Right to roam: New countryside chief speaks up for ramblers
Wednesday 10 March 1999
Ewan Cameron spoke out yesterday as the controversial decision to appoint him chairman of the agency was criticised by walkers, who say he is more interested in protecting farmers' interests.
But Mr Cameron, former president of the Country Landowners Association (CLA), said he had ramblers' interests at heart. He also denied there was any conflict of interest in holding the post, saying: "When I was with the CLA, I was always trying to promote access ... not only trying to ram it home to CLA members, but also local authorities.
"I used to go and speak at ramblers' annual general meetings. It's something that has been on my agenda for many many years."
Mr Cameron said he could understand the impression some people might have that his "provenance is not exactly pro-access," but he was now doing a different job.
The new Countryside Agency will have to map out huge tracts of mountain and moorland, heath and common land that the Government has announced will be opened up to ramblers under right-to-roam laws.
Walkers fear this process may take years, and that landowners could retain the option of blocking access by fighting for their rights in local access forums. Final decisions will be taken by the agency.
Mr Cameron added: "I am in a different constituency now. Then I was representing a different organisation [the CLA] and while I was trying to promote increased access, that organisation decided access should be made by voluntary means. I am now in charge of an organisation that represents the countryside in government."
He said the announcement by Michael Meacher, the Environment minister, of new legal rights for walkers was a "sensible way forward and having the presumption in favour of access, must be the better route".
He went on: "It's clearer for everyone concerned. It's clearer for the walker and it's clearer for the landowner, providing the rules allow for the proper economic and environmental management of the land, then this must be the best way forward.
"I think my experience in terms of integrating access into other land uses is going to be very very useful.
"Rights of way are probably going to be much more important to more people than the rights to roam over open countryside."
- 1 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
- 3 Welcome to Cameroon, where drinking Baileys can lead to imprisonment
- 4 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...