Wales needs a better and fairer approach to public access for outdoor recreation.
The Welsh Government asked the public for its opinions in 2015. Many of the 5,800 who responded said the current system is too complex and burdensome with some strong, and sometimes polarised, views on how it might be improved.
The consultation revealed the wide range of outdoor activities taking place across Wales but also exposed challenges faced by land managers and flaws and inconsistencies in the current system.
After reviewing the responses, Lesley Griffiths has announced her intention to develop proposals on how current laws can be improved in order to:
- Achieve consistency in the opportunities available for participation and how activities are restricted and regulated;
- Simplify procedures for designating and recording public access;
- Improve existing advisory forums and better communicate access rights and responsibilities.
The Cabinet Secretary said:
“Outdoor recreation makes a significant contribution to the economy and provides considerable health and social benefits. This is demonstrated by the huge success of the Wales Coast Path which has increased Wales’ profile at home and abroad. We now have the opportunity to build on this success.
“Wales needs an approach to public access for outdoor recreation that is less burdensome to administer, provides for a wide range of activities, but at the same time, respects the concerns of landowners.
“Whilst we can learn from other countries’ approaches, Wales requires laws which suit its cultural and physical landscape. We are very much aware of the concerns of landowners and the aspirations of access users. I will publish our proposals at the earliest opportunity so people can have their say, so we achieve a system that works in the best interest of all parties”.