HL Deb 22 February 1988 vol 493 cc940-1

3 p.m.

Read a Third time.

Clause 26 [Commencement]:

Lord Heskethmoved Amendment No. 1. Page 20, line 45, after ("Section 1") insert ("and sections 23 to 27").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Hesketh moved Amendment No. 2. Page 21, line 1, leave out ("Section 21") and insert ("Sections 18 to 22").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Hesketh

My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill do now pass.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(Lord Hesketh. )

Baroness Nicol

My Lords, there has been a misunderstanding between me and the noble Lord. I understand that he was to speak at this point, but if he is not I should like to say a few words on the Motion that the Bill do now pass.

At Second Reading we welcomed the setting up of the new Broads Authority, and we still do. We feel that it has a very useful job to do and we wish it well. We were heartened by repeated statements from Ministers in both Houses at all stages of the Bill that the purpose of the Bill was to secure the conservation of the Broads for all to enjoy. It was therefore disappointing that our attempts to enshrine that objective in the wording of the Bill were rejected. Even our modest amendment to secure two representatives instead of one for the Nature Conservancy Council in an authority of 35 members was rejected.

We fear that the factors which prevented the declared aims of the Bill having statutory backing may in the end defeat the hoped-for objective. We hope that we are wrong, but it is a real fear. We can only wait and see. We wish the new authority well and shall watch its progress with great interest.

Lord Hesketh

My Lords, I should like to say a word of thanks to those of your Lordships who have contributed to the passage of this Bill through this House. I should like to start by thanking my noble friend Lord Belstead, who, as the Minister then responsible, guided the Bill so ably through its Second Reading. Then I should like to record my thanks to all the members of the Select Committee which considered the Bill so thoroughly and carefully and two of whom, the noble Lord, Lord Trafford, and the noble Viscount, Lord Craigavon, also contributed to the Committee stage discussion on the Floor of this House. Finally, I should like to thank in particular the noble Baroness, Lady Nicol, who has given me my first experience in taking a Bill in all its stages through your Lordships' House, for which I shall be eternally grateful, and all the other noble Lords and noble Baronesses who have contributed to our consideration of the Bill, including my noble friend Lady Blatch, whose helpful suggestion at Second Reading we have adopted in the Bill that is now before you.

I believe that we can congratulate ourselves on having made a good Bill even better. This Bill may deal with only one small part of the country, but the Broads are a national treasure and this legislation is of national concern. I must, however, pay tribute to the eight local authorities which, by joining together to form the existing, non-statutory Broads Authority took the first step without which this Bill could not have come forward. That joint committee of the local authorities, supported by the Countryside Commission, has done valuable work over the past nine years. But more is needed, and this Bill provides for that need. I am sure that the existing Broads Authority will be glad and proud to pass the torch on—in an Olympic year—to the new authority to secure the future of the Broads for all to appreciate and enjoy.

On Question, Bill passed, and returned to the Commons with amendments.