Devising a domestic replacement for the Common Agricultural Policy is particularly complicated because agriculture is currently a devolved issue in Wales and Scotland.
Paths and access in Wales
Agricultural land makes up for nearly 90% of Wales’s land mass, meaning that a significant proportion of our 20,750 miles of rights of way are affected by any policy on agricultural land management.
Welsh Government has consulted twice on a new land management scheme for Wales since the 2016 Brexit vote, and has accepted in principle Ramblers Cymru’s call for public access to be considered a public good.
It was encouraging that the latest government proposals, consulted on in October 2019, included incentivising the improvement of public access. However, before rewarding enhancements, we have stressed that the basic obligations towards paths and access should be in met. Currently, the lack of cross-compliance within the Common Agricultural Policy in Wales is closely linked to thousands of enforcement issues.
Unfortunately, the proposals for the new subsidy system failed to include reference to the enforcement of highway law, which forms the basis of Rights of way management. Ramblers Cymru are therefore continuing to press for a new system which rectifies this and ensures the enforcement of landowner responsibilities towards rights of way.
From walkers to photographers to micro adventurers, find out why people want to keep paths open, and let us know why you want to protect paths.