RIGHTS OF WAY WATCH
BHS Meets Jim Paice MP, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food.
Result - Nil
Says Mark Weston, Director of Access, Safety and Welfare, BHS
"I am afraid that nothing he said regarding access will come as a surprise to you.
"He stated that in light of the proposed 33% cut in Defra's budget the work Defra would be able to do would be limited.
"He stated that access and recreation were not one of the government's main priorities, but that they would be proceeding with the next few coastal areas as announced recently.
"He stated he would like to see any increase in access accommodated by way of voluntary schemes and that there was no intention to introduce any further access legislation.
"He did however state that there may be scope for such access to be provided via rural development programme money."
Says Maureen Comber
"Then we must be prepared to use the legislation already in place such as s.130 HA 1980 which places a responsibility on the Local Highway Authority for the 'use and enjoyment of the highway and any roadside waste which is part of it'. Nowhere does it say that applies to vehicles only, far from it.
"We must campaign more strongly for the recognition of the recreational value of our country lanes to be recognised and lower speed limits and signage to protect non-motorised users. Localism - its your Local Highway Authority that has to be lobbied via your local councillors."
Says Bob Milton
" Maureen is absolutely correct in her point regarding verges. More often than not they are used as a dumping ground for Highway contractors when digging out ditches."
Says Steve Yandall
"The Hon.Member for Bridgewater mirrored many of the statements made by Save Penwith Moors against Natural England and we,as a group,would fully support the need for a full investigation of ALL NE functions and welcome the words of such a well respected and credible MP.
"This speech and the actions leading up to it indicate that democracy MAY be returning to OUR environment after years of autocracy,ineffectiveness and unaccountability by NE and our previous government.
"Save Penwith Moors cannot now be called "a vociferous minority" or be "restless natives" or the problems we attended to be "down to local maladministration" as NE have implied.An organisation that,within a democracy,adopts Orwellian means has to be 'reined in' and those responsible for the imposition of unBritish ways be made accountable.
"I know that our current government is attending to these issues but believe that environmental credibility can only be achieved if actions are open and transparent.
"We would wish to see this issue debated and resolved as soon as possible in the knowledge that the Aarhus Convention prescribes public consultation and participation but that 12 years after ratification and 5 years after it became statute its spirit has not been disseminated within the structure of Natural England!
"Aarhus not only gives citizens statutory rights but implies that the environment is ours to participate in and be consulted over.
"Had NE adopted those principles many problems would not now exist!
"Our thanks to Ian Liddell Grainger MP for giving a voice to the many that NE denied."
What do you think ?
Should we now campaign more strongly for country lanes to be recognised for their recreational value?