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Lord Monson: As to Amendment No. 120, is there not room for a compromise; namely, to omit all reference whatever in the schedule to bivouacking? That would cover the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, and perhaps the Liberal Democrats. I agree with the observation about hot air balloons.

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I am sure that their omission was an error rather than deliberate. I look forward to hearing the Government's response.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: We recognise that Amendment No. 119 moved by the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, is intended to prevent those caught in open country, for example on a fell, in worsening weather from having to press on, notwithstanding any risk to personal safety, so that they do not lose their right of access. Paragraph 1(q) of Schedule 2 makes clear that the right of access does not extend to camping. Users who wish to camp on access land must continue to ask the landowner for permission. I stress that the new right of access does not mean that those landowners who currently tolerate activities such as camping or bivouacking will cease to tolerate them. The situation is unlikely to change on such land, but elsewhere it is quite correct that the restrictions provide that anyone who camps on land will lose his right of access. As the noble Earl said, that would apply equally to bivouackers.

Therefore, if users find themselves in adverse conditions in which it is unsafe to go on and decide to shelter in a bivouac they will lose their right of access. A landowner who happens to find them will be able to ask them to leave. In such circumstances, however, presumably they will welcome the miraculous arrival of the landowner who seeks their removal. After all, if the landowner is to ensure that they leave he or she will in practice have to assist them to find a way off the land and to safety, which is presumably the advice that they would have welcomed in the first place.

If we accepted all of the amendments tabled by the party opposite, spoken to in this instance by the noble Earl, Lord Glentoran, it would lead to walkers pressing on in the circumstances described with tragic consequences. The Government do not want to give the message that bivouacking is allowed in all circumstances under the new right. However, those who are caught in an emergency will not be committing a criminal offence and, if found, to be asked to leave may be just what they wished for in the first place.

Amendment No. 120 would extend the restriction on camping to bivouacking and add the launching of hot air balloons. We have dealt with the issue of bivouacking in relation to Amendment No. 119. As to hot air balloons, the noble Earl, Lord Glentoran, is aware that it would not be possible to launch a balloon from access land without first getting it there with the use of machinery and a vehicle. This is a restricted activity and as such is likely to be a criminal offence. Such activity would be practicable only with the consent of the landowner. In the interests of keeping the list manageable, we do not believe that it is necessary to add a specific restriction.

The Earl of Caithness: I did not follow the last point in the response of the noble Baroness. If the access land is adjacent to a highway upon which somebody can transport his hot air balloon, the vehicle does not have

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to go onto the access land. It would be quite possible to take the equipment onto that land. As I understand it, that is what my noble friend seeks to prevent.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My understanding is that to take such equipment onto access land is not allowed as part of the access. If that is not the case I shall write to the noble Earl and correct the impression that I have just given. I do not believe that that is the kind of activity for which access is permitted. Access is permitted in order to enjoy walking on the land.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie: I wrote down the words "illogical possession". At first I thought the noble Baroness was giving a glowing response to my amendment and was about to move it and put it straight in the Bill. In fact she has probably said quite the reverse. She said that people caught out, and who rightly bivouac overnight waiting for the dawn, should hope that they have a benign landowner who will rescue them. I would hope that that is part of the duty of care.

1.45 a.m.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: No. The Bill allows for them to be asked to leave because they are not allowed to bivouac. Under the circumstances which the noble Earl describes, a landowner would share in the interest of ensuring that, should the person leave the site, he or she would do so safely. The landowner would escort them from the land. I am sure the noble Earl understands that it is very difficult to frame the amendment in order to ensure that the circumstances he describes are covered without implying that anyone may bivouac anytime, anywhere.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie: No. My amendment said that,

    "except bivouacking in an emergency situation".

Therefore, I do not think that that in any way attempted to overrule the general rule that one is not allowed to camp. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 120 to 123 not moved.]

Lord Glentoran moved Amendment No. 124:

Page 50, leave out line 14.

The noble Lord said: In moving the amendment, I wish to speak to Amendments Nos. 124, 136 and 137. I shall return to Amendment No. 125.

Amendment No. 124 implements the recommendation of the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation (24th Report, 4th July 2000, paragraphs 12 and 18) that the power to vary the restricted activities be deleted. As the committee commented, Schedule 2 is an essential part of the balance between the rights of landowners and the needs of the public. See also the 27th Report, Annex 3.

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Amendments Nos. 136 and 137 implement the recommendation of the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation (24th Report, 4th July 2000, paragraphs 13 and 18) that the power to vary the dogs on leads period be deleted. As the committee commented, that is part of the balance which should not be altered by delegated legislation.

Amendment No. 125 seeks to put that in place. Noble Lords will understand that we seek to remove some of the restrictions by regulation and replace that power by order. It seems to us that Schedule 2 consists of restrictions on people in relation to access. They are a very important part of the safeguards of the Bill for both people and property. Therefore, any changes should be subject to scrutiny by Parliament and should be by order and not by regulation. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: Amendments Nos. 125, 136 and 137 are intended to replace the regulatory power with an affirmative resolution procedure. We wish to take account of the views of noble Lords, including those of the Select Committee. I recognise that this procedure would help satisfy possible doubts about how these powers might be exercised. We should like to consider the matter further and bring forward appropriate amendments on Report.

I turn briefly to Amendment No. 146, which provides for the affirmative resolution procedure to be used to approve regulations prescribing how the Countryside Agency, the Countryside Council for Wales or national park authorities, where appropriate, might, with the consent of the owner, give directions that some of the Schedule 2 restrictions are lifted. These regulations would also prescribe how a direction to lift restrictions might be varied, how the owner would be required to give consent, and the means of informing the public about the change. These are very much procedural, administrative details. We do not think that they are issues which it would be right to make subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

In the light of my assurance concerning Amendments Nos. 124, 125, 136 and 137, I hope that the other amendments will not be pressed.

Lord Glentoran: I thank the noble Baroness for those assurances. As it is a fairly technical issue, I am not certain how happy I am with her response. I shall look at the matter again before Report stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 125 to 128 not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 129:

Page 50, line 16, leave out ("30th June") and insert ("31st July").

The noble Lord said: I am in the hands of the Committee. This amendment was due to be spoken to in an earlier debate. It is the one government amendment on dogs which my noble friend Lady Young regarded as the absolute minimum. Bearing in mind what I said about bringing forward further

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amendments, if the Committee agrees we can pass this amendment today on the understanding that we shall table further amendments later. I beg to move.

Baroness Byford: Perhaps I may speak briefly on this amendment. I appreciate what the Minister said. We are grateful for the move from June to July. It is a start. However, as I said earlier, a good deal of the breeding season goes on a little later--to October and November. If we accept the government amendment, I do not want us to lose the possibility of extending that date. If the Minister is reassuring me, I shall not object. But I wished to raise that point and have it noted.

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