Countryside and Rights of Way Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 1st November 2000.

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Photo of Baroness Gale Baroness Gale Labour 6:45 pm, 1st November 2000

My Lords, I speak against Amendments Nos. 19 and 28. Much has been said about access at night. The ban on access at night--if these amendments were carried--would reduce the access currently available and being used by many individuals and organisations. Bodies that allow access at night have not experienced any significant problems. The Bill already provides for closures and restrictions to be made on a local basis or for by-laws to be introduced where there is shown to be a problem with access at night.

Many people gain great pleasure from walking whether it be at night time or day time. If they wish to walk at night, why should that be denied? How would this ban be enforced? I believe that a ban on night access would be unenforceable.

Most people who enjoy walking are responsible people. They care about the countryside. So why would they not use the same responsibility at night? The risks of walking at night, falling down crevices and numerous other risks, were spoken about earlier. Those who walk are generally responsible. They take those risks into account and do not walk in dangerous areas.

There are already laws to deal with those who intend to carry out illegal activities at night,.

As the Bill stands, it provides for night access and safeguards should any problems arise. Where there are safeguards people should be allowed access--day or night--to enjoy fully the pleasures of walking. It would take away the spirit of this Bill if these amendments were carried.