The Land Reform Act 2003 (Freedom to roam)

This law needs to be looked at and discussed again in parliament.

Why the contribution is important

What farmers have had to put up with the last few weeks has been a disgrace and actually been quite distressing for some farming families. Unfortunately due to the law, and the current lockdown, its lead to hundreds of people talking to walking through farmland at lambing time.

Examples have been dogs off leads worrying sheep, runners/joggers running through fields full of stock, many, many people not socially distancing on narrow farm tracks (putting themselves and the farm owners in danger), hundreds of people a day walking through farms, litter being left and many people touching fences, gates and styles that have to used by farmers.

And farmers haven’t been innocent either, there have been stories of locked gates and walkways being blocked, but this has only happened due to the utter disrespect shown by so many people when accessing farm land.

I don’t blame people either for wanting to walk somewhere where they think it will be safer to do so, but spare a thought for land owners, farmers and residents. How many people would like hundreds of people walking through their property every day for the past few weeks?

The law isn’t fair and is open to abuse. Granted this is an extreme situation but it has highlighted a law that is simply so unfair on so many hardworking farming families.

by dave1978 on May 10, 2020 at 01:02AM

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  • Posted by AlJones May 10, 2020 at 09:43

    This must not be used as an opportunity to breach the rights of Scots to enjoy their country. The land is under the stewardship of those who hold title. They don’t own it. There are laws in place to try and stop and punish activity that is genuinely harmful. As with anything, not all will obey.

    In some locations, every bit of land is ‘owned’ by a farmer and tourism would cease if access rights were restricted. Education is a better tool. If the lockdown caused an increase in this annual problem then lifting the lockdown should fix it, although lambing is pretty much over anyway.
  • Posted by Valkyrie May 10, 2020 at 15:34

    What is required is better information about the scope of access rights. The rights must be exercised responsibly and this does not include wandering over fields with crops or disturbing livestock. One issue that does need to be addressed is the need to keep dogs on leads.
  • Posted by dave1978 May 10, 2020 at 17:02

    Totally agree, better information is required. After a few days of mixed messaging and vagueness from the UK Government, which will increase increase anxieties and tension, what most us want are clear laws and rules to live by.

    Although some people will not be told what to do, have no respect for law and instructions at the moment, and will just do as they please.

    Right to roam is in my opinion far too open to people taking advantage of the rules.

    It’s certainly not something that needs looked at immediately, there are more important issues obviously, but sometime in the future, it’s a law that needs readdressed.

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