17 November 1999
CLA fears right-to-roam chaos
By FWi staff
CHAOS will follow unless new right-to-roam legislation clearly defines where ramblers can walk, claims Country Landowners Association leader Anthony Bosanquet.
This warning comes on the day the governments Countryside Bill is expected to be announced in the Queens speech. A central part of the bill is right-to-roam legislation.
This would establish a right to roam granting ramblers access to four million acres (1.6m ha) of mountain, moor, heath, down and common land in England and Wales.
But there will be no right of access to cultivated arable land or fields of crops.
Mr Bosanquet says it is sometimes difficult for ramblers to know which category of land they are walking on.
Mr Bosanquet told Radio 4s Farming Today>: “It is absolutely essential that clear definitions are available otherwise there will be chaos.”
Rambling groups believe it will be relatively simple to clarify where walkers can and cannot go.
The CLA also claims research shows the majority of walkers want walks close to their homes, not in open countryside.
Mr Bosanquet said: “The access people overwhelmingly say what they want is not in open country.
“They want access close to where they live, they want it on well-marked paths and they want to make sure they dont disturb either wildlife or farming enterprises.”
A ramblers spokesman said the government had in principle given a commitment that those entered land to exercise their freedom to roam did so at their own risk.
He said this should reassure landowners concerned about liability if people were injured while on their land.
The Countryside Bill will also include increased protection for Sites of Special Scientific Interest.