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The British Horse Society Rights Of Way Losing Out Says BHS

The British Horse Society has come up with disturbing evidence that money
given to local authorities to fund the implementation of the Countryside and
Rights of Way (CROW) Act is being diverted to other departments.

In September 2001 Alun Michael, Minister for Rural Affairs advised that
significant additional funds would be made available to help County councils
to implement Part II of the Act. At the same time DEFRA also advised that
additional funds would be made available for the establishment of Local
Access Forums. The money was to be included in the counties' SSA
allocation. The money was not ring fenced in spite of recommendations to do
so by all involved in rights of way issues including DEFRA. The Minister
said he expected County Councils to allocate sufficient resources to ensure

The money from Government was intended to assist delivery of the CROW Act,
including setting up Local Access forums and the preparation of Rights of
Way Improvement Plans.

However research from the Institute of Public Rights of Way Officers shows
that only 19 out of 47 highway authorities have allocated any additional
resources. Of the 19 that have done so, most have allocated considerably
less than the sum required to undertake the task.

Kay Driver, BHS Chief Executive said: "The CROW Act gives us 24 years to
identify and log all rights of way on the definitive map. There is a huge
amount to do and the BHS is delighted that Alun Michael made funds
available. Statutory duties are laid upon local authorities in the Act and
local authority rights of way departments need these funds."

Note: Riders and carriage driver do not have a network of off
road routes, and as a result have to use the roads. The BHS estimates that
there are over 3000 accidents a year involving horses on the roads, and the
Society is campaigning actively for greater provision in order to reduce
this figure.


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