Letter: Freedom to roam

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The Independent Online
Sir: Selwyn Wright's criticism of North West Water (Letters, 5 October) is unwarranted and surprisingly ill informed. As we have already made clear in a widely published policy statement, we have no intention of charging the general public for access to our land. Fellrunners, ramblers, bird-watchers, climbers - all are most welcome to take their recreation free of charge, whether individually or in groups.

We only ask for a modest contribution where our land is used for organised events, such as rallies, fell races or orienteering, when our staff have to help to prepare and organise the event, and then return the area to normal use. There is nothing new in this concept and the charge has the approval of our independent advisory body, the Conservation, Access and Recreation Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of numerous countryside organisations.

During the three years since privatisation, North West Water has greatly increased opportunities for outdoor recreation of various kinds, and consequently enjoys a high reputation among lovers of the open air. The chairman of the Fellrunners Association is not unaware of this, and it is disappointing that he should be perpetuating myths, instead of congratulating our company on our track record.

Yours faithfully,

BILL FOSTER

Director

Conservation, Access and Recreation

North West Water

Warrington, Cheshire

6 October

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