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Friday, 22 February, 2002, 19:04 GMT
First right to roam map released
The maps open up new areas for ramblers
The first of a controversial series of maps showing the right to roam across Wales has been released - and has attracted criticism from farmers and landowners.

The maps highlighting where people are allowed access to the open country have been drawn up by the Countryside Council for Wales following the Countryside and Rights of Way Act in 2000.

Environment Minister Sue Essex
Sue Essex will release the maps
Welsh Environment Minister Sue Essex presented the first of these maps, for Bala and the Berwyn Mountains in north Wales, on Friday.

But a delegation of landowners and farmers were present to protest over their concerns about the impact of walkers on farming practices.

The event was the first of a series of 10 similar forums to be held as part of a three month consultation period in the Berwyn, Llantysilio and Ruabon area.

Maps for the rest of Wales will be published by mid 2003, and are expected to come into force in 2005.

Public comments

Copies of the first draft maps are available to view at CCW offices, local authorities, National Parks and on the CCW website.

We now need views and information from landowners, farmers and the public to help us improve on this and iron out remaining anomalies in the maps

CCW Chairman John Lloyd Jones
Anybody with an interest in the land and the general public has until 24 May to inspect the draft maps and make comments.

In June 2002, four other draft maps will be released in areas including Pembrokeshire, Meirionnydd, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly, followed by similar consultation periods.

Maps for Wrexham, Flintshire, Denbighshire and Conwy to the east of Snowdonia National Park will follow at the end of 2002.

And consultations about draft maps for the rest of Wales will start in 2003.

Views needed

John Lloyd Jones, Chairman of the CCW described the publication of the first maps as "an important milestone in delivering the Countryside and Rights of Way Act in Wales,"

"Our staff have taken great care in preparing the draft maps to make them as accurate as possible at this stage," he added.

"We now need views and information from landowners, farmers and the public to help us improve on this and iron out remaining anomalies in the maps."

Sue Essex also revealed that an extra 300,000 hectares of land will be available for public access as a result of the Act - this amounts to an area greater than the existing three National Parks.

"The mapping exercise is an essential first step and I very much welcome the start of the consultation," she said.

BBC Wales's Roger Pinney
"The Welsh mountains have been the inspiration of poets and painters for centuries"
See also:

19 Feb 02 | Wales
1.5m bid for hillside heather
07 Dec 01 | England
Farmer ordered to stop ploughing
28 Nov 01 | Scotland
Access pledge in land plans
12 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Right to roam maps unveiled
01 Nov 00 | UK Politics
Right to roam bill under scrutiny
17 Sep 00 | UK Politics
Ramblers rally for right to roam
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