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Baroness Carnegy of Lour: My Lords, the noble Lord said that the Government are keen to reduce bureaucracy. Why should not the statement and the statutory declaration be on the same document? Is it necessary to have all those documents?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, at first I also wondered about that. However, it would probably be more rather than less cumbersome to require everything to be in one document. The section requires only an initial deposit of a map showing the ways which the landowner admits are rights of way over his land, and a statement relating to the map. After that, he has only to make periodic declarations that no additional ways have been dedicated. That is simpler than requiring the map and the statement to be deposited every six or, if this amendment is accepted, every 10 years. In other words, rather than resubmit the whole statement, the landowner would show only the changes. We consider that to be less onerous than the requirement for a combination of map and statement.

Baroness Byford: My Lords, I thank the Minister for accepting the arguments that we put forward in Committee. He referred to additional parts of our original amendment which the Government obviously considered but decided not to include. I am grateful and support the amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 169 to 171 not moved.]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendments Nos. 172 to 174:



("2A. In section 118 of the 1980 Act (stopping up of footpaths and bridleways) after subsection (6) there is inserted--
"(6A) The considerations to which--
(a) the Secretary of State is to have regard in determining whether or not to confirm a public path extinguishment order, and
(b) a council is to have regard in determining whether or not to confirm such an order as an unopposed order,
include any material provision of a rights of way improvement plan prepared by any local highway authority whose area includes land over which the order would extinguish a public right of way."").

16 Nov 2000 : Column 379


Page 80, line 20, at end insert--


("(5) After subsection (6) there is inserted--
"(6A) The considerations to which--
(a) the Secretary of State is to have regard in determining whether or not to confirm a public path diversion order, and
(b) a council is to have regard in determining whether or not to confirm such an order as an unopposed order,
include any material provision of a rights of way improvement plan prepared by any local highway authority whose area includes land over which the order would create or extinguish a public right of way."").
Page 83, line 20, leave out ("as") and insert ("for the purpose").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

5.15 p.m.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 175:


    Page 86, line 26, leave out ("subject to subsection (4) below,").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 175, I wish to speak also to Amendment No. 176. Amendment No. 175 corrects a minor error in the provisions relating to SSSI diversion orders which was drawn to our attention in Committee by an amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran. The noble Lord rightly pointed out that the condition attached to the exercise of the order power in new Section 119D(3) of the Highways Act contains a typographical error. On further reflection, we also agree with him that it is otiose. Accordingly, Amendment No. 175 removes it and provides for drafting which is consistent with new Section 119B of the Highways Act, also found in Schedule 6 to the Bill.

Amendment No. 176 arises from our commitment to consider a further amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, relating to the requirements in new Section 119E for English Nature and the Countryside Council for Wales to give advance notice of their intention to apply for an SSSI diversion order. It was always our intention to include land managers in the regulations prescribing which persons should be notified. However, we agree that that should be made clear on the face of the Bill.

Amendment No. 176 would require the conservation bodies to give any owner, lessee or occupier of land over which the right of ways runs, or over which the diverted line would run, 14 days' notice of an application for an order. That would be in addition to the provisions in Schedule 6 to the Highways Act which the Bill applies to SSSI diversions and which require a highway authority making an order to notify owners, occupiers, lessees and others of the opportunity to make representations or objections. I beg to move.

Lord Glentoran: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Farrington, for these amendments. I am delighted that the Government have moved in that direction.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

16 Nov 2000 : Column 380

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 176:


    Page 88, line 25, leave out ("such") and insert--


("any owner, lessee or occupier of land over which the proposed order would create or extinguish a public right of way;
(aa) to such other").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 177:


    Page 97, line 24, leave out ("the footpath or bridleway") and insert ("--


(a) so much of the footpath or bridleway as passes over that land, and
(b) so far as is requisite for effecting that diversion, so much of the footpath or bridleway as passes over other land occupied by him.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 177, I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 178, 179 and 181.

Amendment No. 177 is designed to bring new Section 135A into line with a provision in Section 135 of the Highways Act which prevents a temporary diversion made under that section affecting the line of a footpath or bridleway on land not occupied by the person who benefits from the diversion. The aim is to prevent an occupier of other land being land-locked by such a diversion. Under Section 135, the temporary diversions which may be authorised in relation to engineering operations are authorised by an order made by a local authority. The new provisions do not require an order to be made and we believe that such a restriction is all the more appropriate.

Amendment No. 178, which is more substantive, arises from our commitment to consider an amendment tabled in Committee by the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran. That amendment would have extended the maximum period for which a temporary diversion under new Section 135A may be made from five days to 28 days a year. We accept that five days may not provide the degree of flexibility which new Section 135A aims to give to land managers. On the other hand, we believe that 28 days would be too long. After all, an occupier is not required to obtain prior approval before diverting a footpath or bridleway under those provisions. Therefore, Amendment No. 178 seeks to extend the period to 14 days. We believe that to be appropriate for a provision of this nature.

Amendment No. 179 would ensure that it was not possible to divert a footpath or a bridleway on to another highway which was inappropriate or unsafe for walkers or horseriders to use. Amendment No. 181 to Section 344 of the Highways Act 1980 would prevent new Sections 135A and 135B taking effect in the Isles of Scilly except by order of the Secretary of State after consultation with the Council of the Isles. That would treat the Scilly Isles in the same way as related provisions in the Highways Act including Section 135. I beg to move.

Lord Glentoran: My Lords, once again I welcome these amendments and thank the noble Lord.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

16 Nov 2000 : Column 381

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 178 to 181:


    Page 97, line 33, leave out ("five") and insert ("fourteen").


    Page 97, line 48, at end insert--


("(b) to divert a footpath onto a highway other than a footpath or bridleway, or
(c) to divert a bridleway onto a highway other than a bridleway.").
Page 99, line 44, leave out ("road hump") and insert ("road-ferry").


    Page 100, line 10, at end insert--


("17A. In section 344 of the 1980 Act (application to Isles of Scilly) in subsection (2)(a) after "135," there is inserted "135A, 135B,".").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 57 [Rights of way improvement plans]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 181A:


    Page 35, line 39, after ("for") insert ("exercise and other forms of").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 185 and 186 in my name and to Amendments Nos. 183 and 187.

The government amendments arise from a lengthy and very useful debate on amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, during Committee stage. A major theme of that debate was the important contribution which regular exercise can make to people's health. It was clear that there was widespread support for these measures and for a reference to exercise as one of the matters which local highways authorities would be required to assess when discussing their rights of way improvement plans.

We have reflected on the views expressed and agree that there is a case for amending the clause so that we give added emphasis to exercise as a form of open-air recreation. Amendment No. 181A requires local authorities to include in their rights of way improvement plans an assessment of the opportunities to provide for exercise. It has been tabled in order to clarify the intention that, among the opportunities for open-air recreation, exercise should be given additional emphasis. As that contributes to the health of the nation, I hope that it meets the main point behind the noble Lord's earlier amendment.

Amendments Nos. 185 and 186 also arise in part from an amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne. They bring cycle tracks within the ambit of rights of way improvement plans. These do not currently fall within the definition. Cycle tracks can make an important contribution to the recreational value of local rights of way and we accept that generally they should be covered by rights of way improvement plans. Amendment No. 185 would exclude cycle tracks which form part of, or run alongside, made-up carriageways. That is consistent with the Bill's approach to footpaths which are defined by definitions in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. I beg to move.


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