John Howell (Henley) (Con)
My hon. Friend mentioned town planning. There is a crucial point on which the Government could be helpful. His constituency is very similar to mine: it has a lot of footpaths going across what is basically agricultural land. Does he agree that the Government should insist that, when development takes place, those footpaths are not allowed to be extinguished, so that we keep the network that allows us to walk and cycle?
I am grateful to my hon. Friend and neighbour for making that point. He is right. Those of us who are lawyers know that expunging a footpath is, rightly, one of the hardest things to do in the law. Footpaths are protected, and I agree that they must remain so when new developments are built, to ensure that our latticework of footpaths continues to exist. I would extend that to bridleways as well, which similarly have an historical provenance. I ask the House to bear in mind that, although we tend to think of cycling and walking in the context of the strategy I mentioned, horse riders in areas such as mine and my hon. Friend's are also vulnerable, and ought to be thought about in the context of active travel as well.