04 February 1999
Labour wavers on right to roam

THE government has diluted its manifesto proposals to give walkers a right to roam across some types of countryside.

Many MPs will support a private members Bill that would give walkers and ramblers a comprehensive freedom to roam across areas now restricted.

But the Bill, to be published by Gordon Prentice, Labour MP for Pendle, will not receive government backing.

Instead, the government intends to produce watered-down proposals which will not give ramblers the access they have sought.

Government plans will create a statutory framework to allow access to open land through voluntary agreements between councils and landowners. It will not be introduced until 2001.

Labour pledged in opposition to give walkers a legal mandate to wander freely in open country. But in government it has concerns about alienating the countryside lobby.

  • The Independent 04/02/99 page 7
  • The Daily Telegraph 04/02/99 page 8