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Country News - 2004

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New row over Dales "right to roam" laws

Monday 12 January 2004

A FURIOUS row broke out over the weekend after the Government announced on Friday that it was bringing forward the implementation of "right to roam" legislation over a huge area of the North West and the Yorkshire Dales.

The announcement was made by junior Defra minister Alun Michael and the area involves covers the Craven area of the Dales, parts of Cumbria and much of Lancashire, although final access maps have yet to be published and many appeals are still underway.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) lambasted the announcement as "premature" and suggested that it was being done for Labour Party political reasons at a time when scores of Left Wing MPs are in a state of rebellion.

There are said to be more than 1,000 landowners in the region who are asking for changes in proposed access routes and Sue Harrison, the CLA's North West Deputy Regional Director and access expert says:

"We have long suspected that the Government would attempt to grant the first access in time for the party conference season and whilst this announcement does not come as any surprise to us, I cannot see how the necessary detail will be in place to ensure the smooth implementation of the Act. It is presumptuous of Government to assume otherwise.

"There is much work to be done if the general public are to enjoy their new rights safely, and without considerable upset to the daily lives and livelihoods of those who own, manage and work on the land. We are working flat out with all interested parties to try and make this work, but with the best will in the world, it will not be ready by September, nor was it ever intended to be."


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