County forum keen to recruit

By Ellen Grindley in Environment

Residents with a keen interest in Dev­on’s wonderful coast and countryside are being invited to join the Devon Countryside Access Forum.

Supported by Devon County Council, the forum is an independent and statutory advisory body, established under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, aimed at helping make the great outdoors more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

Its 16 members, all with varied interests, from walking and riding to land management and conservation, meet several times a year to consider policy issues to improve countryside access and re­creational opportunities.

During the past year the forum members have advised on res­ponsible dog walking, responded to national consultations and have been involved in the planning processes for new recreational trails and housing developments incorporating green space.

They are now seeking new members to get involved in ­dis­cussing how to enhance public access and enjoyment to Devon’s fabulous countryside or urban green spaces.

This year the forum will be commenting on Natural England’s pro­posals for the coast path in east Devon under the coastal access legislation and also looking at improving access for those with disabilities.

Laura Leigh, chair of the Devon Countryside Access Forum, said: ‘The forum gives people a unique opportunity to discuss and arrive at a common position on a wide range of issues affecting access to the countryside. What the group shares is a love of the Devon countryside and a desire for it to be enjoyed responsibly by both residents and tourists.

‘Members of the for­um find their involvement interesting and stimulating and quickly gain an appreciation and understanding of the wider picture and ­different concerns.’

Devon County Coun­cil – the appointing authority for the for­um – is now carrying out its annual recruitment. If you are enthusiastic about recreational access to the countryside or urban green space, have a land interest or a professional involvement, or are a landowner or land manager affected by recreational access on your land, it would love to hear from you.

No qualifications are necessary, as training is given.

This year, applications are particularly welcome from those with land interests, cyclists and residents of the South Hams, north Devon and Torridge. Travel expenses are paid.

Further information about the forum is available on its web­site – go to www. devon.gov.uk/dcaf.

Alternatively, you can email devoncaf@devon. gov.uk or get in touch by phone on 01392 382084.

The closing date for applications is Wednes­day, February 22.

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