§ Further consideration of amendments on Report resumed on Clause 18.
Baroness Byford moved Amendment No. 95:
Clause 18, page 11. line 3, leave out ("and with the general restrictions in Schedule 2") and insert ("with Schedule 2, with any restriction imposed under Chapter II, and with the law").
§ The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the Government undertook to consider an amendment to extend the power of wardens to enforce restrictions under Chapter II. However, Clause 18(2)(a) as drafted does not appear to enable wardens to enforce restrictions on dogs under Schedule 2. The clause refers only to the general restrictions in the schedule. The restrictions on dogs are set out in a quite separate paragraph in the schedule.1441
§ The Countryside Agency and the Countryside Council for Wales are in favour of wardens being able to secure compliance with the law generally; for example, if someone commits a criminal offence on access land. It would seem odd for a warden to be able to enforce the rules in terms of civil abuse of a right of access, but not in terms of criminal abuse on access land. The amendment would rectify those deficiencies. I beg to move.
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
My Lords, I referred to Amendment No. 96 in discussing the issue of wardens before we adjourned for dinner. I hope that the House will accept that the amendment fulfils our commitment specifically to provide in Clause 18 that wardens may be appointed to enforce any restriction or exclusion imposed under Chapter II. It is sensible that access authorities should be able to appoint wardens for these purposes, and the amendment makes it possible. Let me make it clear to the noble Baroness, Lady Byford, that this includes enforcing restrictions on dogs.
We do not believe that wardens' powers should be extended, as proposed in Amendment No. 95, to enable them to enforce the law generally. Access authorities may appoint anyone as a warden. Such people could be part-time or they could be volunteers. There could he a dedicated number of paid wardens: they could be gamekeepers or members of a local conservation body. It would not be appropriate to set them up in effect as a new general police force, which would be the effect of the amendment. They will be able to deal with those who trespass on the land, for instance, because trespassers will be in breach of a restriction. They will be able to enforce by-laws, but they should not be expected to carry out law enforcement more generally. That should be the job of a police officer.
To be precise on the issue of dogs, the headings in Schedule 2 will be altered when the Bill is next printed. All the restrictions are general restrictions that can be enforced.
§ Baroness Byford
My Lords, I thank the Minister for that response. I should have spoken to Amendment No. 96 in moving the amendment. I thank him for coming forward with Amendment No. 96, which clarifies the position we discussed in Committee.
I understand why the Minister is not too happy about the thrust of my Amendment No. 95, particularly with reference to volunteer or part-time wardens. I should like a chance to reflect on the matter. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Lord McIntosh moved Amendment No. 96:
Clause 18, page 11. line 4, at end insert—
("and any other restrictions imposed under Chapter II, (aa) to enforce any exclusion imposed under Chapter II,").
§ On Question, amendment agreed to.1442
Viscount Bledisloe moved Amendment No. 96A:
Alter Clause 18, insert the following new clause —