HL Deb 15 October 1981 vol 424 cc468-9

22 Page 11, line 36, leave out 'and' and insert '(1A)'.

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 22. With the permission of the House, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 25, 26 and 27. Amendments Nos. 22 and 25 are paving the way for the principal Amendment No. 26. Amendment No. 27 is technical.

The amendments deal with a matter—the protection of bats in dwellinghouses—on which we had several illuminating debates earlier. Noble Lords and honourable Members in another place made clear their wish that bats should be protected from the harmful effects of treating wood timbers with preservatives, and also that a householder should seek advice from the competent authorities before removing bats from his home in order that the least harm be done to them.

Noble Lords will know that the Government were concerned to find a way of protecting bats in dwelling-houses but without impinging too much on the rights of the householder. This amendment is, I believe, a practical and effective compromise which will, I trust, satisfy all interests in the House. The amendments would provide that protection, even in the rafters of a dwellinghouse, without hindering any person who needs to remove bats from the living area of his house.

The Bill provides that it shall be an offence intentionally to kill any bat. It further provides that the Nature Conservancy Council shall be consulted before any operation is undertaken which might incidentally harm a bat, except in a dwellinghouse. The amendment redefines that exception so that only in the living area of a dwellinghouse may a person take immediate action to disturb or exclude bats or action which might incidentally harm bats. I have spoken at a little more length on this amendment because it is one which we had a discussion.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said amendment. (The Earl of Avon.)

Lord Melchett

My Lords, I should like to say how very welcome this is to noble Lords on all sides of the House, I am sure. The noble Lord, Lord Craigton, who moved the original amendment and is not able to be with us today, would also like to congratulate the Government on the excellent steps which they have taken.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

5.20 p.m.