Politics: Landowners threaten legal action if ramblers are granted the right to roam
The package from the Country Landowners' Association, including a register of the thousands of acres where landowners "permit" the public to walk without granting rights, is intended to put further pressure on Tony Blair.
Within the next three weeks, the Government is expected to publish its consultation paper on granting greater public access to open country. Michael Meacher, the environment minister, submitted the paper to No10 in the autumn. But Mr Blair, lobbied hard by well-connected landowners, has delayed publication, provoking fears he was abandoning a manifesto commitment.
Ramblers suspect members of the Royal Family, among the country's largest landowners, may have may made known their opposition to a right to roam.
Ian MacNicol, president of the CLA, said yesterday that managed voluntary access remained the best way forward. "It is a more cost-effective, more practical and more responsive way to deliver that manifesto commitment." According to a study carried out for the CLA at Manchester University, landowners would be able to claim pounds 50m a year in compensation if the original proposal for a right to roam over mountain, moor and common land in England and Wales was enacted.
Mr Meacher has rejected large payouts, but Mr MacNicol said yesterday that if a right to roam was granted without compensation the issue might be taken to the European Court of Human Rights. "Intuitively, we feel the costs will be less for voluntary access," he said.
As well as county access registers, giving information on permitted access rarely shown on Ordnance Survey maps, the CLA is also pioneering "access audits" of farms and estates to identify where owners might to falling short of existing legal requirements and possible improvements.
The Ramblers' Association said that while the CLA indulged in "PR fantasies", public rights of way were routinely and illegally blocked. Among examples cited, were paths on land owned by the Duke of Buccleugh in Northamptonshire and Duke of Westminster in Cheshire - two of the country's wealthiest aristocrats.
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 2 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 3 Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
- 4 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
- 5 Google search history can now be downloaded in its entirety, mass embarrassment expected
Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
'Jihadi John': Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi wanted to wage jihad in Somalia until his friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£35-45K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a .NET Developer / Web ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Commercial Manager is required to join a lea...
£18000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first ...
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Small and agile digital marketi...