Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 255:


LOCAL ACCESS FORUMS: SUPPLEMENTARY

(" .--(1) Regulations under section (Local access forums) may in particular include provision--
(a) as to the appointment as members of a local access forum of persons appearing to the appointing authority to be representative of persons of any specified description or of any specified body;
(b) as to the establishment by appointing authorities of joint local access forums.
(2) The regulations must provide for the appointment of persons appearing to the appointing authority to be representative of--
(a) users of local rights of way or the right conferred by section 2(1);
(b) owners and occupiers of access land or land over which local rights of way subsist.
(3) In subsection (2)--
"access land" has the same meaning as in Part I;
"local rights of way" has the meaning given by section 57(5), but as if the references there to a local highway authority and their area were references to an appointing authority and their area.
(4) The Secretary of State and the National Assembly for Wales, in making regulations under section (Local access forums) containing such provision as is mentioned in subsection (2), must have regard to the desirability of maintaining a reasonable balance

16 Nov 2000 : Column 511

between the number of members of any local access forum appointed in accordance with paragraph (a) and in accordance with paragraph (b) of subsection (2).
(5) Regulations under section (Local access forums) may include such supplementary or incidental provision as appears to the Secretary of State or National Assembly for Wales (as the case may be) to be necessary or expedient.
(6) For the purposes of section (Local access forums), the Broads are to be treated as a National Park and the Broads Authority as a National Park authority.
(7) In subsection (6) "the Broads" has the same meaning as in the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988.
(8) Regulations under section (Local access forums) shall be made by statutory instrument, and a statutory instrument containing such regulations made by the Secretary of State shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.").

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer moved, as an Amendment to Amendment No. 255, Amendment No. 256:


    Line 14, at end insert--


("(c) other interests especially relevant to that area").

On Question, Amendment No. 256, as an amendment to Amendment No. 255, agreed to.

On Question, Amendment No. 255, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 87 [Power of countryside bodies to enter into management agreements]:

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 257:


    Page 59, line 39, after ("land),") insert--


("(a) in subsection (1) the words "both in the countryside and" are omitted, and
(b)")

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving the amendment, I speak also to Amendment No. 261. At present Section 39(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 allows local planning authorities to enter into management agreements with landowners which may be made binding on successors in title,


    "for the purpose of conserving or enhancing the natural beauty or amenity of any land which is both in the countryside and within their area or promoting its enjoyment by the public".

The Countryside and Rights of Way Bill contains a provision at Clause 87 which amends Section 39 of the 1981 Act so as to allow the countryside bodies to enter into management agreements with landowners under that section. The purpose of that amendment is to allow the countryside bodies to enter into agreements to protect the status of open countryside to which access will be granted under Part I, and so ensure the permanence of the right of access.

The noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer, tabled a similar amendment in Committee. This amendment will also give the Countryside Agency powers to provide permanent protection to millennium greens in towns. We therefore agree with the noble Baroness that it provides a useful addition to its armoury. I beg to move.

16 Nov 2000 : Column 512

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: My Lords, I am grateful to the Government for tabling Amendment No. 257 to deal with the concerns that we expressed in Committee. The Minister mentioned millennium greens. Is she also speaking to Amendment No. 258A?

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: No.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 258:


    After Clause 87, insert the following new clause--

("Norfolk and Suffolk Broads

. In Part IV of the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988, before section 18 there is inserted--
"General duty of public bodies etc.
17A.--(1) In exercising or performing any functions in relation to, or so as to affect, land in the Broads, a relevant authority shall have regard to the purposes of--
(a) conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the Broads;
(b) promoting the enjoyment of the Broads by the public; and
(c) protecting the interests of navigation.
(2) The following are relevant authorities for the purposes of this section--
(a) any Minister of the Crown,
(b) any public body,
(c) any statutory undertaker,
(d) any person holding public office.
(3) In subsection (2)--
"public body" includes--
(a) a county council, district council or parish council;
(b) a joint planning board within the meaning of section 2 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990;
(c) a joint committee appointed under section 102(1)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972;
"public office" means--
(a) an office under Her Majesty;
(b) an office created or continued in existence by a public general Act; or
(c) an office the remuneration in respect of which is paid out of money provided by Parliament."").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the amendment is in response to Amendment No. 543ZC, tabled in Committee by the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer. It will require any relevant authority, in exercising its functions in relation to or so as to affect land in the Broads, to have regard to the purposes for which the Broads have been designated under Section 2(1) of the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988. The amendment is equivalent to Amendment No. 234, which places a similar duty on

16 Nov 2000 : Column 513

relevant authorities to have regard to the purpose for which AONBs have been designated when doing anything that affects an AONB. It is also equivalent to the appropriate provisions relating to national parks. The arguments are the same in each case.

The amendment will ensure that all the family of national landscape designations are similarly protected by requiring relevant authorities to have regard to their purposes of designation. I beg to move.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: My Lords, I know that the Broads authority is glad finally to be treated on the same footing as the other national parks. I thank the Government.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 258A:


    After Clause 87, insert the following new clause--

("Town and village greens
REGISTRATION OF TOWN AND VILLAGE GREENS

.--(1) Section 22 of the Commons Registration Act 1965 (interpretation) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (1), in the definition of "town or village green" for the words after "lawful sports and pastimes" there is substituted "or which falls within subsection (1A) of this section.
(3) After that subsection there is inserted--
"(1A) Land falls within this subsection if it is land on which for not less than twenty years a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality, or of any neighbourhood within a locality, have indulged in lawful sports and pastimes as of right, and either--
(a) continue to do so, or
(b) have ceased to do so for not more than such period as may be prescribed, or determined in accordance with prescribed provisions.
(1B) If regulations made for the purposes of paragraph (b) of subsection (1A) of this section provide for the period mentioned in that paragraph to come to an end unless prescribed steps are taken, the regulations may also require registration authorities to make available in accordance with the regulations, on payment of any prescribed fee, information relating to the taking of any such steps.".").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the amendment honours the commitment that the Government gave in Committee to bring forward proposals on the registration of town and village greens. We understand the difficulties in registering land as a town or village green, mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Miller. We share her wish to clarify and update the definitions in the Commons Registration Act 1965.

The amendment directly addresses two of the noble Baroness's concerns. It makes it clear that qualifying use must be by a significant number of people from a particular locality or neighbourhood. That removes the need for applicants to demonstrate that use is predominantly by people from the locality and means

16 Nov 2000 : Column 514

that use by people from outside that locality will no longer have to be taken into account by registration authorities. It will be sufficient for a significant number of local people to use the site as of right for lawful recreation and pastimes.

Secondly, the amendment addresses the problem of applications being accepted only where it can be demonstrated that users come from a discrete area, such as a village or parish. That is not easy in large built-up areas. The amendment introduces the concept of neighbourhood and provides that users should come either from a locality or from a neighbourhood within a locality.

The final part of the equation has proved a little more difficult to resolve. The Government have difficulties with the proposal that land should remain subject to registration as a green many years after its use for lawful sports and pastimes has ceased. That would have been the effect of the amendment tabled in Committee by the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer. That amendment provided that qualifying use had only to end after 31st July 1990. That is already 10 years ago. Such a provision could significantly interfere with planned development.

However, the Government accept that the current interpretation of the law, which is that qualifying use must have taken place virtually up to the date of the application for registration, is onerous. It makes it difficult for applicants to bring together in time all the necessary evidence of use over a 20-year period.

Therefore, our amendment gives the Secretary of State the power to make regulations to establish an appropriate time limit within which an application to register must be lodged. At present, we are minded to make that two years. We believe that it is an appropriate period within which it is reasonable to expect an applicant to be able to draw up the evidence necessary to support an application. If no application is lodged within that two-year period, the owner or developer will be able to take whatever steps are necessary to develop the land in the certainty that an application for registration as a green cannot be entertained.

The Government will of course consult widely on the content of the regulations proposed under this amendment, which I hope the House will be able to accept. I beg to move.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page