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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I have two kinds of problem with the amendment. First, I think that there is a misunderstanding about the role of statutory maps as opposed to non-statutory helpful maps for visitors. Statutory maps are about identifying mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land. They are like definitive maps of rights of way. They provide the statutory data, but they are not what the public actually use. The public will use maps and guides showing the areas of open country and the main access information points and routes and any other valuable information.
Government Amendment No. 104, to which I have referred, places a duty on countryside bodies to take action to ensure that the public are informed about means of access, as well as promoting information about people's access rights and responsibilities more generally. It is here that the information should be provided rather than on statutory maps.
I know that the Countryside Agency has every intention of making available such non-statutory information. It has produced a paper on mapping for the National Countryside Access Forum. It has made it clear that access information points and means of access should be shown when the provisional and conclusive maps are issued. That is part of its policy and its approach.
In addition, I take account of what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Jopling, and the noble Baroness, Lady Miller. If we put the countryside bodies under an obligation to map statutory access points, would we not need arrangements for consultation, objection or appeal? If we create so-called "primary and secondary access points", what does that mean? Do we really want to require them to show where toilets and car parks must be provided for every area of open country? Moreover, what is an area? Are they discrete areas? Are they areas under single ownership? Indeed, as the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, said, we could have half the country covered with toilet blocks and car parks. There are practical reasons, as well as the main reason to which I referred, why these amendments would not be suitable.
Baroness Byford: My Lords, I thank other noble Lords who have intervened. I should apologise to my noble friend for not saying this directly in my introduction because it would have helped, but I had assumed that the public purse would pay for this either through the Countryside Agency or through another body. I do not see this as being the responsibility of an individual; indeed, that would be totally unreasonable.
As regards the comments made by the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, I can tell her that I had a problem with trying to work out how many sites there would be and where they would be. That is why I said in my introduction that I appreciated the fact that the amendment was not adequate in that respect. I may be able to explore the issue at greater length when we deal with government Amendment No. 104. I was trying to illustrate the great need that there is for people to know where to go and how to find the kind of information that they want.
The noble Baroness also asked about the difference between the main primary access points and the secondary access points. The primary access point would provide greater facilities, whereas the secondary access point would have very minimal facilities and would not have the bigger complex that I imagine the primary ones will need to produce.
The Minister referred me to Amendment No. 104 in relation to the question of how many points we have, where they are and how they operate. I shall, indeed, return to the issue when we reach that stage. But somewhere in this Bill we need to cover access points to enable people to find the kind of information that they need. I believe that that is generally agreed around the Chamber. At present, unless I have misunderstood the position, I do not see Amendment No. 104 as fulfilling that role: it sets out what should be provided by the code of conduct and other information. I do not believe that it makes provision for setting up and establishing the access points. That is the purpose of my amendment. I may be wrong, but obviously the hour is late. Perhaps we can clarify the position between now and Third Reading. I have not noticed any mention either in Amendment No. 104 or in the Bill as it stands of a duty to provide access points from which people can obtain information. If the Minister wishes to correct me, I shall be happy to step back on
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I did not cover that point because the amendment is about the mapping of access points. Indeed, it is about putting them on a statutory map. In so far as this is about the provision of access points, I said that we are of course in favour of such points and that we shall take whatever steps are necessary--I shall deal with that when we come to the next amendment--to ensure that there are access points. However, we do not believe that this amendment, which requires them to be provided for each area of open land, is the appropriate way to approach the matter.
Baroness Byford: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that response. I have not actually referred to mapping in this amendment, apart from mentioning the area. That is why I was slightly thrown when the Minister--
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I should not be doing this, but I shall respond very quickly. Such amendments are placed in a part of the Bill which specifies what the statutory maps contain. That is why this is an amendment about mapping.
Baroness Byford: My Lords, I fear that we are indulging in exchanges across the Chamber in a way that we should not on Report. However, this is an important point. I hope that we shall discuss it more fully on another occasion. My biggest problem consisted of identifying "an area". I accept that my definition is not correct. However, at this stage I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, Amendment No. 64 would seem to have the effect that, if the appointment of a person to determine appeals was revoked, no person would be allowed to make fresh representations once another person was appointed. The Bill provides that no one should be required to make fresh representations but they may do so if they wish. The revocation of an appointment is rare. But if it does occur it must be right for it to be possible for the newly appointed person to hear afresh from a witness. The amendment would prevent that. I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Byford, will not press it.
In Committee we talked a little about reviewing maps in conclusive form. I note that we did so at about six o'clock in the morning. At least we are discussing the matter a few hours earlier this morning.
The aim of these amendments is to ensure that information and guidance that could change during a year is disseminated to all those wishing to be informed through an up-to-date map, possibly a digitised mapping system that is reviewed annually. I have taken the example from the aviation world where maps are reviewed annually. I am advised that it is also the case with naval maps. The aviation maps referred to are topographic base digitised and maintained to CAA specification by the Ordnance Survey. An annual review of any changes may necessitate a new map for the next year to incorporate those changes. Thus aviators can be sure to be navigating in a safe and correct way. Like most people, from time to time I have difficulty reading maps and rely deeply on the new maps published each year. Would not the route the CAA takes be a sensible route for the Countryside Agency to take?
Aviation maps not only show all the necessary aviation features including danger areas, prohibited areas and restricted areas, but also a considerable amount of useful information such as how to communicate with the relevant authorities for aerodromes, danger zones, restricted zones etc.; all information useful to planning a flight in or around such areas or to helping one during a flight especially if a problem occurs. Like most aviators I have on occasion been most thankful for that information.
I believe that the best way to disseminate information is using a combination of tools such as maps, websites, fax polling and recorded telephone messages. I shall speak to Amendment No. 138 which deals with other ways of disseminating information and guidance other than by maps. However, maps are an important way to disseminate up-to-date information. I believe that a map that is not updated frequently would probably become obsolete in as little as three to four years and definitely after 10 years. Those accessing the countryside for enjoyment should have up-to-date information not only to enable them to enjoy their time in the countryside to the fullest but also to enable them to conduct themselves properly according to the guidelines and regulations.
If the information they require is difficult to obtain or out of date, they may well put themselves in a hazardous situation. For example, a redundant mineshaft may become a hazard; or--perish the thought--another Chernobyl might occur. Mapping information should be used to disseminate those hazards in an appropriately short time. Out-of-date maps can also cause conflict between those accessing the land and wardens, land managers and owners. For instance, a diversion or changes may have occurred. The information must be correct with updates being incorporated within a year of their implementation. Unnecessary hazards or conflicting situations should be prevented if possible.
What changes can occur in a year? There is the possibility of change to registered land and open country. I believe that land management practices, diversifications and development changes should be reviewed annually. Amendments Nos. 3 and 58 relate to silage and haylage. Agricultural land may have cultivation changes with improved pastures. Amendment No. 118 refers to the exclusion of dogs on grouse moors. Amendment No. 23 provides for exclusion orders which may need to be implemented. I am sure that there many other examples of changes in the countryside which need to be notified within one year.
It is to be hoped that maps will contain information on more frequent changes, such as those to routes, names of access authorities, codes of practice, by-laws, public safety notes, wildlife conservation notes and other such information. If aviators and sailors can be treated to such up-to-date information, should not those accessing the countryside, and those involved in the countryside, also be treated in the same way? I beg to move.
Lord Glentoran: My Lords, I support my noble friend's amendment. Mapping is a continuous process. Once the mapping process starts when the Bill becomes an Act, it must be a continuous, five or six day a week process. I know something of the marines, having been a commissioner for the Irish lighthouse service for some 16 years. It is compulsory for maritime charts to be updated on a continuous basis. With regard to shore lights, navigation aids and so on, notices to mariners are issued on a daily basis around the coast keeping mariners up to date with changes. It is compulsory for professional mariners and marine authorities continually to update and replace charts.
Once this mapping process begins--it is the basis of the successful implementation of the Bill--it must be continuous with updating taking place daily or at regular intervals. I suspect that my noble friend is more nearly right than the Minister. New charts and new maps must be reissued and made available so that all users of the countryside have the most up-to-date information.
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