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We have tabled a new clause-Amendment 16-which grants the appropriate Minister the power to vary or revoke an order should it be appropriate to do so. The proposed system of variation does not give the Crown Estate or other landowners a free hand to develop land covered by a shellfish order, but it creates a process for applications to be made to allow for the possibility of that land being developed, with a mechanism for compensation where this occurs. We have developed guidance notes on the detailed operation of this process, which we have drawn up in consultation with the industry and landowners. This has ensured that all parties are clear about how the process will work.

This package of amendments, which has the support of key stakeholders, offers an economically viable, long-term future to the shellfish industry. It will allow Ministers to start granting new shellfish orders with safeguards for the industry and at the same time to protect the rights of landowners, allowing an avenue for them to develop their land during the lifetime of an order should they wish to do so.

I place on record our thanks to the Shellfish Association of Great Britain and the Crown Estate for the constructive approach that they have taken during discussions on the amendments over the summer and for recognising the long-term benefits that they will bring for shellfisheries. I should also place on record our thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, and the honourable Member for Newbury for taking time to attend that crucial meeting held by my honourable friend the Member for Ogmore, the Minister in the other place.

This was a difficult area. We wrestled with the issue in this House and were able to identify how difficult it was without being able to solve the problems at that stage. Very constructive work has been done-I hasten to add that I was not party to that work in any way, shape or form-by a Minister at the other end who worked assiduously, with the co-operation of the two key parties. They deserve congratulations on the way in which this process was carried out. Everyone who participated, including the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, has helped to resolve a real difficulty. These amendments bear witness to that outcome. Accordingly, I beg to move.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Minister is very generous. I was pleased to attend that meeting and I believe that these amendments, which cover an area of unresolved difficulty, add considerably to the Bill. To introduce primary legislation in this area is a considerable achievement and a tribute to the work of officials and the Minister in another place, Mr Huw Irranca-Davies, who chaired that meeting with great skill. There could have been a lot of scope for conflict; instead, there was

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a realisation that common ground was worth pursuing. I do not wish to throw in any doubts on the success of those negotiations but, in any ongoing discussions, do any points of dissent remain to be resolved? I, too, pay tribute to the Shellfish Association of Great Britain and the Crown Estate for their part in these negotiations. Does the Minister wish to draw our attention to any unresolved matters?

Lord Davies of Oldham: I hesitate to say that every "i" has been dotted and every "t" crossed. The two major parties involved have reached agreement on a significant difficulty. This has also been agreed to by the House of Commons. Minor issues still need to be resolved through the notes for guidance, but they can be, provided that the principles enshrined in these amendments become part of the legislation. The notes for guidance can then be worked on to deal with relatively minor matters. I can give the noble Lord the assurance that he seeks on that.

The Duke of Montrose: I was interested to hear the noble Lord say that matters will be resolved in the notes for guidance. I asked earlier whether the Government have in mind any statutory instruments that will need to be added to the legislation.

Lord Davies of Oldham: That may be the case, but we are considering primary legislation at this point. However, we hope that we will solve the issue through the notes for guidance. I can make no specific comment on the need for a statutory instrument and would have done so if one were envisaged. We hope that we have reached sufficient agreement on the crucial issues of principle that will operate through the notes for guidance.

Motion agreed.

Motion on Amendments 17 to 19

Moved by Lord Davies of Oldham

Motion agreed.

Motion on Amendment 20

Moved by Lord Davies of Oldham

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, this is a privilege amendment. Such amendments do not normally require great explanation. This amendment will remove the privilege amendment made when the Bill moved to another place. As the House will be aware, the financial powers are restricted by the rights and privileges of the other place. As the Bill originated here and contains financial provisions, a privilege amendment was added to it before its introduction to the other place to ensure that the financial privilege was not infringed. This amendment, therefore, is purely technical. It is

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necessary to remove the privilege amendment, which provided that nothing in the Bill should impose or vary any charge on the people or public funds. It is a technicality and, as such, I beg to move.

Motion agreed.

Motion on Amendments 21 to 28

Moved by Lord Davies of Oldham

Lord Greenway: Perhaps the House would bear with me briefly, as I have not said anything from these Benches. We have just moved the last amendments in the last piece of what has been a massive jigsaw. I think that we are all pleased that we have finally come to the stage where, with the many amendments that have been made, we have ended up with a good, workable Bill.

I find it hard to believe that 19 months have passed since my noble friend the Convenor first asked me whether I would chair the joint scrutiny committee on the draft Bill. There are one or two noble Lords in their places who were members of that committee, and I am sure they remember the two rather hectic months last summer during our deliberations.

I am sure that we are all tremendously relieved that we have now reached the end of the Bill, but our relief surely is as nothing compared with that of the Bill team, who have been involved for several years now. Once again, I express thanks to them. I thank also the Minister and his noble friend Lord Hunt, who we have heard has moved on to rather more energetic matters. He and his noble friend are among the hardest working members of the government Front Bench and they have exhibited their traditional courtesy, forbearance, patience and good humour throughout.

The baton now passes to the fledgling Marine Management Organisation. I take comfort from the fact that the appointed chairman is regarded by his fellow former naval colleagues as a forthright character. That is to be welcomed. He will need that in clearing the many difficult hurdles that the Marine Management Organisation will have to face in achieving a balance between conserving the many treasures with which this country is gifted in the maritime sphere and upholding legitimate use of the sea for trade, livelihood, leisure purposes and work.

I can only wish the Bill the fairest of winds-we sailors like to say "a soldier's wind"-and I am sure that we shall all watch its implementation with the greatest possible interest.

9.45 pm

Lord Greaves: My Lords, I want only to echo everything that the noble Lord, Lord Greenway, has just said. I will not repeat it all, except to underline what I think I said when the Bill left this House. It was valuable that we had, in my view, the best Bill team that I have ever seen in the nine or 10 years that I have been in this House. The team deserves our congratulations; it did a very good job.



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I am astonished that we are not discussing coastal access at all in Commons amendments, but perhaps it is good that we are not. We now retire from the scene, though no doubt we will get statutory instruments to look at. The important thing is that the hard work really starts now. It is not easy to produce well written and workable legislation of this complexity; it is very difficult, but nothing like as difficult as the work which the people at all levels in all the different aspects of the Bill will now have to do to put this into effect.

In 10 years' time, those of us who will, I hope, still be around-such as the noble Duke and me, perhaps-will look with great interest, and pride if it works. If it does not work, whichever Government are in power, no doubt it will have to come back. However, I believe that we have a Bill which will work and that the people who now have to put it into effect will be able to do so effectively and successfully.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: My Lords, I will add some thanks of my own from these Benches. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Greenway, for the way in which the pre-legislative scrutiny enabled this House to do the Bill such justice. Indeed, I thank all Benches, including the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, and his colleagues. We should also acknowledge the work done in another place by the Minister in charge of this Bill, Huw Irranca-Davies, and the member for Newbury, my honourable friend Mr Richard Benyon. Their work greatly enabled the Bill to come back to us with amendments which have strengthened it, and we should be grateful for that. None of this would have been possible without an excellent Bill team to back up the Ministers. I join in congratulating the erstwhile Minister for the Bill, the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, and the Minister on his safe shepherding of the Bill to its final stage.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I am grateful for all those comments, not least because they have left me at least 13 minutes in which I can dwell on the virtues of everybody who has contributed to the Bill. Rest assured that I have no intention of taking such time, but I want to pay tribute to all those who have contributed so much.

The noble Lord, Lord Greenway, started further back than any of us, with the pre-legislative committee. We were grateful for his wise guidance through the development of the Bill in this House. I emphasise that the Bill had 11 days in Committee and four on Report; it has not been a marginal contribution to the work of the House this year-very far from it. The Bill had quite the most intensive scrutiny. Therefore, I am very grateful for all the work of noble Lords, particularly the Front Benches and the indefatigable noble Lord, Lord Greaves. I have not the slightest doubt that he has had that epithet addressed to him on past occasions. He certainly always showed enormous commitment to the work involved in the proceedings on the Bill. I am grateful for his work and that of the other Members of the Liberal Front Bench.

The noble Lord, Lord Taylor, not only committed himself to the most enormous work in the House but, as I indicated, in our deliberations over the summer took part in at least one crucial meeting which helped

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us with an important part of the Bill on the shellfish industry. That is typical of the constructive way in which he has approached this legislation. I greatly applaud his work for that.

I am, of course, conscious of the fact that the Bill started here, and spent a great deal of time here, but it was considered very carefully in the other place. The Minister, my honourable friend Huw Irranca-Davies, played a considerable part in getting the Bill through the Commons. I, of course, also recognise the contribution made by Richard Benyon, the Member for Newbury.

One last group that I want to thank is the Bill team, whose members carry the heat and burden of the day very intensively and not just through the long preparatory period. All noble Lords will recognise that, when the going gets tough, it is the Bill team that has to bear the weight of ministerial frustrations and anxieties. Frustrations and anxieties there have been aplenty. The calmness of my noble friend Lord Hunt saw us through most of them, but members of the Bill team also had to sustain themselves when his rather less

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calm successor-namely, myself-tried to cope with the intricacies of the Bill. I am grateful to them for the enormous contribution that they have made and I salute them on achieving two great objectives. The Bill contains two great components with which in future years we will be proud to be associated. There is no doubt at all that we have taken the most enormous step forward in marine conservation in protecting my favourite animal, the long-snouted seahorse; I look forward to that animal being protected in years to come.

As the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, said, we have deliberated today without mentioning the part of the Bill that relates to the coastal path. I think that our fellow citizens will appreciate what we have done in that regard and that we shall get many plaudits for the work that we have done in producing the legislation that creates that benefit for our community.

Motion agreed.

House adjourned at 9.52 pm.


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