The new Wales Environment Minister, John Griffiths, was expected to announce Wales will enact Scottish-style ‘right to roam’ access legislation. This could be very good news for recreation in Wales, including walking, climbing and mountain biking. The announcement was expected to have been made on Monday, according to well-placed sources. However, Griffiths’ press officer has now been in touch to say "there won’t be an announcement on Monday."
He didn’t rule out an announcement sometime in the future.
2ND UPDATE: We’ve now been contacted by the Welsh Government, providing some additional info that potentially sounds positive. A spokesperson told BikeBiz: "The Minister for Culture and Sport will not be launching open access legislation next week. The Minister is reviewing the current framework for outdoor recreation and access and will make a statement on this later in the year."
Currently Wales has a limited right to roam, introduced in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW), a law that also applies in England. In Scotland the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 codified into Scots law the ancient tradition of the right to universal access to the land in Scotland.
Any new move by the Welsh Assembly would put pressure on Westminster to extend CROW’s right to roam legislation for England.
In Scotland the rights to be on land for recreational, educational and certain other purposes exist only if they are exercised responsibly, as specified in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
Access rights apply to non-motorised activities such as walking, cycling, horse-riding and wild camping.
In Wales, the limited right to roam law is administered by a new body Natural Resources Wales. This took over from the Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales, Forestry Commission Wales and also has some functions of the Welsh Government.
The new access legislation for Wales had been expected to be revealed at the Royal Show in Builth, Wales, on Monday.