Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Viscount Bledisloe: My Lords, perhaps I may deal with one or two of the points which have been raised. I start by assuring the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, that this amendment is by no means an attempt to wreck this Bill; it is an attempt to find a genuine compromise. I assure the noble Lord that I am a sufficiently experienced draftsman that if I wanted to wreck the Bill, I should find a very much better way of doing it than this.

The substantive point that has been made against the amendment is the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, that there are areas where night access is presently enjoyed and where these problems do not

1 Nov 2000 : Column 1008

seem to manifest themselves. But it is because the owners of that land did not see that night access was likely to cause them problems in their circumstances that they have allowed night access. It is to land similar to that that the second part of the amendment is intended to apply.

In Committee the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, spoke about walking up Snowdon at night. I fully accept that the Minister could not manage that in an hour. I could not manage it in a great deal longer. It is just such areas, where experience shows that there will not be problems, that are intended to be covered by the second part of the amendment. Where the countryside body sees that there will not be problems because there is no game or wildlife, livestock or remote dwellings, it will allow night access.

There are other areas where there will be birds breeding, livestock, valuable property and remote houses and where problems will not occur. We cannot say that they have not occurred because where night access presently happens, that is allowed by the owner because he does not fear any problems.

The noble Lord, Lord Greaves, advanced the remarkable proposition that the amendment seeks to detract from a liberty. At present, there is no liberty to have access to such land. The Bill confers a new right and it is a purely neutral question of how large that right should be. If I were seeking to deny night access to land where that had existed for many centuries, the noble Lord would have a point.

This must be the first time that the noble Earl, Lord Russell, has ever been caught out by not having read an amendment before the House. The wording expressly states that the individual does not have to leave the land unless he is presented with unforeseen circumstances. The noble Earl's strained ankle would certainly be an unforeseen and unhappy circumstance.

The noble Baroness, Lady Miller, suggested that one is trying to say that the people exercising the right are potential criminals. The amendment's supporters are claiming nothing of the kind. We are stating that potential criminals exist. At the moment, as soon as they are on one's land, one can challenge them and tell them to go away. When the Bill is enacted, one will not be able to challenge such persons until they have done something towards committing a burglary. The Bill gives such persons a disguise, to enable them to get to the point of committing their crime before being under suspicion. One will not know whether someone is a perfectly legitimate walker or a potential criminal. One cannot even challenge them and tell them to go away.

The noble Lord, Lord Judd, said that the police cannot enforce such a provision. Of course they cannot stop any person going on to land at any time. The existing law of trespass cannot be fully enforced. People trespass even though that is not allowed--but as soon as they do, at least one can seek to turn them off. If they trespass persistently, one can ask the police to help. There will be wardens to help. To say that we should allow anything that the police cannot completely prevent is an argument for legalising a

1 Nov 2000 : Column 1009

large number of activities--such as smoking cannabis and speeding. One does not dispense with rules because people will occasionally break them.

The Minister says that my amendment has things the wrong way up, but it does not. Under his system, any owner who fears problems will have to make an application and prove the case--a considerable burden on the owners of small pieces of land or small farms. Under my amendment, the Ramblers' Association or a similar organisation can apply to the Countryside Agency in respect of a whole area suitable for designating for night access. Surely it is more reasonable that the burden should be on them. The problem will not go away and I shall seek the opinion of the House.

7.4 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 19) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 116; Not-Contents, 155.

Division No. 2

CONTENTS

Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Ampthill, L.
Arran, E.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Belstead, L.
Blaker, L.
Bledisloe, V. [Teller]
Boardman, L.
Bowness, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brookeborough, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buscombe, B.
Buxton of Alsa, L.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnarvon, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Cavendish of Furness, L.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Cox, B.
Craigavon, V.
Cranborne, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Flather, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Freeman, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goschen, V.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.
Hambro, L.
Hanham, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Hanson, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hogg, B.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hylton, L.
Jellicoe, E.
Jopling, L.
Kelvedon, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Listowel, E.
Liverpool, E.
Luke, L. [Teller]
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mancroft, L.
Mar, C.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbourne, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Onslow of Woking, L.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patten, L.
Peel, E.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Skidelsky, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Walpole, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wilcox, B.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Young, B.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alderdice, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barker, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackburn, Bp.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brennan, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greaves, L.
Greengross, B.
Grenfell, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Haskins, L.
Hayman, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Islwyn, L.
Jacobs, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Ludford, B.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Molloy, L.
Morgan, L.
Nicol, B.
Northover, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Orme, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Razzall, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rennard, L.
Renwick of Clifton, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sandberg, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Serota, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shepherd, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

1 Nov 2000 : Column 1011

7.15 p.m.

Viscount Bledisloe moved Amendment No. 20:


    Page 2, line 30, at end insert--


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page