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Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 44:

("Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (c. 69)

6. In paragraph 13(1) of Schedule 13 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (Countryside Agency's annual report on the discharge of their functions) after "1968 Act" there is inserted ", the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000".").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I spoke to this amendment when moving Amendment No. 15. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 6 [Amendments relating to creation, stopping up and diversion of highways]:

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 45:

    Page 87, line 19, leave out from beginning to ("the") and insert ("to have due regard to--


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The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 46 and 47. These are all technical amendments relating to Schedule 6, which amends Section 29 of the Highways Act 1980 to require councils, when making public path creation agreements and public path orders, to have due regard to, among other things, the desirability of conserving flora, fauna and geological and physiographical features. The new duty is expressed so as not to apply in cases where similar duties are imposed by specific provisions in various other named enactments. These amendments would delete the exceptions.

The new duties imposed on public bodies by Clauses 85 and 97 to have regard to conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of AONBs and the Broads in the exercise of their functions would have required that the list in Section 29(2) were added to or removed. Indeed, if in future any new such duties were imposed, the subsection would have to be further amended. We believe that removal is the better approach. It does not limit the operation of Section 29, but rather, where the duties are concurrent, it will serve to give added emphasis to the matters that they currently seek to protect. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendments Nos. 46 and 47:

    Page 87, line 21, leave out from beginning to ("the").

    Page 87, line 23, leave out from ("features") to end of line 33.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

The Deputy Speaker (Viscount Simon): My Lords, if Amendment No. 48 is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 49 due to pre-emption.

Schedule 7 [Driving of mechanically propelled vehicles elsewhere than on roads]:

[Amendment No. 48 not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 49:

    Page 117, line 32, after ("unless") insert ("(subject to section 34A of this Act)").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 50 not moved.]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendments Nos. 51 and 52:

    Page 117, line 50, at end insert--

("(5A) Subsection (2) above and section 34A of this Act do not extend to Scotland.").

    Page 118, line 11, at end insert--

("5A. After that section there is inserted--
"Exceptions to presumption in section 34(2).

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34A.--(1) Where a person is charged with an offence under section 34 of this Act in respect of the driving of any vehicle, it is open to that person to prove under subsection (2) of that section that a way shown in a definitive map and statement as a footpath, bridleway or restricted byway is not a way of the kind shown only--
(a) if he proves to the satisfaction of the court--
(i) that he was a person interested in any land and that the driving of the vehicle by him was reasonably necessary to obtain access to the land,
(ii) that the driving of the vehicle by him was reasonably necessary to obtain access to any land, and was for the purpose of obtaining access to the land as a lawful visitor, or
(iii) that the driving of the vehicle by him was reasonably necessary for the purposes of any business, trade or profession; or
(b) in such circumstances as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State (and paragraph (a) above is without prejudice to this paragraph).
(2) In subsection (1) above--
"interest", in relation to land, includes any estate in land and any right over land, whether the right is exercisable by virtue of the ownership of an estate or interest in land or by virtue of a licence or agreement, and in particular includes rights of common and sporting rights, and the reference to a person interested in land shall be construed accordingly;
"lawful visitor", in relation to land, includes any person who enters the land for any purpose in the exercise of a right conferred by law."
5B. In section 195 of that Act--
(a) in subsection (3), after "that section)" there is inserted "34A", and
(b) in subsection (4), after "14" there is inserted ", 34A".").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 11 [Transitional provisions and savings relating to sites of special scientific interest]:

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 53:

    Page 145, line 43, at end insert--

("and as if, in subsection (2)(a), after "paragraphs (a) to (k)" there were inserted "and paragraph (n)"").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 12 [Amendments relating to Part I of Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981]:

Lord Marlesford moved Amendment No. 54:

    Page 149, line 26, leave out from ("conviction") to ("to") in line 27.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we are nearly at the end of this marathon.

The purpose of these amendments is to remove imprisonment, which the Bill, as drafted, adds through Schedule 12 to the penalties provided for by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in respect of a large number of offences listed in Sections 1 to 14 and Section 17 of that Act. These offences range from the unauthorised uprooting of any wild plant to the killing of scheduled birds or the taking of their eggs.

The Bill also provides for increases in the fines for these offences from the £200 to £1,000 provided for in the 1981 Act to level 5 on the standard scale of fines

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which is at present £5,000. My amendment leaves in the Bill this proposed increase in fines, which I am sure we all fully support.

My amendments are based upon, but move forward from, the amendment moved last week by my noble friend Lord Buxton of Alsa. Unfortunately my noble friend cannot be with us today, although obviously he fully supports the amendments to which he has put his name.

It therefore falls to me to do my inadequate best to put forward the arguments. I say "inadequate" because, despite the fact that I have been an active member of the conservation movement in this country for over 20 years and should perhaps once again declare an interest as President of the Suffolk Preservation Society, Vice-President of the CPRE and a Suffolk farmer who has always tried to manage his land in such a way as to enhance its scenic beauty and care for the diversity of its wildlife, I cannot begin to compare with the distinction of my noble friend Lord Buxton as a scholar and conservationist.

The noble Lord, Lord Barber of Tewkesbury, who for reasons of health cannot be with us today, has asked me to say how strongly he supports these amendments. The noble Lord has perhaps uniquely, filled all the offices of the RSPB--council member, committee chairman, chairman of council, vice-president and president. Not even the noble Baroness, Lady Young of Old Scone, can compete with that.

The amendment avoids some of the problems of unequal treatment of different people for the same offence. That was an objection the Minister understandably made to the original argument of the noble Lord, Lord Buxton. The debate last week focused on the killing of raptors. That is a matter of great controversy among the experts of the bird world. Many respected authorities argue that the present schedule of protected birds has over the past 10 years become counter-productive to the objectives of nature conservation. I do not feel qualified to enter into that controversy, except to say that I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer, that the right course is to examine the number of raptors to see whether they should continue to be included on the schedule--a view which was echoed by the Minister in his summing up last week.

The noble Lord, Lord Buxton, told me yesterday that he has discussed the balance of the Bill and the provisions for enforcement with Max Nicholson, who will be well known to many of your Lordships as a figure of world renown in the conservation movement. Aged 96, he is, I am told, as bright as a button and I am sure would be well qualified to be a Member of your Lordships' House. He is worried that the preoccupation with the role of enforcers rather than a commitment to conservation is now risking dividing the wildlife conservation movement.

While these controversies are unresolved, it would seem an inappropriate moment to introduce a prison sentence for a series of offences which are wholly unsuitable for such a sentence. The changes proposed provide for a prison sentence under Schedule 12 and

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add to the penalties provided for by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. I take one example. Under Section 14 of that Act, items which normally would be punishable by a fine are to be punishable on summary conviction by six months' imprisonment and on indictment to two years' imprisonment. So what are these items? Section 14(1) of the Act states:

    "Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person releases or allows to escape into the wild any animal which--

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