HL Deb 03 April 1984 vol 450 cc671-4

7.52 p.m.

Lord Alport

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now again resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Alport.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD AMPTHILL in the Chair.]

Clause 2 [Licences]:

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Ampthill)

Straw and Stubble Burning Prohibition Bill. Amendment No. 20 has already been moved and the debate upon it was adjourned on 21st March. Unless, therefore, any noble Lord wishes to speak further to the amendment, I shall put the Question that Amendment 20 be agreed to.

Lord Alport

This amendment was discussed fully on the last occasion. I have given it considerable thought since. I wish now to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Gisborough moved Amendment No. 21:

Page 2, line 7, leave out ("District") and insert ("County").

The noble Lord said: I should like to move this amendment on behalf of my noble friend Lord Ridley, who is not here. Districts vary enormously in their attitudes. There are many country areas which are under the aegis, if that is the word, of urban districts which sometimes have peculiar ideas, although not always. It would be much fairer if counties were to be the responsible authority. I beg to move.

Lord Alport

This amendment was put down by my noble friend Lord Ridley. I think the reason why he put it down was because the counties are the fire authorities. On the other hand the districts are the anti-pollution authorities. Further, districts have been relied on by the Ministry for many years past—for at least 10 years and more—to be responsible for enforcing the by-laws with regard to stubble and straw burning. The new model by-laws are for operation by the district councils and the Ministry has apparently, and quite rightly, confidence that district councils can carry this out in a proper manner. I am assured by the Association of District Councils that it would be perfectly possible for them to do this, and in those circumstances it seems only right that the district councils should be the local authority. Another reason is that the district councils, as we discussed earlier in this Committee, know the district well, and, although they have on them members of the old urban district authorities, also include members of the old rural district authorities: the farming interests are therefore represented on them. In those circumstances, I hope that my noble friend will withdraw this amendment.

Lord Mackie of Benshie

May I point out that there are no counties in Scotland? There are districts and regions. As this is meant to apply to Scotland it does not appear to be a suitable change.

Lord Gisborough

I simply do not accept the argument, but I am not prepared to press the amendment. The position in some districts is that there are simply no farmers. There are a few farmers, certainly, but there arc no farmers represented, and the representation is totally urban. However, while accepting the fact that it would be extremely unfortunate for those farmers in those areas, I am prepared to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 22 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

[Amendments Nos. 22A and 22B not moved.]

Clause 2 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 23 not moved.]

Clause 3 [Penalties]:

[Amendment No. 24 not moved]

Lord Stanley of Alderley moved Amendment No. 25:

Page 2. line 12. leave out from ("to") to end of line and insert ("unbaled straw on arable land.").

The noble Lord said: This is consequential. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.

[Amendment No. 26 not moved.]

Clause 4 [Short title and commencement]:

[Amendment No. 27 not moved.]

Clause 4 agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with the amendments.

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