[Diggers350] Fwd: OSS: Govt ignores public access in new farm payment-scheme

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Thu Dec 2 23:51:00 GMT 2021

>From: Kate Ashbrook <hq at oss.org.uk>
>The Open Spaces Society is dismayed that the 
>government’s new, post-Brexit, environmental 
>land management scheme (ELMS), 
>today (2 December), fails to offer payments for 
>public access and paths on farmland.  This is 
>despite repeated commitments from ministers, 
>during the passage of the Agriculture Bill and 
>subsequently, that public access is a public 
>good, to be funded through agricultural payments.
>The document explains how the new Sustainable 
>Farming Incentive, replacing the Basic Payments Scheme, will operate.
>The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and 
>Rural Affairs, in a speech to the Country Land 
>and Business Association’s conference 
>that the new scheme needs to have clear policy 
>outcomes, which he then listed.  Public access 
>and enjoyment were not among them.
>With other user groups, such as the Ramblers, 
>British Mountaineering Council, British 
>Canoeing, and British Horse Society, the Open 
>Spaces Society has been 
>for the agricultural funding system to pay for 
>new and better public access.  Such access 
>should be by the creation of routes to help 
>walkers, riders, cyclists and carriage drivers 
>to avoid dangerous roads, and to form circular 
>paths with greater opportunities to explore the 
>countryside.  Existing paths and access should 
>also be improved, with cross-field paths left 
>unploughed, green lanes rolled, and rights of 
>way through grassland regularly mown.
>The society also argues that any landowner who 
>blocks or abuses a public path should have grant 
>payments withdrawn, with a much more efficient 
>process than under the old regime, thereby 
>deterring law-breaking and helping the 
>hard-pressed highway authorities.  But there is 
>not a word from government about such common-sense enforcement measures.
>Government pledged, in its 25-year environment 
>plan of 2018, to make sure that our natural 
>environment ‘can be enjoyed, used by and cared 
>for by everyone’.  The environment minister, 
>Victoria Prentis, has subsequently said that 
>ELMS ‘will include payments to ensure those 
>goods can be delivered’­a point which has been 
>echoed many times in parliament.  Yet today’s 
>big announcement on the future of ELMS says not a word about this.
>Says Kate Ashbrook, the Open Spaces Society’s 
>general secretary: ‘This is a huge, missed 
>opportunity to improve access and meet the 
>targets in the 25-year environment plan, as well 
>as to help with enforcement against 
>path-blocking.  The government has failed 
>lamentably to deliver on its promises.
>‘We shall not give up, and shall keep pressing 
>ministers to listen to all those who want better access to our countryside.’
>Attached photograph: Colwall footpath 28 in 
>Herefordshire.  The Open Spaces Society says 
>that farmers should be rewarded for keeping paths uncultivated.
>Notes for editors
>1          The Open Spaces Society was founded 
>in 1865 and is Britain’s oldest national 
>conservation body.  It campaigns to protect 
>common land, village greens, open spaces and 
>public paths, and people’s right to enjoy them.
>CONTACT:   Kate Ashbrook: 
><mailto:kateashbrook at oss.org.uk>kateashbrook at oss.org.uk
>01491 573535 (work),
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<http://biblehub.com/luke/24-31.htm>31 And their 
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vanished out of their 
sight.  http://biblehub.com/kjv/luke/24.htm 
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