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Abolition Of Amenity Committee And Of Fisheries Committee

Volume 24: debated on Monday 17 May 1982

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1.30 am

I beg to move amendment No. 93, in page 35, line 37, leave out from first 'Committee' to `appointed' in line 38.

With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 94, 95, 111 and 115.

The purpose of these amendments is to take on board the views expressed in Committee about the abolition of the Secretary of State's fisheries committee.

Many hon. Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Mr. McQuarrie) and my hon. Friend the Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Mr. Corrie), felt that the loss of the committee would be damaging to fish stocks in hydro-electric board areas. After giving the matter some consideration, the Government have decided that the fisheries committee should remain in existence. The amendments are necessary in order to bring that about.

We feel, however, that the amenity committee is no longer needed, as there are other bodies, such as the Nature Conservancy Council and the Countryside Commission, which are well able to meet the purpose for which the amenity committee was established. We intend that that abolition should go ahead but that the fisheries committee should remain in being.

We are very glad that the Minister has now seen fit to do a complete about-turn on the issue. All the evidence suggested that the Government's proposals were initially wrong-headed. We are pleased that the fisheries committee is being retained and that sense has broken out, at least briefly, in the Government mind.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made

No. 94, in page, line 41, leave out 'such committees' and insert 'such a committee'.

No. 95, in page 36, line 1, leave out from `1979)' to end of line 3 and insert 'is hereby abolished'.— [Mr. Allan Stewart.]