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Baroness Byford I note that the noble Baroness, Lady Young of Old Scone, is smiling. I was not looking for a long list. It seemed to me to be a slight omission that the two main agencies are not on the list. However, if the Minister is committing the Government to putting them on it, I shall be happy to withdraw the amendment.

I understand why the Minister wishes to include many of the other bodies in regulations. However, it seems strange that the two main bodies, which have a great input in this matter, are not on the face of the Bill.

Baroness Young of Old Scone: Perhaps I may make one point of clarification. I must declare my interest as chairman of English Nature. I confess that my smile was a wry smile rather than a smile of welcome. English Nature has the capacity to be consulted as of right if a right of way improvement plan will impact on an SSSI. That is our primary consideration. Other provisions of the Bill make that a requirement. Being named in the regulations or guidance is to some extent a mixed blessing. It means that we shall be consulted on all rights of way improvement plans. We are slightly worried about the weight of paper which might head in our direction under that provision. However, we shall relax under that requirement if that is one to which the Minister wishes to make a commitment.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: The noble Baroness has helped the Committee and the Minister. However, perhaps I may suggest that she will have to watch her Addison's rules.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I am sure that those who have been asking for this commitment will read it in the light of the comments made by the noble Baroness, Lady Young.

Baroness Byford: I shall not delay the Committee. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Byford moved Amendment No. 417B:



("( ) any conservation board for an area of outstanding natural beauty any part of which is within their area,").

The noble Baroness said: Amendment No. 417B is linked to my earlier amendment. It allows a local highway authority to prepare its rights of way implementation plans jointly with any conservation board of the areas of outstanding national beauty.

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Perhaps I should not include "conservation board" but say that I am referring to areas of outstanding natural beauty. I beg to move.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: These amendments would allow a local highway authority to make arrangements with any relevant conservation board to discharge jointly their functions under Clauses 56 and 57; in other words, to prepare a joint rights of way improvement plan. As we shall see when we come to debate the amendments providing for the creation of AONB conservation boards, it will become clear that we intend that an individual AONB's establishment order will transfer to it particular relevant local authority functions or provide for functions to be discharged jointly.

Perhaps I may suggest that the amendments are not necessary. This is rather awkward, as we have not yet debated AONBs. We do not yet know what the establishment orders for individual AONBs will be. We shall have plenty of opportunity to debate this issue in the right place.

Baroness Byford: I slightly smile at the Minister's last comment. I accept that this is awkward. However, the whole section regarding AONBs was added to the Bill after it had passed through the other place. I believe the Committee will realise why this is difficult. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 417C not moved.]

7.15 p.m.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 418:


    Page 36, line 33, after ("section") insert--


(""local highway authority" has the same meaning as in the 1980 Act;").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 57, as amended, agreed to.

[Amendment No. 419 not moved.]

Clause 58 agreed to.

Clause 59 [Enforcement of duty to prevent obstruction]:

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Viscount Allenby of Megiddo): Before calling Amendment No. 420, I must inform the Committee that if this amendment were to be agreed, I could not call Amendments Nos. 421 to 428.

[Amendment No. 420 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 421:


    Page 37, leave out lines 26 to 31 and insert--


("(a) it is or forms part of--
(i) a building (whether temporary or permanent) or works for the construction of a building, or

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(ii) any other structure (including a tent, caravan, vehicle or other temporary or movable structure) which is designed, adapted or used for human habitation,").

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 421, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 422 to 430, 432, 434 and 438 to 440.

These amendments all relate to the provisions in Clause 59 for dealing with obstructions. Certain obstructions are excluded from Clause 59 because we believe that local highway authorities should retain discretion as to how and when to take action to get them removed. Among the exclusions are buildings or any other structures, including vehicles, which it appears may be used as a dwelling. Amendment No. 421 clarifies the definition of buildings to include parts of buildings and those which are under construction. The amendments also remove a potential loophole. For example, it is arguable that an empty vehicle which is not designed to be used as a dwelling but which has been placed across a right of way to prevent the public from using the way at present would be exempt from Clause 59. That is because it is conceivable that someone could live in the vehicle.

Amendment No. 421, together with Amendment No. 434, would prevent such obstructions from being excluded from the new provisions, provided they are not being lived in at the time when a complaint is first made to the highway authority.

The remaining government amendments in this group reorder parts of Clause 59 adding two new sections: 130C and 130D. The process in Clause 59 is that a member of the public may serve a notice on a local highway authority when a right of way is obstructed. If the obstruction has not been removed after a certain period of time, the complainant may seek an order from the magistrates' court requiring the authority to take action to ensure that the obstruction is removed. The highway authority is required to inform anyone who it thinks may be responsible for an obstruction that a complaint has been made. However, as the Bill is currently drafted, those persons, as third parties, do not have a right to be heard if the case goes to court.

Amendments Nos. 422 to 430, 432 and 438 to 440 would do three things. They would give a person who is responsible for the obstruction and the owner of the obstruction, if that is someone else, a right to give evidence in the court on those matters on which it must be satisfied before it can make an order. These are set out in the Bill at present. The aim is to ensure that the court is provided with as much relevant information as possible when deciding whether to make an order. Secondly, the amendments would give the person responsible for the obstruction a right to appeal to the Crown Court against the decision of the magistrates' court. The complainant and the highway authority already have such a right under the Bill. Thirdly, the amendments introduce a number of procedural changes: for example, to ensure that persons with a right to be heard are informed of the court hearing and

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are allowed time for any of the parties to appeal to the Crown Court before an order made by the magistrates' court can take effect. I beg to move.

Baroness Byford : I rise to support Amendment No. 421, which makes good sense. I thank the Minister for tabling it. Perhaps I might ask one question of clarification. Does the amendment include any request, regardless of how small or whether it is reasonable? Having looked at the Bill I am not sure where the amendment kicks in. I would be grateful for clarification.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Amendment No. 422 does not refer to a request. Amendment No. 422 states:


    "A person serving a notice ... must include in the notice the name and address, if known to him, of any person ... responsible for the obstruction".

Baroness Byford: I apologise to the Committee. I was not clear whether anybody could raise, at any stage, any objection to anything that was obstructing the highway, whether the objection was reasonable or not. If I have that in the wrong place, I apologise to the Committee.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Members of the public, which is anybody, can object to obstructions across rights of way.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendments Nos. 422 to 430:


    Page 37, line 35, at end insert--


("(4A) A person serving a notice under subsection (1) above must include in the notice the name and address, if known to him, of any person who it appears to him may be for the time being responsible for the obstruction.").
Page 37, line 37, leave out ("by any person").


    Page 37, leave out lines 39 to 41.


    Page 37, line 42, at beginning insert ("on every person whose name and address is, pursuant to subsection (4A) above, included in the notice and,").


    Page 37, line 42, after ("every") insert ("other").


    Page 37, line 46, leave out ("it") and insert ("the obstruction").


    Page 37, line 47, at end insert (", and


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