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Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 320:


On Question, amendment agreed to.

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Clause 45, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 46 and 47 agreed to.

Schedule 5 [Definitive maps and statements and restricted byways]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 321:


    Page 53, line 44, leave out from beginning to end of line 1 on page 54 and insert ("that the public have, and had immediately before the commencement of section 43 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, a right of way for vehicular and all other kinds of traffic over that way.").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 321 amends Schedule 5 which relates to applications to have ways shown as restricted byways on definitive maps upgraded to a byway open to all traffic on the basis that full vehicular rights existed over the way in question. Before I move on from the matter of vehicular rights, perhaps I may say to the noble Baroness, Lady Byford--although she is not in her place I should like to make this comment for the record--that disabled carriages are expressly excluded from the definition of mechanically propelled vehicles in Section 34 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, covered in Schedule 7 to this Bill.

Schedule 5 amends Section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to enable such applications to be made; namely, applications to enable a restricted byway to be upgraded to a byway open to all traffic. However, as the Bill is currently drafted, it would be possible to apply on the basis of evidence that vehicular rights existed at any point in the past, even if such rights had been extinguished, provided that there was some public right of way over such ways. The amendment would ensure that this could not happen by requiring evidence that rights of way for vehicular and all other types of traffic existed immediately before the way was redesignated as a restricted byway and that the public continue to have such rights. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 322:


    Page 55, line 24, at end insert (", and


(ii) if an order is made, a decision has been made to confirm or not to confirm the order,").

The noble Lord said: In speaking to Amendment No. 322, perhaps I may speak also to Amendments Nos. 323 to 333 and 548. These amendments all relate to definitive maps. These are the legal record of rights of way which provide conclusive evidence of the public rights of way over each highway which is shown on them. I shall deal first with the more substantial amendments.

Amendment No. 328 relates to the existing requirement for local authorities to keep their definitive maps on display to the public. After the cut-off date in Clause 52, certain rights of way which have not been recorded will be extinguished. The intention is that as much of the historic record as possible should be recorded, but disputes might arise after the cut-off date as to whether a particular right of way has been

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extinguished. We therefore consider it prudent to ensure that local authorities keep and make available to the public and other local authorities relevant documents about the status of rights of way at the cut-off date. Amendment No. 328 would give the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales a power to make regulations for this purpose.

Amendment No. 333 aims to speed up the process of modifying definitive maps. First, it would enable the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales, when directing a local authority to make an order on appeal under current legislation, to specify a deadline by which the order should be made. The current powers of direction do not allow a time period to be specified.

Secondly, the amendment would allow, in relation to hearings into disputed modification and reclassification orders, costs orders to be made and for witnesses to be summonsed. Currently, this can be done only in relation to inquiries. Hearings are less formal than inquiries and more suitable for some cases.

Thirdly, the amendment would enable the inspector holding an inquiry or a hearing to award costs. Currently, only the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales may do so. This amendment is consistent with other provisions set out in Parts I, II and III of the Bill.

Finally, the amendment would enable costs to be awarded if an inquiry does not take place; for example, if one of the parties fails to turn up without good reason. Amendment No. 548 is consequential.

The remaining amendments are fairly technical. Amendment No. 322 concerns the requirement in Schedule 5 for local authorities to keep a register of applications for definitive map orders. The amendment would clarify the circumstances in which applications which have been dealt with are to be removed from the register.

Amendments Nos. 323 to 325 arise from Clause 43, under which roads used as public paths are to be treated as restricted byways. It may be that a RUPP has been diverted, stopped up or otherwise changed without an order modifying the definitive map having been made. The amendment would ensure that the conclusive effect of the map was subject to whatever legal changes had been made to the RUPP concerned prior to commencement and would be consistent with the approach adopted in Clause 44(2). It is designed to prevent a potential conflict arising between the map being conclusive of certain rights and the creation of restricted byway rights being subject, for example, to a diversion order.

Amendments Nos. 326 and 327 relate to provisions which enable local authorities to update their definitive maps to take account of accumulated orders. The amendments would prevent authorities producing new maps if they have failed in their duty to make orders modifying them. However, they would be able to make new maps if they have not reclassified all their RUPPs.

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Finally, Amendments Nos. 329 to 332 relate to the new power in Schedule 5, which enables local authorities to consolidate their definitive maps to incorporate any parts of maps inherited from other authorities following local authority boundary changes. The amendments would clarify the intention that maps may not be consolidated if any orders required to record changes made to an authority's rights of way are outstanding. They would ensure that local authorities would be required to keep a copy of the superseded maps on display to the public. I beg to move.

Lord Renton: These somewhat technical amendments are important. They amplify and put into operation Clause 47--the shortest clause in the Bill, although an important one--which relates to the creation of the maps. Can the Minister explain what will be the net result of the amendments on the whole process of creating the maps, which could take years? On the other hand, if there is not much dispute, it could be done reasonably quickly.

A lot of painstaking effort and detail will be necessary. It would be helpful if the Minister could give some idea of the effect these amendments will have on the time or range of times--six months, six years; the longest time, the shortest time--that the process will take.

6.15 p.m.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: These are so-called "technical amendments" which seek to improve the mapping process but which, in some ways, repeat the difficulties of the historical mapping process. For example, currently a large amount of money is being spent on the provision of cycle ways, and yet they are omitted from the process. I understand that it is intended to improve on the historical record, nevertheless cycle ways continue to be left very much in no man's land in the Bill. They are not on any record; they are not recognised as part of the process--and yet better provision for cyclists and equestrians was the first bullet point in the DETR's strategy for improving the rights of way network.

Although more money is rightly going into the creation of cycle ways, the way that they relate to the rest of the network is not defined. The Government have not been ambitious in trying to develop a mapping process which is all encompassing; it is still rather retrospective.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: How long this will take is a very important and very difficult issue. The noble Lord, Lord Renton, will know that we are talking about the longest date being the cut-off date in Clause 52, which is 1st January 2026--in other words, 25 years from the presumed Royal Assent.

The amendments seek to remove some of the obstacles to delay within that period. But, as they are different amendments, I could not possibly give a single answer about the range of amendments in this

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group. That is not because we have not thought about it but because the procedures are not directly aimed at reducing the time taken. The hope is that they may do so by increasing the powers to award costs and by deterring frivolous objections and claims--that is important--but, because this is not the prime objective of the amendments, I cannot put a figure in terms of time on the savings that may be made.

As regards the noble Baroness's point about cycle tracks, they are expressly created and there should be no doubt about where they are. Definitive maps record rights of way which would otherwise be in doubt. My understanding is that cycle tracks are indicative in the sense that they advise that cyclists can, for various reasons and various purposes, go from A to B on a route without in any way changing or defining rights of way. They are not in themselves indicative of any change in a right of way or of what the right of way is. A cycle track, for example, could be partly on a restricted by-way and move seamlessly to being on a highway. The idea is to create a useful route rather than to define a right of way. That is the reason why cycle tracks are not included in the rights of way part of the Bill. We are not saying that we are not keen on cycle ways, as the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, made clear.


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