Letter: Water board plans to charge fellrunners

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your coverage of 'Forbidden Britain Day' (report, 28 September) was most interesting. The sad fact is that access to the countryside is more under threat now than for many years. A prime example is the proposal of North West Water to charge fellrunners for running across the vast tracts of mountain and moorland in northern England which it owns.

For the last 100 years or so, fellrunners, along with ramblers, have enjoyed free access to land owned by the water boards. When the boards were privatised a couple of years ago we were assured by the Government via Michael Howard that there were no plans to charge us for access to the land, which up to that point we had collectively owned. Now it seems that NWW's greed does not stop at making a profit of pounds 240m per year, they need to charge fellrunners as well]

There is no suggestion so far of charging for ramblers but clearly other users of land in NWW ownership should be watching carefully to see whether NWW is allowed to get away with its proposal. The possibility of other major landowners following suit is a strong one, although so far NWW appears isolated among water companies nationally.

Yours faithfully,



The Fellrunners Association


1 October