HC Deb 16 December 1970 vol 808 cc1338-9
29. Mr. Rooth

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment which counties sell definitive footpath maps to the public.

Mr. Graham Page

This information is not available in my Department, but definitive footpaths are being incorporated in Ordnance Survey Maps (1 in. and 1=25,000 series) as and when these are revised.

Mr. Booth

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it is difficult, if not impossible, for many people to exercise their right of access to many parts of the countryside unless they are able to purchase definitive footpath maps? Will he, therefore, approach county authorities to ensure that they sell definitive footpath maps relating to their areas?

Mr. Page

Definitive footpath maps are available for inspection at county council and county district offices and copies are available at many public libraries. A large number of counties provide this facility.

Mr. Marten

As many footpaths are utterly out of date, are hundreds of years old and were originally designed for people walking from one job to another, which they no longer do, may I ask what the Government propose to do about footpaths which go straight across fields which farmers wish to plough up?

Mr. Page

This matter was recently considered under Statute. I do not know whether another examination is necessary now.

Mr. Denis Howell

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is great public concern about the number of footpaths which are illegally closed and that the right of access to the countryside should be protected in all circumstances? Will he bear that in mind?

Mr. Page

I am inclined to agree with the hon. Gentleman, and he will appreciate my concern over this from a previous honour I had, of being chairman of the Pedestrians' Association.