Debates between Baroness Mallalieu and Lord Bates during the 2019 Parliament

Thu 9th Jul 2020
Agriculture Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee stage:Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords

Agriculture Bill

Debate between Baroness Mallalieu and Lord Bates
Committee stage & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Thursday 9th July 2020

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Agriculture Act 2020 View all Agriculture Act 2020 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 112-III Third marshalled list for Committee - (9 Jul 2020)
Lord Bates Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Bates) (Con)
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My Lords, I have received two requests from noble Lords to speak after the Minister.

Baroness Mallalieu Portrait Baroness Mallalieu (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, there is a price for increased access. I totally agree with what my noble friend Lord Rooker said. We cannot turn the clock back, and nor would we want to because we recognise how important it is for all of us physically and mentally to be able to get out and enjoy the countryside. However, that price has been paid up until now largely by farmers and landowners. It is considerable and it is clearly going to grow, which is why I hope that the provisions in the Bill will be used in ways which respect, perhaps more than some of the existing access arrangements have done, the people who own the land. I am told that it is only a tiny minority who cause trouble. Perhaps that is so for genuine walkers, but it also gives a legitimate right of access to other people whose purpose for being there is not legitimate. Near houses or through the farm, it is a perfect way to case the joint. You just have to speak to some of my neighbours down here about the vandalism that they suffered during the badger cull by people using access legitimately for illegitimate purposes.

I heard the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, speak about a litany of problems. Having had a very much-used part of the Chiltern Way going straight through my garden, I can endorse everything he said. I hope we fulfilled our obligations by repairing stiles and putting in kissing-gates and beside them gates that would open for anybody who was disabled and could not use the other two, but over the years we had gates left open, stock straying and dogs chasing and attacking sheep, which is a major problem nationwide. We had poaching. We had theft of fencing and from farm buildings and at one stage, until I learned that I was a philanthropist, I was offering a free take-away service from my farm diesel tank. When I sadly came to sell the smallholding on which I lived, I was told by all the agents that the footpath, which had by then been diverted from the front door through the fields, would still knock a substantial chunk off its value.

Sadly, I do not expect the Government to accept this amendment, but I hope that those who regularly request access give thought to who pays the price, not just in money but in loss of security and peace of mind.