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Speak now to improve Rights of Way

30 July 2012

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The British Horse Society is calling for all equestrians to have their say on the future of equestrian access.

The equestrian world’s foremost charity will respond to the Defra consultation, ‘Improvements to the policy and legal framework for public rights of way’ and is urging all equestrians to do the same.

The Society is calling for fairer access for all non-motorised users and caution over the 2026 cut-off date, when a significant number of unrecorded historic rights of way could be lost forever.

The charity has been calling for the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Stakeholder Working Group on Rights of Way report, ‘Stepping Forward’, since it was published in March 2010. These would mean the recording of equestrian rights of way on the definitive map in England so that these unrecorded historic routes are preserved for future generations of equestrians.

The BHS recognises that there will be no improvement for users if local surveying authorities are not given resources to implement the Proposals contained in the ‘Stepping Forward’ report, and is urging the Government to address this point.

If the ‘Stepping Forward’ proposals are not enacted quickly, entirely and with adequate resources, the Society will support the repeal of the 2026 cut-off date and legislation to give access to all public paths for all non-motorised users.

BHS Director of Access Safety and Welfare, Mark Weston, said: “It is imperative that unrecorded historic routes are preserved and recorded on the definitive map to increase safe off-road riding opportunities for equestrians in England. This will be a huge task for the voluntary sector and effective measures need to be in place so that volunteers can easily submit applications and that these can be efficiently processed by local authorities.”

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