Welsh Government clarifies advice to landowners on footpaths and access land closures

Since the Outdoor Alliance wrote to the Welsh Government on 1 April asking for clarification and reassurance about the closures of footpaths and access land due to Covid-19, the Welsh Government has now provided guidance to landowners and managers, saying:

“Limited closures are targeted to prevent overcrowding in specific areas only, and widespread closures of the rights of way network are to be avoided”;

“The Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn AM has issued a statement appealing to people to exercise responsibly in the countryside and reminding dog-owners of the need to keep dogs on leads in the vicinity of livestock”;

“The risk of the coronavirus being passed on to others from people using public rights of way is considered to be very low as long as people follow the Government’s instructions to maintain social distancing and follow hygiene advice”;

“Landowners do not have the legal right to block or obstruct public rights of way or access land. However, in very limited circumstances where large numbers of people are using such routes or where residents are vulnerable or self-isolating, landowners may consider…temporarily displaying polite notices that encourage users to respect local residents and workers by following social distancing guidelines and consider using alternative routes that do not pass through gardens or farmyards; or offering an alternative route around gardens and farmyards only where it is safe to do so”; and

“These temporary measures must be lifted as soon as social distancing measures are relaxed.”

The Government’s full advice is in the attached document:

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