Countryside and Rights of Way Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 1st November 2000.

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Photo of Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton Government Whip 7:15 pm, 1st November 2000

My Lords, perhaps I may place on record the fact that at no stage have I criticised the noble Baroness, Lady Byford, who has not repeated herself--unlike one or two other noble Lords!

In Committee, we debated whether wardens, landowners and their agents should be able to request identification from people on access land. The Government's position has not changed in response to this amendment.

We do not believe it is right that such "authorised persons", if they happen to believe that a person is a trespasser or has committed an offence, should be able to require such information to be provided. That would be contrary to the position not only in public places, such as on the street, but also when someone trespasses (or indeed commits an offence) not only in someone's garden, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, said, but in a noble Lord's home.

If someone has lost the statutory right, they may be treated as a trespasser in the normal way. If someone has committed an offence, he will lose the statutory right but can also be dealt with in the usual way by the authorities. No one, apart from the police in certain circumstances, can require identification from someone in the street, or in his home, even when that person has committed an offence. We do not believe that an exception should now be made for access land.

The noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, and the noble Lord, Lord Jopling, referred to situations in which people were being extremely difficult. The noble Viscount referred to a person who responded with a range of expletives. He may agree that if one were to ask such a person for his name his response could be a further expletive.