§ 1.45 a.m.
§ Mrs. White
I beg to move Amendment No. 33, in page 15, line 12, leave out subsection (1) and insert—
§ (1) The definition of 'open country' in section 59(2) of the Act of 1949 shall include, if in the countryside, any woodlands.
§ (2) Subject to subsection (6) below, the said definition shall include, if in the countryside—
- (a) any river or canal, and
- (b) any expanse of water through which a river, or some part of the flow of a river, runs, and
- (c) a strip of the adjacent land on both sides of any river or canal, or of any such expanse of water, of reasonable width, and where a highway crosses or comes close to the river, canal or other water, so much of any land connecting the highway with the strip of land as would, if included together with the strip in an access agreement or order, afford access from the highway to some convenient launching place for small boats.
§ (3) The strip of adjacent land comprised in any access order shall be wide enough to allow passage on foot along the water and wide enough to allow the public to picnic at convenient places and, where practicable, to embark or disembark, and shall include—
- (a) the banks, walls or embankment along the water, and
- (b) any towpath or other way or track beside the water.
§ (4) Local planning authorities shall exercise their powers under Part V of the Act of 1949 over any such strip of land with special regard to the interests of persons using small boats who must circumvent obstacles or obstructions on the water by passing round on foot with their boats, and in the interests of persons who wish to obtain access from a highway to convenient launching places for small boats.
§ (5) In section 60 of the Act of 1949 (rights of public over land subject to an access agreement or order, other than excepted land) subsection (5) (a) (certain agricultural land to be excepted land) shall not apply to any land within subsection (2)(c) above.
§ (6) Subsections (2) and (3) above shall not apply as respects land held with—
- (a) a reservoir owned or managed by statutory water undertakers,
- (b) a reservoir owned or managed by a river authority, or
- (c) a canal, or part of a canal, owned or managed by the British Waterways Board.
§ Mrs. White
These Amendments arise out of the discussion that we had in Committee about the position of canoeists, and are particularly directed towards the pledges given to my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. Carol Johnson) when he put forward a plea for better arrangements to be made in the interests of canoeists.
We have endeavoured to do this in two particular directions: One is to include within the ambit of these provisions of Clause 12any expanse of water through which a river, or some part of the flow of a river, runs …1285 This, I understand, would be particularly helpful to canoeists, We also include in the definitions in Clause 12 a strip of the land adjacent to any canal or river, or of any such expanses of water, and we provide that this should be of reasonable width,and where a highway crosses or comes close to the river, canal or other water, so much of any land connecting the highway with the strip of land as would, if included together with the strip in an access agreement or order, afford access from the highway to some convenient launching place for small boats.I would not wish to weary the House with the other provisions of the Amendment, but they are all consequential on our endeavour to meet the needs and wishes of canoeists. We have included references to reservoirs owned or managed by statutory water undertakers or by river authorities, or canals owned or managed by the British Waterways Board. Reservations have been made in respect of all these authorities. Otherwise, I think we have gone a long way to meet the needs of my hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Carol Johnson
At this late hour I do not think I need do more than welcome warmly this Amendment and say how indebted I am, as are canoeists generally, to my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Welsh Office for having carefully noted the points that were raised in Standing Committee and for having sought to deal with them in the Amendment.
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
The hon. Lady, in moving the Amendment, spoke a good deal about the canoeists who have an important interest in our rivers. She did not say anything about the fishermen who have an equally important interest. I wonder if she would like to say something about them and explain how the fishermen will be affected by these Amendments, and if not, how not.
§ Mr. Ramsden
I received a letter from my local angling club expressing apprehension on this point. The interests of fishermen were raised in Committee in the same context as those of canoeists, and, so far as I recollect, the Government undertook to consider how to solve the problem of reconciling what appear at fiat sight to be two possibly conflicting interests. I am sure that many people would be interested to hear the hon. Lady's reply.
§ Mrs. White
We are only too well aware that there may be a conflict of interest in these matters. On the other hand, the efforts we have made to meet the interests of canoeists ought not to make life any more difficult for fishermen. I do not see that fishermen can object to canoeists being allowed to launch their canoes or to carry their canoes round obstacles. We had some discussion on this question in Committee. As with many other provisions in the Bill, what will determine the matter is good sense and tolerance on both sides. There are circumstances in which there are apt to be conflicts of interest and of enjoyment and we cannot legislate for all of them. We think that the provisions made in the Amendments are not unreasonable in the interests of canoeists. We trust canoeists to be considerate where the interests of fishermen are concerned, and we trust fishermen not to be selfish where the interests of canoeists are affected.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made: No. 34, in page 15, line 20, after 'comprises', insert '(a)'.
No. 35, in line 21, leave out from first 'of' to 'the' in line 22 and insert:
'or of land adjacent to, any river, or
(b) all or any part of, or of land adjacent to, any canal other than a canal owned or managed by'.
No. 36, in line 33, at end insert:
(5) The provisions of this section shall not be construed as restricting in any way the definition of 'open country' in the said section 59(2) as originaly enacted.—[Mrs. White.]