HL Deb 26 October 1976 vol 376 cc406-9

1. Where subsection (11) of section 5 above applies, the Secretary of State shall proceed in accordance with the following provisions of this Schedule.

2. The Secretary of State shall public do a notice that the draft Scheme, the proposal or the draft order (as the case may be) are available, stating where copies may be obtained and specifying a period of 40 days within which representations may be made to him about the draft Scheme, proposal or draft order.

3. A notice under paragraph 2 above shall be published—

  1. (a) in the London Gazette, the Edinburgh Gazette, or both, according as the draft Scheme, proposal or draft order relates to ports in England, Scotland or to the and
  2. (b) in such local newspapers or in any other ways as appear to the Secretary of 407 State best suited for bringing the notice to the attention of persons interested;
and shall specify a place where the draft Scheme, the proposal or the draft order (as the case may be) may be inspected, and copies thereof obtained at all reasonable hours, and the time in which and the manner in which any objections thereto may be made to the Secretary of State and, subject to paragraph 4 below, the Secretary of State shall consider any objections made within the time and in the manner specified in the notice.

4. The Secretary of State shall not be required to consider any objection which does not comprise, or have submitted with it, a statement in writing setting out the specific ground of the objection and particulars of any omission, addition or modification asked for, or any objection which in his opinion is frivolous.

5. If there are no objections which the Secretary of State is required to consider, or if all such objections are withdrawn—

  1. (a) in the case of a draft Scheme or order (either in the terms of the draft or subject to such modifications as he thinks fit, being modifications which in his opinion do not effect important alterations in the character of the draft as published), he may lay the Scheme before Parliament or make the order (as the case may be); or
  2. (b) in the case of a proposal, forward to the Board for their consideration a copy of the report referred to in paragraph 8 below.

6. Before preparing a new Scheme, the Secretary of State may cause an inquiry to be held.

7. Where any objections are made as aforesaid and are not withdrawn, the Secretary of State shall cause an inquiry to be held by an impartial person and, where that inquiry relates to a draft scheme or order, the Secretary of State may, after considering the report referred to in paragraph 9 below, lay the draft Scheme before Parliament or make the order (as the case may be) in the terms of the draft or subject to such modifications as he thinks fit.

8. Subsections (2) to (5) of section 250 of the Local Government Act 1972 shall apply in relation to an inquiry held under this Schedule as they apply to a local inquiry held under subsection (1) of that subsection with the omission of the word "local" from subsection (4).

9. The Secretary of State shall publish the report of the person appointed by him to hold an inquiry for the purposes of this Schedule.").

The noble Lord said: I will, with the permission of the Committee, speak at the same time to my manuscript Amendment, No. 110, which is needed if it is to he possible to apply the new Schedule to the Principality of Wales. One could say that this Amendment is consequential because the broad idea of providing for a public inquiry was raised much earlier, in fact on the first day of the Committee stage on the Bill. But perhaps it is necessary on this, the fourth day in Committee, to remind noble Lords of the way in which it is intended to fit the concept into the Bill.

It is necessary first to go back to the debate on Amendment No. 9 to Clause 4—that appears at col.347 in Hansard—which was the point at which my noble friend Lord Gowrie and others first argued, and successfully, for the retention of the public inquiry procedure where draft dock labour schemes, proposals to the Dock Labour Board and draft orders were involved. The full range of matters under the Bill to which the procedure should, we believe, be applicable were set out in the debate on Amendment No. 32 to Clause 5; and that appears at col.446 of Hansard. That was accepted by the Government, will now be incorporated in the Bill as Clause 5(11) and is the main point of connection between this new Schedule and the main body of the Bill. That is how this Schedule is linked with the Bill and the Amendments which have paved the way for it.

All I need reiterate are the arguments for making provision for public inquiries, which it seems to me are overwhelming. It has been considered necessary to provide for them up to now. The enlarged scope of the Bill, the wider powers of the Secretary of State and the wider geo-graphical range of the effects of the Bill would certainly require it, if it had not already been found necessary. Public inquiries are already common form for the proper handling of innumerable other issues of far less local import and impact than the ones we have been discussing. Without the use of public inquiries there is little or no scope for any proper exercise of public participation and, without a public and open inquiry, there will often be the suspicion that the Secretary of State has been subjected to improper pressures. Those suspicions may well be ill-founded, but they are the inevitable result of decisions on issues as sensitive as these if they are taken behind closed doors. As I said, the Amendment is really consequential and I beg to move.

9.39 p.m.

Lord SANDFORD then moved the following Amendment to the Amendment: In paragraph 3, sub-paragraph (a), line 3, after ("England") insert ("and Wales").

The noble Lord said: This is the manuscript Amendment to which I have also been speaking. I beg to move.


I accept that the Amendments are consequential, but I think I should put on record that under the terms of Amendment No. 32 this Schedule is to apply to a proposal to extend the limits of the cargo handling zone referred to the Board under Clause 4(7). By another Amendment, No. 12, all the provisions of Clause 4 for a cargo handling zone and for extending its limits have been deleted from the Bill.


I am grateful to the noble Lord. I will read what he said and it may be that we shall have to make some adjustments at a later stage.

House resumed: Bill reported with the Amendments.

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