With the bonfire of red tape currently underway by the coalition government it was only a matter of time before vested interests started pursuing their own aims.
Step forward the Country Landowners Association who have just released report on their views on the Right of Way network: The Right Way Forward:The CLA’S Common Sense Approach to Access in the Countryside
The report starts well; “The rights of way system defies common sense.” Yup, we agree there.
“An injection of common sense is required.” Yup, we agree there too.
“Simplifying the rules and applying common sense, while at the same time ensuring that paths are well signed, maintained and unobstructed, are basic principles that should apply to all paths.” Where do we sign up?
But dig a bit deeper and a it becomes clear the recommendations are aimed at reducing the number of claims for new or altered rights of way, with costs liable if cases are lost and a deadline of 2026 after which no further claims would be possible.
There’s a strong theme of a move to permissive access and a note of the commercial opportunities for land owners.
For all you cheeky trails riders there’s also the threat of the permanent removal of any access to any ‘problem’ path
“Government should enable the temporary or permanent closure of paths where persistent illegal or anti-social use occurs.”
Friends or Foes? What do you reckon?
The full document is available here