MAPMAKERS working on "right to roam" maps in the Yorkshire Dales are at the centre of an embarrassing row - because they have been accused of getting lost!
The Dales and other parts of Yorkshire were amongst the second areas of the UK targeted by the Government's Countryside Agency to be mapped under the provisions of the controversial Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, the so-called "right to roam" legislation.
But the publication of those draft maps has been postponed and the reason, says the Country Landowners and Business Association (the CLA) in a blistering attack, is that the map-makers have got themselves lost - even to the extent of laying down access routes through people's back gardens.
The CLA has long viewed the legislation with suspicion - and sometimes with open hostility - but the outspokenness of this latest broadside took even seasoned observers by surprise.
"The first attempt at draft maps for the Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Kirklees and Peak District areas resulted in horror and confusion all round," says the CLA's Yorkshire regional director, Dorothy Fairburn.
"As a result we're not surprised that the timetable for their second stage and for the publication of first drafts for the Yorkshire Dales, Harrogate and Richmondshire has been changed from October to Christmas."
"The drafts even made it look like there was public access to some people's gardens. It is to be hoped the Countryside Agency's mapping methods have changed as a result of lessons learned. It is in everyone's interests to make this new legislation workable."
She added: "Other parts of England have seen even the second attempts to produce provisional maps riddled with errors. There's growing concern amongst our landowning members that unless the mapping is reliable there will be further delays and problems."