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 Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton Government Whip 6:00 pm, 1st November 2000

My Lords, I am sorry that in Committee the noble Earl did not obtain the response he wanted. He makes an unusual request in asking for by-laws to be established in every area. The value of by-laws lies in their ability to respond to particular local circumstances. It is unusual to seek to impose a network of by-laws. People may consider that by-laws are not needed in certain areas. Where by-laws are put in place by the access authority under Clause 17, it will be a criminal offence to breach them, as the noble Earl recognises. A fine of up to £500 may be imposed.

The effect of Clause 2(1) and paragraph 1(d) of Schedule 2 is that any person who commits a criminal offence is not entitled to exercise the statutory right of access. Those exercising the right of access must comply with any by-law in order to retain that right. It is not logical for us to seek to impose by-laws unilaterally and uniformly, whatever the local circumstances. I hope that the noble Earl will not press the amendment.