13 January 1999
Government speeds right-to-roam law

THE Government is “rushing” through legislation on the public right to roam, according to The Guardian.

Proposals are being brought forward to prevent ministers being embarrassed by a private members bill today (Wednesday) in Parliament.

The bill from Gordon Prentice, Labour MP for Pendle, includes a clause which would remove farming subsidies from landowners who obstruct footpaths.

It would also remove payments from farmers who refused to sign a declaration providing the public with a right of access.

Department of Environment officials are working to produce the Governments formulation of a right to roam.

This has to negotiate the tricky task of providing legally enforceable provisions while avoiding paying compensation to landowners affected by the decision.

The threat of legal action for compensation by the Country Landowners Association (CLA) last year caused the Government to hesitate on a right to roam.