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National Access Forum

The National Access Forum was held earlier this week at Battleby. An update was provided on the two NAF sub-groups recently formed to take forward work on Core Paths and OS mapping and finding a national approach to tackling the emerging issue of unauthorised mountain bike trail building.

 

Core paths and OS mapping

The group is looking at the following:

  • Why core paths should be included on OS maps based on the principles from existing legislation
  • Report back on the technical lessons learnt from the South Lanarkshire trial
  • Identify costs
  • Look at other ways forward e.g. through the Improvement Service and investigate how data could be made publically available
  • Outline a way forward with OS and a timeframe for this work

Mountain biking and endure activity

There is general agreement that the mountain biking peer group is now mature so there are leaders to give direction and the need to strike new balance was required. This should include what is and is not permissible, recognising the rights of other users including nature conservation. The sub group also need to think about: what might work, key individuals, and communication in its widest sense. Solutions will take time, suggestions about possible actions were:

  • Development of potential management models
  • A communication plan (national approach)
  • Looking in further detail at occupiers liability, in particular how this would work with any new management models developed.

In addition to the above updates, Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park provided a written update on the Camping Management Byelaws, concerns were raised forum members about the continued problem with the lack of facilities being provided by the park, particularly in relation to litter bins and toilets.

 

The forum was also invited to discuss a paper on ‘parking issues and access’ and consider what further action in relation to generic national issues it might take. Mountaineering Scotland believe that where land is owned by the Scottish Government, Local Authority or Government Agency that car parking for outdoor activities should be provided at no charge or a small affordable charge. The Outdoor Access Trust are to be invited to the next NAF meeting to discuss what monies are available to private landowners in terms of providing parking provisions – should they wish to consider this as an option on their land.

 

Other topics discussed included an update on the Forestry Commission Scotland ‘Ticked Off’ campaign which raises awareness on Ticks and Lyme disease and SNH provided an update on the National Walking and Cycling Network.

 

 

 

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