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38/04 3 February 2004

Open Access To The Countryside - Views Sought On Public Places Legislation

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is seeking views on whether regulations should be made to limit the circumstances in which open access land, as defined in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, will qualify as a 'public place' under existing laws.

A three month consultation, launched today, is part of the programme to implement the new right of public access to England's mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land under the Act.

Public places are subject to a wide range of legislation to promote the environmental value of land, control anti-social behaviour, and protect the health and safety of users. The consultation examines whether making regulations to limit the application of legislation about public places across access land is necessary to safeguard
landowners' interests.

The aim is to seek a balance between protecting public safety and the environment without placing an unreasonable burden on owners and occupiers of land who are affected by the right of access.

Copies of the consultation paper are available by calling 0845 955 6000, or online at

The consultation remains open until 23 April 2004.

Issued by : DEFRA Press Office


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