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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 Jim Knight Jim Knight Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity) 10:45 am, 25th April 2006

I am grateful for amendment No. 95, and I amgrateful to the hon. Member for North Cornwall for acknowledging themany powers that have been passed down to local authorities in theexcellent spirit of delegation to local government that this Governmentbelieve in.

I alsoagree with the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Mr. Llwyd) thatthe amendment is, in many ways, logical and sensible. Indeed, it is soperfectly reasonable that it is already the law, generally, relating tothe undertaking of local authority functions. Section 101 of the LocalGovernment Act 1972provides:

“a localauthority may arrange for the discharge of any of theirfunctions...by a committee, a sub committee or an officer of theauthority; or...by any other localauthority.”

As thingsstand, Mrs. Griffiths will continue to be able to act as the commonsregistration officer for Herefordshire, even though she is the officerfor Powys. In general, the purpose of the amendment is already a matterof law, which is why I resistit.

I have announcedfunding and support for an association to represent commonsregistration officers in England and Wales, so that they can exchangetheir expertise and improve it. Subsection (3) provides flexibility toenable one commons registration authority to assume full responsibilityfor an area of common land that straddles the border between twoauthorities’ areas. On that basis, I hope that the hon.Gentleman will ask leave to withdraw the amendment.