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Session 1999-2000
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Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)

Countryside and Rights of Way Bill




Make new provision for public access to the countryside; to amend the law relating to public rights of way; to enable traffic regulation orders to be made for the purpose of conserving an area's natural beauty; to make provision with respect to the driving of mechanically propelled vehicles elsewhere than on roads; to amend the law relating to nature conservation and the protection of wildlife; and for connected purposes.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

Principal definitions.     1. - (1) In this Part "access land" means any land which-
    (a) is shown as open country on a map in conclusive form issued by the appropriate countryside body for the purposes of this Part,
    (b) is shown on such a map as registered common land,
    (c) is registered common land in any area outside Inner London for which no such map relating to registered common land has been issued,
    (d) is situated more than 600 metres above sea level in any area for which no such map relating to open country has been issued, or
    (e) is dedicated for the purposes of this Part under section 16,
  but does not (in any of those cases) include excepted land or land which is treated by section 15(1) as being accessible to the public apart from this Act.
      (2) In this Part-
    "access authority"-
      (a) in relation to land in a National Park, means the National Park authority, and
      (b) in relation to any other land, means the local highway authority in whose area the land is situated;
    "the appropriate countryside body" means-
      (a) in relation to England, the Countryside Agency, and
      (b) in relation to Wales, the Countryside Council for Wales;
    "excepted land" means land which is for the time being of any of the descriptions specified in Part I of Schedule 1, those descriptions having effect subject to Part II of that Schedule;
    "mountain" includes any land situated more than 600 metres above sea level;
    "open country" means land which-
      (a) appears to the appropriate countryside body to consist wholly or predominantly of mountain, moor, heath or down, and
      (b) is not registered common land;
    "registered common land" means land which is registered as common land under the Commons Registration Act 1965 and whose registration under that Act has become final.
Rights of public in relation to access land.     2. - (1) Any person is entitled by virtue of this subsection to enter and remain on any access land for the purposes of open-air recreation, if and so long as-
    (a) he does so without breaking or damaging any wall, fence, hedge or gate, and
    (b) he observes the general restrictions in Schedule 2 and any other restrictions imposed in relation to the land under Chapter II.
      (2) Subsection (1) has effect subject to subsections (3) and (4) and to the provisions of Chapter II.
      (3) Subsection (1) does not entitle a person to enter or be on any land, or do anything on any land, in contravention of any prohibition contained in or having effect under any enactment, other than an enactment contained in a local or private Act.
      (4) Where on any day a person is or becomes a trespasser on any access land ("the relevant land") because of a failure to comply with Schedule 2 or with any restriction imposed under Chapter II, subsection (1) shall not apply with respect to him for the remainder of that day in respect of the relevant land or any other land which is in the same ownership.
      (5) In this section-
    "day" means a period of twenty-four hours beginning at midnight;
    "owner", in relation to any land which is subject to a farm business tenancy within the meaning of the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 or a tenancy to which the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 applies, means the tenant under that tenancy, and "ownership" shall be construed accordingly.
Power to extend to coastal land.     3. - (1) The Secretary of State (as respects England) or the National Assembly for Wales (as respects Wales) may by order amend the definition of "open country" in section 1(2) so as to include a reference to coastal land or to coastal land of any description.
      (2) An order under this section may-
    (a) make consequential amendments of other provisions of this Part, and
    (b) modify the provisions of this Part in their application to land which is open country merely because it is coastal land.
      (3) In this section "coastal land" means-
    (a) the foreshore, and
    (b) land adjacent to the foreshore (including in particular any cliff, bank, barrier, dune, beach or flat which is adjacent to the foreshore).
Duty to prepare maps.     4 - (1) It shall be the duty of the Countryside Agency to prepare, in respect of England outside Inner London, maps which together show-
    (a) all registered common land, and
    (b) all open country.
      (2) It shall be the duty of the Countryside Council for Wales to prepare, in respect of Wales, maps which together show-
    (a) all registered common land, and
    (b) all open country.
      (3) Subsections (1) and (2) have effect subject to the following provisions of this section and to the provisions of sections 5 to 9.
      (4) A map prepared under this section must distinguish between open country and registered common land, but need not distinguish between different categories of open country.
      (5) In preparing a map under this section, the appropriate countryside body-
    (a) may determine not to show as open country areas of open country which are so small that the body consider that their inclusion would serve no useful purpose, and
    (b) may determine that any boundary of an area of open country is to be treated as coinciding with a particular physical feature (whether the effect is to include other land as open country or to exclude part of an area of open country).
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