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Schedule 5 - Enforcement powers in connection with wildlife

Part of Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:15 pm on 28th June 2005.

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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) 6:15 pm, 28th June 2005

Thank you, Mrs. Anderson.

Amendments Nos. 140 and 141 relate to the powers of constables in the enforcement provisions in schedule 5. Amendments Nos. 147 to 149 relate to the definition of premises in schedules 5 and 11.

As amendments Nos. 140 and 141 deal with the same issue, I will address them together. The new wording will put in place clear safeguards for access to dwellings, to close a potential loophole that has been identified following the publication of the Bill. Under the amendment, constables acting under warrant will be able to take accompanying people with them only when authorised by the warrant. It will ensure judicial oversight where a constable may be entering dwellings in order to investigate offences under the 1981 Act, to ensure a robust enforcement of the legislation without jeopardising the rights of individuals.

To turn to amendments Nos. 147 to 149, a drafting oversight has meant that the Bill would put the full definition of the word “premises” in a potentially confusing place in the 1981 Act: in the enforcement   provisions, rather than in the interpretation section of part 1. When the Bill was drafted, it was not appreciated that the new definition of premises would also have an effect on section 6(3) of the Act, which contains offences to do with showing live wild birds at competitions. We believe that the proposed definition should apply to that section. We do not believe that that would change the extent of section 6(3). Therefore, the drafting should be amended to avoid any confusion. The amendment removes the references to the definition of premises and inserts a full definition into the interpretation section of part 1, namely section 27. I am sure that that is clear to the Committee, and that the amendment will be agreed to.