Agriculture Bill

Written evidence submitted by Mrs K C Haslam (AB51)

Financial Assistance to landowners to improve public access under The Agriculture Bill 2017-19. (HC Bill 266) published on 12 September 2018. Part 1 Section (1) (b).

INTRODUCTION

I have been a horse owner and rider for over 50 years. I am a member of the BHS (British Horse Society) and a local Bridleways Group as well as being a member of the local Riding Club. At one time my children and I regularly hacked along main roads to access the local bridleways and to meet up with friends on their horses. Very often we were accompanied by cyclists. For a long time now I have not ventured onto these roads due to the huge increase in traffic as more people have to commute after they choose to live in the countryside; housing developments around villages and the resultant increase in people having to use their cars. An increase in delivery vans (always in a hurry having to meet deadlines), etc, etc.

I would like to set out the reasons to include financial assistance to landowners under the above Bill.

1. Bridleways give access to horse riders, cyclists and walkers, however, these do not join up. In my area every bridleway runs from a very busy main road to another busy main road, unsuitable for those who would wish to use them. In Worcestershire only 692km are bridleways out of 4604km rights of way.

2. There are an increasing number of accidents involving horse riders and carriage riders on roads as figures from the BHS will confirm. Police will have the numbers for cyclists who have been injured on the roads.

3. Equestrianism contributes financially to the economy in the way of livery yards, feed merchants, vets, farriers, instructors, equestrian clothing, etc.

4. Health. We are encouraged to exercise more and studies have found that horse riding contributes to this as well as to mental health

WAYS TO IMPLEMENT ACCESS.

1.`Upgrade footpaths to multi user paths (Bridleways) where appropriate, as has been done in some parts of the country.

2. To enable links to existing brideways create "behind the hedge" routes so avoiding busy roads.

3. To re-instate something similar to the Countryside Stewardship higher Level Permissive Bridlepaths whereby landowners were paid to do this.

IT IS SUGGESTED THAT landowners be paid from public money for the creation of new routes for horse riders/carriage drivers/cyclists and walkers following consultation with appropriate bodies. (Multi user routes).

THAT landowners be paid to maintain existing rights of way, especially by hedge cutting and mowing in season.

I am asking for support in this aim of helping to create new, and maintain existing routes of access in the countryside for who enjoy the countryside in a legal way – horse riders, carriage drivers, cyclists and walkers.

October 2018

 

Prepared 13th November 2018