News: June 2012

Date posted: 20/06/12


This new scheme was launched at the end of May and it is worth being aware of it. It is designed for “community groups” to seek to improve and increase access in their local areas, with the objective of assisting local businesses and improving the visitor offer. All very worthy, except that the rules of application will exclude most “community groups”.

There is a danger, which is already becoming apparent, that this will be used by access lobby groups to pursue their own long standing agendas, with little regard to the stated objectives of the scheme. The good news is that the need for the co-operation and agreement of the landowner is stressed in the guidance notes. It is also suggested that this scheme could be used to divert/delete problem rights of way, provided that the overall result is greater access, without the normal legal rigmarole. Thus, it may offer an opportunity for an estate/farm public access review to deliver benefits for all concerned.

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