HC Deb 12 June 1974 vol 874 cc1603-4
14. Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of all the local authorities which have not completed definitive footpath maps for their areas; and what action is being taken to encourage those local authorities which have not done so to complete such maps.

Mr. Denis Howell

Yes, Sir. My Department is urging the local authorities concerned to complete action on definitive maps for the outstanding areas—eight former rural districts, two former county boroughs and one former municipal borough.

Mr. Bennett

Does not my hon. Friend agree that all those people who use the countryside for work or leisure are extremely concerned that the definitive maps were not completed a long time ago? Does he not also agree that now that the Ordnance Survey has adopted new signs and symbols on its maps it is particularly urgent that these definitive maps should be completed?

Mr. Howell

I agree that it has taken a long time—25 years. I shall try to bring the matter to a head as soon as possible. There are two appeal cases in progress which are nothing to do with the local authorities. One is in Bedfordshire, where there are 150 appeals to the Secretary of State against the local map. The other is on Humberside, where there is an appeal to the court. My hon. Friend can rest assured that we shall try to complete the matter as soon as possible.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Will my hon. Friend give encouragement to the Ramblers' Association and other bodies in their campaign on this issue, recognise the enormous value of walking both to health and as a non-inflationary measure, and tell local authorities to get on with the job of producing these maps?

Mr. Howell

We shall do all we can to encourage the Ramblers' Association. I am glad to say that its former general secretary has been put on my working party to advise on future sport and recreation policy.

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