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Clause 49

Volume 24: debated on Monday 17 May 1982

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Liability Of Water Authorities Etc For Damage Caused By Escapes Of Water Onto Agricultural Land

I beg to move Amendment No. 83, in page 32, line 33, after 'land', insert 'or forestry land'.

These amendments arise from an undertaking that we gave in Committee to consult forestry interests and local authorities on the possibility of widening the scope of the clause, which was about agricultural land, to include forest land. We have concluded that we should do that and these amendments are designed to do just that.

During the debates in Committee on this clause the Minister indicated the likely additional cost in any given year of extending the indemnity for damage to agricultural land as a result of flooding. We understand that the Government intend to extend the indemnity to cover damage to forestry land, although in Committee they made it clear that they were not prepared to extend that coverage any further. for instance to domestic or industrial property. Will the Government say now how much the additional cost will be to the taxpayer or ratepayer, or whoever it may be, of this further extension to the forestry industry?

We do not think that the effect o' the amendment will be significant. If the hon. Gentleman is prepared to accept it, I shall write to him in detail later. We are, and the convention is, opposed to extending the provision of the clause to buildings, and so on, because we feel that insurances are available in the normal course of events. It would be costly to take that on board. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be content with that brief answer.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made

No. 84, in page 32, line 43, after 'not', insert

', as regards compensation payable under that subsection by virtue of subsection (1A) above,'.

No. 85, in page 33, line 11, after `above,', insert 'the expressions'.

No. 86, in page 33, line 12, leave out 'means' and insert 'and "forestry land" mean'.

No. 87, in page 33, line 12, after 'used', insert `, respectively,'.

No. 88, in page 33, line 13, after 'agriculture', insert 'or for forestry'.

No. 89, in page 33, line 17, after '1948', insert

'and "forestry" means the growing of woods and forests for the production of timber and other forest products and the growing of trees for planting in such woods and forests'.—[Mr. John MacKay.]