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Ordnance Survey Maps

Volume 403: debated on Monday 10 March 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent guidance has been issued by his Department on the symbols and markings included on Ordnance Survey maps; what assessment he has made of the Ordnance Survey's decision to omit the traditional symbols and markings indicating (a) civil and parish boundaries, (b) national park boundaries and (c) churches from future editions of its maps; and if he will make a statement. [101719]

Ordnance Survey, before making decisions about what is depicted on its maps, takes full account of the needs of its customers and other stakeholders. To this end, it consults widely before implementing any change.Following Parliament's decision to widen public access to the English and Welsh countryside under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CRoW), Ordnance Survey has concluded that this access land should be shown on the 1:25 000 Explorer series, which is designed specifically for use during outdoor activities.The way the access land is shown will be crucial in helping the Open Access initiative to be implemented successfully. Clarity will be vital in minimising any misunderstanding between users of the countryside and landowners. There is much additional information to be added to the mapping. Therefore, to avoid clutter and ensure clarity, it will be necessary to take off some existing information.Consultation and research among users indicates that the removal of the national park, civil and parish boundaries while adding the access land, significantly improves clarity and helps avoid confusion on the ground. National Park boundaries will remain on the cover diagram of each Explorer and on the printed and data versions of the OS Landranger series. They are also freely available as part of the Get-a-Map service on the Ordnance Survey website.Ordnance Survey has also consulted users on the proposed changes to symbols for places of worship on both Explorer and the 1:50 000 OS Landranger Map series. In this regard, the primary consideration has been the navigational importance of buildings with towers, spires, domes or minarets. These will continue to be marked with the familiar symbols. Other buildings that are places of worship will continue to appear on the maps, but without reference to their religious or cultural significance. Final decisions about the proposed changes will be made within the next few weeks and Ordnance Survey will take into account all points of view.