images-7The Countryside Alliance welcomed the statement (15 May) from the Welsh Government that its plans to develop access to the Welsh countryside and outdoor recreation are open to further discussion, and looks forward to taking part in that consultation.

Our members and supporters have been actively involved in the consultation regarding access, launched by minister for culture and sport John Griffiths last summer and we were instrumental in the setting up of a body to promote the interests of the working countryside – Sustainable Access Campaign Cymru – together with the Country Land and Business Association, Angling Trust, Welsh Salmon and Trout Association and Angling Cymru and with support from a wide range of other organisations. 

Countryside Alliance director for Wales, Rachel Evans, said: “We welcome the news that no primary legislation will be introduced in this term and look forward to working with the Government, as well as land owners and riparian owners, to increase access to our wonderful Welsh countryside in a responsible and managed way.

“Plans to improve the rights of way network and increase the number of voluntary access agreements are welcome, but we stress that all access to the countryside needs to be sensitive to the environment and the livelihoods of those who contribute huge sums of money to the Welsh economy through fishing, farming, shooting and other rural enterprises.”

The Countryside Alliance is concerned, however, by the results of a survey into the value of outdoor recreation to the Welsh economy conducted by the Wales Activity Tourism Organisation, which failed to include the millions of pounds from shooting, fishing and equestrian activities.

“Outdoor activities are the powerhouse of Wales’ tourism industry. We must ensure that none lose out in the Government’s plan to increase outdoor recreation,” added Miss Evans.

For more information, contact Countryside Alliance director for Wales, Rachel Evans, on 01550 777997, 07825 337978 or email [email protected]