The Government has recently launched a consultation on its proposals for the future of food, farming and the environment. This will shape the upcoming Agriculture Bill and have a significant impact on the future of access to the countryside.
The BMC is working in partnership with the Ramblers, Cycling UK, The British Horse Society, and the Open Spaces Society to protect the future of countryside access. The BMC will be responding directly to the public consultation on ‘The future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit’ but we are also urging our members to sign a joint petition (hosted by our friends at the Ramblers) to ensure the forthcoming Agriculture Bill includes measures which protect and enhance access to the countryside.
With farming being the primary land use in the UK, the forthcoming Agriculture Bill will set the agenda for the future of our countryside. It will have far-reaching consequences for both the quality of our environment and all those who seek to enjoy it.
We believe that responsible access to the countryside is inherently beneficial to society and that opportunities to improve and enhance access should be integral to the agriculture bill. The benefits of countryside access, not only to physical health but also to mental health and wellbeing, are well proven. Additionally, with an increasingly urban society, an improved and enhanced rights of way system that encourages walking, climbing, cycling, horse riding, carriage driving and disability access can provide vitally important opportunities better to connect the public with the natural environment and understand the critical work undertaken by farmers.
The Agriculture Bill should include measures to ensure farmers fulfil their existing legal responsibilities for path maintenance and to reward them through public payments for increased and improved public access. It is important that public money supports farmers, as custodians of the countryside, in delivering this critical public good and helps ensure the countryside is an even more welcoming place for people to visit and enjoy.
We're asking people to show their support for countryside access by signing our petition, which we will submit to Government in response to its consultation on proposals for the future of food, farming and the environment. This will shape the upcoming Agriculture Bill and have a significant impact on the future of access to the countryside. We want to ensure the Bill includes measures which protect and enhance access to the countryside.
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