HC Deb 01 April 1981 vol 2 c287
21. Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on the Government's policy on footpath legislation.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Hector Monro)

The Government's policy on footpath legislation is contained in the Wildlife and Countryside Bill, as amended on Third Reading in another place.

Mr. Bennett

Is the Minister aware that very many ramblers and walkers are delighted that the Government have had a change in heart in the other place? Will he confirm that they will not seek to alter the Bill and to put it back to its original form? Will he further accept that it is important that the Secretary of State should have the final word on any footpath closures?

Mr. Monro

I agree that we shall not amend the legislation, except perhaps for a tidying-up operation. We accept the principle of the decision that was taken in the other place.

Sir Albert Costain

As a great deal of public expense is caused by people objecting to footpaths when they have never seen a footpath, will the Minister introduce legislation to ensure that people have a real interest before they can object?

Mr. Monro

I accept my hon. Friend's point but in the discussions that we shall have on the Wildlife and Countryside Bill we can no doubt highlight that difficulty and bring home to people that they should make only responsible objections.

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