House of Commons - Explanatory Note
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Session 2002 - 03
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Harbours Bill [HL]


These notes refer to the Harbours Bill [HL] as brought from the House of Lords on 19th May 2003 [Bill 113]




1.     These Explanatory Notes relate to the Harbours Bill as brought from the House of Lords on 19th May 2003. They have been provided by the Department for Transport, with the consent of Gwyn Prosser MP, the Member in charge of the Bill, in order to assist the reader of the Bill and to help inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.

2.     The Notes need to be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill. So where a clause or part of a clause does not seem to require any explanation or comment, none is given.


3.     The Bill will amend the procedure for making harbour revision orders and harbour empowerment orders, as currently set out in Schedule 3 of the 1964 Act.

4.     The Bill will simplify the procedure for handling objections to harbour revision orders and harbour empowerment orders. It will bring the procedures into line with more recent arrangements for dealing with objections, such as those employed in the planning system.

5.     The Bill will give the Secretary of State for Transport more discretion about whether or not to hold a public inquiry when objections are made. The Secretary of State will have the power to deal with objections by written representations or by appointing a person to hold a hearing.

[Bill 113-EN]     53/2


Commentary on clauses

Clause 1: Amendment of procedure for dealing with applications for harbour orders

6.     This clause amends paragraph 18 of Schedule 3 to the 1964 Act. Paragraph 18 currently deals with applications for harbour revision orders where an harbour authority has made the application. Where the application is for a harbour empowerment order the application will have been made by a would-be harbour authority.

7.     New sub-paragraph (1) defines the cases in which an inquiry need not be considered.

8.     New sub-paragraph (1A) confers a discretion on the Secretary of State to either cause an inquiry to be held or to give an objector the right to appear before and be heard by a person appointed by the Secretary of State.

9.     New sub-paragraphs (1B) and (1C) provide that where an objection is made by a local authority or a person whose land would be subject to compulsory purchase if the order is made, there is the right to require the Secretary of State to hold an inquiry or (at his option) to appoint a person to hold a hearing.

10.     New sub-paragraphs (3) and (4) make technical amendments to paragraphs 18(2) and 18(3) of Schedule 3.

11.     New sub-paragraph (5) provides a new definition of 'local authority'.

Clause 2: Amendment of procedure where harbour revision orders are made by the Secretary of State of his own motion

12.     Harbour revision orders can also be made by the Secretary of State of his own motion. Clause 2 makes the equivalent amendments to paragraph 28 of Schedule 3 to the 1964 Act in respect of harbour revision orders made by the Secretary of State as Clause 1 makes in respect of harbour orders applied for by harbour authorities.

13.     New sub-paragraph (5) provides a new definition of 'local authority'.

14.     Subsection (2) of clause 2 amends paragraph 29 of Schedule 3 to the 1964 Act to include a provision to take into account the report of a person appointed to undertake an hearing.

Clause 4: Short title, commencement, transitional provision and extent

15.     This clause provides for the Bill to come into force 2 months after the date on which it is passed. The Bill does not affect cases which are already formally in progress on that date.

16.     Scotland and Northern Ireland are excluded from the scope of the Bill: the subject matter is a devolved matter in Scotland and cases in Northern Ireland are not dealt with under the 1964 Act.

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Prepared: 22 May 2003