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Lord Whitty: I hope that this is not the same tired old reply, although we are already getting rather tired and we have some way to go. I am not dismissing the noble Lord's amendment on the point--which he acknowledged--that it would have to be a pretty old dog to have a dog licence. Dog licences were abolished in 1988. He acknowledges that that is a flaw in his amendment.

The rest of his amendment seems to open up wider implications of law to that which we are discussing here. I was concerned just now that the whole law of trespass was being opened. Here we are opening up the whole issue of civil liberties and everything else in requiring someone to have an identity card. That is something which hitherto this House in particular, and Parliament as a whole, has resisted. He is in effect--the way he expressed it just now--suggesting that if he had a suspicion that someone is about to commit an offence he could demand an identity. That is effectively extending the sus laws to the countryside.

The implications of what the noble Viscount proposes go well beyond the proper protection of the interests of the landowner or the land manager. I hope that the noble Viscount will think again. If he feels that the Bill is deficient in that respect then he should take some other approach to it, but I think that it will stand up.

Viscount Bledisloe: I found the noble Lord's answer extremely unsatisfactory. I see no reason why anyone who exercises a right to go on to someone's land should not be willing to identify himself to that person. It does not seem to me to be an unreasonable requirement. It does not require him to carry an identify card. It requires him, if he has some, to have some formal means of identification. Otherwise, one

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has people roaming over the land and when they do something wrong there is no way of enforcing any sanction on them because one cannot find out who they are.

What does the noble Lord expect an owner or a warden to do when some bolshie man, having let his dogs off at the wrong moment and they chase the sheep, when asked his name gives the same answer as that given by the acquaintances of my noble friend Lord McIntosh on Hampstead Heath, and do not reply other than in expletives? What does one do? So far the noble Lord has not explained what the warden is meant to do in those circumstances, or how he can possibly effectively police the situation if he is not able to know who the people are.

Lord Whitty: The noble Viscount has changed his ground. I do not wish to prolong this debate. I think this is an absurd amendment. He has changed his ground from previously referring to someone he suspected might have committed an offence to saying someone who has committed an offence. There may be arguments relating to a situation where someone has committed an offence, which we will return to on the basis that we have previously discussed. The idea that one can require people to carry an identity card and be prepared to identify themselves whether they commit an offence or not when they are on someone else's land, seems to raise much wider points of civil liberties which should not be edged into the Bill in that way. It is a really serious attempt for the tail to wag the dog.

Viscount Bledisloe: I am grateful to the noble Lord for what I understand him to say; that he will at least be reconsidering before we reach Report whether or not people who have committed an offence should be required to disclose their identity. On that basis I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No.100 not moved.]

On Question, Whether Clause 2 shall stand part of the Bill?

The Earl of Caithness: Perhaps I may probe the Government on Clause 2. In Clause 2(5) they have a definition of "owner" which I am glad to see includes the farm tenant. But why have they excluded the commercial tenant? With diversification in rural areas, which I believe the government are trying to encourage, a number of commercial tenancies are now under the Landlord and Tenant Act; for example, equestrian centres. Part of the land over which the horses might be grazing could become the subject of access land. Therefore, why are they excluded?

Lord Whitty: I am not sure that all of them would be. Some such diversification would be covered by the Acts referred to in Clause 2(5). However, it is a reasonable point. I shall write to the noble Earl to clarify the position.

Clause 2 agreed to.

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[Amendments Nos. 101 and 102 not moved.]

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer moved Amendment No. 103:

Insert the following new Clause--


(" . The Secretary of State (as respects England) and the National Assembly for Wales (as respects Wales) shall, after consultation with local access fora and access authorities, issue guidance to the appropriate countrysidebodies with regard to the establishment and dissemination of a country code which shall include the rights and responsibilities of members of the public in the countryside.").

The noble Baroness said: This amendment seeks to lay a duty on the Secretary of State to issue guidance to ensure that a country code is established and made widely known. At many points in our debates today Members of the Committee have referred to the need for a country code. As the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, said earlier, education will be a vital and integral part of access. I have talked with groups from around the country--from user groups to landowners. The message that has come over clearly from all of them is the need for ongoing education and for a country code to become deeply embedded in the culture of all of those who use the countryside.

The first country code was introduced in 1951. Those Members of the Committee who grew up in the late 1950s and early 1960s will remember the country code. It was instilled into us as we went through school. Since then the link between what children learn in school and what happens in the countryside has been lost. One of the purposes of the amendment is to ensure that the national curriculum provides for the education of young people from an early age so that we do not again have a generation who do not understand what their rights and responsibilities in the countryside should be.

I spent the weekend at the conference of an organisation representing many of the European countries which have national parks. The representatives from France were particularly interesting. They presented the example of how France integrates into its national curriculum what its parks are doing. The French Government provide staff to liaise with the national parks so that national parks have staff to go out into schools and make the necessary links. It is not simply a question of having pieces of paper; it is a case of learning on the ground what is happening. The Countryside Agency might like to look at the French model. I understand that it has done a good deal of work in this area. Members of the Committee will have had the agency's briefing on how it intends to introduce a country code. It is very good but it needs further development so that it runs through all aspects of education. The code needs to be clear and simple and it needs to be everywhere. When the legislation comes into force the public will not understand it unless there is a clear explanation of where one can go for information and when.

One noble Lord referred earlier to Ministry of Defence land and the system of flags. The public already understand the idea of red flags, yellow flags

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and green flags. One sees them on beaches and on MoD land. That is the kind of idea that needs to be developed. We should divide the information into two categories. First, there needs to be short-term information about what is happening now. Indeed, the public are already confused about whether or not there is a right to roam. Secondly, we shall need long-term information of the kind I described earlier; namely, that which begins in school and continues all the way through the education process. Such information should utilise many different kinds of media, such as leaflets, the Internet and local newspapers, and should be circulated by the tourist boards and through the user groups who have made such a large contribution to the Bill.

An example of a campaign which was widely accepted and remembered by children who were exposed to it at the time was the Roland Rat campaign on litter. An extraordinary number of people well remember that campaign. It was extremely effective. Roland Rat said, "Don't litter, kids. Put it in the bin". I suggest to the Government that we need a clear campaign which perhaps centres around Victor Vole and Sally Skylark in order to deliver an appealing and immediate message covering people's rights and duties both towards landowners and towards wildlife. I beg to move.

11.15 p.m.

Earl Peel: I should like to support this amendment--

Lord Whitty: I hope that the noble Earl will forgive me for intervening. It may be for the convenience of the Committee if I indicated the Government's view as regards this amendment. However, I assure the Committee that I have little wish to curtail the debate.

I pointed out this clause earlier. I should like to take this opportunity to tell the Committee that we intend to bring forward on Report an amendment that will put on to the face of the Bill a specific duty on countryside bodies to ensure that the public and others are informed of their rights and responsibilities under the new right of access arrangements. A new country code is likely to form a key element of that exercise. Indeed, the noble Baroness referred to the work already begun by the Countryside Agency in this area.

As I said, I thought that it might be helpful to the debate if I made the position clear.

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