HL Deb 07 March 1987 vol 487 cc296-7

18 Clause 12, page 11, line 12, after "authority", insert— (cc) there is any person who carries on harbour operations in a harbour (within the meaning of the Harbours Act 1964) which is not the harbour of a competent harbour authority and access to which is customarily available through the harbour of a competent harbour authority; or".

19 Page 11, line 19, after "(c)", insert ", (cc)".

20 Clause 13, page 11, line 49, after "(c)", insert ", (cc)".

21 Page 12, line 1, leave out "in question" and insert "of the competent harbour authority".

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, with the leave of the House I beg to move that this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 18 to 21 en bloc. These amendments deal with a gap in the Bill which was brought to our attention. Under the Bill as drafted, harbour operators who operate outside the harbour of a competent harbour authority but whose access is through such a harbour, are not covered by the provisions in Clauses 12 and 13 under which the Secretary of State may call for information on such operations from the harbour authorities concerned and may resolve any disputes between the operator and the CHA. These amendments cover this situation. I beg to move.

Moved, That this House do agree with the Commons in the said amendments.—(Lord Brabazon of Tara.)

Lord Swinfen

My Lords, it is absolutely essential that the Ministry ensures that proper estuarial arrangements are made. I am sure that my noble friend will do so. As a brief example, I understand that a Russian ship the "Stevin 5701" is bringing up the Thames and into the Medway for dumping cargo from the wreck of the "Mont Louis", which is being salvaged following collision with the "Olau Britannia". The cargo is, I understand, a mixture of arsenic and cyanide. If proper arrangements between different competent harbour authorities within the same estuary are not made and there is an accident, there could be serious environmental damage and indeed a danger to people. I am sure that my noble friend can assure the House that proper arrangements will be made in all the various estuarial positions around the country.

Lord Underhill

My Lords, I think that the noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, has made a good case. I am certain that the Minister will take it into consideration when he replies. The amendment adds a further category to the joint arrangements. I regret that there is still no provision to ensure that information will be sought from all the authorities—as we wanted when the Bill was before your Lordships—rather than just one or two, as the Minister might require.

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, this was a subject that we debated at some length during consideration of the Bill in this House. At that time I made the matter quite clear—I think it was at Report stage—when I said that, the Secretary of State recognises the importance of ensuring that suitable arrangements are made in the major estuaries and that he will accordingly require information under this clause of the CHAs in, for example, the present London District and in the Mersey, the Humber and the Severn Estuaries".—[Official Report, 12/2/87; col. 847.] I hope that gives some assurance to the noble Lords.

On Question, Motion agreed to.