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Latest campaign in Wales: oppose open access

The Countryside Alliance Wales is urging the public to state its views on increased access to the Welsh countryside by taking part in an e-lobby campaign, which has been launched today (16 September).

The Welsh Countryside Alliance is firmly opposed to unrestricted access to the Welsh countryside and is inviting the public to take part in the Welsh Government consultation on the issue through our online lobby here.

Rachel Evans, Countryside Alliance director for Wales says: "We welcome the Government's proposal to increase access to the countryside, particularly for families and to improve the health and well-being of the public. However, there are areas of the consultation which we feel may pose a fundamental threat to rural liberty and livelihoods. One example is if a footpath were to be made available for multiple uses such as cycling, horse riding and carriage driving this could create conflict between users, have an economic impact on the land owner and cause damage to the land.

"The report also suggests that Wales could extend access for responsible recreation to all land. We feel this proposal is unjustified, unwarranted and would be an unregulated free for all. It could have an environmental impact on rivers and habitats, provide opportunities for crime and could lead to other issues, such as sheep worrying by domestic dogs. It could also severely limit the landowner's ability to manage and protect their land. It would be wholly unjustified and unfair to all private landowners across Wales."

The consultation also suggests that not enough waterways are currently available for canoeing, rafting and wild swimming. The Welsh Countryside Alliance disagrees with this presumption and supports Voluntary Access Agreements between users and owners.

Rachel Evans said: "The impact on our rivers could be catastrophic with an increased risk from environmental damage."

We do, however, support the proposal that extinguishing or re-routing of footpaths becomes simpler and less burdensome for local authorities and landowners.

Rachel Evans said: "I would urge everyone with an interest to respond to this consultation which closes on the 2 October through our e-lobby (available here).

You can read the consultation here.

For more information, contact Rachel Evans on 01550 777997/07835 337978 or [email protected]

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