01 September 1998
Landowners ‘still blocking rights of way’

POLITICIANS have called on the Government to push ahead with a statutory right to roam after campaigners claimed to have new evidence that landowners are still blocking rights of way.

A report published by the Ramblers Association claims the Country Landowners Association (CLA) has done little to open up footpaths across private land.

The report claims that a study into footpaths on a farm in Wiltshire clearly shows the CLA has failed to provide access. The Ramblers Association claims that the case proves that the £70,000 of public money given to the CLA to improve access has been wasted.

The CLA was given the cash to fund a full-time worker to open-up farmland where footpaths are blocked. But campaigners say that just 8ha (20 acres) have been opened up in 18 months.

The CLA claims that a total of 445,170ha (1.1m acres) has been opened up voluntarily by landowners in the past five years. It claims the Countryside Commission has not complained about the assessments.

  • The Independent 01/09/98 page 2