115 Clause 50, page 44, line 22, at end insert—
'(1A) Where such a survey or review so begun is abandoned, the Secretary of State shall give notice of the abandonment as appears to him requisite.'.
§ The Earl of Avon
My Lords, this amendment requires the Secretary of State to give such notice of the abandonment of a survey or review as he considers appropriate. Your Lordships will recollect that at Report stage the procedure in Schedule 14 for making definitive map orders was amended to the effect that objections to proposals that would lapse on the abandonment of a review would remain in abeyance until the surveying authority resurrects the particular proposal by way of an order under the new procedure. This arrangement does not, however, take care of properly made objections to draft revisions which are essentially claims for the addition to definitive maps of rights of way not previously shown. In such cases the person making the claim would be obliged to apply to the surveying authority for a definitive map order in accordance with the provisions of Clause 48(5) and Schedule 13. The principal purpose of this amendment is therefore to enable the Secretary of State to notify such persons individually of the abandonment of the review to which they objected and of the provisions of Clause 48(5). The Government are satisfied that this useful amendment in the way it is to be applied will help considerably to offset for many persons the consequences of abandonment. My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 115.
§ Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said amendment.—(The Earl of Avon.)
§ Lord Melchett moved Amendment No. 115A as an amendment to Amendment No. 115:
§ 115A Line 2, after ("give") insert ("to any person whose representation or objection will as a consequence of the abandonment not be determined").
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, as the noble Earl has said Amendment No. 115 is an improvement on the Bill as it left your Lordships' House in that it goes some way towards ensuring that people whose objections and representations will be discarded by the Secretary of State will actually be told of his decision, and that seems only reasonable. But the amendment which another place inserted in the Bill does not ensure that the Secretary of State will tell people when their objections and representations are discarded, and Amendment No. 115A imposes a strict duty on him to see that they are informed.
I think the noble Earl really made the case for Amendment No. 115A at the same time as he made that for Amendment No. 115. It really seems a bit rough if people who have registered objections to a proposal which is then discarded by the Secretary of State are not even told that it has been discarded. The Bill was improved to remedy that omission, and all that now seems necessary is to ensure that the Secretary of State does tell everyone who is involved. I hope the Government will accept Amendment No. 115A as a modest improvement to their own amendment. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That this House doth agree with the amendment to the amendment.—(Lord Melchett.)621
§ The Earl of Avon
My Lords, I find this one a slight tongue-twister, but I shall try to get it right. The Government find it difficult to accept this amendment in so far as it would require the Secretary of State to notify all objectors whose objection will not be determined of the abandonment of existing reviews. It goes way beyond the undertaking given at Committee stage of a Government amendment to enable the Secretary of State to notify objectors whose objection amounts to a claim for the addition to the definitive map of a right of way not hitherto shown. The result of that undertaking is Amendment No. 115, which, because it requires the Secretary of State to give such notice as he considers appropriate of abandonment, will enable us to ensure that these persons will be duly notified.
The amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, takes no account of the fact that in relation to specific proposals in draft provisions to alter the definitive map which would lapse on the abandonment of review the Bill was amended in this House to the effect that the objections would not be lost but would remain in abeyance until the surveying authority resurrect the particular proposal by way of an order under the new procedure. Nor does it take account of the fact that in future the reclassification of RUPPs will take place against the background of different criteria from those that apply at present. This means quite simply that many of the present reclassification proposals will disappear.
There are also, if I may say so, administrative problems associated with fulfilling the requirements of the noble Lord's amendment. It would not simply be a matter of informing persons that a particular review has been abandoned but would also involve advising them of how their objection is affected by the new arrangements and of the different options open to them. Each objection would need to be examined separately, which would be a considerable task and would mean diverting the resources available within the department, which are by no means unlimited, from the more essential task of implementing the new system. We believe that these particular objections would run into five figures, and it is the size of the task rather than the principle which makes me ask the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, if he could withdraw his amendment.
§ Lord Melchett
My Lords, I take it from what the noble Earl has said that the Government intend to use the provisions now in the Bill to implement the undertaking given at Committee stage in another place that those who have put in a claim for a new right of way and whose claim is abandoned will be informed. I think the noble Earl said that, and he is nodding to confirm it, so that it is on the record. Far be it from me to wish to place any additional financial burdens on the Department of Environment than those that the Government have already placed on it, so I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
§ Amendment to the amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ 6.48 p.m.