The British Horse Society (BHS) is voicing its support for the new Agriculture Bill 2019-20 following its introduction to the House of Commons on January 16.
Mark Weston, Director of Access at The British Horse Society said: “The BHS welcomes the new Agriculture Bill and in particular, the Secretary of State’s power to provide financial assistance for the purpose of supporting public access to and enjoyment of the countryside, farmland or woodland and better understanding of the environment.
“In 2018, the BHS lobbied with other user groups for the Agriculture Bill to recognise the provision of access as a public good. As part of this we also asked members to contact their local MP to support the BHS’ call for farmers and landowners to be paid to widen the rights of way network available to horse riders, and to help maintain the network as part of any future subsidy scheme under the Bill.
“In England and Wales, horse riders currently have access to only 22% of the public rights of way network, and carriage drivers to just 5%. The BHS welcomes any incentive designed to enhance and extend the rights of way network and the Society remains committed to the safeguarding of these public assets to ensure that equestrians, cyclists and walkers can continue to use safe off-road routes in the future.”
The Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on January 16 and given its first reading without debate. Members of Parliament will consider the Bill at a Second Reading, with a date for the reading to be announced in due course.
The Bill is available to view at https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2019-20/agriculture.html
Find out more about the vital access work of the BHS at bhs.org.uk/access.