Threat to farming funds for access

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We deal with almost 1000 cases a year assisting communities, groups and individuals in protecting their local spaces and paths in all parts of England and Wales. Can you help us by joining as a member?

We are deeply concerned to learn that the government may renege on its commitment to use agricultural payments for environmental and access improvements.  The recent statement from Defra gives us little comfort.

Footpath in Colwall, Herefordshire: farmers could be paid to leave cross-field paths undisturbed like this one. Photo: OSS

With other organisations we have, for the last six years, pushed relentlessly for agricultural funding in the Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS) to pay for more and better access.  Ministers have promised to do this, during the passage of the Agriculture Bill through parliament, and subsequently.  Although we have yet to see that access included in ELMS we have developed detailed proposals of how this could be achieved.  We believe ELMS should provide access where people need and want it, whether by leaving wide, unploughed paths across fields and mowing headlands, or by creating routes which avoid busy roads, or safe crossings.

Now, with the new ministers and the government’s many recent announcements purely about growth, it is clear that the public and nature benefits of ELMS could be lost.

We shall fight this, and ask you to support the Ramblers in its call to action.

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