Countryside and Rights of Way Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 1st November 2000.

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Photo of Earl Peel Earl Peel Conservative 5:15 pm, 1st November 2000

My Lords, I received the answer from the Minister which he told me in advance of moving the amendment I would receive. I thank him for that. At least he has been consistent.

The Minister said that he was reluctant in the first place to give 20 metres. He may be interested to know that in their right to access legislation the Danes give 150 metres. But I suspect that the Government are not particularly interested in what the Danes do. That apart, the noble Lord said that my amendment would be a serious incursion into the amount of land that was available. I do not think that that is so. My noble friend Lord Marlesford was absolutely right. We are looking for something that will make people realise that the legislation is not there to drive a wedge between town and country people. That is an important point, but it is one that is so often ignored.

I congratulate the noble Viscount, Lord Brookeborough, on opening the night-time access debate very successfully indeed. He made some extremely telling points. The Government should heed carefully the information given by the noble Viscount from his experiences in Northern Ireland.

I was interested in the comments made by the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, and the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, from the Liberal Democrat Benches. I think I am right in saying that they have a degree of sympathy for the amendment. I shall take the opportunity of discussing the matter further with them. Perhaps we will come back at the next stage with a joint Conservative/Liberal Democrat amendment. That would make an interesting move forward! Given those circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.