Chwilio Deddfwriaeth

Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000

Part V: Miscellaneous and Supplementary

271.Section 94 places a duty on highway authorities and national park authorities to establish local access forums, and provides for the functions of such forums. This section, and relevant provisions in Parts I and II of the Act, will require relevant decision-making authorities to have regard to forums’ views in reaching decisions, for example in relation to draft maps, the imposition of byelaws, and proposals for long term closures of access land (under Part I), as well as on wider access issues contained in new rights of way improvement plans (under Part II). In providing their views, local access forums will need to take into account relevant guidance issued by the Secretary of State, or the National Assembly. Subsection (7) excludes the application of the duty in subsection (1) in respect of the council of London boroughs. However, any such council will have the power to set up a forum if it wishes to do so. Subsection (8) allows the Secretary of State (or the National Assembly for Wales), by direction, to exclude the application of the duty in subsection (1) in respect of any other local authority or part of the authority’s area.

272.Section 95 enables supplementary and incidental matters to be addressed in regulations, including the prescription of additional functions, the detailed arrangements for membership of forums, and the application of local government legislation (such as provisions relating to access to information, the admission of the public to meetings, etc.). Subsection (2) requires that forums should include a balanced representation of both users of access land and rights of way generally, of landowners and occupiers of such land, and other interests especially relevant to the area.

273.Section 39 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 enables local authorities to enter into management agreements with the owner of land in the countryside for its conservation (and for other related purposes). Section 96 amends section 39 in order that the Countryside Agency, the Countryside Council for Wales, and conservation boards in areas of outstanding natural beauty, may also enter into such agreements, and to enable agreements to be made in respect of any land, whether or not it is in the countryside. These amendments will allow these bodies, for example, to make agreements with the owner of land both for its dedication to access under section 16, and its long term conservation (including agreement to ensure that the land does not become converted to excepted status by reason of any of the activities listed in Schedule 1), and to secure the long term future of “Millennium Greens” in towns and villages.

274.Section 98 amends the definition of town and village green contained in section 22 of the Commons Registration Act 1965. It introduces reference to a neighbourhood and provides that use of the land for lawful sports and pastimes must be by a significant number of people from the locality or neighbourhood (rather than simply by “the inhabitants”). Finally, it provides for regulations to be made regarding the details of procedures to be followed in the event that a time limit for lodging applications is introduced.

275.The remaining sections of the Act relate to a broad range of matters including the application of certain provisions to the Isles of Scilly, commencement and the extent of the Act.

276.Section 99 relates to Wales. Ministerial functions under the Highways Act 1980 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 relating to Wales were transferred to the National Assembly for Wales by the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/672). The section provides that in Schedule 1 to that Order the reference to each of those Acts is to be taken to be a reference to those Acts as amended by this Act. The effect of the section is that the new functions conferred on the Secretary of State by provisions inserted by this Act into the 1980 Act or the 1981 Act will be exercisable by the Assembly in relation to Wales.

277.The section makes similar provision in relation to Schedule 11 to the Act so that the transitional provisions and savings relating to Sites of Special Scientific Interest apply both to the Secretary of State and the National Assembly for Wales.

278.Section 103 deals with the commencement of the Act. Section 103(1) provides for section 81(2)-(3) to come into force on Royal Assent. These provisions relate to the imposition of custodial sentences for summary offences, relating to the protection of wildlife, by regulations under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.

279.Under section 103 (2) a number of provisions come into force 2 months after Royal Assent. They include:

  • Provisions in Part I for the mapping of open country, for the making of byelaws, for the exclusion and restriction of access and the securing of means of access;

  • Provisions in Part II to make regulations amending legislation in relation to restricted byways, the magistrates’ court power to order persons convicted under section 137 of the Highways Act 1980 to remove obstructions; the power for local authorities to require that overhanging vegetation is cut back to a suitable height for horse riders; powers to make traffic regulation orders on certain highways for purposes of conserving natural beauty, etc; and the prohibition on driving mechanically propelled vehicles elsewhere than on roads.

  • The majority of Part III (Nature Conservation and Wildlife Protection); and

  • The provisions enabling the establishment of local access forums and relating to the registration of town and village greens.

280.Section 103(3) provides for the remaining provisions to be brought into force by commencement order made by the Secretary of State as respects England and, as respects Wales, by the National Assembly for Wales.

Passage of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act through Parliament

StageDateHansard Ref
House of Commons
Introduction3-MarVol 345 Col 664
Second Reading20-MarVol 346 Col 720 - 820
Committee28-MarHansard Standing Committee B
Report13 - 14 JuneVol 351 Col 794 - 1061
Third Reading14-JunVol 351 Col 1061 - 1075
House of Lords
Introduction16-JunVol 613 Col 1910
Second Reading26-JunVol 614 Col 629 - 756
Committee27-SepVol 616 Col 791-847 + 865-934
3-OctVol 616 Col 1271-1404 + 1405-1508
5-OctVol 616 Col 1691-1755 + 1772-1814
9-OctVol 617 Col 10-86 + 101-148
11-OctVol 617 Col 337-405 + 422-496
16-OctVol 617 Col 673-744 + 760-872
Report1-NovVol 618 Col 949-1017
2-NovVol 618 Col 1085-1108
7-NovVol 619 Col 367-391
Third Reading23-NovVol 619 Col 951-1066
Commons Consideration of Lords Amendments28-NovVol 357 Col 837-911
Royal Assent30-NovVol 357 Col 1232

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