Clause 46 - Conditions for grant of warrant

Part of Animal Welfare Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 26th January 2006.

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Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 10:15 am, 26th January 2006

I hear what the Minister says and understand his logic, although I do not entirely agree with it. Part of the reason for leaving a notice for a specified time is to provide clarity to the courts. It is also, frankly, protection for the owner. A visit might take place, and it might well be concluded that premises such as a barn were unoccupied, or that the occupier was absent, without the owner being aware of that. The placing of a notice for a set period would   make what was happening clear to the occupier, if there was one, who might be there despite being thought to be absent.

A parallel situation would be a car that was believed to have been abandoned on a local authority highway, to which a notice was appended stating that it would be removed within a certain number of days if no action was taken. That would give the owner the opportunity to point out that it was not abandoned, as the local authority might have been led to believe, but was a car in regular use. Similarly, under the amendment, a notice would allow the owner, who might have been absent temporarily, and who returned to find a notice, to take action to demonstrate that the premises were not unoccupied. The Minister has not considered that aspect and I ask him to consider the point again, although, in the spirit of making progress, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.