01 June 1998
Countryside Commission calls for
mandatory right to roam
A PUBLIC right to roam over the vast majority of uncultivated countryside must be guaranteed by law, the Countryside Commission said today (Monday).
The Commissions recommendation comes a day before landowners unveil their own plans for improving public access by “voluntary agreement”.
The Commission said some form of legislation was required if the Government was to keep its promise of a right to roam over millions of acres of Britains most picturesque countryside.
In addition, the Commission – the Governments main countryside and landscape adviser – said it sees no need to compensate landowners, beyond some funding for new stiles, gates and paths and to encourage maintenance.
Paul Johnson, the commissions senior access adviser, said: “We have come to the conclusion that the voluntary approach alone cannot meet the Governments objectives as regards the permanency or the extent of public access.”
The Country Landowners Association – whose 50,000 members are estimated to own half of England and Wales – said the recommendation was “very disappointing”. The association will tomorrow unveil its own plans to guarantee greater access through “voluntary agreement”.
- The Times 01/06/98 page 10