Letter: Nowhere to roam

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your leading article of 9 March claimed that in welcoming the Government's proposals for a statutory right of access to open countryside, I was undergoing some sort of personal conversion.

No conversion was needed. During my time as president of the Country Landowners' Association I worked hard to promote improved access to the countryside - banging home the legal and political realities to landowners, establishing countryside recreation and access groups with local authorities and all the while trying to reduce confrontation. The CLA promoted access through voluntary arrangements and, as its leader, I represented that view to government as best I could.

From April I have a new, much broader constituency. I am convinced by my experience that a presumption in favour of a right of access on open country is right, and that the package announced by Government will provide essential clarity for all parties. I firmly believe that sensitively implemented, with the safeguards the Government has proposed, access can be successfully integrated with other land uses to everyone's benefit.


Chairman Designate

The Countryside Agency