Agriculture Bill

Written evidence submitted by Sophie Hyde (AB02)

Dear Sir / Madam,

As a horse-owner, I wish to have my say in relation to the Agriculture Bill and am frustrated that my earlier letter to my MP, Lucy Frazer, received no reply.

Instead, please note my comments as follows:

· Equestrians are one of the most vulnerable groups of road-users.

· We contribute considerably to rural economies through the products and services we consume (land rental, feed, bedding, agricultural services such as spraying, fencing, hedge trimming etc)

· As well as generating revenue, horse-riding is a way for many people, particularly women, to exercise safely in an outdoor environment (many of us feel safer on a horse than we would running or cycling).

· However, it is increasingly difficult to find safe off-road riding routes:

Bridleways have become fragmented and are often not maintained

Some are at risk of being covered in tarmac to make them more easily accessible for cyclists

Horse-riders are often forgotten when new footpaths and cycleways are created, particularly in areas where they are no active lobbying groups.

· For this reason, I urge that this Bill should include provision to reward land-owners for making strips of land around their fields accessible to horse-riders, as recommended by the British Horse Society.

· The benefits will include improved access to, and stewardship of, the countryside, as well as helping to get vulnerable road users onto safer hacking routes.

I would be grateful if these points would be considered within Part 1 Clauses 1-3 of the bill.

With kind regards,

Sophie Hyde

October 2018


Prepared 24th October 2018