Natural England and Natural Resources Wales have set out new guidance for farmers and land managers in a newly-refreshed Countryside Code. The changes follow the increase in people now choosing to enjoy the outdoors.
The new recommendations made to land managers include making rights of way accessible, creating safer environments, and installing clear signage. The guidance also advises farmers and land managers on how to report cases of anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping, littering and livestock worrying.
The key changes include:
- Clearer guidance on keeping rights of way usable, including recommendations for cutting back vegetation and keeping public waterways clear
- Instructions for where visitors can walk freely on open access land or in a coastal margin
- Information about common land and understanding that horse-riding rights are applicable
- The process of reporting anti-social behaviour – criminal damage and threatening behaviour will not be tolerated, and farmers and land managers are advised to contact the police to report any such incidents
- Advice on reporting noise disturbances and fly-tipping to the local authority
- Guidance on managing and protecting livestock, and a reminder of responsibilities when using firearms and fencing
- Advice for creating a safe environment, including the safe storage of bales, logs and the management of trees
- Information on using and storing dangerous substances responsibly
In response to the guidance published CLA President Mark Tufnell said:
“The CLA is delighted to have played its part in revamping the Countryside Code, and will continue working towards making green public spaces accessible and enjoyable for all.
“The Code now offers landowner-specific advice which will be particularly helpful for our members, equipping them with the tools and knowledge to smoothly manage increased public interest in accessing green spaces.
Rather than pitting rural communities and visitors against each other, the guidance unites them by focusing on a shared appreciation of our countryside.
“Most importantly, it outlines how both can work together to enhance it. With over 150,000 miles of public rights of way and 2.5 million acres of open access land in Great Britain, there is so much to enjoy responsibly.”