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We are sad to learn of the death of Michael Meacher, the veteran MP for Oldham West and Royton. Michael helped to win the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, giving the public greater freedom to roam on open country and common land in England and Wales.
Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary who was heavily involved in lobbying for the legislation: ‘Michael Meacher was a very un-Blairite left-winger. As Minister of State for the Environment he faced down the reluctant Blair, who wanted to appease the landowners, and pushed through the Countryside and Rights of Way Act in 2000.
‘This began the process of opening uncultivated land throughout England and Wales to the people for recreation. That process is far from complete, but whenever we wander on the hills, heaths and downs we should remember the vital part Michael played in securing our freedom.’
Our general secretary’s letter to the Guardian on 31 October is here.