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Yvette Cooper: Where the mortgage is worth more than 90 per cent. of the value of the compensation, only 90 per cent. of the value of the land can be paid to the mortgage lender; no money can be paid to the mortgage holder under those circumstances. The Compulsory Purchase Act 1965 applies to all circumstances in which the value of the mortgaged land is less than the principal, interest and costs secured on the land. Under those circumstances, the compensation payable is to be settled by agreement between the mortgagee, the mortgagor and the acquiring authority. Failing such agreement, the amount payable by the acquiring authority is to be determined by the Lands Tribunal. The tribunal should not be involved at the earlier stage in determining whether the value of the mortgage is greater or less than the 90 per cent. figure; that should be decided by the acquiring authority. The Lands Tribunal's role is to decide on the eventual payment if the parties concerned cannot reach agreement.
'For section 200 of the principal Act (Orders affecting land where Forestry Commissioners interested) there is substituted the following section
"200 Tree preservation orders: Forestry Commissioners
(1) A tree preservation order does not have effect in respect of anything done
(a) by or on behalf of the Forestry Commissioners on land placed at their disposal in pursuance of the Forestry Act 1967 or otherwise under their management or supervision;
(b) by or on behalf of any other person in accordance with a plan of operations or other working plan approved by the Forestry Commissioners under a forestry dedication covenant (within the meaning of section 5 of that Act) which is for the time being in force or under conditions of a grant or loan made under section 1 of the Forestry Act 1979.
(2) A reference to a provision of the Forestry Act 1967 or the Forestry Act 1979 includes a reference to a corresponding provision replaced by that provision or any earlier corresponding provision.".'.[Keith Hill.]
Keith Hill: This very large group of two new clauses and 26 other amendments contains Government amendments to the Crown application provisions in part 7 of the Bill, together with some other associated changes. They could all be classified as fairly small-scale improvements and as tidying-up, but some will require more explanation than others.
With your permission, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I shall endeavour to present my remarks topic by topic so that the House can keep track of what is going on. I hope that all hon. Members will bear with me in what will inevitably be a detailed exposition.
New clause 5together with new clause 21 and amendments Nos. 25 and 69is about tree preservation and the Forestry Commissioners. In Committee, the Government tabled an amendment to section 200 of the principal Act that dealt with the effect of tree preservation orders on land in which the Forestry Commission has an interest.
Given that the Crown will no longer be immune from planning controls, we included a provision in the Bill to ensure that the tree work carried out by the Forestry Commission in line with its statutory duties would not become subject to the controls of tree preservation orders. This would place the Forestry Commission in more or less the same position as private landowners, whose tree work is also unaffected by tree preservation orders when carried out in accordance with a management plan approved by the commission.
The Government have looked again at the detail of section 200, as amended by clause 80, which, at subsection (1), also prevents local authorities from making tree preservation orders without first obtaining the commission's consent. Following consultation with the commission, we believe that this general restriction is unnecessary.
New Clause 5 removes the requirement on local authorities to obtain the Forestry Commission's agreement before making tree preservation orders on land that has been placed at the commission's disposal, or on privately owned land that is subject to a management scheme approved by the commission.
Keith Hill: I hope to come on to that in the course of my exposition. One never knowsinspiration may wing its way to me. Indeed, I believe that my next point may be germane to the hon. Gentleman's inquiry.
In effect, local planning authorities will be free to make tree preservation orders wherever they believe it is in the interests of amenity to do so, both on Crown land and private land. I should emphasise that no order could in any way interfere with the tree work carried out by the Forestry Commission or by private individuals under commission-approved schemes such as the woodland
Amendment No. 25 deletes clause 80, which new clause 5 will replace. New clause 21 makes the same change to the equivalent section of the principal Scottish planning Act, the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997. Amendment No. 69 deletes clause 90, which new clause 21 will replace.
I now turn to the details of the appointment of special advocates when applications are subject to directions concerning national security. These are covered by amendments Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 61. I intend to speak mainly to amendment No. 1, the lead amendment of this sub-group. The amendment is in two parts, the first of which deletes new section 321(6) of the principal Act, the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the original provision which was modelled closely on the requirements of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission procedure.
In light of the concerns raised in Committee by the hon. Gentleman, who quoted representations from the Law Society, and the hon. Members for Ludlow (Matthew Green) and for Chipping Barnet (Sir Sydney Chapman), that the provisions were unduly restrictive, we have reconsidered this issue as I promised. We accept that competent planning specialists who have the appropriate experience and skills could carry out the function of a special advocate just as effectively as legally qualified representatives. Moreover, the Attorney-General will have responsibility for those appointments, which includes ensuring that special advocates have the necessary skills to do the job. We expect to set up a panel of suitably qualified and vetted people from which the Attorney-General can choose. That is yet another example of a listening Government responding to sensible representations.
The second part of amendment No. 1 inserts a new subsection (6) into section 321 of the principal Act. That allows the Attorney-General to appoint a special advocate for the purposes of the planning inquiry after a section 321 direction has been made. That is in contrast to the situation envisaged in new subsection (5), where the special advocate is appointed before a decision is made and can make representations as to whether a direction should be made. The new provision adds flexibility where, for example, all the parties agree that a direction should be made. The Secretary of State can therefore make the direction without waiting for a special advocate to be appointed.
Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 make parallel changes to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990. Amendment No. 61 makes an equivalent change to the Scottish provisions in clause 86 on the appointment of special advocates.
Amendments Nos. 4, 5, 62 and 63 deal with the way in which various requirements of the urgency procedure are prescribed. Amendments Nos. 4 and 5 make technical amendments to new section 293A in clause 77. At present, various requirements for publicising urgent Crown applications and the associated documents, and for specifying statutory consultees, are to be prescribed. Without any further qualification, "prescribed" means prescribed by regulations, as specified in section 336(1)
Amendments Nos. 6, 7, 64 and 65 deal with preventing disclosure of sensitive documents in cases subject to the urgent application procedure. Amendment No. 6 makes it clear that the Secretary of State will not be required to disclose documents relating to planning applications that are the subject of national security directions made under section 321(3) of the principal Act. It would be nonsensical to put into the public domain, under the urgency provisions, documents that are highly sensitive and cannot be disclosed at a public inquiry. Amendment No. 7 makes similar provision for the listed buildings provisions. Amendments Nos. 64 and 65 make equivalent amendments to the relevant Scottish provisions in clauses 87 and 88. The amendments remove a conflict in the legislation, and I commend them to the House.
I turn now to some minor drafting amendments, Nos. 8, 10, 11 and 12. Amendments Nos. 8 and 12 amend cross-references that were rendered incorrect by printing changes to the numbers of the new sections to which they refer. Amendments Nos. 10 and 11 correct a grammatical error by removing the superfluous word "means" from the relevant definitions of "appropriate authority" in the listed buildings provisions.
I now turn to some Scottish provisions on enforcement: amendments Nos. 66, 67 and 68. They introduce provisions that will supplement and clarify the enforcement mechanisms available against the Crown. Under each of the three main Scottish planning Acts, the planning authority will be able to apply to the Court of Session for an order declaring an act or omission of the Crown to be unlawful. The inclusion of such a provision is common in Scottish legislation, which exempts the Crown from criminal liability for contravention of statute. Its effect is that, although the Crown will be immune from criminal liability, the planning authority will none the less, in an appropriate case, be able to seek a court order to declare that any contravention is unlawful.
Amendments Nos. 70 and 71 make minor changes for Scotland, simply ensuring that provisions for the procedures for making statutory instruments appear in one clause rather than two. Amendments Nos. 74 and 78 correct an omission from the existing redundant provisions of the principal Scottish planning Act repealed by the Bill. The repealed provision in question relates to agreements relating to Crown land. A saving provision is not required to preserve the legal effect of such agreements.