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Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer : I thank the Minister for agreeing further to consider the final amendment in the group. I am pleased about that. However, I am disappointed that Amendment No. 295 is not acceptable because the provision is a retrograde step. I understand his reasoning as regards the other two and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 33 agreed to.

Clause 34 [Failure to comply with agreement]:

[Amendments Nos. 296 and 297 not moved.]

Clause 34 agreed to.

Clause 35 agreed to.

Clause 36 [Appeals relating to notices]:

[Amendment No. 298 not moved.]

Clause 36 agreed to.

Clause 37 agreed to.

Clause 38 [Powers of entry for purposes of Part I]:

Lord Glentoran moved Amendment No. 299:

("(7A) It is the duty of the appropriate countryside body, a local highway authority, a National Park authority, and the Forestry Commission, as the case may be, to compensate any person who has sustained damage as a result of--
(a) the exercise of the power conferred by subsections (1) to (4) by a person authorised to do so, or
(b) the failure of a person on leaving land entered in the exercise of a power under subsections (1) to (4), and which is unoccupied or from which the occupier is temporarily absent at the time of entry, to leave the land as effectively secured against unauthorised entry as he found it,
except where the damage is attributable to the fault of the person who sustained it; and any dispute as to a person's entitlement to compensation under this subsection or as to its amount shall be referred to an arbitrator to be appointed, in default of agreement, by the Secretary of State.").

The noble Lord said: Clause 38 relates to compensation provisions for powers of entry under Part I to be consistent with parallel powers for SSSIs. Clause 70 of the Bill sets out powers of entry in relation

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to sites of special interest. These include, in subsections (6) and (7), provisions for compensation to be paid where any person has sustained damage as a result of the exercise of those powers of entry.

The amendment seeks to replicate those provisions in relation to access land. It is important to anyone who suffers loss as a result of the exercise of the powers of entry by the appropriate countryside body, a local highway authority, a national park authority and the Forestry Commission, as the case may be.

While damage is unlikely to occur, there is always the possibility that it will occur. We submit that in these cases appropriate compensation for the affected owner/occupier of land should be available. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: I accept that there is a possibility--albeit remote because the powers are narrow in terms of Part I--that a public body might cause damage in construction, repairing a means of access or erecting a notice. Therefore we probably need the parallel amendments. I am happy to take the amendment away with a view to bringing forward our own amendment on Report. I hope that the noble Lord will accept that.

Lord Glentoran: I thank the Minister and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 38 agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 300:

    After Clause 38, insert the following new clause--

References to public places in existing enactments

(".--(1) This section applies to any enactment which--
(a) is contained in an Act passed before or in the same Session as this Act, and

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(b) relates to things done in public places or places to which the public have access.
(2) Regulations may provide that, in determining for the purposes of any specified enactment to which this section applies whether a place is a public place or a place to which the public have access, the right conferred by section 2(1), or access by virtue of that right, is to be disregarded, either generally or in prescribed cases.").

The noble Lord said: The amendment will enable regulations to be made to avoid possible undesirable consequences arising from access land being treated as a public place under other legislation. We do not envisage that there are many areas, but one example, which was raised by the Countryside Alliance, relates to firearms legislation. The Firearms Act 1968 provides that a person may not carry a loaded shotgun or firearm with ammunition in a public place without reasonable excuse. It seems right that that should apply to members of the public but there is a strong case for saying that farmers, landowners, gamekeepers and others should be able, as now, to carry firearms without having to show authority to the courts. The amendment is therefore tabled to deal with such situations. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

Colchester Borough Council Bill [HL] Reported from the Unopposed Bill Committee with amendments.

        House adjourned at twenty-one minutes before midnight.

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