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Amendment 124X is what the noble Baroness described as the ramblers’ amendment. I understand where the ramblers come from. They are, of course, intrepid explorers. No doubt, to them an impractical route would just be a daunting challenge, but none of us would wish to have a coastal access report modified in a way that makes a route impractical. Surely practicality must be a key concern for all parties. I have checked this and I understand that there are many precedents for using the term “practical” in legislation. According to a search that we undertook last week, there are well over 3,500.

Amendment 124Y would allow the Secretary of State to make regulations covering the advertising of objections, and actions taken on objections, made by persons with a relevant interest in the land. This amendment would enable objections to be advertised before the appointed person has had an opportunity to consider whether any objection is admissible. Of course, once the Secretary of State has taken that initial decision, any objection that is admissible would be advertised. The amendment appears to visit advertising at too early a stage.

Amendment 124Z would mean that Natural England must send the Secretary of State a copy of the representations made by other persons on a coastal access report, other than those set out in paragraph 2(2)(a) to (f), instead of only a summary of those representations. In speaking to Amendment 124V I have already named several bodies that we expect to include in the regulations, so that their representations would go in full to the Secretary of State. They include such organisations as the Country Land & Business Association, the NFU, the Ramblers’ Association and the Open Spaces Society. We do not think that the amendment is required.

Amendment 124AC would delete paragraph 11(8). It is important to provide that, where the appointed person considers that Natural England’s proposals may fail to strike a fair balance and there is no modification that would satisfy the coastal access requirements, the appointed person may recommend that a certain modification would or may mitigate the effects of the failure to strike a fair balance. We have already discussed that. This power is a very sensible provision where the Secretary of State considers that a gap in the route is undesirable but, in that context, attempts to strike as fair a balance as possible. Of course, here the advice of the Planning Inspectorate or the appointed person would be very helpful.

Amendment 124AD deletes paragraph 13(3), which provides for subsections (2) to (5) of Section 250 of the Local Government Act 1972 to apply to any local inquiries or other hearings held by the appointed person. The amendment would mean that there would be no specific rules governing the conduct of inquiries and such procedural matters as summoning witnesses and paying their expenses. It would also mean that the appointed person would be unable to make any orders about the cost of the inquiry. Consequently, the Secretary of State would always bear the cost of the hearing or inquiry. The noble Baroness asked why we did not use Section 250. The provisions that we have put in place mirror

1 Jun 2009 : Column 53

therequirement for applicants under the CROW Act, as set out in Schedule 3 to that Act. That is probably a rather more relevant piece of legislation to refer to.

6.15 pm

On Amendment 124AE, we think it appropriate that the Secretary of State can make regulations covering the procedure for the conduct of local inquiries and hearings. The removal of this ability could make the inquiry process unworkable. The procedures for dealing with appeals against any restrictions and exclusions of access under the CROW Act system were set out in regulations, and we should follow that precedent here.

Amendments 124AF and 124AG would make changes to the way in which the Secretary of State might publish his determination on the coastal access report under Section 52 of the 1949 Act. The current provisions provide some flexibility for the Secretary of State and are appropriate in the circumstances, so we are not happy to consider the changes proposed in the amendments.

Finally, Amendment 124AH would require the Secretary of State to notify those who have made representations to Natural England under paragraph 7(1) after he has made a determination on Natural England’s coastal access report. Those persons are already covered by the notification requirements in the paragraph, as the Secretary of State must inform all those with a relevant interest in affected land. Such persons would be the ones to make the objections, so we have covered the point raised by the noble Baroness. I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, would think that he had had a fair response. I understand where he is coming from, but overall I think that we have got the balance about right, so I hope noble Lords will give the government amendments a fair wind.

Amendment 124L agreed.

Amendment 124LA

Moved by Earl Cathcart

124LA: Clause 292, page 182, line 3, at end insert—

“55EA Changes in land use

(1) A person with a relevant interest in affected land may notify Natural England of a change in land use and request a review of the route.

(2) Where Natural England is informed of a change in land use under subsection (1) above but decides that a review of the route is not necessary, they shall inform the person of their reasons.”

Earl Cathcart: My Lords, my amendment seeks to ensure that the coastal route and margin is properly updated to take account of changes in land use. I know that we have already had an interesting discussion about how the coastal route will affect, and be affected by, any planning decisions, and I was glad to hear the Minister’s reassurances that the coastal route and its associated margin will not sterilise the land.

My amendment is targeted not at the changes in land use that require planning permission but at decisions about land use that will not require planning permission. In particular, many of the decisions that a farmer might make about a field do not require planning permission but might significantly affect the route and

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margin. I would be grateful to hear from the Minister how a decision to plough up a field that was previously used for grazing or a decision to plant a wood that necessitated rabbit fencing might affect the route and margin. What if a farmer decides to drain a field, necessitating the digging of a drainage ditch that crosses the route? I understand that if a farmer cannot block access, perhaps by new fencing, he must ensure that there is a method of climbing over the new obstacle. Who then bears the cost of a stile or a grid?

The land covered by the route and margin will, without doubt, change over time. As it stands, Natural England has the necessary powers to reassess a report, but there appears to be no mechanism for ensuring such a review as and when it is needed. My amendment therefore seeks to allow,

“A person with a relevant interest in affected land”,

to,

and,

“Where Natural England is informed of a change in land use under subsection (1) above but decides that a review of the route is not necessary, they shall inform the person of their reasons”.

This would be a useful provision in that it would not only help Natural England but make the coastal route more user-friendly if a new route was agreed either on a permanent or a temporary basis. I beg to move.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for the way in which he moved Amendment 124LA, which seeks a new provision where there is a change in land use; namely, that the owner or occupier may notify Natural England of the change and seek a review of the route. Natural England would be required to give a reason to the owner or occupier where a review is not considered to be necessary.

The noble Earl acknowledged that the legislation regarding the development of coastal access will not be a barrier to development, a point which was discussed on earlier amendments. The CROW right of access is a right which is flexible to allow for changes in land use, about which the noble Earl expressed anxiety. The line of the route and spreading room is not fixed permanently. The Bill enables Natural England to review these and to propose changes to the Secretary of State, subject to the full consultation and representation process, at a later date. In that way, the legislation can take account of changes in use and future developments. We touched on these points in our earlier debates. Should the route be blocked as a result of development, which results in the land becoming excepted from the right of access or which may in the future result in the land becoming excepted land, Natural England will be able to undertake a review of the route and draw up a report proposing a variation on the route. That flexibility is built into the legislation. Therefore, I do not think that the noble Earl’s anxieties about the way in which the legislation will work are well founded. The existing powers are adequate to ensure that future development is considered appropriately and that Natural England’s reports are reviewed where necessary.

Therefore, within that framework, I hope that the noble Lord will feel that most of his anxieties have been allayed by the necessary flexibility. Land use for

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agricultural purposes will become excepted land under CROW in certain circumstances, which means that the right of access will not apply to that land. Land which has been ploughed or drilled in the past 12 months, for instance, will not be available as coastal margin, although we made it clear in the draft paper on Section 3A of the CROW Act that we believe that it should be possible for the route to go through such land. We accept that the issue will not be the full coastal margin, but that a pathway may be constructed through with the agreement of the landowner.

However, it may still be sensible to revise the line of the route. Natural England will have full power to do that if there is a change in land use which results in these circumstances. In other circumstances, there may be land management reasons why public access will not be appropriate; for example, if land is needed for intensive grazing or lambing. In those circumstances, landowners can apply for exclusion or restriction of access to the land. Natural England may issue a direction if it is necessary for land management purposes. We recognise the point about land management. The restriction or exclusion in some of these circumstances might be for a very short period, in which case it will probably be most appropriate to agree to a temporary route under new Section 55I of the 1949 Act for use during this period. If the exclusion or restriction is long term, of course, a variation is more appropriate.

The Bill provides for that degree of flexibility, which we have discussed at some length today. I therefore hope that the noble Earl, Lord Cathcart, will feel that the issues he has raised, particularly those on change of agricultural use, are already considered fully in the Bill and that he will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Earl Cathcart: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his reassurance, and with that I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 124LA withdrawn.

Amendments 124M and 124N

Moved by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

124M: Clause 292, page 182, line 45, leave out “and 55E” and insert “, 55E and Schedule 1A and regulations under that Schedule”

124N: Clause 292, page 183, line 30, after “55I” insert “, Schedule 1A”

Amendments 124M and 124N agreed.

Amendment 124NA not moved.

Amendments 124P to 124R

Moved by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

124P: Clause 292, page 184, line 34, after “55I” insert “and Schedule 1A”

124Q: Clause 292, page 184, line 38, at end insert—

“(3) Any power conferred by sections 55A to 55I or Schedule 1A to make regulations includes—

(a) power to make different provision for different cases, and



1 Jun 2009 : Column 56

(b) power to make incidental, consequential, supplemental or transitional provision or savings.””

124R: Clause 292, page 184, line 38, at end insert—

“( ) After Schedule 1 to the 1949 Act insert the Schedule set out in Schedule (Schedule 1A to the 1949 Act) to this Act.”

Amendments 124P to 124R agreed.

Clause 293 : Access to the coastal margin

Amendment 124S

Moved by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

124S: Clause 293, page 186, leave out lines 36 to 40

Amendment 124S agreed.

Amendment 124SA

Moved by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

124SA: Clause 293, page 186, line 40, at end insert—

“( ) No order may be made under subsection (1) providing for any land where there is an expectation of privacy to be excluded from any description of excepted land.”

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: My Lords, as I indicated earlier, I am particularly unhappy with the Minister’s response to this amendment. I still feel that the safeguard is necessary and will provide a valuable restraint on the use of this power. I therefore wish to test the opinion of the House.

6.26 pm

Division on Amendment 124SA

Contents 71; Not-Contents 158.

Amendment 124SA disagreed.


Division No. 2


CONTENTS

Anelay of St Johns, B. [Teller]
Ashcroft, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Bates, L.
Burnett, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Cathcart, E.
Colwyn, L.
Courtown, E.
Craig of Radley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Eccles, V.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Falkland, V.
Fookes, B.
Fowler, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Geddes, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodlad, L.
Goschen, V.
Hamilton of Epsom, L.
Henley, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Howard of Rising, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Lindsay, E.
Liverpool, E.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Maginnis of Drumglass, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mawhinney, L.


1 Jun 2009 : Column 57

Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Neville-Jones, B.
Noakes, B.
O'Cathain, B.
Plumb, L.
Rawlings, B.
Rogan, L.
Rowe-Beddoe, L.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Sheikh, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Taylor of Holbeach, L.
Ullswater, V.
Verma, B.
Waddington, L.
Walpole, L.
Wilcox, B.

NOT CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Adonis, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bach, L.
Barker, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L. [Teller]
Berkeley, L.
Best, L.
Bhattacharyya, L.
Bilston, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blood, B.
Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Bridges, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter of Coles, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Cotter, L.
Crawley, B.
Cunningham of Felling, L.
Darzi of Denham, L.
Davidson of Glen Clova, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Donoughue, L.
Drayson, L.
D'Souza, B.
Dubs, L.
Dykes, L.
Elystan-Morgan, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Foster of Bishop Auckland, L.
Foulkes of Cumnock, L.
Gale, B.
Garden of Frognal, B.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grantchester, L.
Grocott, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haskel, L.
Haskins, L.
Haworth, L.
Henig, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Newport, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Jay of Ewelme, L.
Jones of Whitchurch, B.
Jordan, L.
Judd, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.
Laird, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lee of Trafford, L.
Lipsey, L.
Listowel, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Maddock, B.
Malloch-Brown, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Maxton, L.
Meacher, B.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Handsworth, L.
Morris of Yardley, B.
Moser, L.
Myners, L.
Neuberger, B.
Newby, L.
Northover, B.
O'Neill of Clackmannan, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Prosser, B.
Radice, L.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rennard, L.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Rosser, L.


1 Jun 2009 : Column 58

Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sheldon, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Snape, L.
Soley, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Temple-Morris, L.
Teverson, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Winchester, B.
Thornton, B.
Tonge, B.
Tope, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Tyler, L.
Uddin, B.
Wall of New Barnet, B.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
West of Spithead, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
6.36 pm

Amendment 124T

Moved by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

124T: Clause 293, page 188, line 37, at end insert—

“( ) In section 20 (codes of conduct and other information)—

(a) in subsection (1), omit “and” at the end of paragraph (a) and after paragraph (b) insert “, and

(c) that, in relation to access land which is coastal margin, the public are informed that the right conferred by section 2(1) does not affect any other right of access that may exist in relation to that land.”, and

(b) after that subsection insert—

“(1A) The duty imposed by subsection (1) to issue and revise a code of conduct may be discharged, in relation to access land which is coastal margin, by (or in part by) issuing and revising a separate code relating to such access land only.””

Amendment 124T agreed.

Amendment 124TA

Moved by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

124TA: After Clause 293, insert the following new Clause—

“Access to the coastal margin (No. 2)

(1) Schedule 1 to the CROW Act (excepted land for purposes of Part 1) is amended as follows.

(2) After paragraph 13 insert—

“13A Saltmarshes and mudflats.””

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: My Lords, I have retabled this amendment because I felt that the debate on the group of amendments in Committee focused rather more on ports than on the separate concerns we had over salty marshes and mudflats. I hope that keeping the amendment on its own this time will ensure that the issues receive the attention they deserve. This is the type of shore with which I am personally most acquainted. Mudflats and salt marshes represent some of the most interesting and valuable habitats, as well as providing heroic scenery all of their own.

The particular safety concerns about salt marshes and mudflats appear to be understood, at least partly, by Natural England. Its draft scheme notes:

“The trail should not normally be aligned on flats and saltmarsh because there are usually safer, more convenient alternatives”.



1 Jun 2009 : Column 59

We agree also with its note that such areas would also be unsuitable for coastal margin unless there is a specific recreational use for them.

It seems therefore to be fairly well established that, where arrangements are not already in place for the enjoyment of these areas, they are likely to be too unsafe or inconvenient to be opened up to wider public access. The danger posed by these areas is significant. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Greaves—I speak of him in his absence—feels that this route should also allow the public to take part in activities where there is an element of risk, but, unlike with rock climbing or similar popular sports, public awareness of the danger posed by intertidal zones is not so self-evident. Even experts are caught out by misjudgments of the tide.


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