11 December 1998
‘New approach needed to public access’

By FWi staff

THE Countryside Commission has called for a new approach to the provision of access in the countryside.

“We need to determine how best to deliver and manage more useful access which fits in with other rural activity and industry,” said Richard Simmonds, Countryside Commission Chairman.

“It seems that all concerned are agreed that the main issue is not whether to accommodate more and better access, but how, he told a conference in London.

“Bridges need to be built between the different interests that are now most important in finding the best way forward.”

A discussion paper provided by the commission sets out three ways in which access to the countryside might be made more effective and less contentious.

The commission is calling for a more integrated approach, at both national and local levels, to get away from previous attempts to focus on different sorts of provision.

It says that certain general access rights and responsibilities need to be universal, but local regulations could vary from the national pattern.

The commission also believes that highway authorities need to increase their investment in Rights of Way if the network is to be maintained and secured for the future.

Greater access to open countryside will also require new money, it warns.