Opinion: Fyson on broad support shown for rural access rights

The coincidental emergence of fox-hunting and the right to roam into the political spotlight was interpreted by some as a high-profile rebuff for the landowning class inflicted by the more environmentally aware but largely urbanised population. In reality, the situation is a lot more complicated. Plenty of landowners resent the way that hunts barge across their land, just as many recognise the importance to the countryside economy of walking and hiking. Newcomers to rural life provide a substantial proportion of the support for these radical causes. So in a free vote the Commons resolutely maintained its stance against hunting and, a few days later, the access provisions of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 were duly commenced. Support for the enhanced access arrangements came from unlikely sources.

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