Lower North West starts second stage of mapping registered common land & open country

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LOWER NORTH WEST STARTS SECOND STAGE OF MAPPING REGISTERED COMMON LAND & OPEN COUNTRY The Countryside Agency will publish the provisional map of registered common land and open country for the lower north west(1) on Monday 18 November. This marks the second stage of the Countryside Agency's three step approach(2) to identify registered common land and open country - mountain, moor, heath and down - in the lower north west, under the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000. It is part of a process that will provide people with the right to walk over 4,000 square miles of English countryside. The publication of the provisional map also marks the start of a three month appeal period. The Countryside Agency published a draft map which identified registered common land and open country and consulted the public on it between November 2001 and February 2002, resulting in over 8,000 comments. The Countryside Agency has carefully considered each one of these comments and the provisional map published on 18 November will reflect any amendments made in light of them. Paul Mutch, of the Countryside Agency, said: "While the publication of this provisional map for the lower north west comes a little later than originally planned, it marks an important point in the work we're doing to map the lower north west. We're really pleased with the constructive participation from so many people who commented on the draft map. This gave us some extremely valuable knowledge from people who know the countryside we're mapping intimately. "We reviewed every comment we received with the utmost care to see if changes needed to be made to the map and have done over 2,500 site visits to check the situation on the ground. It has been this detailed approach that has put back the publication of this provisional map by a few months, but we felt that it was important to adopt this thorough approach rather than to rush through the job. We're now writing to everyone who commented to tell them of our decision on the land they were interested in. "Anyone who'd like to see the provisional map for the lower north west and a report on our consultation can see them on our website(3) - www.countryside.gov.uk/access/mapping. The map is also on display at local authority offices and libraries in the lower north west or mf Countryside Agency offices (by appointment). Maps will also be sent to parish clerks for their local area. To find out the most convenient place to view the provisional map, people should call the Countryside Agency's access mapping helpline on 0845 100 3298." People with a legal interest in the land - such as land owners, tenants and holders of common rights, sporting rights or a licence or agreement - have three months from 18 November (until midnight on 18 February 2003) to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, who are acting for the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if they think land shown as registered common land or open country has been incorrectly identified on the provisional map. An appeal must be made, electronically or on paper, on a form obtained from the Planning Inspectorate via its website - www.planning- inspectorate.gov.uk/access - or by writing to Access Team, Planning Inspectorate, Room 215, Regus House, 1 Friary, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6EA. For more information phone 0117 344 5680 or email: access@pins.gsi.gov.uk. - ends - Notes to editors Further information from Paul Johnston, Navigator PR on 01947 880513, mobile 07974 686556 or home 01947 880982 (1) The lower north west covers Lancashire (excluding a small area north of the A65), a small part of Cumbria south of the A65, part of North Yorkshire (including Craven), part of West Yorkshire (including Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees), Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, and parts of Staffordshire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire in the Peak District National Park. (2) The Countryside Agency is charged with identifying on maps registered common land and open country across England under the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000. The Act creates a new right for walkers to walk across this land once conclusive maps have been published by the Countryside Agency and the new rights invoked by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. So these access rights are not currently in force. The Countryside Agency has divided England in to eight areas and is mapping these sequentially through the following steps: - publish a draft map of registered common land and open country - this is subject to three months of public consultation; - publish a provisional map of registered common land and open country which may include changes made in light of comments received on the draft map - people with a legal interest in the land included on the provisional map have a right to appeal against their land being included and have three months from the publication of the provisional map to do so; - publish a conclusive map of registered common land and open country which includes changes made in the light of the outcome of appeals. (3) The provisional map can be viewed on the Countryside Agency's website from 10:00 hrs on Monday 18 November 2002. A list of venues where the map is on display for the public to view is available on request. The map will be available in these venues in the week following 18 November. The Countryside Agency expects conclusive maps to be issued 6-12 months after the provisional maps are issued. The new rights and responsibilities will come into force after conclusive maps are issued and when the Secretary of State gives the go ahead. The Countryside Agency is responsible for advising government and taking action on issues affecting the social, economic and environmental well being of the English countryside. www.countryside.gov.uk ------------------------------------------------------------ This information was brought to you by Waymaker http://www.waymaker.net The following files are available for download: http://www.waymaker.net/bitonline/2002/11/12/20021112BIT01020/wkr0001.doc http://www.waymaker.net/bitonline/2002/11/12/20021112BIT01020/wkr0002.pdf