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Section 17 — Core paths plan

Land Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:30 am on 23rd January 2003.

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Amendment 99 moved—[Allan Wilson].

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The question is, that amendment 99 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 22

For: Adam, Brian, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Campbell, Colin, Canavan, Dennis, Craigie, Cathie, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Deacon, Susan, Eadie, Helen, Ewing, Fergus, Fabiani, Linda, Ferguson, Patricia, Finnie, Ross, Fitzpatrick, Brian, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Gillon, Karen, Godman, Trish, Gorrie, Donald, Grahame, Christine, Grant, Rhoda, Gray, Iain, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Harper, Robin, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Hyslop, Fiona, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Jenkins, Ian, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, MacKay, Angus, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, Marwick, Tricia, Matheson, Michael, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McGugan, Irene, McLeish, Henry, McLeod, Fiona, McMahon, Mr Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, Morgan, Alasdair, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Neil, Alex, Oldfather, Irene, Paterson, Mr Gil, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scott, Tavish, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stevenson, Stewart, Stone, Mr Jamie, Thomson, Elaine, Ullrich, Kay, Watson, Mike, Welsh, Mr Andrew, White, Ms Sandra, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan, Wilson, Andrew
Against: Aitken, Bill, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Fergusson, Alex, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Harding, Mr Keith, Johnstone, Alex, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McIntosh, Mrs Lyndsay, Monteith, Mr Brian, Mundell, David, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Tosh, Mr Murray, Wallace, Ben, Young, John

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The result of the division is: For 90, Against 18, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 99 agreed to.

Amendment 100 moved—[Allan Wilson]—and agreed to.

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

Group 14 is on core path plans. We are tight for time; the knife falls at 11.09. I ask the minister to keep his remarks tight.

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat

In undertaking the challenge of producing provisions to create core paths, we took account of many of the comments that were made at stage 2. The amendments will provide a means to establish readily a core paths system that meets the aspirations of people who exercise access rights and respects landowners' rights.

Amendment 104, which will insert a new section after section 18, provides for local authorities to review core path plans that they have adopted under section 18 at times that they consider appropriate and when ministers require them to do so. The amendment is designed to address COSLA's concern about the lack of provision for the diversion of core paths. Following our amendments to section 17, it is envisaged that the core paths system will comprise routes, some of which will follow the lines of physical paths or tracks on the ground. Where there is a requirement to divert a route, possibly away from the line of an existing path, I accept that there should be no requirement to consult again on the plan. Subsection (2) of the new section that is proposed by amendment 104 provides for that.

In our view, a proposal by the local authority to extend its system of core paths is a completely different situation. In those circumstances, it is only right that there should be full consultation and that is what is required under subsection (7) of the proposed new section.

I hope, therefore, that it would not be appropriate for a local authority to consult on its core paths plan every time that it proposed to divert a core path. The local authority should note such diversions and the identification of alternative routes as amendments to the plan. However, proposed extensions to the system of core routes should trigger the full consultation process that is set out in section 18. Amendment 101 is consequential on amendment 104.

The changes that I have outlined meet the concerns that were expressed at stage 2 and have been welcomed by COSLA. I hope that Dennis Canavan will agree that our amendments 101 and 104 address the concerns that lie behind his amendments 193 and 194 and that he will not press his amendments. In view of the time that is available to me, I will close on that point.

I move amendment 101.

Photo of Dennis Canavan Dennis Canavan Independent

My amendments 193 and 194 would require the implementation, and not simply the adoption, of the core paths plan. I will draw a comparison with the use of the words "implementation" and "adoption" in planning procedures. Adoption of a local plan means the approval of the words, maps and papers, whereas implementation of a local plan means the approval of the planning applications, funding and building of the roads, schools and so forth.

I ask the minister to consider positively my amendment 193, as it would seem to accord with the Executive's policies. What is the point of adopting a core paths network unless it is going to be implemented?

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

Members should remember that I have to get through five groups by 9 minutes past 11. I ask members to make very tight speeches, please.

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

I rise to support Mr Canavan, who has highlighted a weakness in the provisions of the bill and in the stage 3 amendments in this grouping. We know that the Executive's shelves are littered with action plans, but that does not mean that those plans will be implemented.

The minister said that the provisions of amendment 104 would not subject entire core paths plans to re-consultation if they are amended. I do not think that the wording of the bill, or of amendment 104, sets that out clearly. How frequently will the core paths plans be amended? Will the minister consider giving guidance to local authorities on how often they should review those plans?

Photo of Bill Aitken Bill Aitken Conservative

Yesterday, I stated that the Conservatives see the core paths network as the main way forward in respect of access rights. On that basis, we find amendment 104 acceptable.

If the system is to work, however, it is imperative that we have the co-operation of local authorities. Dennis Canavan's amendments 193 and 194 would force councils to implement core paths plans and that would not achieve the degree of co-operation that is required. It is clear that his amendments would have significant revenue and capital costs, and local authorities are concerned about that.

I am uncertain about the wording of amendment 104. It would be helpful if the minister could give further amplification of the Executive's intentions in that respect. As it is presently constituted, the provisions of amendment 104 would detract from the powers of councils rather than leave those powers as was intended in the bill.

Photo of Rhona Brankin Rhona Brankin Labour

Will the minister give me an assurance that, when a local authority draws up a core paths plan, it will be required to take regard of the needs of people with disabilities?

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat

I will be brief. In response to the point that was made by Rhona Brankin, the answer is yes. The issue of implementation was discussed extensively at stage 2. I hear clearly what Dennis Canavan suggests, but we have to remember that the simple way in which Mr Canavan has provided for implementation in amendments 193 and 194 does not take account of the fact that much of the land in question is not in the ownership of the local authority. That is the fundamental problem in respect of his proposal. The other points that were raised have been answered.

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The question is, that amendment 101 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 23

For: Adam, Brian, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Campbell, Colin, Canavan, Dennis, Craigie, Cathie, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Deacon, Susan, Eadie, Helen, Ewing, Fergus, Fabiani, Linda, Ferguson, Patricia, Finnie, Ross, Fitzpatrick, Brian, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Gillon, Karen, Godman, Trish, Gorrie, Donald, Grahame, Christine, Grant, Rhoda, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Harper, Robin, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Hyslop, Fiona, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Jenkins, Ian, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, MacKay, Angus, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, Marwick, Tricia, Matheson, Michael, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McGugan, Irene, McLeod, Fiona, McMahon, Mr Michael, McNeill, Pauline, Morgan, Alasdair, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Neil, Alex, Oldfather, Irene, Paterson, Mr Gil, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scott, Tavish, Sheridan, Tommy, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stevenson, Stewart, Stone, Mr Jamie, Thomson, Elaine, Ullrich, Kay, Watson, Mike, Welsh, Mr Andrew, White, Ms Sandra, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan, Wilson, Andrew
Against: Aitken, Bill, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Fergusson, Alex, Fraser, Murdo, Harding, Mr Keith, Johnstone, Alex, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, McIntosh, Mrs Lyndsay, Monteith, Mr Brian, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Tosh, Mr Murray, Wallace, Ben, Young, John
Abstentions: Gray, Iain

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The result of the division is: For 88, Against 15, Abstentions 1.

Amendment 101 agreed to.