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The Earl of Lindsay: The amendments as described by my noble friend Lord Pearson of Rannoch and the noble Lady, Lady Saltoun, explored the area which the amendment not moved by the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael, would also have explored; namely, the method of appointment of local panels and the extent to which knowledge or experience of the key issues relevant to deer, following the prescription in Clause 1 to the commission itself, should be applied as a prescription to the local panels as well.

In practice, although currently there are no local panels in existence, should there be the need for one or more, the commission would seek to ensure that they worked effectively with all local interests in deer. To that extent, I am not convinced that the amendments are necessary.

I should also point out that there may be local issues which are priorities and which dominate, but which do not fall within the four categories set out for appointment to the commission itself in Clause 1.

I also remind the Committee that these panels are advisory panels only; they will not have executive functions delegated to them. Finally, the local panels cannot be set up without approval from the Secretary of

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State. Therefore, there is that check in the process which will ensure that reasonable and proper procedures are used in the appointment of the panel.

I do not want rigidly to set my face against these two amendments. I understand exactly the thinking of the noble Lords who have put these two amendments forward. I should, however, point out to the Committee that we are reasonably confident that should there be a need for a local panel it would work effectively with local people. While we do not think these amendments are necessary, I shall be happy to discuss this point again at the Report stage and will give the matter some more thought myself.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: I am grateful to my noble friend, but when he comes to consider this matter between now and the Report stage, could I ask him also to give some consideration to the status of these panels with regard to Section 6 of the original Act--the section dealing with marauding deer.

I have been sent by my noble friend the Minister the notes on proposed government amendments which say that there is to be a policy amendment to repeal the delegation of powers over marauding deer. I am not quite sure how it is proposed that that should be done and I notice that in Section 2(3) of the original Act,

    "The Commission may delegate to a panel appointed under"

that section, which I imagine is the same sort of panel as we are now considering,

    "the functions of the Commission under section six of this Act",

that is, marauding deer,

    "so far as relating to the locality of that panel, and the panel in the exercise of the functions so delegated to them shall comply with any directions given by the Commission".

I am afraid I am confused as to whether it is intended to withdraw these powers from the panel. It may be that what is happening is part of the clarification of Clause 4 to which we shall come shortly. If the panels were to be left with these powers, or anything like them, I submit that the interests mentioned in Amendment No. 17 become very important indeed.

The Earl of Lindsay: I shall try to enlighten my noble friend. Government Amendment No. 89 does indeed repeal the ability for Section 6 powers to be delegated to local panels. Thirty or more years ago we saw it as necessary that local panels, in an era of fairly slow communication, should be able to act fairly quickly in an emergency. Today the deer commission, at headquarters level, through modern communications, can choreograph and manage a situation that requires prompt response. We believe therefore that any local panel that might be set up should not have Section 6 powers delegated to it and should be an advisory panel only.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: I am very grateful to my noble friend for that reply. I am sure we all look forward to Amendment No. 89 with confidence. In those circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 2 agreed to.

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Clause 3 [Particular powers of the Commission]:

Lord Glenarthur moved Amendment No. 18:

Page 3, line 7, after ("with") insert ("the owners and occupiers of the land in question and with").

The noble Lord said: It may be convenient if I also speak to Amendment No. 20 which has been grouped with Amendment No. 18. We now turn to the particular powers of the commission--powers to issue guidance or advice, and to conduct, or collaborate in, research, inquiries and investigations in various forms, or in any experiment, trial or demonstration.

I have no difficulty with the concept of particular powers. They were present in the 1959 Act. I am concerned, however, that the owners and occupiers of the land in question somehow do not need to be part of the collaborative process. What is proposed to take place under the powers would be planned. It would not be required urgently and a great deal of thought would have gone into it beforehand. So there does not seem to be any need or urgency requiring that the owner or occupier of the land should not be brought into the process. The commission shall,

    "have power to conduct or to collaborate with any person or organisation which is conducting".

But the Bill does not make clear whether that "any person" could include the owner or occupier of the land in question. It merely seems to indicate that the person conducting the research or experiment could be either an individual or an organisation. That point requires clarification. In any case, there is a question of principle involved. But obviously if this sort of work is going to be done it must take place almost certainly close to, or even on, land in which deer are to be found, and it is going to be owned by somebody, so it seems logical that they should be brought into it beyond peradventure.

Amendment No. 20 is very much on the same theme. If it is agreed that some work should be done in collaboration with organisations and individuals, as set out in paragraphs (i) and (ii),

    "relating to the conservation, control or sustainable management of deer",

and that work is to be done in a way which furthers the interests of the commission, then it seems almost unreasonable to suggest that the work on property owned by individuals should not carry with it the agreement of the owners and occupiers of the land in question. So the two in a sense run together. I hope that my noble friend Lord Lindsay is clear about the point I am making.

The last element in Amendment No. 20 refers to veterinary supervision. This is in a sense a probing amendment. It seems to me that if experiments, trials or demonstrations are conducted which may be to the furtherance of the interests of deer in the broadest possible sense--my noble friend Lord Pearson touched earlier, as did others, on the question of the use of helicopters or vehicles, or the moving of deer from one place to another which could be damaging to the wellbeing of deer--they should be extremely carefully monitored by veterinary supervision. I have no reason to believe that the Red Deer Commission would not bear

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this very closely in mind but it seems to me to be essential that veterinary supervision is somehow brought into play in the Bill. I beg to move.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: I should like briefly to support this amendment. If one reads through Clause 3 as drafted and takes what might be the heart of the matter, it seems to me inconceivable that the commission could attempt to do these things without the co-operation of the owner of the land in question. I quote as follows:

    "The Commission shall have power ... to conduct any experiment, trial or demonstration ... relating to the ... control of deer, or to any other aspect of the Commission's functions".

Who is to say that a demonstration relating to the control of deer could not involve shooting quite large numbers of them? I do not believe that should happen without at least the stalker in question, or, as the amendment says, the owner, being consulted and supported. If it were to happen like that, I would not want to be the person conducting that experiment on the ground.

The Earl of Lindsay: I hope I can reassure both my noble friends on this point. Both of them said in so many words that it was inconceivable that the powers of research or experiment available to the commission could be carried out in breach of normal private property rights. Indeed, that is the case--it is inconceivable. The powers in Clause 3 do not override in any way private rights, nor do they provide any special rights of entry. Therefore I cannot conceive circumstances where the commission's powers of research or experiment could be carried out without the necessary agreements and supervisions which are implied or sought in these amendments.

I am confident that the commission can be trusted to carry out that important function in a reasonable way and in co-operation with those who might be affected by any project. But even if, for some reason, it were to choose a course which could be construed as being less reasonable, I reiterate the important point that the powers of Clause 3 do not override in any way private rights, nor do they provide any special rights of entry.

On the veterinary point raised by my noble friend Lord Glenarthur at the end of Amendment No. 20, I hope to reassure him that any experimentational research done by the deer commission would be under the general law on experimentation, and that includes veterinary supervision. In addition to that, the Red Deer Commission, as it is at the moment, has developed an extremely constructive and useful relationship with the Lasswade Veterinary Centre which conducts research on deer welfare and deer health on behalf of the Red Deer Commission.

I am conscious that Amendment No. 19 was grouped in with Amendment No. 1 because it was spoken to in the discussion we had around Amendment No. 1. It may be useful if I just reassure the Committee that deer welfare is a priority in research and experimental matters. It is quite clearly an important issue with the Committee in regard to Clause 3 and therefore I am telling the Committee that we will consider the

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argument for specific inclusion of the word "welfare" in Clause 3 and will come back to the Committee at Report stage with our decision.

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