Countryside and Rights of Way Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 1st November 2000.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of The Earl of Caithness The Earl of Caithness Conservative 4:15 pm, 1st November 2000

My Lords, your Lordships will have noticed that I moved the same amendment in Committee. I am emboldened to table it again in view of what the Minister said in Committee on 27th September at cols 896 and 897. He said that he would need to consider the anxieties expressed over the previous 31 minutes on the issue. Sadly, that reconsideration, which I hope he undertook, has not taken the form of a government amendment. I am therefore proposing the amendment again.

It is a major defect that there is no instruction on the face of the Bill for one body to come forward with a clear definition of "moor, heath and down". As we discussed in Committee, it is absolutely critical that we should know what the definitions are. Those definitions must be arrived at by a central body so that they are national definitions. They should not be drawn up by individual countryside bodies which, first, do not have the expertise to make the definitions and, secondly, will come up with a variety of different definitions.

As I said in Committee, the definitions of "down" and "heath" vary considerably in the Oxford English Dictionary and I shall not bore your Lordships by repeating them. However, because of the very wide range of definitions, it is extremely important to have them made by one body and clear on the face of the Bill. I beg to move.