The Government has not identified any prospective disadvantages of the right of access for open-air recreation on foot on open country (mountain, moor, heath and down) and registered common land which is provided for under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. The Act was passed by a previous Government after public consultation and an appraisal of a number of options for increasing access to land where access had not been allowed before.
The legislation was therefore framed so that the right of access over such areas was carefully balanced against the needs of land managers, businesses and wildlife. Areas such as houses and their gardens, and buildings or their curtilage, are automatically exempt from the right of access to avoid intrusion on people’s privacy even where they fall within land which appears on a map of open access land.
The open access regime also includes general restrictions at the national level that exclude specific potentially damaging activities from the right of access and controls on people walking with dogs. To supplement these, local temporary restrictions on the right of access may be put in place to limit where people go or what they do, if it is necessary to protect against the harm that any access may cause to sensitive landscape or wildlife habitat, public safety or the ability of landowners to manage their land.