Kayakers more than many people will be aware of how ridiculously restricted access to the countryside in the UK, other than Scotland, is. Angling interests alone kick up such a stink about other recreational users using the rivers that they often become physically threatening over it at times. Walkers and other outdoors enthusiasts are forced to enjoy the countryside on the tram rails that we call footpaths. And even they are under threat.
While the land owning classes keep the rest of the public off their vast swathes of land, while they destroy fauna to create “productive” land in order to receive publicly subsidised hand outs worth millions, they are lobbying behind the scenes to restrict our access even more. Not many other countries have such a draconian attitude to access to the countryside. That’s because most other countries recognise all the positive benefits with encouraging such environmental interaction.
Despite all historical, statutory, literary, and empirical evidence showing that there has always been a public right of navigation on rivers, those opposed will not engage with the evidence. Thus a new petition has been created to try and make the Welsh Government see sense and create a Scottish style mode of responsible open access. Petitions have been created before, but this one is mindful of why previous ones have failed. The Welsh Government had been intending to release a green paper about the issue a couple of years back, but this was quietly shelved. Why? Because those opposed to it kicked up such a stink that it forced those involved to backtrack.
In order to make a difference therefore, it is necessary for anyone who thinks that it is unfair that we do not have open countryside access lets the Welsh Government know that this is the case. Unfortunately in the past those who shout loudest have won out because apathy on the pro access side didn’t let the MP’s know how important it was.
It is time to take a stance. So please, if you take part in outdoors recreation, from simply walking the dog, all the way through to kayaking and mountain climbing, please sign this petition. Even if you don’t live in Wales! When you sign it outside of Wales it will tell you that a Welsh constituency cannot be found. Simply enter your hometown in the provided box.
Please don’t stand idly by while the anti-access lobbyists campaign for even more restrictions! Oh, and make your mates sign it too!