30 November 2000
Royal Assent for roam Bill

By FWi staff

THE Countryside and Rights of Way Bill was due to receive Royal Assent on Thursday (30 November), leaving landowners to warn walkers that they still have no access to land.

The Country Landowners Association said Royal Assent was nothing more than a piece of paper and did not give people a right to roam straight away.

“There is a huge amount of work to be done to flesh out the bare bones of the legislation,” said Dr Alan Woods, CLA deputy policy director.

“The government knows there is plenty to do – its target for having the right in place is the end of 2005,” he added.

It is a point acknowledged by the website of the Ramblers Association which has long campaigned for the right to walk on open land.

“Despite the golden words in the bill: any person is entitledto enter and remain on any access land we are not yet there,” it says.

The Countryside and Rights of Bill had returned to the House of Commons on Tuesday (28 November) so MPs could agree amendments made in the Lords.

New rights of access are unlikely to be exercised until land is mapped, the maps approved, and the areas affected by closures and restrictions agreed.

The new law, which will apply in England and Wales, will grant access to mountain, moor, heath, downland and commons, but not cultivated land.

The right to roam will give landowners the possibility of restricting access from some land, but only for a limited number of days each year.