Taking action to protect our access to nature

Posted by Catherine Flitcroft on 30/09/2022

Over the past few days there have been a number of political announcements that have stoked widespread anger from the environmental sector. These include Government moving towards weakening laws that protect our environment, a relaxation of laws that govern planning, a renewed interest in fracking and reports that Government may be rethinking the future of farm payments with a focus on food protection and little more. Here's how we're taking action, and how you can too.

We are waiting to hear more details as to the impact of recent announcements.  The BMC, alongside a number of other outdoor organisations, have been working tirelessly to lobby Government to ensure that more people can get outdoors and connect with nature – the opportunities of which exist now with current policy and legislation that is with parliamentarians to consider.  

The BMC believes that these opportunities must not be side-lined and lost against a renewed interest in looking at the frameworks for regulation and investment.

Of particular importance is ELM - Environmental Land Management, which is a system of funding for farmers in England and that is currently being developed - due to come into place in 2024 – originally underpinned by the idea of ‘public payments for public goods’.  The BMC has lobbied hard for the inclusion of public access to be included as part of the measures for which famers could receive payments, backed by Ministerial support during earlier debates.

That is why we are supporting our friends and colleagues at Ramblers in their campaign to tell the UK government to stay the course and to make it clear that protecting nature and people’s access to it is vital. We are encouraging everyone to write to their MP, and the Secretary of State for Defra, to make it clear that Environmental Land Management, with public access at its heart, must go ahead.

TAKE ACTION: Please write to your MP and the UK government

In Wales

BMC Cymru have long been campaigning for public access to be part of the Agriculture (Wales) Bill. That bill was published this week and the fourth objective on the face of the Bill “is to conserve and enhance the countryside and cultural resources and promote public access to and engagement with them”. The BMC will continue to advocate the principle of public access for public money as the Bill moves forward.



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Anonymous User
01/10/2022
Happy not to be anonymous. Phil Swainson writing. I fail to see why farmers/landowners should be paid for public access. They are paid massive amounts of public money already, often for wasteful, useless and environmentally destructive practices. The history of how they acquired the land from us, the people, needs to be promoted, along with a plan to follow the example of Scotland, and other northern European social democracies, and start from the principle of public access being the norm, with permitted exemptions. I do, for instance, feel the Scottish legislation does not adequately protect nature from over promotion of recreational activities eg the levels of disturbance to capercaillie. I accept that England is more crowded than Scotland and Norway, but the starting point should be the same. A right to public access.

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