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Stackyard News Jan 05
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Countryside Agency's Vision reveals Government's plans for your property

The CLA has greeted the publication of the Countryside Agency vision "The Countryside in and around Towns" with surprise.

It is, says CLA Director North Douglas Chalmers, nothing more than a fanciful plan proposing idealistic uses for property currently owned and managed by others.

Mr Chalmers said: "I can see little evidence of the consultation with the major providers and managers of this land. Indeed organisations representing the major private land users, such as the CLA and the NFU, are noticeably absent in a document which makes very strong claims as to how this land should be used in the future. This seems yet another indication that even if land itself is not to be nationalised; the rights of owners to use that land are being eroded so far as to make no difference."

"Looking forward to a better quality of life is of course to be commended, but this vision does seems very idealistic, and continually refers to "unlocking the full potential of the countryside", giving little credit to those currently responsible for managing our wonderful landscape. As the Countryside Agency's own case studies show, private owners and organisations, local authorities and communities are already doing much good work at a local level - which is the best place to make these decisions and to arrange voluntary access.

"The farmers, owners and managers of land on the outskirts of urban areas all have an economic interest in that land which needs to be respected. Where access to agricultural land and waterways is negotiated voluntarily, and effective measures can deal with problems such as fly-tipping, dogs worrying livestock, disturbance of angling and impact on wildlife that unmanaged and unrestricted access can bring, the countryside in and around towns really can be managed for the benefit of everyone."

* The Countryside Agency's document "The countryside in and around towns: a vision for connecting town and country in the pursuit of sustainable development" is available here:

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