Countryside and Rights of Way Bill - continued        House of Lords
PART I, ACCESS TO THE COUNTRYSIDE - continued

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Rights and liabilities of owners and occupiers
Effect of right of access on rights and liabilities of owners.     12. - (1) The operation of section 2(1) in relation to any access land does not increase the liability, under any enactment not contained in this Act or under any rule of law, of a person interested in the access land or any adjoining land in respect of the state of the land or of things done or omitted to be done on the land.
 
      (2) Any restriction arising under a covenant or otherwise as to the use of any access land shall have effect subject to the provisions of this Part, and any liability of a person interested in any access land in respect of such a restriction is limited accordingly.
 
      (3) For the purposes of any enactment or rule of law as to the circumstances in which the dedication of a highway or the grant of an easement may be presumed, or may be established by prescription, the use by the public or by any person of a way across land in the exercise of the right conferred by section 2(1) is to be disregarded.
 
      (4) The use of any land by the inhabitants of any locality for the purposes of open-air recreation in the exercise of the right conferred by section 2(1) is to be disregarded in determining whether the land has become a town or village green.
 
Occupiers' liability.     13. - (1) In section 1 of the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957 (liability in tort: preliminary), for subsection (4) there is substituted-
 
 
    "(4) A person entering any premises in exercise of rights conferred by virtue of-
 
 
    (a) section 2(1) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, or
 
    (b) an access agreement or order under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949,
       is not, for the purposes of this Act, a visitor of the occupier of the premises."
 
      (2) In section 1 of the Occupiers' Liability Act 1984 (duty of occupier to persons other than his visitors), after subsection (6) there is inserted-
 
 
    "(6A) At any time when the right conferred by section 2(1) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 is exercisable in relation to land which is access land for the purposes of Part I of that Act, an occupier of the land owes no duty by virtue of this section to any person in respect of a risk resulting from the existence of any natural feature of the landscape.
 
      (6B) For the purposes of subsection (6A) above, any plant, shrub or tree, of whatever origin, is to be regarded as a natural feature of the landscape."
 
Offence of displaying on access land notices deterring public use.     14. - (1) If any person places or maintains-
 
 
    (a) on or near any access land, or
 
    (b) on or near a way leading to any access land,
       a notice containing any false or misleading information likely to deter the public from exercising the right conferred by section 2(1), he is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale.
 
      (2) The court before whom a person is convicted of an offence under subsection (1) may, in addition to or in substitution for the imposition of a fine, order him to remove the notice in respect of which he is convicted within such period, not being less than four days, as may be specified in the order.
 
      (3) A person who fails to comply with an order under subsection (2) is guilty of a further offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
 
 
Access under other enactments or by dedication
Rights of access under other enactments.     15. - (1) For the purposes of section 1(1), land is to be treated as being accessible to the public apart from this Act at any time if, but only if, at that time-
 
 
    (a) section 193 of the Law of Property Act 1925 (rights of the public over commons and waste lands) applies to it,
 
    (b) by virtue of a local or private Act or a scheme made under Part I of the Commons Act 1899 (as read with subsection (2)), members of the public have a right of access to it at all times for the purposes of open-air recreation (however described),
 
    (c) an access agreement or access order under Part V of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 is in force with respect to it, or
 
    (d) the public have access to it under subsection (1) of section 19 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 (public access to monuments under public control) or would have access to it under that subsection but for any provision of subsections (2) to (9) of that section.
      (2) Where a local or private Act or a scheme made under Part I of the Commons Act 1899 confers on the inhabitants of a particular district or neighbourhood (however described) a right of access to any land for the purposes of open-air recreation (however described), the right of access exercisable by those inhabitants in relation to that land is by virtue of this subsection exercisable by members of the public generally.
 
Dedication of land as access land.     16. - (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a person who, in respect of any land, holds-
 
 
    (a) the fee simple absolute in possession, or
 
    (b) a legal term of years absolute of which not less than 90 years remain unexpired,
       may, by taking such steps as may be prescribed, dedicate the land for the purposes of this Part, whether or not it would be access land apart from this section.
 
      (2) Where any person other than the person making the dedication holds-
 
 
    (a) any leasehold interest in any of the land to be dedicated, or
 
    (b) such other interest in any of that land as may be prescribed,
       the dedication must be made jointly with that other person, in such manner as may be prescribed, or with his consent, given in such manner as may be prescribed.
 
      (3) In relation to a dedication under this section by virtue of subsection (1)(b), the reference in subsection (2)(a) to a leasehold interest does not include a reference to a leasehold interest superior to that of the person making the dedication.
 
      (4) A dedication made under this section by virtue of subsection (1)(b) shall have effect only for the remainder of the term held by the person making the dedication.
 
      (5) Schedule 2 to the Forestry Act 1967 (power for tenant for life and others to enter into forestry dedication covenants) applies to dedications under this section as it applies to forestry dedication covenants.
 
      (6) Regulations may-
 
 
    (a) prescribe the form of any instrument to be used for the purposes of this section,
 
    (b) enable a dedication under this section to include provision removing or relaxing any of the general restrictions in Schedule 2 in relation to any of the land to which the dedication relates,
 
    (c) enable a dedication previously made under this section to be amended by the persons by whom a dedication could be made, so as to remove or relax any of those restrictions in relation to any of the land to which the dedication relates, and
 
    (d) require any dedication under this section, or any amendment of such a dedication by virtue of paragraph (c), to be notified to the appropriate countryside body and to the access authority.
      (7) A dedication under this section is irrevocable and, subject to subsection (4), binds successive owners and occupiers of, and other persons interested in, the land to which it relates, but nothing in this section prevents any land from becoming excepted land.
 
      (8) A dedication under this section is a local land charge.
 
 
Miscellaneous provisions relating to right of access
Byelaws.     17. - (1) An access authority may, as respects access land in their area, make byelaws-
 
 
    (a) for the preservation of order,
 
    (b) for the prevention of damage to the land or anything on or in it, and
 
    (c) for securing that persons exercising the right conferred by section 2(1) so behave themselves as to avoid undue interference with the enjoyment of the land by other persons.
      (2) Byelaws under this section may relate to all the access land in the area of the access authority or only to particular land.
 
      (3) Before making byelaws under this section, the access authority shall consult the appropriate countryside body.
 
      (4) Byelaws under this section shall not interfere-
 
 
    (a) with the exercise of any public right of way,
 
    (b) with any authority having under any enactment functions relating to the land to which the byelaws apply, or
 
    (c) with the running of a telecommunications code system or the exercise of any right conferred by or in accordance with the telecommunications code on the running of any such system.
      (5) Sections 236 to 238 of the Local Government Act 1972 (which relate to the procedure for making byelaws, authorise byelaws to impose fines not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale, and provide for the proof of byelaws in legal proceedings) apply to all byelaws under this section whether or not the authority making them is a local authority within the meaning of that Act.
 
      (6) The confirming authority in relation to byelaws made under this section is-
 
 
    (a) as respects England, the Secretary of State, and
 
    (b) as respects Wales, the National Assembly for Wales.
      (7) Any access authority having power under this section to make byelaws also has power to enforce byelaws made by them; and any county council or district council may enforce byelaws made under this section by another authority as respects land in the area of the council.
 
Wardens.     18. - (1) An access authority or a district council may appoint such number of persons as may appear to the authority making the appointment to be necessary or expedient, to act as wardens as respects access land in their area.
 
      (2) Wardens may be appointed under subsection (1) for the following purposes-
 
 
    (a) to secure compliance with byelaws under section 17 and with the general restrictions in Schedule 2,
 
    (b) in relation to the right conferred by section 2(1), to advise and assist the public and persons interested in access land,
 
    (c) to perform such other duties (if any) in relation to access land as the authority appointing them may determine.
      (3) For the purpose of exercising any function conferred on him by or under this section, a warden appointed under subsection (1) may enter upon any access land.
 
      (4) A warden appointed under subsection (1) shall, if so required, produce evidence of his authority before entering any access land in the exercise of the power conferred by subsection (3), and shall also produce evidence of his authority while he remains on the access land, if so required by any person.
 
      (5) Except as provided by subsection (3), this section does not authorise a warden appointed under subsection (1), on land in which any person other than the authority who appointed him has an interest, to do anything which apart from this section would be actionable at that person's suit by virtue of that interest.
 
Notices indicating boundaries, etc.     19. - (1) An access authority may erect and maintain-
 
 
    (a) notices indicating the boundaries of access land and excepted land, and
 
    (b) notices informing the public of-
 
      (i) the effect of the general restrictions in Schedule 2,
 
      (ii) the exclusion or restriction under Chapter II of access by virtue of section 2(1) to any land, and
 
      (iii) any other matters relating to access land or to access by virtue of section 2(1) which the access authority consider appropriate.
      (2) In subsection (1)(b)(ii), the reference to the exclusion or restriction of access by virtue of section 2(1) is to be interpreted in accordance with section 20(2) and (3).
 
      (3) An access authority may also, as respects any access land in their area, defray or contribute towards, or undertake to defray or contribute towards, expenditure incurred or to be incurred in relation to the land by any person in displaying such notices as are mentioned in subsection (1)(a) and (b).
 
 
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Prepared 18 October 2000