Dave Greenfield and CROW

adrian@sweetbriar adrian at sweetbriar.demon.co.uk
Mon Sep 22 23:04:00 BST 2003

Welcome Dave, you've prompted me to make a contribution.

You don't say where U live, If is it in UK, you've probably heard of CROW, Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. If not the Contryside Agency's Web site will tell U all about it.

They have just published the draft Access Maps for the East of England. As a member of te Open Spaces society, I went along this evening to the first meeting of out Hertfordshire Local Access Forum (LAF).
We had amongst other items, a description by a Countryside Agency Officer of the mapping process.
CROW pubblic access land is to consist of:
  a.. Commons - These are well known by now and are reliably mapped.
  b.. Open country, consisting of Mountain, Moor, Down, and Heath.
In Hertfordshire the open county, would have to consist of Down and Heath. Everybody there examined the draft maps of Hertfordshire but we could discover only one area of 'Open Country' identified on their draft maps, and that only the size of a cricket pitch!
When I questioned him about this alarming state of affairs, he made two responses.
  a.. The data available to his office did not show any other areas that fulfilled all the subsidiary criteria.
  b.. The maps were put up as an 'Aunt Sally', and they expected many additions to be suggested by the public before the cut-off for responses in December. 
I was able to produce a report on habitats written by the local wildlife Trusts, which identified 21 heaths in Hertfordshire and another 23 with similar charcteristics, all of which might qualify.The Officer was obliged to say that any such 'new' databases would be examined. Sadly the consensus of the ALF members was that they could not be expected to get involved with promoting indvidual sites for inclusion.
The progress of the process and timing of consultations depends on the areas in which you live. The fact is then Diggers that unless we go out there and put up additional sites to be included, we are going to loose, in good measure, the 'Right to Roam' opportunity for which we've been fighting ever since the Normans arrived! 

Be aware that landowners are likely to argue for the removal of their land from the maps so we even might see a reduction in the acarage by the end of the consultation exercise.

Welcome again Dave


Adrian Toole
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