19 May 1999
Members sought for access forum

By FWi staff

THE new Countryside Agency is looking for about 15 members to join its national forum on countryside access and implementing the governments right to roam.

The agency, which was formed from the merger of the Countryside Commission and Countryside Development Commission in April, held its first meeting last week,

Early priorities for the Agency are social exclusion, transport, sustainable agriculture and access to the countryside.

Among its first decisions, the Agency settled the process for appointing a national countryside access forum.

It sees a forum as an important step forward in preparing government plans to implement a right to roam across open countryside.

“Improving the quality and quantity of access to the countryside is of prime importance to raising the standards of life in this country,” said chairman Ewen Cameron.

Agency officials will now send out letters to what it considers interested parties with a view to recruiting a cross-section of the public to sit on its access panel.

About 15 members, made up of representatives of interested organisations and individuals with appropriate experience, will be sought shortly.

The forum will be chaired by Pam Warhurst, deputy chairman of the Countryside Agency, and will focus initially on the role and operation of local access forums.

The general approach will involve mapping access land and codes of practice for land managers, users and local authorities.