§ (" .—(1) Where the Agency or the Council propose to make an order under section (Designation of areas), the Agency or the Council shall consult every local authority whose area includes any part of the area to which the proposed order is to relate.
§ (2) Before making the order, the Agency or the Council shall then publish, in the London Gazette and in one or more newspapers circulating in the area of every such local authority, notice that they propose to make the order, indicating the effect of the order and stating the time within which and manner in which representations with respect to the proposed order may be made to the Agency or the Council (as the case may be), and shall consider any representations duly made.
§ (3) An order under section (Designation of areas) shall not come into operation unless and until confirmed—
- (a) in the case of an order made by the Agency, by the Secretary of State, or
- (b) in the case of an order made by the Council, by the National Assembly for Wales,
§ (4) The Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales may confirm an order submitted to him or it under this section either as submitted or with such modifications as the Secretary of State or the Assembly thinks expedient.
§ (5) Before refusing to confirm an order under section (Designation of areas), or determining to confirm it with modifications, the Secretary of State shall consult the Agency and every local authority whose area includes any land to which the order as submitted, or as proposed to be modified, relates.
§ (6) Before refusing to confirm an order under section (Designation of areas), or determining to confirm it with modifications, the National Assembly for Wales shall consult the Council and every local authority whose area includes any land to which the order as submitted, or as proposed to be modified, relates.
§ (7) An order under section (Designation of areas) may be revoked or varied by a subsequent order under that section.
§ (8) Without prejudice to the powers of the Agency or the Council to vary an order under section (Designation of areas), the Secretary of State (as respects England) or the National Assembly for Wales (as respects Wales) may by order vary any order under that section made by the Agency or the Council; and subsection (1) applies to any order under section (Designation of areas) made by the Secretary of State or the Assembly by virtue of this subsection with the substitution for references to the Agency of references to the Secretary of State and for references to the Council of references to the Assembly.
§ (9) It is the duty of the Agency and the Council to secure that copies of any order under section (Designation of areas) relating to England or, as the case may be, to Wales, are available for inspection by the public at all reasonable times—
- (a) at the office of the Agency or, as the case may be, the Council,
- (b) at the offices of each local authority whose area includes any part of the area to which the order relates, and
- (c) at such other place or places in or near that area as the Agency or, as the case may be, the Council may determine.").
§ The noble Lord said: I beg to move.
Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 523A:
Line 4, leave out ("local authority") and insert ("metropolitan, county, unitary district authority or parish county").
§ The noble Lord said: This amendment is designed to simplify the Bill. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, would approve of this because he always complains about prolixity in legislation.
The Bill as drafted contains a number of words that are unnecessary. It mentions,
such modifications as the Secretary of State or the Assembly thinks expedient".
The first amendment in this group would simply remove those words, so that the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales may confirm an order either as submitted or with modifications. The other words are not needed, because sub-paragraph (5) says:
Before refusing to confirm an order ... or determining to confirm it with modifications",
the Secretary of State shall—
§ Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer
Perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, can help me. I had thought that we were dealing with Amendment No. 523A relating to local authorities.
§ Baroness Byford
My noble friend Lord Dixon-Smith was speaking to Amendment No. 523AA. I shall speak to Amendment No. 523A and the others in the group. I apologise to the Committee for the errors in the amendment. The errors occurred before it came to this House. The amendment should read,metropolitan, county, unitary, district authority or parish council".I apologise. It is not the fault of the House, but it is our fault. This matter is mentioned in the 1999 Act, but the 1992 Act did not include parish councils. I was trying to clarify which Act is relevant to this part of the Bill. We are anxious that parish councils should be included.
I shall also speak to Amendments Nos. 523B to 523F, which are fairly self-explanatory. In earlier debates we considered the word "expedient", about which we are not happy. For that reason we have suggested Amendment No. 523B. We have spoken to the other amendments already.
§ Lord Whitty
Such mis-drafting occasionally happens to the Government as well, so I shall not make a moral point. The typography does not appear to be at its best in this amendment. A comma is missing and the word "county" appears instead of "council". The noble Baroness is correct in saying that what is envisaged by the Government does not include parish councils, although it does include the other local authorities to which she has referred. The matter is 790 quite open and probably within AONB areas, parish councils would be consulted and in all circumstances they would be able to contribute their views. However, the noble Baroness is correct in presuming that parish councils would not automatically be covered by this provision.
Considering that we do not want to extend the list of statutory consultees, we would prefer not to refer specifically to parish councils because one then gets into arguments about other public authorities within an area. We consider that it is better not to limit it to the normal definition of local councils. I am not persuaded by the amendment, even if it were correctly printed.
§ Baroness Byford
Is the Minister saying that the Government's intention is not to include parish councils?
§ Lord Whitty
Parish councils would not be statutorily involved. However, they would normally be covered in the wider ability to make representations. I believe that is the correct balance.
§ Lord Roberts of Conwy
In Wales we do not have parish councils; we have community councils. In fact, there is no reference to them at all in this clause. Does that mean that the National Assembly does not have to take community councils into account as parish councils have to be taken into account in England? If the Minister cannot answer me now, perhaps he will respond later.
§ 10.30 p.m.
§ Lord Whitty
My understanding is that community councils are regarded as the equivalent of parish councils and therefore the same situation would apply.
A number of other amendments were spoken to with Amendment No. 523A. I am not sure whether the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, completed his introduction on Amendment No. 523AA. If so, he did not convince me that it adds anything substantial to what the Government propose.
§ Lord Dixon-Smith
With the greatest respect, the intention was not to add but to take away—and leave the same level of clarity, of course.
§ The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Strabolgi)
If Amendment No. 523AA is agreed to, I shall not be able to call Amendment No. 523B on grounds of pre-emption.
§ Lord Whitty
They do appear to be alternatives. Amendment No. 523B seeks to change "thinks expedient" to,determines following consultation specified in sub-paragraph (5) below".That does not meet the point. Consultation does not apply in Wales. The Secretary of State confirms an order. So the cross-reference to that paragraph would not meet the point.
791 In relation to Amendment No. 523AA, which seeks to subtract from the existing provisions, I am not convinced of that either. I feel that the present situation probably reaches the correct balance.
Further amendments, certainly Amendments Nos. 523C and 523D, relate to wider consultation. Clearly landowners and others who are affected have the right to make representations. But to require the public authority to notify every landowner within the area likely to be directly or indirectly affected seems onerous and is unlikely to be feasible in many cases. Therefore the right to make representations remains.
Amendment No. 523E would remove the possibility of a designation order, once made, ever being varied or revoked. I am not sure if that is what the noble Baroness intended. It appears rather restrictive and I would not be in favour of it. Clearly, changes in land use and other developments may lead to it being necessary to change an order.
Amendment No. 523F simply changes the definition of where the orders could be inspected and would have the effect of cutting down the number of such places. Again, I am not sure that that was the intention but it would be the outcome. I am not convinced therefore that it would improve the situation and I hope that the noble Baroness will not pursue it.
§ Baroness Byford
I thank the Minister for his response. Amendment No. 523F relates to the specific place where the public would be able to inspect the orders, and the planning authority appeared to be the logical choice. I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 523A.
Amendment No. 523A, as an amendment to Amendment No. 523, by leave, withdrawn.
[Amendments Nos. 523AA to 523F, as amendments to Amendment No. 523, not moved.]
On Question, Amendment No. 523 agreed to.
Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 524:
Alter Clause 71, insert the following new clause—