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NFU Criticises DEFRA Policy On Right To Roam Maps

The NFU has criticised DEFRA proposals not to circulate provisional access
maps widely to the farming community.

Responding to a consultation document issued by DEFRA this week, the NFU
said that it was essential that all farmers should have easy access to the

The maps are being issued by DEFRA to determine how much land can be opened
up to the public under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

Currently, reduced-scale paper copies of the original draft maps can be
viewed at local libraries, district and parish council offices, local
authority offices and at Countryside Agency roadshows that are going around
the country. The NFU also receives two copies and there is a reduced scale
version on the Internet.

But, the Government is proposing that provisional versions of the "right to
roam" maps should not be circulated to the NFU, even though farmers with a
legal interest in the "access land" will have a right to appeal at this

NFU Deputy President Tim Bennett said: "It is vital that farmers have the
greatest possible opportunity to view and comment on these maps. DEFRA's
proposal not to circulate copies of the provisional and conclusive maps to
the NFU is simply not acceptable."

Mr Bennett added: "This is the last chance farmers will have to challenge
the Countryside Agency's mapping decisions, so it is essential they have
easy access to the maps.

"The NFU's regional offices have played a valuable role in allowing farmers
to view these maps easily and these proposals may cut off that vital avenue
for consultation."

The NFU submission also called for the provisional maps to demarcate clearly
all the new access areas that were added to the maps after the draft mapping

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