HC Deb 25 March 1996 vol 274 cc396-7W
Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those areas of executive action where he has discretion to act in respect of an individual without giving reasons for his decision. [20542]

Mr. Gummer

Comprehensive records are not kept in the form requested but the following provisions have been identified from readily available sources.Common lands Decisions are required from the Secretary of State under public, local and private Acts. Examples of matters involving individuals are applications to the Secretary of State for— Orders for the exchange of lands under section 147 of the Inclosure Act 1845, applications for consent to the improvement of common land under the Law of Commons Amendment Act 1893, confirmation of regulation of regulations under the Commons Act 1908, imposition of limitations on the public's rights of access to common land under section 193 of the Law of Property Act 1925. Countryside Decisions on nature conservation orders, limestones pavement orders, designation of marine nature reserves and orders in respect of moor and heath land in National Parks (under sections 29, 34, 36 and 42 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981). Wild birds, habitats and animals and plants Decisions on special protection areas for birds, designation of special areas of conservation, the system for licensing various matters in respect of sale and possession of wild birds (in particular under sections 3, 6, 7 and 16 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and regulations made thereunder). Highways Certain powers with respect to public path extinguishment and diversion orders and temporary stopping up of highways under section 120 of the Highways Act 1980 and section 261 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Trees The power for the Secretary of State to make tree preservation orders under section 202 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Town and country planning Various powers relating to the preservation of listed buildings and in particular sections 46 to 48, 54, 55 and 76 to 78 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. The decision to issue a direction calling in an application for planning permission or hazardous substance consent under section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and section 20 of the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990. Building control The determination of questions referred to the Secretary of State about plans for building work under section 16(10) of the Building Act 1984. Housing Decisions as to whether to give assistance in connection with legal proceedings in relation to the right to buy (section 170 of the Housing Act 1985). Landlord and tenant Decisions about apportionment of rent under section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927. Rentcharges Decisions relating to redemption and apportionment of rentcharges under sections 3 and 5 of the Rentcharges Act 1977. Zoos Decisions on revocation of licences, and on directions on dispensation from the Act under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.

This list does not include certain provisions which allow the Secretary of State to take decisions which might in theory apply only to a particular individual, such as section 115(9) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, which confers powers to specify generally or for particular cases purposes for which renovation work may be approved for grant.

Under section 10 of the Tribunals and Inquiries Act 1992, Ministers are under a duty to give reasons for decisions in any case in which a person concerned could have required a statutory inquiry or hearing to be held.