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Part of Commons Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 25th April 2006.

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Photo of Roger Williams Roger Williams Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 10:45 am, 25th April 2006

I support my hon. Friend the Member for NorthCornwall as well. On Second Reading, many hon. Members made the pointthat they were pleased that the duties of the commons registrationauthority would remain with local government, and I support that. Partof the purpose of the amendment is to ensure that if a power is givento a local authority to use another organisation to carry out itsfunctions as a commons registration authority, that organisation wouldbe another commons registration authority, not an agency.

To help the Minister a littlebit, I can say that such informal arrangements are already carried outin Wales. The Swansea unitary authority and the Neath Port Talbotunitary authority share a commons registration officer. The Blackmountains in Powys are a series of contiguous commons for which thePowys commons registration officer also holds the registerforthe Herefordshire part. It is a transnational arrangement, not just across-authority arrangement.

Such arrangements happen inpractice. It would be good to put them into the Bill so that thatsolution would be available to local authorities. They could then makethe best use of the expertise available and give confidence to commonsowners, rights holders and the public that a good service is in placefor theiruse.