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Environmental Land Management Scheme: Public Footpaths

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL3538, tabled on 28 October 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Lord Benyon on 27 May (HL Deb., col. 1098), what assessment they have made of the role of (1) Local Access Forums, and (2) Rights of Way Improvement plans, in helping to identify deficiencies in the footpath network that could be addressed through environmental land management schemes.

Answered on

11 November 2021

Footpath networks are of high importance when considering how the public can access and enjoy the treasured landscapes.

Clear arrangements are already in place through the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to allow for the establishment, recording and appeal of rights of way to agreed standards, and local authorities hold the responsibility for their maintenance. Local authorities are required to keep a Rights of Way Improvement Plan to plan improvements to the existing rights of way network in their area.

Local Access Forums (LAF) advise local authorities and other organisations about making improvements to public access for outdoor recreation and sustainable travel. LAFs can set their own priorities depending on local issues, so engagement is typically with their local authority rather than central government.

Additionally, access to rivers and other waterways is managed by navigation authorities.

The Agricultural Transition Plan was published in November 2020 and the Government published an update in June 2021. Further information on the Environmental Land Management Schemes will be published later this year.