HL Deb 20 October 1994 vol 558 cc14-5WA
Lord Denning

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in respect of country lanes in Hampshire, the county Council have misinterpreted and misapplied Section 54 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as disclosed in the report on two paths in the village of Bradley by Major General Rougier, dated 16th September 1994 and referred to in The Times of 3rd October 1994; and whether the county council will take steps to rectify like mistakes made in the past in respect of other villages in the county.

Viscount Ullswater

Section 54 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 places a duty on surveying authorities to reclassify any road used as a public path shown in a definite map, according to what public rights of way exist. It is for the county council, as surveying authority, to decide on the evidence before it what public rights exist over those routes. The Act allows for objectors to an order to be heard by an inspector, who has the power to modify the order, after seeking further views. This power has been exercised wherever appropriate. The surveying authority is also required by the Act to keep the definite map and statement under continuous review, and if it has discovered evidence which, when considered with all other relevant evidence, shows that there is an error, it should make a modification order.