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Disused Burial Grounds (Amendment) Bill Hl

Volume 416: debated on Thursday 29 January 1981

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4.23 p.m.

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee.—( The Lord Bishop of London.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[THE LORD ABERDARE in the Chair.]

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 [ Disposal of human remains]:

moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 2, line 29, leave out from ("body") to ("and") in line 30.

The right reverend Prelate said: I hope, for the convenience of the Committee, that I may speak to all four of the amendments, since the substantive amendment is No. 3 and Amendments Nos. 1, 2 and 4 are merely consequential upon it. These amendments neither add to nor subtract from, in any way, the powers and intentions contained in the Bill. What they do is to make clear a point which is already in the Bill, but which is not quite as clear as otherwise it might be.

As the Bill is drafted, the fact that it also applies to a subsequent owner of a burial ground, which was formerly owned by a church or other religious body, emerges only rather obscurely as a subsection of Clause 2, which deals with the disposal of human remains. The purpose of the new clause and the amendments is to bring this important point out into the open, so that it can be readily seen and understood by the reader and, therefore, to remind him clearly of a subsequent owner's rights, powers and duties. I beg to move.

As the right reverend Prelate has said, such an important matter as this one merits a clause on its own, and from this side of the Committee we agree with the right reverend Prelate that the present wording is a great improvement on the old.

The Government also see no objection to these amendments and, like the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, see them as improvements to the Bill. As the right reverend Prelate has pointed out, the new clause would not alter the substance of the Bill in any way. It aims to cover more prominently, and more precisely, a provision which is at present tucked away. The new clause would make it quite clear that, if a church sells a disused burial ground before carrying out the procedures laid down in the Bill, the new owner will have to complete them before building can take place. We would agree that the words which the right reverend Prelate proposes to delete in Clause 2(3), about the position of subsequent owners, are, in consequence, otiose.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

moved Amendment No. 2:

Page 2, line 34, leave out subsection (4).

The right reverend Prelate said: This amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

moved Amendment No. 3:

After Clause 2, insert the following new clause:

(" Rights, powers and duties of subsequent owners

. Where a church or other religious body disposes of an interest in a disused burial ground, then the owner for the time being of that interest shall have the same rights and powers and be subject to the same obligations, restrictions, duties and liabilities conferred or imposed by this Act on that church or other religious body, as if that interest had not been so disposed of.").

The right reverend Prelate said: I have already spoken to this amendment and I think that I have fully explained the reason for it. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clauses 3 to 6 agreed to.

Clause 7 [ Determination of questions]:

moved Amendment No. 4:

Page 4, line 30, leave out ("3") and insert ("4").

The right reverend Prelate said: This amendment is consequential on what we have already decided. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 7, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clauses and the schedule agreed to.

Title agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with amendments.