HL Deb 19 October 1981 vol 424 cc674-6

236 Page 101, line 18, at end insert— '3A. After that paragraph there shall be inserted the following paragraph— 7. As soon as may be after an order under section 210 or 214(1)(b) of this Act has come into operation otherwise than—

  1. (a) on the date on which it was confirmed by the Secretary of State or confirmed as an unopposed order; or
  2. 675
  3. (b) at the expiration of a specified period beginning with that date,
the authority by whom the order was made shall give notice of its coming into operation by publication in at least one local newspaper circulating in the area in which the land to which the order relates is situated.".'.

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 236. This amendment stems from the fact that public path diversion orders often do not become operative until some months after confirmation of the order, especially if works must first be carried out to bring the path created by the order into a suitable condition for public use. Yet there is no requirement that the authority responsible for making the order inform the public of the availability of the path for use. This amendment remedies the situation by requiring the authority to announce the fact by way of notice in the local press.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said amendment.—(The Earl of Avon.)

As an amendment to Commons Amendment No. 236:

236A Line 12, after ("operation") insert ("to any persons on whom notices were required to be served under paragraphs 1(2)(b) or (4) of this Schedule and").

Lord Melchett

My Lords, I beg to move as an amendment to Commons Amendment No. 236 Amendment No. 236A. I apologise for momentarily interrupting the noble Earl's headlong solo rush to the end of the Bill. This amendment, with Amendment No. 250A, would extend the requirement to give notice to include any persons on whom copies of the original order and of the confirmation have been served. Again, this is in line with other changes made by Schedule 15 and will also ensure that anyone who has been involved with a diversion order will know when the change takes place on the ground.

The noble Earl grouped this with some earlier amendments of mine, in particular Amendment 126A, I think, but I would suggest to him that Amendment No. 236A and Amendment No. 250A deal with a different matter. They deal with public path diversion orders and at the stages of publication of these and of confirmation, copies and notices will be served on listed organisations as well as published in a local paper. So it is entirely consistent for listed organisations also to receive notice of the coming into operation of these orders as my amendments would bring about. So I think that it raises a slightly different point from that raised by Amendment No. 126A because, of course, diversion orders can be confirmed and public notice can be given of that confirmation without the actual change on the ground taking place.

For example, a path might be diverted to allow development to take place and the development then may not actually take place on the ground for a year or two and only when the new path has been constructed, after the development, to the satisfaction of the local authority, does the change legally take place on the ground. That is the stage at which it seems sensible that organisations should receive notice of the coming into operation of the orders. I hope that with that explanation, and with the distinction between this amendment and Amendment No. 126A, the Government might be disposed to accept the last amendment that I shall be moving to this long, interesting Bill. I beg to move.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the said amendment to Commons Amendment No. 236.—(Lord Melchett.)

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, indeed I did speak to this amendment to some degree and I recognise the noble Lord's slight differential between the first one and the two latter ones. The wider publicity envisaged by the noble Lord's amendment we do not think would result in improved publicity as far as the general public is concerned, and is, therefore, the Government feel unnecessary. Regarding the need for such wide publicity, as a right of objection again does not arise, and again landowners will in any event be aware of what is happening, and other local authorities because of their statutory responsibilities should simply have been kept informed of developments, the Government are satisfied that a notice in the local press is all that is necessary to ensure that persons to whom the information is essential are informed.

Amendments Nos. 236A and 250A would both impose an additional burden on local authorities' resources which, as I have indicated before, we are loath to do. However, the Government are again prepared to recommend to authorities, in the circular guidance that will follow enactment, that they consider informing local user organisations of the operations of these orders. I hope, although I cannot actually accept the noble Lord's amendment, that that assurance will, to some degree, satisfy him.

Lord Melchett

My Lords, it satisfies me in so far as I think that it is the best that I am going to get. I am grateful to the noble Earl at least on that basis, and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment to the amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Motion agreed to.