Countryside and Rights of Way Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 1st November 2000.

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Photo of Lord Roberts of Conwy Lord Roberts of Conwy Conservative 5:45 pm, 1st November 2000

My Lords, I wish also to support this amendment, which I believe to be of tremendous importance. It is of particular importance to Wales because we have what is known as the tir cymen scheme, which is similar but rather better, so I am told, than the stewardship scheme. It is run by the Countryside Council for Wales. Therefore, one assumes that the council would have a power to exclude any land that is under a management scheme, if it thought that the conditions would be vitiated by its declaration as "open access land".

I stress the importance of this matter because the these management schemes are becoming a vital source of income, especially for hill farmers. We are aware of what the average farm income is in England--I believe that it is about £10,000 a year--but it is £5,000 and decreasing in Wales. Therefore, such management schemes are very popular with the farming community because they make a substantial contribution to farm incomes.