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Viscount Ullswater moved Amendments Nos. 193 and 194:

Page 67, line 28, after ("period") insert ("(if any)").
Page 67, line 33, at end insert:
("( ) In the application of subsection (3) above in the case of a National Park authority established in relation to a National Park in Wales, the reference to any existing authority for that Park shall have effect as respects consultation carried out during so much of that period as falls before 1st April 1996 as including a reference to any principal council whose area is wholly or partly comprised in that Park.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 8 [Supplemental and incidental powers of authorities]:

Viscount Ullswater moved Amendment No. 195:

Page 149, line 16, after ("a") insert ("new").

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, in moving the amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 199, 200, 204, 210 to 220, 222, 223 and 294 to 312. When speaking to Amendment No. 183, I explained the interaction between the national park provisions in the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 and those in Part III of the Bill and the circumstances in which either planning boards or national park authorities will be established for the national parks in Wales. The 1994 Act contained various provisions relating to national parks which it is necessary to amend to reflect the provisions of the Bill. Other amendments are required to the Bill to reflect the particular circumstances of Wales, irrespective of whether national park authorities or planning boards are established. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 62 [National Park Management Plans]:

The Earl of Lindsay moved Amendments Nos. 196, 197 and 198:

Page 68, line 43, leave out ("or") and insert ("and the Nature Conservancy Council for England or to").
Page 68, line 45, leave out ("such principal council and to that Commission or Council;") and insert ("body to which notice of the proposal is required to be given by paragraph (a) above;").
Page 69, line 1, leave out ("principal council or by that Commission or Council") and insert ("body").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 64 [Planning authority functions under National Parks legislation etc.]:

The Earl of Lindsay moved Amendments Nos. 199 and 200:

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Page 71, line 7, after ("authority") insert ("(or, in relation to Wales, a local planning authority)").
Page 72, line 10, after ("Park") insert ("in England").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, my noble friend spoke to these amendments with Amendment No. 195. I beg to move Amendments Nos. 199 and 200.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 9 [Miscellaneous statutory functions of authorities]:

Lord Wise moved Amendment No. 201:

Page 151, line 40, at end insert:

("Public rights of way

.—(1) In a National Park for which a National Park authority is the local planning authority, the authority shall be the highway authority for any public right of way for which the Minister is not the highway authority; and references in the Highways Act 1980 to highway authorities shall be construed accordingly.
(2) In sub-paragraph (1) above, "public rights of way" means any highway which is a right of way to which Part III of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 applies (as defined in section 66 of that Act) or which is a way shown as a road used as a public path in a definitive map and statement prepared under that Part of that Act.
(3) Section 42 of the Highways Act 1980 (power of district councils to maintain certain highways) shall not apply to any highway for which a National Park authority is, by virtue of sub-paragraph (1) above, the highway authority.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 201 I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 202 and 203. These amendments were ably moved by my noble friend Lord Derwent in Committee and I do not propose to attempt to repeat the detail of his arguments now. I simply begin by reminding the House that the effect of these proposed amendments would be to make national park authorities responsible for the management of the public rights of way network within the national parks. Each national park authority would be responsible for the maintenance of these public rights of way, for tackling any problems on them, and for keeping the definitive map of public rights of way in its area up to date.

The amendments would also give the authority a power to make traffic regulation orders to control use of those rights of way; for example, to restrict or perhaps prohibit, as the case may be, the use of four-wheel drive vehicles on byways, or the use of mountain bikes on footpaths. These amendments received the overwhelming support of the House in Committee and they are also widely supported by an impressive number of outside organisations ranging from the Country Landowners' Association to the Association of County Councils and the Ramblers' Association.

In its 1992 policy statement on national parks, the Government said that they expect,

    "national park authorities to be leaders in the field of rights of way",

thereby endorsing a key recommendation in the Edwards Report. The 11,000 miles of rights of way in the national parks are arguably the single most important resource that the parks possess to enable the millions of visitors to enjoy their special qualities. They are vital for the achievement of the parks' recreational purposes.

However, the Government's laudable expectation cannot and will not be met unless national park authorities are given the tools for the job. The authorities

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do not have the tools at present. The Bill as presently drafted fails to supply them. The amendments seek to remedy that deficiency.

I wish to comment on four concerns raised in Committee by my noble friend the Minister. I am firmly of the belief that these can all be fully addressed. First, my noble friend noted that the amendments would result in a division of responsibility, which is most certainly true. However, I should like to point out that that responsibility is, of course, already split. The Secretary of State is the highway authority for trunk roads. For example, therefore, in the Lake District the A590 and the A66 roads are the responsibility of the Secretary of State, not Cumbria County Council. In addition, Section 42 of the Highways Act 1980 gives district councils the power to claim the right to maintain footpaths, bridleways and urban roads. In the Lake District, Allerdale, Copeland, Eden and South Lakeland district councils could all choose to take the maintenance of footpaths and bridleways away from Cumbria County Council and prevent any agreement being made between the county council and the Lake District National Park. Surely the question is whether a particular division of responsibility is logical. I suggest the division proposed by these amendments would be so, and would greatly increase effectiveness.

Secondly, I wish to address potential problems of defining byways. A byway is a particular type of carriageway: one which has escaped being covered with tarmac, and thus today is used mainly by walkers and riders of horses and pedal cycles, including mountain bikes. Because, in law, byways are a sub-group of carriageways, and because there is as yet no definitive list of those carriageways which are byways, there are inevitably some whose status is not immediately clear. It must be noted, however, that these problems of definition have not stopped Parliament from legislating to give different treatment to byways on several occasions since 1981, most recently in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. There has been recognition on those occasions that separate treatment for byways is justified, and the same applies now.

Thirdly, Amendment No. 202 includes a provision that a national park authority with responsibility for the definitive map would have power to merge the various definitive maps it inherited from the existing authorities and produce a single new map for the whole of the park area. The Minister questioned the appropriateness of including in Amendment No. 202 such a provision for a national park authority. I suggest that this provision is needed in the interests of efficient working. For example, staff in the Yorkshire Dales National Park currently have to work with three different maps which use three different combinations of scale and notation. The national park would like to have a single map for the whole area using the same modern scale throughout.

Fourthly, I turn to the benefits of giving the park authorities the power to make traffic regulation orders, which would be a useful tool for management purposes and would be available to control the use of rights of way where necessary. The amendment has been deliberately worded so that a residual power is retained

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by the main traffic authority—be it the county council or unitary authority—in case there is a need, which could be an urgent one, to make an order to regulate use both of a road and an adjacent right of way. I hope I have reassured the Minister with these replies.

Your Lordships may recall from the Committee stage debate that at present some parks have some right of way powers delegated to them, but that is not the case with all powers or all parks. In those national parks where the national park authority is a county council committee, in any arrangement whereby rights of way work is carried out by the park authority it is currently a matter of internal delegation rather than formal agreement. That situation will inevitably change with the creation of independent national park authorities. Formal agreements will have to be entered into, and highway authorities may be less willing to do so. This could apply particularly where the highway authority has itself been affected by local government reorganisation. This will be true of all the Welsh national parks and may also be the case in many English parks, depending on the final outcome of local government reorganisation in England.

In the debate at Committee stage my noble friend Lord Onslow asked the Minister what would happen if a highway authority's response to the invitation to enter into an agency agreement with a national park authority were to be, "no". My noble friend the Minister has since, in a Written Answer to my noble friend Lord Derwent, made the position crystal clear. If the highway authority chooses not to enter into an agreement, that is the end of the matter. The Secretary of State has no powers of direction. I put it to noble Lords that these amendments are both timely and necessary. I hope my noble friend the Minister can look favourably upon them. I beg to move.

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