HL Deb 19 February 1990 vol 516 cc20-1

3.45 p.m.

The Lord Chancellor

My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.

This is the first of four Bills on the Order Paper in my name. If I may, I shall speak to all four together, and then move the other three formally, together with the consequential Motion in connection with the fourth. I should like to offer my compliments and thanks—and I trust also those of the House—to the Law Commission and the draftsman who have made such an excellent job of this enormous task of consolidation.

The last major consolidation of the Town and Country Planning Acts was in the Town and Country Planning Act 1971, which has been considerably amended by primary legislation, including the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act 1972, the Local Government Acts of 1972 and 1985, the Land Compensation Act 1973, and the Town and Country Planning Act 1984.

The result of the constant addition of material into the text of the 1971 Act and the repeal of extensive parts of it has been a loss of coherent structure. This is especially apparent in Part IV of the 1971 Act dealing with special controls. The system of controls relating to listed buildings and conservation areas and to hazardous substances are so voluminous as to justify whole Bills relating to these topics alone. They have therefore been consolidated in the second and third Bills under my name, the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Bill and the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Bill.

In other respects, the structure of the Town and Country Planning Bill broadly corresponds to that of the 1971 Act. The only difference is the creation of a new Part which relates to Crown land and includes material from the Town and Country Planning Act 1984 and the Building Restrictions (War-Time Contraventions) Act 1946.

Finally, there is the Planning (Consequential Provisions) Bill, which is ancillary to the three main Bills. It deals with a number of technical and transitional matters, including repeals and consequential amendments.

The Law Commission has, in accordance with usual practice, issued a report on the consolidation in which they make a number of recommendations for minor technical amendments to remove anomalies and inconsistencies which came to light during the consolidation exercise so that the law can be stated in a clear and straightforward fashion.

There is a special Motion on the Order Paper relating to this consolidation. The Planning (Consequential Provisions) Bill is an essential part of the consolidation, but it is not, in the strict sense, a consolidation Bill. It is most conveniently dealt with along with the other three Bills, by the Joint Committee, but the rules of the House require that the House must refer it to the Joint Committee specifically. The other Bills will go through to the Joint Committee in the ordinary course.

I beg to move that the first of the four Bills be now read a second time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Bill read a second time, and referred to the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills.