§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst)
With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Amendment No. 10, in page 12, line 7, leave out subsection (2).
Amendment No. 12, in page 12, line 14, leave out subsection (4).
Amendment No. 31, in page 12, line 15, at end add'(which may not include more than four Saturdays and four Sundays)'.Amendment No. 13, in page 12, line 18, leave out from "land" to second "the" in line 19.
Amendment No. 14, in page 12, line 20, leave out "may".
Amendment No. 15, in page 12, line 22, leave out "twenty-eight" and insert "40".
Amendment No. 16, in page 12 line 23, leave out "not" and insert "only".
Amendment No. 17, in page 12, line 24, at end insert—'days from Monday to Saturday but excluding—'.Amendment No. 18, in page 12, line 25, leave out paragraph (a).
Amendment No. 98, in clause 22, page 13, line 13, at end insert—
'( ) In this section "land management" and "management of the land" means—
Government amendments Nos. 152, 153, 166, 167, 186 and 188.
- (a) any activity associated with agriculture or forestry;
- (b) any activity to improve or maintain habitat for wildlife and biodiversity;
- (c) any activity to maintain, improve or use sporting opportunities on the land;
- (d) pest control; or
- (e) any other activity undertaken by or on behalf of the owner in furtherance of earning an income from the land.'.
§ Mr. Paice
This is a large group, and the amendments in my name and those of my colleagues address closely related issues that go to the heart of the Bill. Amendment No. 11 seeks to change from 28 to 40 the number of days on which landowners or others with an interest can close off land without having to give reasons or make an application. Amendments Nos. 16 to 18 are designed to deal with weekends and bank holidays, and I shall return to those issues. Amendment No. 98 seeks to create a definition for the term "land management", following discussions in Committee.
I remind the Minister of the Government's policy towards land use, and agriculture in particular. The action plan for farming was published by no less a body than No. 10 Downing street, following the so-called agricultural summit on 30 March. Let me quote:We all want agriculture to be prosperous, forward-looking and sustainable. It must be competitive, and flexible enough to respond quickly and effectively to market changes and consumer needs. The entrepreneurial family farm will continue to thrive—but it will often be supported by adding value to farm products or income from non-farming activity. In many more areas farmers will look to turn a positive approach to the environment to their own economic advantage.The Minister may be pleased to know that that entirely concurs with our stance on the matter, but what is important is that it demonstrates that even the Government understand that landowners and farmers must now look beyond traditional agriculture to generate an income and use the environment to their agricultural advantage.
Let us look at the types of activities that may take place on open country, virtually all of which is being farmed or used for one purpose or another. There are many. Perhaps the commonest agricultural activity is sheep farming. Lambing takes place on a hill or on lower land, but it may be on land that is classified as open country. The period involved can be six weeks or so, which is 42 days a year. There is the requirement to gather sheep for dipping, testing, shearing and various other things. Gathering sheep can be a day-long activity on a hill. Often, farmers band together to help each other. They can be at it several days on the trot, gathering each other's flocks in. It can take several days of the year.
The last thing that anyone wants when attempting to gather stock is someone appearing over the brow of a hill just when they think they have the stock—the sheep—all together and going in the right direction; the animals will promptly turn tail and flee the other way. It is not a matter of there being any danger to anyone. Problems and difficulties may arise for the person who is seeking to earn a living from the land.
The intention of the amendments is to extend the 28 days to 40. As well as conventional farming, there is, as we discussed in Committee, use of the land for shooting 876 of all sorts of game birds and deer, for deer stalking and deer culling. There is a whole range of activities that cannot be done within 28 days.
§ Mr. Simon Thomas
I sense that the hon. Gentleman is moving away from sheep farming. Before he leaves the subject of sheep completely, will he reflect on the needs of markets; on the way in which farmers have been encouraged to diversify and to sell their produce differently; and on the way in which the lambing season has changed from a very short period in the early spring to one that is spread out over several weeks? The 28 days does not suit the modern way in which lambing is done in hill farms.
§ Mr. Paice
The hon. Gentleman is entirely right. As his colleague, the right hon. Member for Caernarfon (Mr. Wigley), knows, I had some knowledge of that area—I still do, I hasten to say. It is where I first met the right hon. Gentleman a long while ago. I am aware of how sheep farming has changed over the years; I was a sheep farmer myself, albeit on different terrain. The situation with regard to lambing periods is as the hon. Gentleman has said. The amendment will be crucial if farmers are to respond, as the Government say they should, to changing customer needs and market requirements.
§ Mr. Bennett
On that point, can the hon. Gentleman explain why someone should be restricted from access during a lambing period? In what way does the individual walker—as opposed to someone with a dog—interfere, or make it difficult for lambing to take place?
§ Mr. Paice
Obviously an individual walker does not make it difficult for lambing to occur. As the hon. Gentleman knows, lambing is a natural event that cannot be stopped once it has started—no one has found a way of stopping it yet. However, if people disturb sheep at lambing time, it can cause serious problems of mis-mothering, where ewes leave lambs which have just been dropped and which may still be covered in placenta waiting for their mothers to lick them clean. Ewes can be very easily frightened away and may not return in time to assist their lambs before they suffocate in their cowl.
Any sheep farmer could tell the hon. Gentleman of a raft of problems that could be caused by unnecessary disturbance at lambing time, and those problems can occur regardless of whether ewes are lambing on an open hill or in a shed. Shepherding skills are crucial at that time, when the last thing farmers need is someone creating a disturbance.
We also have to consider land management issues, and I shall address them in detail in a moment. My point for the moment is that various land management activities occur in open country and are not compatible with open access. I contend that those events require much longer than 28 days, which is why we propose providing for 40 days.
In Committee, the Minister told us that he believed that 28 days was sufficient because of a subsequent clause on land management, which would cover a vast range of activities. Accordingly, we have tabled amendment No. 98, to which I shall return in a moment. The point, however, is that we have to ensure that the Bill is clear. 877 In Committee, the Minister said:Nothing that we propose to do to limit the days when landowners can automatically close their land will affect their right to apply to the countryside bodies or national park authorities for further closures on any day of the year, where they have legitimate reasons for doing so, for example for land management.He used land management as an example, but clause 22 deals only with land management.
The Minister went on to say:It is not the case that the Bill would prevent shooting on Saturdays.—[Official Report, Standing Committee B, 2 May 2000; c. 476.]The statement implies—and the Minister went on to clarify that it means—that clause 22 includes shooting as part of land management. Although it is perhaps understandable to say that land management includes sheep farming, I, and other Committee members, were surprised to hear the Minister say that it included shooting.
The major problem in preventing people from closing off land at weekends is that it removes from those who have an interest in the land a major opportunity to use it for personal, social or, more important, commercial purposes. I come back to the quotation from the action plan for farming that I gave at the beginning of my speech. If landowners are to increase their non-farming income, they will have to find ways of generating an income.
Hills, for example, can be used for paragliding, hang-gliding and similar activities. Although those activities may be dangerous, landowners can charge people to use their land not only to participate in those activities, but to be spectators of them. The Bill, however, would prevent landowners from closing off that land at weekends, which is the prime time for such activities. The Government are therefore preventing landowners from gaining that income.
In Committee, the Minister told us on countless occasions that he did not believe that the Bill increased the costs to landowners. The Bill may not add directly to landowners' costs, but the effect will be the same if it dramatically reduces their chance of earning an income from the land. That is why the amendments are crucial.
I turn to the issue of closing land on Saturdays and Sundays. Amendment No. 16 would create the opportunity of closing on either Saturday or Sunday, although not necessarily both. Amendments Nos. 17 and 18 are designed to allow Saturdays not to be closed. So the Minister has a choice—in Committee we used the term "a menu of choice". It is important that landowners should be allowed to use their land at weekends if that is the most appropriate time for shooting, hang-gliding or parascending—or, indeed, for the lambing to which I referred earlier.
As was said in Committee and does not need repeating in the House, sheep do not know when it is Saturday, Sunday or a bank holiday and they will not stop lambing. The Bill should not prevent landowners who have a justifiable reason for closing their land from doing so on a Saturday or a Sunday—particularly on Saturday, which is a key day for people to pay for leisure activities that are part of the diversification of land use that the Government wish to encourage.
§ Mr. Gray
Is there not a curious perversity here, in that the best days for a syndicated shoot on some lands are 878 Saturdays and bank holidays? Those are the days to get people out of London and the cities on to the moors to do a bit of syndicated shooting, which is where the big money is. That big money keeps the moors going. The curious perversity is that under the Bill those are the very days on which people cannot close off their land.
§ Mr. Paice
It is not simply a matter of shooting, although my hon. Friend is entirely right that people will pay a premium for an opportunity to shoot on Saturdays that they will not pay during the week, when there is slightly less demand. The features of the landscape that generate the best shooting—particularly grouse shooting—are the very features that walkers want to see. A good crop of heather with plenty of heather cover across the moor and a clean environment with a healthy wildlife stock is good for grouse, but it is also exactly what people want to see. They do not want to walk through bracken-covered hills with old rank heather that has long passed its most useful date and is no longer of any value to wildlife. That means that heather has to be burned on a regular cycle to cause it to regenerate. That is a critical part of heather moor management—but is burning heather on a large scale commensurate with free access? I suggest that it is not.
The 28-day limit and matters relating to closure at weekends and bank holidays bring us to the issue of land management. Amendment No. 98 seeks to create a definition of land management and builds on what the Minister said in Committee. I have already quoted his remarks which appeared to mean that shooting was included under the heading of land management. When we sought to define land management in Committee, the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions said at column 480:The proposed definition is, in some respects, rather narrow … the amendment might cast doubts on the possibility of closures for, for example, motor racing, war games, training racehorses or waste processing activities—[Official Report, Standing Committee B, 2 May 2000; c. 480.]Those words imply that the Government fully understand that there is a need to allow landowners to seek to generate an income from that sort of activity, and that having the land open at that time poses a risk to the public.
We have concentrated on the question of sheep farming, as it represents by far the biggest land use. However, many farmers also keep cattle on their hills, and that poses serious public safety issues. I said in Committee that some breeds of hill cattle can be exceedingly fierce at calving time. They will defend their calves viciously from anyone then, and it is no exaggeration to say that tragedies could happen if people appeared suddenly close to a cow with a calf.
In amendment No. 98, we have tried to define what we mean by land management. This time, I hope that our definition cannot be described as too narrow, but it is not intended to provide opportunities for unscrupulous landowners to close off their land—a matter that worried the Minister in Committee. Under clause 22, landowners can only apply to the Countryside Agency for approval to close off their land. A spurious application would be treated with disdain and rejected, but the amendment's definitions of land management—which take into account the comments made by Ministers in Committee—would provide the basis for serious applications.
879 I turn now to the criteria that we have used. I think that all hon. Members would agree that agriculture and forestry count as land management, but we argue that the maintenance and improvement of the wildlife habitat also count as land management. I have spoken about grouse, but the same criteria apply to countless forms of open-country wildlife, such as ground-nesting birds, or waders, or other species.
The amendment speaks ofany activity to maintain, improve or use sporting opportunities on the land.That links with pest control. Most Labour Members clearly want to ban fox hunting. If they succeed, the Burns report makes it clear that the only alternative way to control foxes will be by lamping. Shooting foxes at night would be highly dangerous to anyone in the vicinity.
§ Mr. Gray
At present, most lamping is undertaken with a shotgun. An interesting element of the Burns report which has not yet been highlighted is that it points out that a ban on hunting would mean that lamping would be carried out with high-velocity rifles. Does my hon. Friend agree that using such a weapon to shoot foxes in the pitch dark would be extremely dangerous?
§ Mr. Paice
I do not know anyone who goes lamping with a shotgun. I use a rifle, as does everyone else I know. However, one uses any gun only where it is safe to do so. Burns states that the use of high-powered rifles would not be acceptable in many parts of the country—especially if open access means that those with the guns do not know where other people may be. A fox may be visible in the spotlight 100 yards away, but the shooter may not be able to see a person walking only a few yards away. That is clearly a serious public safety issue.
§ Mr. Swayne
Does my hon. Friend imagine that hunt saboteurs will put up their feet once this measure goes through? The reality is that they will be present to disrupt those proceedings.
§ Mr. Paice
That may well be the case. I genuinely do not want to digress into a debate about hunting or what may take its place. However, pest control is an important part of overall land management, particularly with regard to the agricultural and sporting use of the land.
Finally, amendment No. 98 would provide the opportunity for landowners for close the land, or seek to close it, in furtherance of generating the income that, as I have described, is in line with Government policy.
I feel sure that some right hon. and hon. Members, perhaps even the Minister, will suggest that we are simply trying to look after landlords and reduce the opportunities for people to use the countryside. That is not the case. We have looked at the debates in Committee and heeded what the Minister said. Indeed, some of our earlier proposals were for a much longer period than 40 days. We believe, however, that 40 days is a reasonable compromise—a reasonable balance, as the Minister said in relation to his choice of 28 days. We believe that the amount of time in which people will want to shoot grouse, gather sheep, burn heather or shoot foxes on their land cannot be 880 contained within a 28-day period or restricted to Mondays to Fridays excluding bank holidays. Occasional weekend days also need to be included.
If the Minister's response to the issues of weekends and the 28-day period is that our proposals are not necessary because clause 22 provides the opportunity for landowners to apply to close off their land at any stage or for any period, it is critical that the definition of land management, to which clause 22 specifically refers, is broad enough to ensure that it covers all the eventualities that I have described. I hope that the Government will accept that the amendments have been tabled in a genuine and constructive vein, in an attempt to improve the Bill and its ability to meet the needs of land managers, without seriously damaging the opportunity for people to use the right that they will acquire under the Bill.
§ Mr. Bennett
The hon. Member for South-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Paice) seems to be making a great deal of unnecessary fuss about this. I find it amazing that he believes that access should be restricted during the lambing season. I spent many of my early years on a Welsh hill farm and I never saw a Welsh hill farmer who felt that at lambing time he had to put sheep into a particular field that did not have a footpath running through it, as opposed to putting them into one with a footpath.
§ Mr. Paice
There is a wealth of difference between a footpath and open access. The hon. Gentleman seems to fail to understand this point, which the Government kept repeating in Committee. When there is a footpath across land, access is manageable and farmers can, if they wish, keep their sheep away. Indeed, the sheep will probably keep themselves away. If there is open access there is no control, and no management of where people may come from or walk to, or of what disturbance they may create.
§ Mr. Bennett
I just do not think that the hon. Gentleman lives in the real world. I have looked at lambing on footpaths, and very often the lamb is actually dropped on the footpath. The people walking across the footpath use their common sense—they walk round, they divert from the footpath. That is exactly what will happen if there is access. I think that the hon. Gentleman is making a great deal of unnecessary fuss about lambing. My plea is for there to be as few restrictions as possible to make the system work. I am sure that he accepts that farmers will not want to spend a great deal of time putting up notices telling people that access is restricted.
People who go walking pick out routes which make a circle—to get back to their cars—or between two public transport points. They will set out with the intention of making that walk. If they suddenly find, for what they perceive to be no good reason, that there is a restriction on their access, they will not be pleased. I will not dilate on how they will respond.
The problem is that the more we restrict the routes that people can take, the less willing people will be to make the legislation work. They must be convinced that there is good reason for restricting access. I would suggest that with an increase from 28 to 40 days, the temptation for landowners to make land unavailable to walkers for the maximum rather than the minimum time will be considerable.
881 It is important that we impress upon people in the countryside that walkers are responsible people who will not want to cause problems. They will want to move out of the way if sheep are being collected off the hillside. They will want to take into account whether lambing is occurring in the areas that they are going into. They will have enough common sense to keep well away if there are cattle on the hillsides dropping calves.
We must develop the Bill in a spirit of co-operation and not by saying that there will be longer restrictions so that people suddenly find that, having set out to walk a particular circular route, they have to walk a considerable extra distance to avoid going on to a piece of land where there is a restriction.
I plead with the Opposition not to press this matter, which would bring the Bill into disrepute, as land access would be prevented for all sorts of trivial reasons rather than for the very small number of serious reasons when access needs to be restricted.
§ Mr. David Heath
The great problem with discussing this important group of amendments is the risk of going into hyperbole, with one side saying that all walkers are likely to cause difficulties for farmers or landowners while the other takes the view that all landowners will be seeking to thwart the legislation by whatever means they can. That is not true of the great majority of landowners, farmers, walkers and ramblers.
The difficulty is the practical application of the Bill. The hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) is, to a large extent, right, but his argument would be for no closures at all. He argues that there is no difference, in effect, between a 28-day closure and a 40-day closure to the individual who finds that land is closed. There is no logical reason for the hon. Gentleman to argue for one or the other if his view is that which he has expressed—other than a wish to restrict closures as far as possible. That is a perfectly reasonable position to take.
There are farming and other practices that farmers, owners and others feel would be better without disturbance. The classic case is lambing, and I agree with the hon. Member for South-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Paice) about the need to protect lambing as far as possible on these upland areas. I cannot understand the argument that lambing can somehow take place on a Monday-to-Friday basis; it does not make sense.
The Government have taken that view because they do not want closures every weekend as a result of the discretionary closures that landowners can impose. The Government do not want the 28 days, 40 days or whatever to lead to a succession of weekends of being closed to all-comers. I understand that. It would be an abuse of discretionary closure and would he contrary to the purposes of the Bill.
§ Mr. Paice
The hon. Gentleman is right. No one would want the land to be closed off for 28 or 40 Saturdays or Sundays. However, does he agree that no one is likely to do that, because people would not want to carry out the activities I mentioned only on Saturdays? They might do so on some Saturdays, but it is extremely unlikely that they would use Saturdays to the exclusion of all the other days of the week.
§ Mr. Heath
The hon. Gentleman is right; it is extremely unlikely indeed—unless someone was 882 deliberately trying to circumvent the provisions. That is why my hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Mr. Brake) and I tabled amendment No. 31. That would allow closure on four Saturdays and four Sundays in the year, but would ensure that not all the days were weekends. It would allow normal farming practices to take place.
In Committee, the Minister for the Environment made two arguments. He dealt with partial closure and made the important point that it is open to landowners to define for themselves the parts of their land that should be closed and on which days. That would make the process easier for farmers, but does it make it easier for the walker? It would make life immeasurably more difficult for the walker than if a longer period of complete closure was specified. If walkers find that a different piece of land, defined by the landowner, is closed each time they want to walk—perhaps on consecutive days—does that not lay the system open to all the abuses that worry the Minister?
If I were a landowner who wanted to be difficult, I should close ribbons of land across my estate for consecutive 28-day periods. That would thus give complete closure to access; it is a worrying lacuna in the proposals. A complete closure for a longer period would be better both for the farmer and for the landowner.
The other argument put by the Minister related to clause 22—closure for land management—to which the hon. Member for South-East Cambridgeshire also referred. There are two problems with that provision. The first is that it requires anticipation of the event. The restriction is not immediate; it must be applied for—we do not yet know by what mechanism or what delays might occur. However, it would certainly not be much help if lambing went on longer than the farmer anticipated. If a field was still in use on a Friday night, the farmer could not rush down to his friendly local access authority to ask for a clause 22 closure.
The second problem relates to the point that the hon. Member for South-East Cambridgeshire touched on: the definition of land management. Under clause 22, what does that comprise? At present, it is clear that the definition would have to be stretched beyond what is reasonable in order to encompass some of the activities that a landowner or farmer might properly want to undertake on their land.
In Committee, the hon. Member for South Derbyshire (Mr. Todd) asked how a rock concert could be organised so that it took place on a Saturday or a Sunday. Motor sport meetings were mentioned. They too would involve closure—usually at weekends. How would they be dealt with? Such events are not land management as defined under clause 22. They cannot take place within discretionary closure periods because of the weekend exemptions. That is a real difficulty.
This aspect of the Bill will cause problems. The Government have not thought it through; they have not related their good intentions to agricultural practice or to the practical effects on people trying to work the land. They should reconsider the matter.
My final point is about Government amendment No. 152. Again, it is a matter that I raised in Committee and, again, the Government have responded positively by tabling an amendment. The insertion of the words 883 "a specified person" will improve the Bill. I commend the Government for listening to the few words that I said in Committee on this point.
§ Mr. Dafydd Wigley (Caernarfon)
I am glad to have the opportunity to take part in the debate. I am not sure whether I should declare an interest, but my local newspaper described me as a landowner because I have six modest acres of land adjacent to my house. It will not be affected by the Bill, so perhaps a declaration of interest is not necessary.
The hon. Member for South-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Paice) mentioned the forays that he had undertaken to my part of the world. I represent a rural constituency where many of the issues that we are debating are important. There are 93 villages in my constituency and I know that he has diligently rambled around them. Perhaps he has even hunted for votes in them. I am sorry that he was not more successful, but I am sure that he enjoyed the experience of visiting my constituency.
The farming fraternity, particularly upland farmers and the sheep farmers in Snowdonia, are concerned about many aspects of the Bill and the issues raised by the amendments. I stress their concerns in supporting the amendment even though I warmly welcome many aspects of the Bill. They will be worth having on the statute book. That is why it is important to strike the right balance.
The amendment raises the question of whether we have achieved the right balance. My hon. Friend the Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Mr. Llwyd) is on parliamentary duties, and he is sorry that he cannot be here tonight. However, I have read the debate in which he took part in Committee. When the Minister for the Environment responded, he said that he accepted that the period of 28 days was a matter of judgment.
Lambing causes a problem for the Government's proposal. The hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) spoke about people who stick to the footpaths, and if there were linear access, that problem might be much less serious. Although such access was debated in Committee, we are not returning to the point now.
I love walking in the hills and I can identify with the people who do that. I am concerned not about 99 per cent. of ramblers, but about the 1 per cent. of them who can create mayhem. I receive representations from hill farmers and sheep farmers about the nuisance that they have suffered and we have to take their concerns on board if we are to reach a settlement that will stick.
The period of 28 days is too short. A period of 40 days is a modest extension, and it is nothing like the suggestion of 90 days that was made in Committee. To build in flexibility, it might have been an idea to stipulate the number of days by order. With experience, the period could have been varied without the need for primary legislation. That might have allowed us in the National Assembly in Cardiff to vary the period in line with circumstances in Wales.
Lambing now takes place over an extended period because of the marketing patterns that have developed to respond to the difficult times faced by hill farmers. I press the Minister to follow the logic of his comments when he condemned the suggestion of 90 or 180 days that was 884 made in Committee. He said that we should debate a more modest period, and 40 days is precisely that. The Government could accept that proposal.
My hon. Friend the Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy made another important point in Committee. He talked about the effect that the clause could have on highlands and on certain birds that nest and produce their young in such areas. He referred to birds such as the curlew, the stone curlew, the golden plover and others which would be vulnerable for more than the period of 28 days if no protection were provided. That aspect of the problem is another argument in favour of extending the period to 40 days, as suggested in the amendment.
Even at this late stage, I hope that the Government will take on board the modest nature of the amendment and will respond positively to it. I am glad to support it.
§ Mr. Christopher Gill (Ludlow)
I endorse all that my hon. Friend the Member for South-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Paice) said from the Front Bench, and stress that as a practical farmer myself, I believe that he has genuinely tried to improve the Bill in a constructive way. My hon. Friend's comments, like those that I shall make, were based on practical experience. I have some knowledge of the ways of sheep, and I know how extraordinarily frustrating they can be.
I can confirm that my hon. Friend's reply to the intervention by the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) was right. In his own remarks, the hon. Gentleman told the House that he had been brought up on a farm. That is untypical. It makes the hon. Gentleman, my hon. Friend and me untypical of the majority of people who go walking in the countryside. The majority of walkers were not privileged to have been brought up on a farm and are, therefore, not nearly as conversant with the ways of animals and how they will react under certain circumstances—not least how they will react when disturbed by human beings who happen to walk through their territory.
My hon. Friend instanced the problems of mustering on a hillside, when just one person appearing in the wrong place will have the effect of scattering the flock over a wide area, causing the shepherd enormous loss of time, great frustration and additional hard work under extremely trying circumstances.
§ Mr. Gray
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way. In response to the comments of the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich a moment ago—[Interruption.] I beg the hon. Gentleman's pardon—the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett). There is a curious explanation for my error, but I shall not go into that. I apologise to the hon. Gentleman.
The definitive briefing on the matter must be from the National Farmers Union, which states:It is absolutely imperative that ewes and lambs are not disturbed during the period of lambing.
§ Mr. Gill
The House must take notice of the NFU and people with practical experience. I respect the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish as a man with a great deal of experience of walking in the countryside, but he is not typical. He has had the experience of having been brought up on a farm, which gives him an understanding of the ways of animals that the majority of walkers do not have.
885 As the right hon. Member for Caernarfon (Mr. Wigley) said, whereas 99 per cent. of walkers will behave very well indeed, and will have some consideration for the countryside and the animals there, from time to time there will be someone who is capable of causing mayhem.
Generally speaking, landowners and farmers are tolerant people who will welcome and encourage recreational walkers, but it is the 1 per cent. of walkers who step out of line who not only spoil the experience for other walkers, but make the farmer's or landowner's job so difficult.
§ Mr. Edward Garnier (Harborough)
It is my experience in Leicestershire that expectant sheep, expectant cattle and expectant birds cannot count or tell the days of the week. I wondered whether the animals in my hon. Friend's part of the country, or in any other part, were cleverer than the sheep and other animals in my part of the country. Is my hon. Friend convinced that the number of days that the Government intend to prescribe will have any bearing on the way in which animals behave as they come near to delivering their young?
§ Mr. Gill
I am tempted to tell my hon. and learned Friend about the local agricultural journalist in our area, whose gag is to tell the readers not to put the tup into the sheep at night, so that the farmer does not have to be up at nights lambing.
The short answer to my hon. and learned Friend's question is no, of course the animals do not know what day of the week it is or whether it is the weekend.
The exclusion of weekends from the possibility of the farmer being able to close off his land is entirely impracticable. I do not understand why anyone should consider that, during lambing, the exclusion of the weekend is acceptable. In any event, the amendment proposing that the 28-day period should be extended to 40 seems eminently sensible. Even though it is possible these days, with the development of modern techniques, to condense the lambing period, it is still unreasonable to expect farmers in the hills to compress their lambing within the 40 days that is now being proposed.
My hon. Friend the Member for South-East Cambridgeshire was right to point out the perversity of the provisions in circumstances where farmers and landowners need to generate additional income. They have been exhorted by the Government to do just that by diversifying and finding other ways of producing an income so that they are not entirely dependent on agriculture, which we know is going through a difficult time. An unreasonable restriction is being imposed, and the period should be extended.
The hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath) talked about the problems of definition. That is inevitable. Once a decision is taken to legislate in any area, there will be problems of definition. Problems are occasioned by the difficulty of protecting everybody's interests following the decision to legislate in a particularly difficult area. However, that decision having been made, we must ensure that as far as possible—this is the purpose of the amendments—the Bill's provisions strike a fair balance between the interests of all the parties, and that is not easily done. It is certainly not easily achieved if hon. 886 Members who take part in the debate fail to appreciate—or do not want to do so—the practical difficulties that are faced by those who depend on the land for their living.
With these brief remarks, I hope that the Government will accept the amendment and increase the number of days from 28 to 40, and accept also the amendment dealing with the definition of land.
§ Dr. David Clark (South Shields)
I urge my right hon. Friend the Minister not to accept the advice that he has received from the Opposition Benches, which is unfounded and does not fit the balance correctly. I am bemused by some of the comments of Opposition Members.
I speak as someone who was brought up in the Cumbrian hills. I started my working life on the land in the Cumbrian fells. I suspect that I know as much about that part of England as anyone in the Chamber. I find the discussion about a new situation that is suddenly before us bemusing. We are talking about people having a right of access to upland, farmland and elsewhere, as if that were something new that would cause many unforeseen difficulties. That is not the case.
In Cumbria, because of the Law of Property Act 1925, the vast majority of commons, because they were under old urban districts—anyone who knows Cumbria will understand that they are very rural—have provided access on foot for everyone to exercise. In addition, the rest of the commons are virtually owned by the National Trust, and there is complete and free access. I can think of only one serious mountain top in Cumbria where there is not supposedly free access.
We are not staring into the unknown. We know what the position is and farmers know what the position is. The Cumbrian farmers have learned to live with it and they compete favourably with upland farmers elsewhere in the United Kingdom. I concede that it is a matter of balance, but the Government have got that balance about right with 28 days.
Lambing has been debated at great length tonight, but the lambing season in the upland areas is not long. Early lambing is done inside. The climate is such that there cannot be an extended lambing season in the upland areas. Of course, the provision could cause the odd difficulty—that is inevitable in life—but, with good farming practice, such problems can be accommodated.
Therefore, I ask my right hon. Friend the Minister not to change his viewpoint. For the past almost 75 years, we have seen how, in one large tract of upland area, we have managed to live with access, which is perhaps far greater than in most parts of the country, while still managing to sustain a viable farming industry.
§ Mr. Swayne
Recently, I attended a farm open day on a Sunday in my constituency. That open day involved charging for access to the land. It was not a commercial operation, but a public relations operation on behalf of farming. Nevertheless, the charge for access to the farm was £2.50 per adult, with children being allowed access free. There was a farmers' market and an extensive farm tour on trailers attached to tractors which took more than an hour. I would estimate that some 2,000 people took the farm tour that day.
887 Undoubtedly, not all the land that was available that day would have been subject to the right of access, but I estimate that about half of it would have been. That was not a commercial undertaking, but given my estimate of 2,000 people attending, there appears to be a commercial demand for such an activity, particularly at weekends. Would such an activity fall within the definition of land management in amendment No.98, and is that an appropriate way to encourage farmers to augment their income in these difficult times?
I have no doubt that, if so, that is precisely the sort of activity for which the amendments should cater by providing for a period of more than 28 days and access at weekends. It would be impossible to have arranged such an undertaking, charging people for access to land and laying on the farmers' market and the tour, while that land was openly available to anyone under the right of access. It would have had to have been closed for such an undertaking to have remained a success.
§ Mr. Meacher
Clause 24 allows the relevant authorities to make direction to exclude or restrict public access in the interests of nature conservation of heritage preservation.
In Committee, we recognised the merit of an amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath), which would allow any person to be appointed for the purpose of determining the precise period of the closure or restriction. It would allow, for example, a wildlife trust with a short lease of the land to determine the period of closure in order to protect rare plants while they are in flower. Amendments Nos. 152 and 153 give effect to our undertaking in Committee, and I therefore commend them to the House.
Clause 30 enables the Secretary of State or, in Wales, the National Assembly, to make regulations relating to the exclusion or restriction of access under chapter II. Amendment No. 166 allows for regulations to prescribe the form of a notice or application under certain provisions of chapter II.
The use of forms may assist landowners by ensuring that they are aware of all the information that is required from them when making an application or posting a notification, and will ensure that the relevant authorities receive all the information that they require in order to undertake their responsibilities.
Government amendment No. 167, with consequential amendments Nos. 186 and 188, would enable the Secretary of State or the National Assembly to make regulations restricting applications from commoners under clause 22, which deals with land management, or clause 23, which covers avoidance of risk of fire or danger to the public. It responds to an undertaking which my hon. Friend the Minister gave my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Kidney) in Committee.
I acknowledge the anxieties that my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and the Countryside Agency raised about the difficulties that could arise if many people with 888 rights of common access over an area of open country chose to seek separate directions under chapter II. Government amendment No. 167 would ensure that powers would be available to the Secretary of State and the National Assembly to regulate such applications, for example, to specify that applications should be made jointly.
I shall now deal with the Opposition amendments, especially amendment No. 11. Clause 2l gives landowners and others who have an interest in the land an absolute entitlement to exclude or restrict access as they think fit, for any reason, for up to 28 days each year. While that inevitably places constraints on when the new right of access can be exercised, it is reasonable to allow those with an interest in the land the flexibility to close land, or otherwise restrict access without needing to seek anyone's permission. I believe that hon. Members from all parties share that view. Again, it reflects our wish to apply a light touch to the statutory framework and keep burdens on landowners to a minimum.
I shall tackle the more controversial issue of the length of time. Determining the figure of 28 days has inevitably been a matter of judgment. There is nothing sacrosanct about it. We have been guided, not by the fact that the figure is used in other legislation, but, as I said earlier, by our judgment about the occasions when landowners and others might need to exclude the public. I listened carefully to the hon. Member for South-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Paice), who made an effective and passionate speech. However, in all honesty, it is difficult to envisage many such occasions, especially those that take us beyond 28 days.
It is hard to imagine how people walking across uncultivated land, away from buildings, would generally interfere with others who were using the land. My hon. Friend the Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) made that point effectively. Shooting is perhaps one of the few examples. There has already been much discussion about that in Committee and elsewhere.
Our understanding is that grouse moors, even large ones, are highly unlikely to sustain shooting for 28 days. Moreover, the Bill allows closure or restriction of up to 28 days of any parcel of land. The hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath) also made that point. It should not be overlooked—the hon. Gentleman did not overlook it—as it gives those managing the land far greater flexibility than if closures applied to all the landholdings. For example, those involved in grouse management will be able to close or restrict access to different parts of their land for up to 28 days, assuming that they believe that restrictions are necessary. The total number of days on which closures or restrictions are in operation on different parts of a large estate could therefore considerably exceed 28 days.
The hon. Member for Somerton and Frome presented an ingenious argument in terms of ribbons, if I can so describe it, against my proposal in Committee on the abuse of closures. I accept that the discretion to close different parcels of land could be abused, for example, by closing concentric circles on different days.
§ It being Ten o'clock, further consideration of the Bill stood adjourned.889
Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 15 (Exempted business),
That, at this day's sitting, the Countryside and Rights of Way Bill may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.—[Mr. Kevin Hughes.]
§ Question agreed to.
§ As amended in the Standing Committee, again considered.
§ Question again proposed, That the amendment be made.
§ Mr. Meacher
As I was saying, such closures would quickly fall into disrepute and would be almost impossible to enforce or signpost. I do not think that abuses are likely to be frequent, or effective in reducing access.
If we have erred at all, I think that we have erred in favouring the landowner rather than the public. The Government believe that a power to exclude or restrict access for up to 28 days in any year as of right is more than adequate, and that an increase is not justified.
As for the question of whether landowners should be allowed as of right to close their land at weekends as part of their 28-day entitlement, I accept that a very balanced judgment is involved. I listened carefully to what was said, and I think all hon. Members agree that we must balance the needs of those who manage the land with our aim to give millions of people more and better access to the open countryside. It is obvious that weekends will be popular with walkers, and I have heard the arguments suggesting that they are also necessary for farmers. The Government would therefore be wary of any proposals that could be used to frustrate the genuine intentions of the legislation.
I accept that amendments Nos. 16 to 18 do not seek to add Sundays or bank holidays to the discretionary closure arrangements. I also accept that they reflect genuine concerns about potential conflicts between access and shooting. We have thought carefully about the case for including Saturdays as part of the discretionary entitlement, but we are not persuaded of that case. If we accepted the amendments, land could be closed every Saturday throughout spring and summer. That may not be the intention, but it could happen. I am more attracted to a more modest amendment—No. 31, tabled by Liberal Democrats in Committee. Giving those entitled to discretionary closures the right to exclude or restrict access for up to four Saturdays or four Sundays is, I think, a much more reasonable proposition.
Finally, let me deal with the whole question of land management, and the various comments about our attitude to it. In fact, our attitude involves giving land management a pretty wide meaning. We do not consider it sensible to provide an exhaustive list of definitions. Such a list would certainly include agricultural and forestry activities as well as shooting—I am happy to place that on record—but defining land management in the way proposed by amendment No. 98 risks excluding activities that should fall within the scope of the Bill.
I may be asked for an example. This was hinted at by others. Amendment No. 98 would not allow for a non-profit-making activity, such as a pop festival, to take place on the land. However, I should add that we do not intend "land management" to embrace nature conservation, which is dealt with by directions made under clause 24.
890 Clause 21(7) already allows regulations to be made to vary the days on which access can be excluded or restricted. That means that if, in the light of experience, it becomes clear that there is a case for including some Saturdays in the discretionary entitlement, the Secretary of State will have the power to amend the days as necessary.
I hope that that reassures the hon. Member for South-East Cambridgeshire. I assure the House that we shall continue to listen carefully to views expressed about discretionary closures. I recognise that a difficult judgment has to be made, and we are still trying to get the balance right, but for the reasons that I have given, I ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw the amendment.
§ Mr. Paice
I appreciate the Minister's comments on land management and want to put on record the fact that he includes shooting under that heading, but I am much less persuaded about 28-day or 40-day closures and weekends. The right hon. Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark) and the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) sought to pour scorn on my comments about farming and especially lambing, which were supported not only by Conservative Members, but by other Opposition Members. The right hon. Gentleman said that farmers know that there is no problem, but, as my hon. Friend the Member for North Wiltshire (Mr. Gray) said, I would far rather heed the views of the National Farmers Union, which specifically said:We believe that the 28 days specified in the Bill is far too short a time period. Often lambing can take place over a six-week period and it is imperative that ewes and lambs are not disturbed during this time.I believe that the NFU's voice fairly reflects the concerns of sheep farmers throughout the country, which is why we believe that 40 days is right.
The Minister said that grouse moors are unlikely to have to sustain shooting for 28 days. He is right, but shooting is only part of managing those moors. Shooting may constitute a large part of it, but 28 days is inadequate when the other activities are included. The Minister also said that, if the partial closure method were used on a large estate, parts of the moor could be closed for more than 28 days, but I stress that not all the land that we are considering is part of large estates. Some of the land in Snowdonia, to which the right hon. Member for Caernarfon (Mr. Wigley) referred, may be owned by large estates, but it is certainly not farmed as such; it is farmed by small operations, for which partial closure would not be an option.
The Minister said that moors could be closed all spring and summer if amendment No. 31, on Saturdays and Sundays, were adopted. I have to tell him that people do not shoot in the spring and the summer. Therefore, his argument is wrong if closure for shooting purposes is right.
I want to take this opportunity to say that I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Caernarfon is retiring at the next election. I was sorry that he won 20 years ago, but I shall be sorry to see him go.
We in the Conservative party are the first to recognise that the vast majority of walkers are responsible people who will take heed of the problems that they could cause. Equally, we are the first to recognise that the odd landlord or landowner will want to use whatever opportunity he 891 has to thwart the Bill. There are rogues in every group in society—that is a fact of life. The amendment is intended to balance the rights and opportunities of landowners and land users, who will be given rights under the Bill, and I commend it to the House.
§ Question put, That the amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 155, Noes 294.894
|Division No. 230]||[10.9 pm|
|Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)||Greenway, John|
|Allan, Richard||Grieve, Dominic|
|Amess, David||Gummer, Rt Hon John|
|Ancram, Rt Hon Michael||Hammond, Philip|
|Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James||Harvey, Nick|
|Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy||Hawkins, Nick|
|Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)||Hayes, John|
|Baker, Norman||Heald, Oliver|
|Baldry, Tony||Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)|
|Ballard, Jackie||Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David|
|Bell, Martin (Tatton)||Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas|
|Bercow, John||Howard, Rt Hon Michael|
|Beresford, Sir Paul||Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)|
|Blunt, Crispin||Hunter, Andrew|
|Body, Sir Richard||Jack, Rt Hon Michael|
|Boswell, Tim||Jackson, Robert (Wantage)|
|Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)||Jenkin, Bernard|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia||Key, Robert|
|Brady, Graham||King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)|
|Brake, Tom||Kirkbride, Miss Julie|
|Brand, Dr Peter||Laing, Mrs Eleanor|
|Breed, Colin||Lait, Mrs Jacqui|
|Brooke, Rt Hon Peter||Lansley, Andrew|
|Browning, Mrs Angela||Leigh, Edward|
|Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)||Letwin, Oliver|
|Burnett, John||Lidington, David|
|Burns, Simon||Lilley, Rt Hon Peter|
|Burstow, Paul||Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)|
|Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife)||Loughton, Tim|
|Cash, William||Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas|
|Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)||MacGregor, Rt Hon John|
|McIntosh, Miss Anne|
|Chidgey, David||MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew|
|Clappison, James||Maclean, Rt Hon David|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Madel, Sir David|
|Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey||Maples, John|
|Collins, Tim||Mates, Michael|
|Cran, James||Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)|
|Davey, Edward (Kingston)||Moore, Michael|
|Duncan Smith, Iain||Moss, Malcolm|
|Evans, Nigel||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Faber, David||Norman, Archie|
|Fabricant, Michael||Öpik, Lembit|
|Flight, Howard||Ottaway, Richard|
|Forth, Rt Hon Eric||Page, Richard|
|Foster, Don (Bath)||Paice, James|
|Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman||Paterson, Owen|
|Fox, Dr Liam||Pickles, Eric|
|Fraser, Christopher||Prior, David|
|Garnier, Edward||Randall, John|
|George, Andrew (St Ives)||Redwood, Rt Hon John|
|Gibb, Nick||Rendel, David|
|Gidley, Sandra||Robathan, Andrew|
|Gill, Christopher||Robertson, Laurence|
|Gillan, Mrs Cheryl||Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)|
|Gorman, Mrs Teresa||Ruffley, David|
|Gray, James||Russell, Bob (Colchester)|
|Green, Damian||St Aubyn, Nick|
|Sanders, Adrian||Tredinnick, David|
|Sayeed, Jonathan||Trend, Michael|
|Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)||Tyler, Paul|
|Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)||Tyrie, Andrew|
|Soames, Nicholas||Walter, Robert|
|Spicer, Sir Michael||Waterson, Nigel|
|Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John||Webb, Steve|
|Steen, Anthony||Wells, Bowen|
|Streeter, Gary||Whitney, Sir Raymond|
|Stunell, Andrew||Whittingdale, John|
|Swayne, Desmond||Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd|
|Syms, Robert||Willis, Phil|
|Tapsell, Sir Peter||Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)|
|Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)||Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)|
|Taylor, John M (Solihull)||Yeo, Tim|
|Taylor, Matthew (Truro)||Young, Rt Hon Sir George|
|Taylor, Sir Teddy|
|Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)||Tellers for the Ayes: Mr. Peter Atkinson and Mr. Stephen Day.|
|Tonge, Dr Jenny|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Clelland, David|
|Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)||Coaker, Vernon|
|Ainger, Nick||Coffey, Ms Ann|
|Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)||Coleman, Iain|
|Allen, Graham||Colman, Tony|
|Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)||Connarty, Michael|
|Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary||Cook, Frank (Stockton N)|
|Ashton, Joe||Corbett, Robin|
|Atherton, Ms Candy||Corbyn, Jeremy|
|Atkins, Charlotte||Corston, Jean|
|Austin, John||Cousins, Jim|
|Banks, Tony||Cox, Tom|
|Barron, Kevin||Cranston, Ross|
|Battle, John||Crausby, David|
|Bayley, Hugh||Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)|
|Beard, Nigel||Cryer, John (Hornchurch)|
|Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret||Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland)|
|Begg, Miss Anne|
|Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)||Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)|
|Benn, Hilary (Leeds C)||Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield)||Dalyell, Tam|
|Bennett, Andrew F||Darling, Rt Hon Alistair|
|Best, Harold||Darvill, Keith|
|Betts, Clive||Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)|
|Blackman, Liz||Davidson, Ian|
|Blears, Ms Hazel||Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)|
|Blizzard, Bob||Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)|
|Boateng, Rt Hon Paul||Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H)|
|Bradley, Keith (Withington)||Dawson, Hilton|
|Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)||Dean, Mrs Janet|
|Bradshaw, Ben||Denham, John|
|Brown, Russell (Dumfries)||Dobbin, Jim|
|Browne, Desmond||Dobson, Rt Hon Frank|
|Buck, Ms Karen||Donohoe, Brian H|
|Burden, Richard||Doran, Frank|
|Butler, Mrs Christine||Dowd, Jim|
|Byers, Rt Hon Stephen||Drew, David|
|Caborn, Rt Hon Richard||Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth|
|Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)||Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)|
|Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)||Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Ellman, Mrs Louise|
|Caplin, Ivor||Ennis, Jeff|
|Caton, Martin||Etherington, Bill|
|Cawsey, Ian||Field, Rt Hon Frank|
|Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)||Fitzpatrick, Jim|
|Chaytor, David||Flint, Caroline|
|Clapham, Michael||Flynn, Paul|
|Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)||Foster, Rt Hon Derek|
|Clark, Dr Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)||Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)|
|Foster, Michael J (Worcester)|
|Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)||Foulkes, George|
|Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)||Fyfe, Maria|
|Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)||Galloway, George|
|Gardiner, Barry||McWalter, Tony|
|Gerrard, Neil||Mahon, Mrs Alice|
|Gibson, Dr Ian||Mallaber, Judy|
|Godman, Dr Norman A||Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)|
|Goggins, Paul||Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)|
|Gordon, Mrs Eileen||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)||Marshall-Andrews, Robert|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Martlew, Eric|
|Grocott, Bruce||Maxton, John|
|Grogan, John||Meacher, Rt Hon Michael|
|Hall, Patrick (Bedford)||Meale, Alan|
|Hanson, David||Merron, Gillian|
|Heal, Mrs Sylvia||Michael, Rt Hon Alun|
|Healey, John||Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)|
|Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)||Milburn, Rt Hon Alan|
|Hill, Keith||Miller, Andrew|
|Hinchliffe, David||Moonie, Dr Lewis|
|Hodge, Ms Margaret||Moran, Ms Margaret|
|Hoey, Kate||Morley, Elliot|
|Hope, Phil||Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)|
|Howarth, Alan (Newport E)||Morris, Rt Hon Sir John (Aberavon)|
|Howarth, George (Knowsley N)|
|Howells, Dr Kim||Mountford, Kali|
|Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)||Mudie, George|
|Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)||Mullin, Chris|
|Humble, Mrs Joan||Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)|
|Hurst, Alan||Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)|
|Hutton, John||Naysmith, Dr Doug|
|Iddon, Dr Brian||O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)|
|Illsley, Eric||O'Hara, Eddie|
|Ingram, Rt Hon Adam||Olner, Bill|
|Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)||Organ, Mrs Diana|
|Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)||Palmer, Dr Nick|
|Jenkins, Brian||Pearson, Ian|
|Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)||Pickthall, Colin|
|Pike, Peter L|
|Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)||Plaskitt, James|
|Jones, Helen (Warrington N)||Pollard, Kerry|
|Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW)||Pond, Chris|
|Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)||Pound, Stephen|
|Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa||Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)|
|Keeble, Ms Sally||Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)|
|Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)||Primarolo, Dawn|
|Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)||Prosser, Gwyn|
|Kemp, Fraser||Purchase, Ken|
|Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)||Quinn, Lawrie|
|Khabra, Piara S||Rapson, Syd|
|Kidney, David||Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)|
|Kilfoyle, Peter||Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff|
|Kumar, Dr Ashok||Rooney, Teny|
|Ladyman, Dr Stephen||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Lawrence, Mrs Jackie||Rowlands, Ted|
|Lepper, David||Roy, Frank|
|Leslie, Christopher||Ruddock, Joan|
|Levitt, Tom||Ryan, Ms Joan|
|Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)||Salter, Martin|
|Lewis, Terry (Worsley)||Sarwar, Mohammad|
|Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen||Savidge, Malcolm|
|Linton, Martin||Sawford, Phil|
|Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Lock, David||Shaw, Jonathan|
|McAvoy, Thomas||Sheerman, Barry|
|McCabe, Steve||Shipley, Ms Debra|
|McCafferty, Ms Chris||Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)|
|McCartney, Rt Hon Ian (Makerfield)||Singh, Marsha|
|McDonagh, Siobhain||Smith, Angela (Basildon)|
|McDonnell, John||Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)|
|McGuire, Mrs Anne|
|McIsaac, Shona||Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)|
|Mackinlay, Andrew||Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)|
|McNulty, Tony||Snape, Peter|
|MacShane, Denis||Soley, Clive|
|Squire, Ms Rachel||Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)|
|Starkey, Dr Phyllis||Tynan, Bill|
|Steinberg, Gerry||Vis, Dr Rudi|
|Stoate, Dr Howard||Walley, Ms Joan|
|Stringer, Graham||Ward, Ms Claire|
|Stuart, Ms Gisela||Wareing, Robert N|
|Sutcliffe, Gerry||Watts, David|
|Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)||White, Brain|
|Whitehead, Dr Alan|
|Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)||Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)|
|Taylor, David (NW Leics)|
|Temple-Morris, Peter||Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)|
|Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)||Wills, Michael|
|Thomas Gareth R (Harrow W)||Winnick, David|
|Timms, Stephen||Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)|
|Tipping, Paddy||Wood, Mike|
|Todd, Mark||Woodward, Shaun|
|Touhig, Don||Worthington, Tony|
|Trickett, Jon||Wray, James|
|Truswell, Paul||Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)|
|Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)||Wyatt, Derek|
|Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)||Tellers for the Noes: Mr. Mike Hall and Mr. David Jamieson.|
|Turner, Neil (Wigan)|
|Twigg, Derek (Halton)|
§ Question accordingly negatived.