§ 3.6 p.m.
§ Lord Denham
My Lords, I have it in command from Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to acquaint the House that Her Majesty and His Royal Highness, having been informed of the purport of the Rights of Way Bill, have consented to place their prerogatives and interests, so far as they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.
§ Bill read a third time.2019
§ Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(Lord Kimball.)
§ Lord Graham of Edmonton
My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lady Nicol and the Labour Benches I should like to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Kimball, on his success in piloting this useful Bill through your Lordships' House in such a short time.
The noble Lord and the House will recall that my noble friend Lady Nicol raised the question of who should be able to bring proceedings in default of the local authority. She was minded at that time to bring forward an amendment to enable local interest groups to take action. However, she was advised by the noble Lord, Lord Reay, and by the Countryside Commission that the provisions of the Bill as it stands would allow any person or organisation to prosecute for encroachment of growing crops and that it is only in the successor to the ploughing offence that prosecution is reserved to local authorities and parish or community councils. In the light of that explanation and in the knowledge that the present provisions have gained wide support my noble friend was content not to table that amendment.
That and the very great interest shown by noble Lords at earlier stages of the Bill should demonstrate to the noble Lord, Lord Kimball, and to organisations outside the House, especially the Ramblers Association and millions of those to whom the Bill will be of benefit, that we in this House wish to see fair play for all. The noble Baroness has asked me to say that she feels—and I share the view—that the Bill provides much-needed clarification of the law on rights of way. It will be helpful to farmers as well as to walkers and we wish it a safe journey through its final stages.
§ On Question, Bill passed, and returned to the Commons with amendments.