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Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: My Lords, I feel that, from these Benches, we are not clear about what this amendment is trying to achieve. As I read the Bill, there is the process we discussed at length in Committee; that is, the statutory mapping process, which is necessary so that it is clear what land is in and what land is out. After that in my view the important point is that it must be done as soon as possible. The Ordnance Survey, on which the public rely to use land, uses the information that the countryside bodies have gathered to produce in its explorer and leisure ranges as comprehensive an explanation as possible of access land--the way one arrives at such land and the facilities around it. The Ordnance Survey maps should be very full and comprehensive. It is that interface between the Countryside Agency process--which is what the Bill sets out--and how Ordnance Survey take on that work that is very important.
It is crucial that the public have that full information. If the Minister has the information as to how that interface will happen at this stage that is wonderful. If not, it is something about which we shall be anxious to hear--the Government's expectations on the agency passing on information to Ordnance Survey--at the next stage of the Bill.
Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, I think that the Minister understands me. I already have my aviation map which makes my flying safe. I was hoping the same process could be used to make perambulating on the ground safe as well.
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I am sure that I can reassure the noble Lord. For example, I have known the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, for many years as a Lancashire county councillor and he does not need a map that will take him up and down above the ground. It is not quite the same sort of map that we are looking for.
We have tabled an amendment which will be debated later which will place a duty on the countryside bodies to ensure that the public are informed of means of access and their rights and obligations under Part I.
It will, of course, be important to ensure that, as the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, said, users have information about which land is subject to the right and how to get onto it. We said before that we expect such information, as the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer, said, will be shown on Ordnance Survey maps, just as such information is already shown on maps of access land in the Peak District.
These amendments would require the countryside bodies to make judgments concerning the possible positioning of means of access and notices and whether the land will need to be subject to a direction because there is a danger to the public.
Those issues do not need to be assessed at the early stage when draft maps of open country are issued. Means of access and notices are not, in any event, matters for the countryside bodies to address. Those responsibilities rest instead with the access authority.
The new duty on the countryside bodies will secure much, if not all, of the information which this amendment seeks. We do not think that the countryside bodies should have to prepare additional maps to show that information. It can be presented better in other ways or on Ordnance Survey maps. We want that right of access to be seen in relation to all the other access opportunities available to the public. That will be better achieved by the new information duty that we are proposing, rather than a requirement to produce discrete access maps.
However, this amendment would be unduly prescriptive. It would require the countryside bodies to issue maps containing data not in their control, or at an inappropriately early stage in the development of maps of open country. It would require them to draw up detailed maps of excepted land which will be obvious to all. It would require them to focus unreasonably on land from which the public should be excluded owing to dangers, when other types of exclusion should receive similar attention. The new information duty on the countryside bodies will ensure
Lord Glentoran: My Lords, I heard what the Minister said and I listened very carefully to her. I preface my remarks by saying that I believe that the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer, has got it absolutely right. She enunciated almost what I was trying to say, and she did so rather more clearly. The Minister did not address the question which the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, posed in relation to the interface between the statutory map, which will apparently only show access land, and the Ordnance Survey maps. The penny has only just dropped tonight that there will be two separate processes. Ordnance Survey will go on in its usual brilliant way and alongside it will be a bureaucratic map put together by a whole lot of different people at some expense. If I go on the moors or mountains, will I need two maps--one that tells me where I can walk and another that helps me to find the way?
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