The Edinburgh Tram (Line One) Bill Committee expressed serious concerns at consideration stage about the width of the powers that will be conferred by section 36 and so subsequently amended the section. However, after further discussions with the clerks to the committee and our legal adviser, I am convinced of the need for further amendments to section 36 to improve even further the rights of affected parties. The promoter has agreed to such amendments' being lodged.
As drafted, section 36 would allow the authorised undertaker to apply to the sheriff for the correction of any inaccuracy in the parliamentary plans or the book of reference, relative to their description of any land, or of the ownership or occupation of any land. The authorised undertaker can do that only if it gives at least 10 days' notice to the owner or occupier of the land that is the subject of the error. If the sheriff agrees that the inaccuracy arose from a mistake, the sheriff must certify the fact accordingly. The sheriff would have no discretion in the matter. It would then be lawful for the authorised undertaker to take the land or, as the case may be, to take a right over the land in question and to execute the works in accordance with the certificate.
The proposed new subsections make it clear that where a person has been given notice under section 36(1), they can give to the sheriff and the authorised undertaker a written counter-notice to the effect that they dispute that there is an inaccuracy that may be amended under section 36. That must be done within 10 days of the original notice. Where such a counter-notice is given, the sheriff must ensure that a hearing is held before making a decision on the application. Although we all expect it to be unlikely that there will be such errors in the documents, particularly in such a serious situation in which the promoter requires compulsorily to acquire land, it is important that the section strike a fair balance in enabling the sheriff to act in the light of all relevant facts.
Amendments 3 to 6 will build in better safeguards for people who may be affected by
I move amendment 3.
Amendment 3 agreed to.
Amendments 4, 5 and 6 moved—[Jackie Baillie]—and agreed to.