A new guide produced by the British Mountaineering Council answers the concerns of landowners about the perceived liability risks associated with rock climbing on their land
Called Climbing & Occupiers’ Liability, it offers landowners, managers and visitors to the countryside and crags of England and Wales a brief summary of the legislation which affects the obligation of those who own and manage land.
Dave Turnbull, BMC CEO, said: “The BMC believes that owners and occupiers of land should not fear they will be the subject of litigation by climbers who have accidents on their land. The fact that climbers voluntarily accept the risks of their activity will protect owners and occupiers. We hope this guide helps landowners as well as climbers to understand the legislation and dispels any unwarranted fears.”
The BMC finds that while some owners and occupiers have traditionally been happy to give access for rock climbing, others are reluctant because of perceived concerns over possible legal liabilities.
The BMC is not aware of any successful claims by rock climbers in England and Wales.
The booklet covers the key legislation affecting this issue, including the occupiers’ duty of care to visitors on private land, open access land and along the coastal margin, and puts perceived risks of litigation into perspective.
The guide offers the assurance that owners and occupiers of land should not fear being the subject of litigation by those whom they allow on their land to rock climb.
As a landowner itself, the BMC has voluntarily dedicated the majority of its landholdings under section 16 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act as open access land. The BMC encourages other landowners to do the same, not only to allow the public to access and enjoy more areas in perpetuity, but for the lower duty of care it provides under the Occupiers’ Liability Act.
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