16 July 1999
Jail for blocking footpaths?

FARMERS who refuse to open up public rights of way and footpaths could face jail or heavy fines, under new tough legislation proposed by the environment department.

Michael Meacher, the environment minister, is proposing to give highways authorities greater powers to take action in magistrates courts against uncooperative property owners. This could include on-the-spot fines.

The ministry is also planning to take action against four-wheel drive, off-road vehicles, quad bikes and motorcycle scramblers, churning over footpaths and causing noise nuisance.

The measures are part of a revision of the rights-of-way legislation aimed at giving the public greater access to the countryside.

The overhaul is expected to be included in the “right to roam” Bill which will open up thousands of acres of land to the public.

  • The Times 16/07/99 page 10
  • The Guardian 16/07/99 page 8
  • The Daily Telegraph 16/07/99 page 1, page 9