Countryside and Rights of Way Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 1st November 2000.

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Photo of The Earl of Caithness The Earl of Caithness Conservative 6:00 pm, 1st November 2000

My Lords, this matter was discussed in Committee but perhaps not in the detail that it should have been. At that stage we went off on a slight tangent as I believe that the Government misunderstood the purpose of the amendment.

I fully accept that the breaking of a by-law is a criminal offence. However, by-laws must be in place. That is the whole nub of my amendment which is pivotal on the word "shall". The Minister has already said this afternoon that the Government require flexibility. However, by-laws must be in place to make the Bill workable. If that flexibility is not backed up by by-laws, I fear that the Bill will be unworkable as the provisions in each area will be different.

Unless by-laws are in place and criminal proceedings can be invoked when they are transgressed, the Bill will become unworkable. That is what we all dread; it is not the purpose of the exercise. The amendment clarifies the situation and allows the Government the flexibility they seek but asks the appropriate bodies to put by-laws in place to back up that flexibility. I beg to move.