Countryside and Rights of Way Bill

United Kingdom
The Bill has now been published and was introduced to Parliament on 3 March 2000. The Bill will extend the public's ability to enjoy the countryside whilst providing safeguards for landowners and occupiers.

The Bill covers three areas:

Access - the public will be given a new right of access to mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land, however this right does not extend to cycling, horseriding or drivers of vehicles.

Rights of Way - legislation concerning rights of way will be improved to encourage the establishment of new routes and clarification of existing routes.

Nature Conservation and Wildlife Protection - Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) will be given greater protection. Conservation agencies will have the power to refuse consent for damaging activities, public bodies will be given a statutory duty to conserve and manage SSSIs and there will be increased penalites for damage done to SSSIs by owners, occupiers or other parties. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 will be brought up to date and Courts will be able to impose heavier fines and prison sentences for virtually all wildlife offences.

The Bill can be obtained from the Stationary Office (0870 6005522) or from

For further information please contact Verity Kidd on 020 7367 3182 or e-mail