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Trees (Replanting And Replacement) Bill Hl

Volume 417: debated on Wednesday 18 February 1981

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6.19 p.m.

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

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—( Lord Somers.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD ALPORT in the Chair.]

Clause 1 [ Obligation to plant new trees]:

moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 1, line 7, after ("trees") insert ("of a species set out in the Schedule to this Act").

The noble Lord said: With your Lordships' permission, I should like to speak to Amendments Nos. 1, 2 and 3 together because they all deal with the same point. Your Lordships may have been slightly amazed at the number of amendments that have been put down to this small Bill, but perhaps I can quieten anxieties by pointing out that what they do is to narrow the application of the Bill rather than to enlarge it. Amendment No. 1 makes this Bill the same as the original Bill. It protects the species which the Bill is designed to protect, but it does not force a local authority to do anything about replacement if they destroy other trees that are not mentioned. There is one point about Amendment No. 2. It is slightly different from the original Bill, in that it does not force a local authority to replant exactly the same species, but merely one of the species that are named in the schedule. Amendment No. 3 is merely the schedule as it was originally. I beg to move.

May I support the noble Lord? We had a good discussion earlier and I welcome the Bill. I know that others took a different view, but I believe that what the noble Lord has now done will help considerably. So I hope that the Bill will get a speedy passage through the House.

May I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Peart? I feel that this Bill is becoming something of an old friend—small, but an old friend none the less. This is an improvement and I shall support the noble Lord's amendment.

I am afraid that I have some rather bad news to impart from this Bench. I think it is an open secret by now that the Government have very little enthusiasm at all for this Bill. As my noble friend Lord Avon said on Second Reading on 29th January, at column 87 of the Official Report:

"Our main objection … is that it runs counter to our policy of reducing the statutory duties of local authorities"—
and a little later on:
"We believe that this Bill is unnecessary because most local authorities already plant a substantial number of trees each year".
However, we recognise the great efforts that the noble Lord, Lord Somers, is making to change our minds.

We know that the noble Lord's intention is to ensure that local authorities plant more hardwood trees. But, unfortunately, the effect of these amendments to the Bill now before us would be to force local authorities to plant only those trees which are currently in the schedule, which is the subject of Amendment No. 3. These are, of course, mixed hardwood and softwood trees and we consider it totally inappropriate for local authorities to be constricted in this matter as to what they should plant.

Regretfully, we still feel that even if the Bill were amended in this way, it would remain unsatisfactory and unnecessary for the reasons that I quoted earlier. Indeed, this series of numbered amendments falls far short of anything that is needed for a change of heart on our part, and it is difficult to envisage any amendments which would bring about such a change. I hope, therefore, that the noble Lord will be prepared to reconsider his ideas and at this stage I must urge him to withdraw the amendment.

I am not prepared to withdraw this amendment, because I must point out to the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, that there is an amendment later which withdraws the clause which forces local authorities to take any action at all. That clause was introduced merely because I felt that unenforceable law was undesirable, and that was the nearest I could get to what was needed. But I am about to withdraw that. As regards forcing local authorities to have a narrow choice, they really have quite a wide choice in this schedule, and if we are to preserve the hardwood trees and the slow growing trees I cannot see any other way of doing it.

6.25 p.m.

The Question is that Amendment No. 1 be agreed to? As many as are of that opinion will say Content; to the contrary, Not-Content.

The Contents will go to the right by the Throne; the Not-Contents to the left by the Bar.

I am afraid that the Chair heard a "Content" from that side, and therefore I took the necessary action.

On Question Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 76; Not-Content, 37.


Airedale L.Greenwood of Rossendale, L.
Alport, L.Gregson, L.
Amherst, E.Hale, L.
Ardwick, L.Hanworth, V.
Aylestone, L.Houghton of Sowerby, L.
Baker, L.Howie of Troon, L.
Balogh, L.Irving of Dartford, L.
Bernstein, L.Jacques, L.
Beswick, L.Janner, L
Birk, B.Kennet, L.
Blease, L.Lee of Newton, L.
Boston of Faversham, L.Leonard, L.
Broadbridge, L.Listowel, E.
Brockway, L.Llewelyn-Davies, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.
Byers, L.Lockwood, B.
Chitnis, L.Longford, E.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.Lovell-Davis, L.
Collison, L.McCarthy, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. [Teller.]McNair, L.
Maelor, L.
David, B.Milner of Leeds, L.
Davies of Leek, L.Monson, L.
Donnet of Balgay, L.Napier and Ettrick, L.
Elwyn-Jones, L.Ogmore, L.
Fisher of Rednal, B.Pargiter, L.
Galpern, L.Parry, L.
Glenamara, L.Peart, L.
Goronwy-Roberts, L.Phillips, B.
Granville of Eye, L.Pitt of Hampstead, L.
Greenway, L.Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.

Richardson, L.Stone, L.
Ritchie-Calder, L.Strabolgi, L.
Rochester, L.Underhill, L.
Ross of Marnock, L.Wallace of Coslany, L.
Seear, B.Wells-Pestell, L.
Shackleton, L.Whaddon, L.
Somers, L. [Teller.]Wootton of Abinger, B.
Spens, L.


Auckland, L.Inglewood, L.
Avon, E.Killearn, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.Kimberley, E.
Carr of Hadley, L.Kinnoull, E.
Cathcart, E.Lauderdale, E.
Colyton, L.Long, V.
Craigavon, V.Lyell, L. [Teller.]
Cromartie, E.Mancroft, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L.Mansfield, E.
de Clifford, L.Middleton, L.
De La Warr, E.Orkney, E.
Denham, L.Orr-Ewing, L.
Drumalbyn, L.Rochdale, V.
Elliot of Harwood, B.Sandys, L. [Teller.]
Forester, L.Sieff of Brimpton, L.
Glenarthur, L.Skelmersdale, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.Strathclyde, L.
Tenby, V.
Home of the Hirsel, L.Trefgarne, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

Page 1, line 9, leave out from ("trees") to end of line and insert ("each of which shall be one of those species named in the said Schedule.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 2 and 3 agreed to.

Clause 4 [ Enforcement of duty as to replacement of trees]:

On Question, Whether Clause 4 shall stand part of the Bill?

I had a great deal of heart-searching over this clause and thought of various ways in which it might be possible to make this Bill enforceable, but there has been so much opposition to this particular clause, owing to the fact that it would mean a lot of extra paperwork and a certain amount of bureaucracy, that I decided in the end to withdraw it and to leave the Bill to the judgment of local authorities, which I think on the whole is very sound. Therefore I think that Clause 4 should be left out.

The noble Lord has obviously taken great note of the remarks of my noble friend Lord Avon, and others, at Second Reading. On that occasion my noble friend was extremely critical of the proposed enforcement duties to be imposed on the Secretary of State. Their removal will certainly improve the Bill to this extent. The Government therefore support the noble Lord.

Clause 4 disagreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

After Clause 9, insert the following new schedule—

SpeciesVarietyEnglish Name

Cedrus … … …

Libani … …

Cedar of Lebanon


Atlas Cedar








Taxus … … …



Cupressus … …

All varietiesCypress

Populus … … …



Castanea … …

Sativa … …

Sweet Chestnut

Quercus … … …

All varieties …Oak

Fagus … … …

All varieties …Beech

Carpinus … …



Betula … … …


Silver Birch

Juglans … …

Regia … …


Tilia … … …



Prunus … … …

Avium … …

Wild Cherry

Sorbus … … …



Fraxinus … …



The noble Lord said: This is the schedule which I spoke about before. Its purpose is entirely obvious. Therefore I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with amendments.