2.—(1) If any objection is duly made with respect to an application for a drought order and is not withdrawn, then, subject to the provisions of this paragraph, the Department shall, before making the order, either—N.I.
(a)cause a local inquiry to be held; or
(b)afford an opportunity—
(i)to the objector; and
(ii)if the objector avails himself of the opportunity, to the applicant and to any other persons to whom it appears to the Department expedient to afford the opportunity,
of appearing before and being heard by a person appointed by the Department for the purpose.
(2) Subject to sub-paragraph (3), where, on an application for a drought order, it appears to the Department that a drought order is required to be made urgently if it is to enable the deficiency of supplies of water to be effectively met, it may direct that the requirements of sub-paragraph (1) shall be dispensed with in relation to the application.
(3) Nothing in sub-paragraph (2) shall authorise the Department to fail to consider any objection to a proposed drought order which has been duly made and not withdrawn.
(4) Notwithstanding anything in sub-paragraph (1), the Department may—
(a)require any person who has made an objection to a proposed drought order to state in writing the grounds of his objection; and
(b)disregard the objection for the purposes of this paragraph if the Department is satisfied—
(i)that the objection relates exclusively to matters which can be dealt with on a reference under Schedule 6 or by any person by whom compensation is to be assessed; or
(ii)in a case where the order is one confined to the extension of a period specified in a previous order, that the objection is one that has in substance been made with respect to the application for that previous order.
(5) Subject to the requirements of this paragraph, the Department, on being satisfied that the proper notices have been published and served, may, if it thinks fit, make the order in respect of which the application is made with or without modifications.
(6) The Department may cause a local inquiry to be held on any application for a drought order notwithstanding that it is not required to do so by this paragraph.
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