who has no control whatever over his land being undermined. As an example of the seriousness with which industry considers this matter, and tries to safeguard against subsidence, long before there was the recent Health and Welfare Bill in Parliament, many major companies operating vast plants with sophisticated processes employed seismologists to register any tremors or shifting of strata resulting from mining under their factories. They do this as a safeguard because they are so frightened of subsidence.

If a steam or chemical process pipe is fractured, the whole works may have to be evacuated. Production can be brought to a standstill. The consequential loss, so far as the physical replacement of the pipe conerned, is "peanuts", but under the Bill the stopping of the factory, the evacuation and the standing off of the staff, will be the entire loss of the company. The noble Lord, Lord Balogh, assured us that the Board would never undermine the Oxford Colleges. I understand that an assurance has been given that they will never mine under Coventry Cathedral. That is good news for our ancient heritage, but it is farming and industry which finds the jobs and earns the nation's living, and as there must be mining so too there must be adequate protection for those affected and fulfilling these demands of the nation above the surface as well as below.

6.8 p.m.


My Lords, first may I humbly apologise for my absence at the beginning of this Report stage, which was caused by a certain amount of disturbance in communication between the Whips' Office and my own office. I hope your Lordships' House will accept my apologies. Gallantry compels me to answer first the noble Baroness. Her impassioned speech was extraordinarily lacking in what as a Continental, always thought was the myosis of the British public life. Certainly her speech could not, in any sense of the word, be considered myotic. Terrible things were conjured up before our eyes—factories ruined, houses falling into disorder, combine harvesters no longer able to "clack" away. It was a picture of desolation. The noble Baroness spoke with sincere conviction; the conviction was heard throbbing throughout her speech.

But what is the situation? First, let me state certain facts. As regards the Yorkshire gentlemen who spoke so rashly according to the noble Baroness—and I shall inform the noble Baroness in writing about what has really happened—if he did speak as alleged, then he was plainly wrong, and I repudiate it altogether. That is one point. Secondly, of course, it is not a fact that this Bill limits or cuts across the right of compensation. It reaffirms almost verbatim the 1938 Act's compensation formula.

Turning now to the speeches made by the noble Viscount, Lord Long, and the noble Lord. Lord Middleton, it seems that noble Lords opposite want to have a thorough report, yet they do not want to wait. We cannot wait for compensation and, because of the very peculiar situation in South Yorkshire, we cannot wait for an amendment or a clearing up of the copyhold situation. Thus there is a lag between the possible report of the Working Party and other needs. Is it really so damaging to anybody? There is no doubt that the Robens' assurances hold absolutely. I have now said that three times and may have to repeat it again during the Third Reading debate.

We were accused of having this Committee as a sort of camouflage. Actually, the Committee was appointed by noble Lords opposite and their friends in the Lower House; and of the four-year period of delay in the report's gestation, three years belonged to noble Lords opposite and only one year to us. As a matter of fact, I have ordered the Committee to meet and it will do so this month. I shall see to it that this report is handed over as soon as possible. But the delay can be explained. The situation in the coal industry has not been altogether of the friendliest or most peaceful in recent years, and officials have been burdened with other problems, including financial ones, so that I do not take such a gloomy view about the delay as that which is taken by noble Lords opposite.

The Earl of KINNOULL

My Lords, I wonder whether I might interrupt the noble Lord. In view of the very widespread interest in the work of this committee, can the noble Lord give an assurance that the report is likely to be published?


My Lords, I am afraid I cannot give that assurance. It is not customary to publish and I think that when noble Lords opposite have been in Office they have not published reports of official committees which cannot answer for themselves. It seems to me that what will have to happen is that an ample statement, possibly in the form of a White Paper, will be published. It can be debated and it will be answered, because we are responsible for it. Obviously, we cannot debate a paper for which officials have to take responsibility.

Turning now to the problem of lateral support, I do not really understand how noble Lords and the noble Baroness opposite have come to the conclusion that somehow withdrawal of this support is a new threat. I have said twice already and will now repeat for the third time—I am patient, unlike some noble Lords opposite, and I am willing to state it again, if necessary—that the Board always had the notion that they were allowed to remove lateral support, and they have acted accordingly. Nevertheless, no problem under either the 1938 Act or the 1957 Act has arisen and there has been no case law. The absence of case law means that Common Law rights have been taken care of by the Coal Board. Given the fact that nothing new has emerged, that this is a very complicated Bill dealing with a complicated subject and given the fact that we want to get on with it, I really think I have answered all the questions that have been raised, and that I am entitled to ask noble Lords opposite to withdraw their Amendment.

Viscount LONG

My Lords, like the noble Lord I, too, can be patient. I thought I was rather patient awaiting the noble Lord's entry this evening.


My Lords, I thought I apologised.

Viscount LONG

But I do not see any guarantee or assurance here from the noble Lord. My noble friend Lady Hornsby-Smith might have sounded as though she was getting excited or panicky over hundreds of houses being knocked down and so on, but she was really giving us a very good case for the odd house, the odd farmhouse and the odd factory—and they can be very big, as the noble Lord will know—which could well come down and the people inside, whoever they may be, could suffer consequential loss. My noble friend Lord Middleton also put up a good case in regard to the inquiry going on. This has now finished and it was more than frightening to some of us to hear that there is no chance of obtaining consequential loss payments, although there is compensation. I should have thought the noble Lord might have come our way on this, because this is a new Bill and a good Bill; it only needed tidying up in Clause 2. The fact is that we here are steering this Bill through your Lordships' House and it is our task to make sure that those who are living in and around such a mine are protected. It sounds so easy to say that it might not happen, but when it does happen there is certainly no compensation for consequential loss.


My Lords, would the noble Viscount answer a question? How does he define "consequential loss"? It is very important to get an accurate definition. I should have thought that if there was anything serious in the way of financial losses incurred by a factory or a householder, or something like that, it would be a matter for negotiation or arbitration and might eventually go to the courts to define what is meant by "consequential loss". Unless the noble Viscount or one of his friends can define "consequential loss" fairly accurately, I do not see that it is relevant to the subject.

Viscount LONG

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for raising that question. The nearest I can get to it is that it is the equivalent of disturbance in compensation law.


My Lords, I do not know whether the noble Viscount has had very much experience of the coal industry in this matter of compensation due to subsidence. In fact, though damage has occurred—and I have seen it myself over many years—nevertheless there has been very little in the way of disputation as between the private owners and those who have suffered damage, or between the National Coal Board and those who have suffered damage. Very few cases have been taken to court because of failure to negotiate or arbitrate satisfactorily. From what I see in the Bill—I had not looked at the Bill until recently when I saw it on the Bench—I believe that all the assurances that are required are in it.

Viscount LONG

My Lords, so far as I can see, it is no use taking the matter to court because there are no powers, anyway. This is what we are arguing now. We want powers for compensation in the Bill. That is what I and my noble friends are trying to establish. It is necessary to tidy up Clause 2 of this Bill by these Amendments. The noble Lord ought to have come further towards our way of thinking over our Amendment. I am not happy and would far rather let my noble friends speak for themselves in the Division Lobby.


My Lords, may I have the leave of the House to make a further remark? I think the effectual reply to the noble Viscount's case was made by my noble friend Lord Shinwell. If the Amendment is accepted, insecurity and uncertainty will be introduced because, obviously, it will be exceedingly difficult to define what is "consequential loss". It seems to me that this is exactly the kind of point which is being considered by the Working Party. While I can undertake to do my very best to have the Working Party's report published very soon—and I can give the assurance that I have ordered that the Working Party should meet—I can say no more than that I deplore the Amendment, which might cause a great deal of unnecessary litigation instead of doing the opposite.

6.24 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 53; Not-Contents, 37.
Amory, V. Elton, L. Merrivale, L.
Auckland, L. Emmet of Amberley, B. Middleton, L.
Balerno, L. Falkland, V. Newall, L.
Belstead, L. Ferrers, E. Northchurch, B.
Berkeley, B. Fraser of Kilmorack, L. Rankeillour, L.
Brookeborough V. Glenkinglas, L. Ridley, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Gough, V. Rockley, L.
Buckton, L. Gowrie, E. St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]
Campbell of Croy, L. Halsbury, E. Sandys, L.
Carrington, L. Hornsby-Smith, B. Selkirk, E.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Killearn, L. Somers, L.
Daventry, V. Kings Norton, L. Sudeley, L.
Denham, L. Kinnoull, E. Terrington, L.
Drumalbyn, L. Lauderdale, E. Tweedsmuir, L.
Dundonald, E. Long, V. [Teller.] Vickers, B.
Eccles, V. Lyell, L. Vivian, L.
Elgin and Kincardine, E. Macleod of Borve, B. Ward of North Tyneside, B
Elliot of Harwood, B. Mancroft, L.
Ardwick, L. Houghton of Sowerby, L. Phillips, B.
Bacon, B. Jacques, L. Popplewell, L.
Balogh, L. Kennet, L. Segal, L.
Beswick, L. Leatherland, L. Shepherd, L. (L. Privy Seal)
Pirk. B. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. Shinwell, L.
Blyton, L. Lloyd of Hampstead, L. Slater, L.
Boothby, L. Longford, E. Stedman, B.
Castle, L. Lovell-Davis, L. [Teller.] Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Champion, L. McLeavy, L Wallace of Coslany, L
Collison, L. Maelor, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Crowther-Hunt, L. Melchett, L. [Teller.] Wootton of Abinger, B.
Davies of Leek, L. Paget of Northampton, L. Wynne-Jones, L.
Elwyn-Jones, L. (L. Chancellor)

Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

Clause 3 [Right of Board to work coal in former copyhold land]:

6.30 p.m.

Lord BALOGH moved Amendment No. 2: Page 7, line 5, at beginning insert ("(a)").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 2. This Amendment, together with Amendment No. 3, is consequential upon the substantive Amendment No. 4 in the Marshalled List. With permission, I should like to speak now on all three Amendments. The purpose of these Amendments is to remove an anomaly in the process by which the clause enables the National Coal Board to work coal in which retained interests subside. The intention of subsection (8) of Clause 3 is to exclude from notice issued under the clause any retained interests in the land covered by the notice in respect of which the Board has already secured the right to work the coal. There will be a good many examples of this in established mining areas where the Board have made an agreement with the owners of the retained interests who have secured the necessary rights through an order made under the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act 1966. This is clearly right. It would have been inequitable for the Board to have to go through the additional procedure and pay costs and compensation for something they have already secured and paid for by other processes. In the normal course, the rights which the Board have secured will have covered only a particular seam, or seams, of coal, but the present wording of the subsection would cause any other seams above and below them also to be excluded from the notice and, indeed, make it impossible for the National Coal Board to cover such seams in a notice under this clause. The Amendment cures this anomaly by providing that only the seams in respect of which the Board already have rights should be excluded from notices which they issue under this clause. In this way, any other seams above or below will be covered by the notice and the owners of the retained interests in them will be entitled to register their retained interests and to receive their appropriate compensation for them.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 4, which is also consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 7, line 8, leave out ("that land") and insert ("so much of that land as consists of that coal or mine of coal").—(Lord Balogh.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, I beg to move this Amendment No. 4, which is also consequential.

Amendment moved—

Page 7, line 9, at end insert— (" and (b) in so far as notice of a retained interest which is given as mentioned in subsection (3)(b) above at a time when the Board are so entitled relates to a retained interest in any land in or under which that coal or mine of coal is comprised or lies, for the purposes of determining the amount of any compensation payable under subsection (4) above, that interest shall be treated as not subsisting in that coal or mine of coal.").—(Lord Balogh.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.