Rural groups have joined forces to call for an amendment to the Highways Act 1980 which would improve safety on the public rights way of network following a spike in livestock-related deaths.
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), National Farmers Union (NFU), Countryside Alliance (CA) and Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) have written to Rural Affairs Minister, Lord Gardiner, outlining how the amendment would enable farmers to temporarily divert public rights of way where livestock are present.
This diversion would help reduce the risk of further serious incidents happening to visitors in the countryside and allow farmers to operate their businesses safely and effectively.
The proposal provides a temporary diversion for a limited period of time, following a short notice period with clear notices placed at either end of the route.
Deputy President of the CLA Mark Tufnell said: “We believe that our proposal will help save lives. There have been a number of tragic incidents recently of walkers being killed by livestock while visiting the countryside. Our priority is people’s safety, and by amending the Highways Act landowners will be empowered to take the necessary steps to protect the public.”
NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts said: “Sadly, we have learnt of several incidents recently in which members of the public have lost their lives. The countryside is a busy working environment, so we need to ensure that the millions of people who visit every year can continue to do so safely and responsibly. This proposed change in the law would allow farmers to quickly, easily and temporarily divert public rights of way where livestock are present to further reduce the risks.”
Posted on: 13 October 2020