The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) are petitioning for talks with the government and local authorities concerning the status of publicly owned land.
After the announced budget cuts and the forestry commission review the BMC are concerned about how any future government action will affect access to publicly owned land. In light of this The BMC want the government to take measures to safeguard this access.
Some key points the BMC want to make are as follow:
- Access must remain a key policy area of any new management plan. Permissive access as well as statutory access needs to be protected.
- Current levels of access (at a minimum) must be maintained.
- Sale or transfer of land to approved bodies and private land owners must require a guarantee of revenue funding for 30 years or more and have contingency funds available to cover unforeseen costs (e.g. to cover the costs of moorland fires).
- The complexity of running sites for recreation and conservation as well as other land management activities needs to be fully recognised. If new land owners get it wrong, there is no second chance.
- Lease or sale agreements must guarantee long term access rights are safeguarded (leaseholds and covenants must stand the test of time and re-sale).
- The sale or transfer of public land must make clear, economic sense.
- Any new management arrangements must be transparent so the public know their rights.
- Government and Local Authorities must consult local community groups, users and the public at large about the possible transfer or sale on any publicly owned land.
This is an important issue and one we should all be keeping a watchful eye on. The maintenance of these access rights, and the land they relate to are vital for our enjoyment of these popular outdoor locations and the continuation of an ever increasing sporting community.