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Lord Rotherwick: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his detailed reply at this late hour. Obviously I am disappointed at his earlier replies that these provisions were not desirable. However, I am a little less disappointed with his last reply. I look forward to reading his detailed reply in Hansard. I am not sure whether it will be included tomorrow; it will probably be the day after. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 155:



("(4A) In subsection (4), after "public path" there is inserted ", restricted byway".")

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 155 I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 174, 180, 190 and 199. This group of amendments would correct a small number of minor errors in the Bill.

Amendment No. 155 relates to Schedule 5 to the Bill. Among other things, Schedule 5 makes a number of consequential amendments to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to take account of the creation of restricted byways as a new category of right of way. The amendment would add "restricted byway" to Section 53(4) of the 1981 Act which provides that an order modifying a definitive map may include the addition to the statement of particulars of the position and width of a right of way and any conditions or limitations affecting the public right of way over it. Section 53(4) does not currently cover restricted byways.

Amendment No. 174 to Schedule 6 to the Bill relates to a new Section 119B of the Highways Act 1980 which enables a right of way to be diverted to prevent crime or to increase school security. New Section 119B(4) empowers a local highway authority to create such new right of way as is requisite for effecting the diversion and to extinguish as much of the existing highway as is requisite as mentioned in Section 119B(1) (the purposes for which diversions may be made). However, Section 119B(1) does not use the term "requisite". The amendment would therefore replace this term in Section 119B(4) with the words "for the purpose of". That is consistent with the parallel provisions in new Section 119D(3)(b) relating to SSSI diversions.

Amendment No. 180 to Schedule 6 relates to consequential amendments to Section 329 of the Highways Act 1980 which defines various terms used in that Act. The amendment would correct an error whereby the definition of school for the purposes of the Bill was inserted in the wrong alphabetical order in Section 329(1).

Amendment No. 190 relates to Clause 60. This enables a member of the public to serve notice on a local highway if a right of way is obstructed. The

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amendment would clarify the intention that Clause 60 should not apply to obstructions which consist of disrepair of a highway such as vegetation growing out of the surface. Section 56 of the Highways Act 1980 already provides a means of enforcing the relevant duties. However, the exclusion in the Bill currently applies only to orders made by the magistrates' court under Section 56(4). Orders may also be made by the Crown Court under Section 56(2). Amendment No. 190 would ensure that the exclusion applies to those orders as well.

Amendment No. 199 relates to Clause 67 which defines various terms for the purposes of Part II of the Bill. The amendment would qualify Clause 67 to ensure that the interpretation provision will not apply where a contrary intention appears. That is consistent with the approach taken in Clause 42 to the interpretation of terms used in Part I. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 156 to 158 not moved.]

1.30 a.m.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 159:


    Schedule 5, page 73, line 7, at end insert--


("(1A) In subsection (1), the words "on such scale as may be so prescribed," are omitted.
(1B) In subsection (2), for "section 55(3)" there is substituted "subsection (1) or any other provision of this Part".").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 159, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 162, 163 and 260.

Amendment No. 159 is a technical amendment which would extend to all definitive maps made under Part III of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 the current power for the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales to make regulations prescribing the scale on which maps prepared under Section 55(3) of the 1981 Act should be drawn. Section 55(3) relates only to maps prepared for areas for which no survey under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 was begun or where any such survey was abandoned. The objective of the amendment is to facilitate, in particular, implementation of new Section 57A which is inserted into the 1981 Act by Schedule 5 to the Bill. This enables local authorities to consolidate their definitive maps following, for example, local government boundary changes. Amendment No. 260 is consequential.

Amendments Nos. 162 and 163 arise from an undertaking we gave in Committee to consider amendments tabled by the noble Baronesses, Lady Miller, Lady Hamwee and Lady Scott, aimed at filtering out irrelevant objections to orders modifying definitive maps. We recognise problems in the current legislation which arise from the effect of the Lasham Parish case. There is no obligation on a person objecting to a definitive map order to specify the grounds of his objection, or for those grounds, if specified, to be legally relevant.

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The purpose of a definitive map is to provide an accurate record of public rights of way. Decisions on definitive map orders are a matter of fact and law and do not call for judgments to be made on whether, for example, the recording of a footpath or bridleway on a definitive map would cause environmental damage. However, Schedule 15 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 requires the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales to hold a public inquiry or hearing into any opposed definitive map order even if the only objections are ones which are not material to the decision on whether or not to confirm the order.

The amendment tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer, during Committee, would have required the grounds on which objections were made to be specified. It would also have enabled the local authority which made the order to disregard any objection which it considered incapable of affecting a decision on whether or not to confirm the order.

The Government agree on the need for a change in the current law. However, as we explained during Committee, we do not believe that the decision on whether or not an objection is relevant should be taken by the authority which made the order. Amendment No. 163 would therefore leave the decision to the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales.

The amendment would require that any objection or representation in respect of a definitive map modification order should include particulars of the grounds on which the objection or representation is made. It would also empower the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales to decline to hold an inquiry or hearing into an opposed order if he (or it) considered that the only objections or representations which have been made and not withdrawn are not relevant to a decision on whether or not to confirm an order.

Amendment No. 163 would apply not only to objections made to a local authority's order, but also to objections made to proposals by the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales to confirm an order with modifications of a kind which require the proposals to be advertised and a further inquiry held if they are opposed. Amendment No. 162 is consequential on Amendment No. 163. I beg to move.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: My Lords, I thank the Government for coming back with Amendment No. 163 in response to the concerns we voiced in Committee. Although it is different from the amendment we tabled on that occasion, we believe that it will cut out the objections and representations which serve merely to expend more public time and money. They were irrelevant but, under the old process, nevertheless had to be heard. We are pleased with the development.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 160 and 161 not moved.]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendments Nos. 162 and 163:

7 Nov 2000 : Column 1523


    Schedule 5, page 74, line 31, leave out ("In").


    Schedule 5, page 74, line 31, at end insert ("is amended as follows.


(2) In paragraph 3, in sub-paragraph (1)(c) after "order" there is inserted ", which must include particulars of the grounds relied on,".
(3) In sub-paragraph (9) of that paragraph--
(a) after "sub-paragraph" there is inserted "(1)(c) or", and
(b) after "limiting" there is inserted "the grounds which may be relied on or".
(4) In paragraph 7, in sub-paragraph (2) after "shall" there is inserted ", subject to sub-paragraph (2A),".
(5) After sub-paragraph (2) of that paragraph there is inserted--
"(2A) The Secretary of State may, but need not, act as mentioned in sub-paragraph (2)(a) or (b) if, in his opinion, no representation or objection which has been duly made and not withdrawn relates to an issue which would be relevant in determining whether or not to confirm the order, either with or without modifications."
(6) In sub-paragraph (3) of that paragraph, for "the person appointed to hold the inquiry" there is substituted "any person appointed to hold an inquiry".
(7) In paragraph 8--
(a) in sub-paragraph (2)(a) after "the proposal" there is inserted ", which must include particulars of the grounds relied on,",

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(b) for sub-paragraph (2)(b) and (c) there is substituted--
"(b) if any representation or objection duly made is not withdrawn (but subject to sub-paragraph (3)), hold a local inquiry or afford any person by whom any such representation or objection has been made an opportunity of being heard by a person appointed by the Secretary of State for the purpose; and
(c) consider the report of any person appointed to hold an inquiry or to hear representations or objections.
(3) The Secretary of State may, but need not, act as mentioned in sub-paragraph (2)(b) if, in his opinion, no representation or objection which has been duly made and not withdrawn relates to an issue which would be relevant in determining whether or not to confirm the order in accordance with his proposal.
(4) Sub-paragraph (2)(a) shall not be construed as limiting the grounds which may be relied on at any local inquiry or hearing held under this paragraph."
(8)").

On Question, amendments agreed to.


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