Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

I want to emphasise that we have taken care to ensure that the denotification of an SSSI is a power and not a duty. The Bill leaves the decision where it should be, with the conservation body. So I understand the noble Lord’s expression of anxiety. It is right that when we are dealing with the definition of the boundary between land and sea and all its difficulties, we should be assured that the Bill addresses those issues fully and satisfactorily. However, I hope the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, will accept that the Bill is a conservation measure in the same way as SSSIs represent conservation and that we have the power vested in the conservation body. I hope he will also accept what the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, said in his remarks. It is inevitable that issues will arise about responsibility for the boundary between land and sea, and the Bill takes due cognisance of that by addressing the issue with due thoroughness. I therefore hope that he will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Greaves: I am grateful to the Minister for his response and I thank the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, for explaining the situation on the beach at Holbeach and giving the Committee the benefit of his experience. I do not think that we disagree very much about this. What matters is what management regime and rules are set up for each particular stretch of shoreline and inshore area where land and sea meet. Clearly, where SSSIs meet marine conservation zones, special care will have to be taken in deciding how to set up the regime. The noble Lord said that the Government are going to publish draft guidance. Could he indicate whether its publication is imminent, something for the distant future or somewhere in between? Does he have that information with him?

Lord Davies of Oldham: Somewhere in between is the only answer that I can give at this point.

Lord Greaves: I suppose I expected that because it is the answer to everything along the coast: it is somewhere in between. The Minister waxed lyrical about the success of SSSIs, although I am sure that many of us wish that they actually had been quite as successful as

11 Mar 2009 : Column 1260

he considers. A lot of them are hard work. If the Minister has not answered all our questions, no doubt we will pursue them further, perhaps by correspondence. On that basis and in the knowledge that we will read carefully what he has said, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment. I see that the Irishmen and their associates are gathering, so we had better move on quickly.

Amendment A227 withdrawn.

Schedule 13 agreed.

House resumed.

Northern Ireland Bill

Bill Main Page
Copy of the Bill
Amendment Paper
6th Constitution Committee

Report and Third Reading

9.55 pm

Report and Third Reading agreed without debate.


Moved by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, I will just say that it is fitting and proper that we pass this Bill on a day when thousands of men and women are peacefully demonstrating on the streets of Northern Ireland as proof of their determination to hold on to peace. I believe that this Bill and the debates that we have enjoyed in this House reflect our common desire for a peaceful future in Northern Ireland.

Lord Glentoran: My Lords, I wish to join with the noble Baroness in her final remarks. I thank all those who have taken part in this Bill, and I thank the noble Baroness and the Northern Ireland Office for their patience and endeavours in trying to get the best out of it under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. I sincerely hope that this Bill will perform the duty that we all expect it to and that we will have an opportunity very soon to see the Assembly returning this Bill to us to rubber-stamp it and put it into place.

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass: My Lords, I reiterate everything that the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, has said. I also wish to express my thanks to the Bill Office for the help that it has given us with an exceedingly difficult piece of legislation as far as simple old village schoolmasters like me are concerned. It has been very kind and I appreciate it. Like the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, and being a devolutionist, I hope that we can move towards constructive devolution of justice and policing, not something that is or could be a divisive issue between the poorer elements of Northern Ireland politics which are based on sectarianism. I am grateful to the Minister for her patience and I wish this Bill Godspeed. I hope it achieves what I believe the Government wish it to achieve.

Motion agreed.

Bill passed.

House adjourned at 9.58 pm.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page