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Back to Scottish Outdoor Access Code HOMEPAGE

Draft Scottish Outdoor Access Code:

How are the responses to going to be assessed and by whom?


(Filed 03 Oct 03)
© www.land-care.org.uk

Land-Care is informed by SNH that they have 12 of their own staff analysing the responses to their own Draft Scottish Outdoor Access Code (1) and categorising theses responses according to content. Land-Care has also been told that SNH will appoint a single "independent" person to review the process. The Access Forum will not be reviewing individual responses but the digest prepared by SNH staff.

The nature of the analysis of the responses and the findings will be made into a report prepared by SNH, but will only be available to the public after the next draft of the Code has been completed and submitted to ministers. The clock by then is already ticking to the countdown when the Scottish Parliament has to give a yes or a no to the revised draft code - possibly 30 days in all. Thus, if the public do not care for the next version of the Code they will have very little time to digest it and lobby the Scottish Parliament.

This puts a lot of trust in SNH - but have they earned it? There is major concern that the balance of membership of the Access Forum is in favour of access takers rather than access providers - a concern that is repeatedly expressed in the responses to the draft Code. The constituion of the Access Forum has been put out to consultation but no conclusions have yet been reached. A review of the proceedings of the SNH Conference in 2000 entitled "Access to the Countryside" describes how unacceptably biased SNH can be in trying to achieve its ideological and political ends (2, 3, 4). Why should they be trusted now?

What is Land-Care's contribution to better openness and communication?

Land-Care will try and post on its website the full unedited responses of those organisations and persons who are willing to send us electronic versions of the responses that they submitted to SNH. At the least this should help in the education process that is so necessary for an Access Code to be a source of agreement rather than conflict. For education to be effective the information on which it is based need to be openly available and discussed.



1. Scottish Natural Heritage (2003). Draft Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

2. Irvine, James (2003). Scottish Natural Heritage Conference 2000 - Access to the Countryside. Report and update.
Reproduced with permission from LandCare Scotland (2001): vol 1 pp 25-31.
See Land Reform HOMEPAGE, Filed 22 January 03, www.land-care.org.uk, Click here to view.

3. Mylius, Andrew (2002). Access: the reality for farmers, landowners, foresters and all rural residents.
Reproduced with permission from LandCare Scotland (2001): vol 1 pp 3-18.
See Land Reform HOMEPAGE, Filed January 2002, www.land-care.org.uk, Click here to view

4. Irvine, James (2003). Scottish Natural Heritage's policy on access: is it being mis-sold in relation to enclosed land next to urban communities?
Reproduced with permission from LandCare Scotland (2001): vol 1 pp 19-23.
See Land Reform HOMEPAGE, Filed 7January 03, www.land-care.org.uk, Click here to view.