With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments:
No. 71, in clause 16, page 8, line 33, at end insert—
‘(2A) If an application for release land of not more than200 square metres is made less than 10 years after an application has been granted for the release of other land within a distance of 50 metres of it, then, regardless of any change of ownership that may have occurred during that period, the application must include a proposal under subsection (3).'.
No. 33, in clause 16, page 8, line 37, leave out subsection (4).
No. 72, in clause 16, page 8, line 41, after ‘green', insert
‘or already be any other public open space;
(aa) the replacement land is not less in area and is equally advantageous to the persons (if any) entitled to rights of common or other rights, and to the public;'.
No. 70, in clause 16, page 9, line 6, at end insert—
‘(e) whether the alternative land is no less in area and equally advantageous as the land taken'.
I shall use my time constructively. Clause 16 deals with the deregistration and exchange of common land. Amendment No. 32, in my name and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud, and the other amendments all reflect the concern of the Committee that pieces of land of less than 200 sq m may not be properly protected.
The clause gives a permissive power of replacement, but under the amendments, when an exchange of land is to take place, whatever its size, new common land should be put in place. My feeling—I am delighted that it is shared by other members of the Committee—is that common land is mostly not large areas of open countryside but small, fragmented spaces. If land of less than 200 sq m is not replaced, we will see the gradual eating away of commons. That is the purpose of the amendments. I hope that the Minister will consider them.
My hon. Friend, in sharing the amendments with me, has given me even less time to speak to them than he had. I shall be commendably brief.
Amendments Nos. 71, 72 and 70, in which mine is the lead name, are complementary to my hon. Friend’s inasmuch as they seek to clarify which bits of land may be brought forward for exchange. I shall deal with each amendment in turn; they seek to stiffen the resolve of those who wish to see in the Bill some protection for smaller pieces of land.
Amendment No. 71 would prevent the nibbling away of pieces of land. Areas of less than 200 sq m should not be taken without replacement.