In England, the cornerstone of future agriculture policy will be the payment of public money for environmental public goods. The Agriculture Bill includes public access in the list of purposes that the Secretary of State may pay for in the future. Paths that provide access to farmers’ land enable people to access and spend time in the natural environment. Infrastructure is required for recreational walking, cycling and horse-riding and providing access to greenspace and countryside for disabled people. This is important for maintaining and improving physical and mental health and wellbeing and therefore provides public benefits.
There are a number of requirements relating to Public Rights of Way that are currently set out in legislation across the UK. We expect land managers to comply with these regulatory obligations, irrespective of whether financial assistance is to be received or not. As we leave the EU we will be assessing how best to deliver outcomes, including through regulation, enforcement and incentives.