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Lord Pearson of Rannoch: I am most grateful to my noble friend for agreeing to include the word "welfare", at least in the experimental and demonstrative parts of the future commission's activity. It is not perhaps for me to ask my noble friend the question, but if it is obvious that the commission will indeed respect the normal rights of property and so on, can my noble friend give any reason why these amendments should not be accepted on the face of the Bill?

5.45 p.m.

The Earl of Lindsay: It is because they simply duplicate safeguards which are already in effect, in that what Clause 3 enables the commission to do does not override any private rights or special rights of entry that are already sufficiently protected and taken into account by other general legislation.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: I wonder whether my noble friend is right to take the official's advice absolutely straight like that? We all accept that rights of entry exist and will be observed, but when we are talking about this commission we have already talked about how it should have the confidence of the broad public in Scotland. It is important that small crofters, as well as large occupiers and farmers, should feel that the commission will not march onto their land or conduct experiments. We are not just talking about land owners here--we are talking about all sorts of owners and occupiers. I can see no reason why there should not somewhere be a slight duplication of this--just a mention somewhere. Perhaps my noble friend the Minister could look at this point. I know that he has been warned against this by those behind him, but this is very much an official point of view. We have to think about how people will see this Bill.

Lord Glenarthur: I do not want to prolong the debate, but I have much sympathy with what my noble friend Lady Carnegy of Lour said. My noble friend said that it is inconceivable that anyone would try to override existing rights--private rights, rights of entry or whatever--in order to try to conduct what is suggested in this clause. He also said that the Red Deer Commission can be trusted. I have no doubt whatever about that. However, if that is the case, and there is still concern about it, what is the difficulty in actually adding to the Bill the words that I have suggested in Amendment No. 18, that the commission should have the power to conduct or collaborate with,

any person or organisation? It is self-evident that it will not do any damage or make it more awkward for the commission to have to go through that particular hoop, particularly in the light of the fact that there is no time constraint on this.

I hope my noble friend can reassure me. It may be that he will have to quote chapter and verse on this and perhaps he will be able to draw on the experience of past

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instances since 1959 of particular powers being used in this way and how they have been brought into effect, or say what indeed are the over-riding private rights, rights of entry and so on, which are referred to. I hope he will be able to respond positively to that.

As to the question of veterinary supervision, I am certainly very interested to hear him say that the general laws on experimentation will apply. One of the reasons why I am sensitised to this particular area is that I piloted the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Bill through the House in 1986. Experiment, so far as animals are concerned, often generates vast interest and concern, and rightly so. I hope that my noble friend will explain a little more about the general law on experimentation in this particular field because those words seem remarkably loose.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: Before my noble friend rises, I should remind him that very similar wording to this was included in the original Bill for Scottish Natural Heritage, except that for any experiment, trial or demonstration, we were asked to give the new Scottish Natural Heritage complete powers for development projects and schemes. I should remind my noble friend that the Government heavily lost an amendment on that. Unless he can do a little better in giving the Committee some reason why these very simple words should not be on the face of the Bill, this is one to which we may wish to return with a vengeance at the Report stage.

The Earl of Lindsay: I have seen my noble friend Lord Pearson of Rannoch return to other things with a vengeance so I am suitably warned. I want to quote legislation which goes way beyond the legislation in front of us. The best thing is if I write to those noble Lords who have spoken on this issue and I hope that it is in sufficient time so that we can discuss that letter prior to Report stage.

Lord Glenarthur: With that assurance, I am very grateful to my noble friend and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch moved Amendment No. 19:

Page 3, line 13, after ("the") insert ("welfare,").

The noble Lord said: My noble friend the Minister indicated that he would accept the amendment. We shall return to it at Report stage.

The Earl of Lindsay: I said that we would like to consider the amendment.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: In that case, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Glenarthur moved Amendment No. 20:

Page 3, line 15, at end insert ("subject to the agreement of the owner and occupier of the land in question and, where appropriate, subject to veterinary supervision").

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The noble Lord said: I spoke to this amendment in connection with Amendment No. 18 on the understanding that my noble friend would be able also to explain more about the general law on experimentation perhaps by way of letter, so that the Committee understands precisely what he means by it. I am happy with that and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 3 agreed to.

Clause 4 [Marauding deer]:

The Earl of Lindsay moved Amendment No. 21:

Page 3, line 16, at beginning insert--
("( ) Section 6 of the principal Act (power of Commission to authorise killing of deer causing damage) shall be amended in accordance with this section.").

The noble Earl said: In speaking to Amendment No. 21, I intend also to speak to a number of other minor amendments. Those are all drafting amendments which emerged from the consolidation process. I will happily give explanations of any specific amendments if they are sought, but otherwise I beg to move.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: This appears to me to alter the introduction to Clause 4, which goes under the rubric of "Marauding deer" and is the clause which causes some of us the most worries about the Bill. Section 6 of the principal Act is of course the clause in that Act which deals with marauding deer, and I must confess that I am in a little bit of a muddle, jogging forwards and backwards with the various Acts. It may be that the wording of the Bill in front of us is the one which will take precedence. If, however, Amendment No. 21 is accepted at face value, it would alter the original Act from using the words:

    "power of Commission to deal with marauding deer",

to become:

    "(power of Commission to authorise killing of deer causing damage).

I must confess, therefore, that I am confused as to exactly what the amendment does. If my noble friend can assure me that it is merely a minor drafting amendment and paves the way for the new wording which is before us in the new Clause 4, then of course I am happy to accept it.

Lord Glenarthur: I very much endorse the remarks of my noble friend Lord Pearson. It would be helpful, because of the complexity of all of this, if my noble friend could briefly run through in rather more detail what it is that these particular amendments do.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: Particularly Amendment No. 21.

The Earl of Lindsay: The catch-all, which I will give you once again, and then go on to some of the detail, is that there is no material change to the decision nor indeed the policy of any of these amendments. In fact, if it were not for the consolidation, we would not even be taking it before the Committee.

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On the point made my noble friend Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the opening to Clause 4 does not affect the operation of Clause 4, or indeed Section 6 of the 1959 Act. This is simply a drafting change. The actual triggering of the marauding deer power is done not in these first lines but where the prerequisites are set out in order that the Section 6 authorisation can then be issued by the commission.

There are other clarifying amendments.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: I do not wish to take the time of the Committee, but I believe I have the correct version of the 1959 Act as revised in July 1982. Section 6 is described as the power of the commission to deal with marauding deer. It seems to me that this amendment proposes to change that into the power of the commission to authorise the killing of deer causing damage and that is very different. Marauding is something upon which we shall need to concentrate in some detail.

I shall not intervene again. I just want to make it absolutely clear that my noble friend and his advisors know what I am on about. If I am confused and wrong, I am quite prepared to withdraw the objection.

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