19 January 1996

Freedom bill is not practical

PROPOSALS forwarded in the Ramblers Associations draft "Freedom to Roam" Bill lack practical substance, according to the NFU.

The union is concerned about plans to abolish the civil offence of trespass for people walking on open country, and its aims to create new access agreements.

Oliver Doubleday, chairman of the NFUs parliamentary and land use committee, said the union feared an extension of unmanaged access rights would cause tremendous practical problems for farmers and other countryside interest groups.

He said there were already substantial access agreements thanks to National Parks, the Forestry Commission, Countryside Com-mission stewardship agreements and environmentally sensitive area schemes. &#42