12th Oct


TFA Lobbying #22 – Joint Letter from CLA, NFU, TFA and Countryside Alliance Seeking an Amendment to the Highways Act 1980 To Allow Temporary Diversions of Rights of Way where Livestock are Present

Rural organisations join forces in proposal for amendment to Highways Act 1980

Rural groups have joined forces to call for an amendment to the Highways Act 1980 which would improve safety on the public rights way of network following a spike in livestock-related deaths.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), National Farmers Union (NFU),  Countryside Alliance (CA) and Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) have written to Rural Affairs Minister, Lord Gardiner, this week (October 6th) outlining how the amendment would enable farmers to temporarily divert public rights of way where livestock are present.

This diversion would help reduce the risk of further serious incidents happening to visitors in the countryside and allow farmers to operate their businesses safely and effectively.

The proposal provides a 14-day notice period for a 40-day diversion of a right of way with clear notices placed at either end of the route.

Deputy President of the CLA Mark Tufnell said: “We believe that our proposal will help save lives.

“There have been a number of tragic incidents recently of walkers being killed by livestock while visiting the countryside. Our priority is people’s safety, and by amending the Highways Act landowners will be empowered to take the necessary steps to protect the public.”

 TFA National Vice-Chairman Robert Martin said:

“The devastating loss of life that we have experienced recently in the countryside could be prevented easily by taking the simple and reasonable approach we have outlined.  We want walkers to be able to enjoy the countryside safely alongside farmers going about their day-to-day business.”

This idea was sparked by a pilot scheme in Cornwall, which used permissive paths (a route landowners allow the public to use) to offer an alternative route when livestock are being grazed on the land. The temporary diversion would solve the current problems without these drawbacks, which includes existing rights of way remaining permanently open.

Although it’s an option that remains a useful tool for landowners, permissive paths are not suitable in all instances as the original route must remain open, leaving walkers exposed to potential risk.

The current process for permanently diverting public rights is complex and inflexible.

To view the letter, please click on the link below and then again on the small thumbnail image presented:

1069DP Lord Gardiner 06.10.20

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