Rights of way improvement plans and increased access to the countryside in England : some key issues concerning supply

MULDER, Craig, SHIBLI, Simon and HALE, Jo (2006). Rights of way improvement plans and increased access to the countryside in England : some key issues concerning supply. Managing Leisure, 11 (2), 96-115.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13606710500520163
Link to published version:: 10.1080/13606710500520163

Abstract

This paper analyses the issues relating to the supply of Public Rights of Way in England from the perspective of farmers and landowners. Although government guidance for Local Authorities states that the interests of landowners should be taken into account during the preparation of Rights of Way Improvement Plans, there is little information in the public domain concerning the attitudes of, and issues affecting, potential suppliers. This paper identifies the issues of concern to suppliers and how these affect access to the countryside. The methodology employed was a combination of desk research, qualitative research and a postal survey of farmers within the study areas. Respondents were just as likely to prefer to exclude the public from their land as they were to allow access on the proviso of responsible behaviour. The idea that landowners would be happy to provide increased access on their land given sufficient financial incentive was found to be unproven. However, a minority of landowners provide informal access to their land for certain user groups. The fact that landowners are happier to provide permissive access than new Rights of Way suggests that they prefer to be able to keep a measure of control over access to their land. Respondents also displayed a lack of confidence in current Rights of Way procedures and suggested that it would be better to concentrate on creating usable networks than simply recording historic Rights of Way. There was also concern that increased access would result in increased costs and workloads for landowners. Whilst there are legal measures available to forcibly maintain and increase the access resource if necessary, the most desirable solution is for landowners to welcome access to their land. However, it is clear that there are a number of real concerns that need to be addressed in order for this to be the case and these issues can not be solved simply by financial means.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sport Industry Research Centre
Identification Number: 10.1080/13606710500520163
Depositing User: Rebecca Jones
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2014 10:45
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2014 10:45
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7862

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