24 May 1996

CM survey to seek out public attitude

THE Countryside Movement plans to carry out a survey on peoples attitudes towards open access later this summer.

It will follow work conducted by the NFU, and look not only at the cost of providing public access, but also the aspirations within urban, suburban and rural communities.

Melinda Appleby, Countryside Movement policy director, said that while the organisation was committed to negotiating further access and improving existing rights of way, it wanted an overall view of public opinion.

"We want to know whether they want access for increased four-wheel drive use, kite flying or just driving on Sunday," she said.

The access scheme is just one of a number of projects being planned by the Countryside Movement.

Despite a shoestring budget coupled with the failure of promised cash from the Countryside Business Group, Ms Appleby was confident that further projects would get off the ground. These include:

&#8226 Coordinating an education initiative between schools and the National Federation of City Farms.

&#8226 Bringing together mobile telecommunications companies.

&#8226 Boosting rural training through improved links with the Rural Training Association.

&#8226 Becoming involved in a national advertising campaign to restore confidence in British beef.

The organisation has already sent out a questionnaire to its supporters asking what topics they would like to see highlighted. Four issues attracted support from more than 50% of supporters – conservation and wildlife, maintenance of the landscape, crime and reform of agricultural policy. &#42