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Earl Peel: I am delighted by the remarks made by the Minister. However, I should like to raise one point. While I very much welcome the amendment, nothing in it implies that such codes will be produced or made available. I believe that a duty should be put on the access authorities to produce such a code, having sought guidance from the Secretary of State. That represents a slight difference in emphasis from that in the amendment tabled by the noble Baroness, but it is an important point. I should be grateful if the Minister could comment on my suggestion.

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Lord Montagu of Beaulieu: Does the Minister agree that it would be wise to publish any new country code in more than one language? A great many foreign students and tourists visit this country and it will be important to produce such literature in several different languages.

Lord Glentoran: I, too, join in the support expressed for the amendment moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Miller. It is an excellent proposal. If anything, I should like to attempt to take it a stage further, but in doing so I do not in any way wish to imply a criticism of the amendment as it stands.

I hope that we shall see local access forums in due course. Clearly they will represent a further area in which such education could take place. However, I believe that it would be tremendously helpful and of great comfort to those living in rural areas if the Department of Education demonstrated a degree of real and active joined-up government here. We should see a fine Bill coming from this House which will then be leapt upon by the Department of Education. It will ensure that formal education, including adult education in higher education institutions, makes available courses and teachers who can contribute positively to the education of everyone in the ways of the countryside and in the ways of our lovely wildlife. This presents a great opportunity for the Government to make a big splash as regards communicating the provisions of the Bill.

Lord Rotherwick: Like other noble Lords I, too, welcome the amendment. Does the Minister see the access authorities, who will issue guidance and disseminate information, as the appropriate vehicles for delivering other useful information to those who wish to access the countryside?

A particular example which came to mind is that, when closure notices are posted, it is important that people are made aware of them. It would not go down too well if people who wished to access the countryside in, say, Yorkshire, made the long journey from London only to arrive and then find that a closure had been imposed. Does the Minister think that this also would be a way of providing people with up-to-date information?

Lord Whitty: As we envisage it--and as I think the noble Baroness envisages it--we are talking about a country code which provides general information on responsibilities and rights within the countryside. The Countryside Agency already has an obligation under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act to produce a new country code and it is already working on that. In addition to the country code, a range of guidance and information leaflets on the scope of the new statutory right will be available for landowners, managers, walkers and other users. As to specific localised information, that would be worked on by the local access agency and the local access forum.

In this amendment we are dealing with general information and education. In response to the point raised about the DfEE, the agency intends to produce

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a range of educational material which will be closely linked to the national curriculum, as the noble Baroness requested. The DfEE angle will therefore be well locked in.

I take on board the point as to whether the code should be produced in a number of different languages. Given the nature of the Bill, it is clear that we should at least produce it in Welsh. I suspect that there may be a case for a wider translation as well. I take that point on board.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: I warmly welcome the Minister's reply and I thank him for it. I look forward to seeing the amendment that the Government will bring forward at Report stage. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 2 [Restrictions to be observed by persons exercising right of access]:

Lord Glentoran moved Amendment No. 104:

Page 49, line 19, at end insert--
("( ) removes any minerals, soil, peat or part of the land or any object from the land,").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 104 seeks to extend Schedule 2, which deals with restrictions. This is a very important, albeit small, point which has been overlooked by the draftsmen. It completes the intention of paragraph 1(f), (g) and (k), which prevent the taking of animals, birds, fish, eggs, nests and plants and so on. The amendment seeks to prevent people from abusing the right to roam in order to take for their own purposes non-living features from access land. It completes the intention of paragraph 1(r), which precludes the engagement in commercial activities.

In many areas of the country, rock formations are defined as areas of geological interest and may not be hammered by geologists. We all know that there are many examples of rare and beautiful rock outcrops and stones lying around. As has been noted many times already, access land encompasses many of our SSSIs. This will include sites certified as such due to their non-living features. The amendment will underline the necessity of protecting these features to ensure that they are not damaged or altered in any way.

The use of peat for horticultural and fuel purposes is contentious, as frequently it is not a sustainable practice. The amendment will help to ensure that people do not cut peat for their own purposes, endangering sensitive and valuable sites. Coming from the country that I do, I have seen acres and acres and acres of lovely land laid to waste by the commercial exploitation of peat. That is the last thing we want to happen in England and Wales.

Amendment No. 105 ties up a number of loose ends. First, and most importantly, it deals with the problem of litter, something that many occupiers are concerned about, having seen the state of many of our public rights of way and knowing the problems experienced by national parks.

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Secondly, the amendment is intended to protect land management interests. If a group of walkers left their picnic while walking up a hillside, it could be eaten by cattle or cause race-horses on gallops--which, as we now know, will not be access land--to shy, putting their riders at risk.

Thirdly, the amendment would provide reassurance to land managers. It saddens me that such specific provision is necessary. Over the summer, we were all horrified to learn that in August a bomb had been planted in a wall in the Gloucestershire countryside. By preventing people from leaving any items on access land, we can avoid undue concern on the part of land managers.

It may be thought that Amendment No. 106 is a rather different and strange provision. Nevertheless, I feel that it is relevant:

    "Page 40, line 19, at end insert ... '( ) has with him any solvent or inflammable gas for the purpose of inhaling the said solvent or gas'".

It is not illegal to possess or inhale solvents or inflammable gas. The Bill is unprecedented in that it allows access to private property. The purpose of the amendment, therefore, is to prevent an activity which, despite being technically within the law, would be condemned and abhorred by the overwhelming majority of the public. It is beyond the realms of decency to allow such a practice, albeit rarely indulged, to be partaken of on someone's private property in the country.

These are small amendments, but they are very serious ones. I hope that the Minister will take them as such. I beg to move.

The Duke of Montrose: My Amendment No. 121 is in this group. The Bill as presently drafted imposes a restriction on anyone who,

    "engages in any activity which is organised or undertaken ... for any commercial purpose".

I seek to add the words "or military" before the word "purpose".

My amendment is aimed merely at retaining the status quo so far as the military are concerned. The Armed Forces presently have clear procedures which in my experience are properly and sensitively carried out at any time when it is proposed that a military exercise should take place on private ground.

Many military exercises involve more than walking, but some involve merely uniformed men with equipment, which might include weapons. It will be clearer for those all through the ranks if it is understood that their personal right to roam does not extend to their military activities.

I was anxious in case my amendment might appear hostile to military activity. That is the last thing that I mean and if it is necessary to state it in legislation, it should be stated that permission should not be unreasonably withheld.

I took the precaution of speaking to a friend of mine who spent his life in the Army and who has had responsibility in one of the major training areas. He could see no threat in my proposal and could well understand my argument.

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The military are protected under the Bill on their own ground under Schedule 1, excepting areas whose use is regulated under the Military Lands Acts of 1892 and 1900. The amendment seeks merely to put in place the other side of the coin in regard to private property.

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