Latest consultation on the Sustainable Farming Scheme

In their latest consultation on the Sustainable Farming Scheme, the Welsh Government is seeking views on a new rule that could help transform the quality of access to the paths and open spaces of Wales.    

Previous versions of the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) recognised the importance of improving public access by including proposals to pay farmers for new paths, or for making user-friendly improvements to specific paths, for example, replacing stiles with gates. 

However, earlier proposals did not consider the overall condition of all existing paths, missing the opportunity to give real impetus to unblocking and improving thousands of miles of routes, which we know to be unusable or in poor condition.   

If this change is included in the final scheme, to qualify for payments farmers and landowners would need to make sure that they are meeting all their legal responsibilities to maintain existing rights of way across their land. This consultation is an important step forward in government thinking and one which Ramblers Cymru has been pressing for over the last eight years.   

Farmers and landowners play a vital part in keeping paths open, and they have a crucial role in improving access opportunities so everyone can enjoy walking in nature.   

Anyone with an interest in walking can support this proposal by replying to the consultation, which closes on 7th March.

>> You can read the consultation here <<

Ramblers Cymru will be responding to the consultation to emphasise: 

  • Our strong support for the inclusion in the SFS Scheme rules of compliance with existing legal obligations related to rights of way and access 

  • The importance of supporting farmers with information and training on public rights of way management and duties 

  • The gap in resources available to local highway authorities, who have a key role in managing and upholding public rights of access 

  • The requirement for a transparent mechanism for reporting access-related issues  

  • The need for a parallel investment in promoting responsible access, through education and promotion of the Countryside Code to the general public


Ramblers Cymru will be sending in our views, welcoming this inclusion.  


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