During this troubling time there has been a notable increase in the use of public footpaths and other rights of way. With further restriction on movement this seems set to continue, especially on the networks around villages and towns. Many of these rights of way go through farmyards and business parks, adding pressure and health risks to those working in these areas.
Leo Hickish, Partner at Batcheller Monkhouse has been dealing with several cases over the past week with farmers struggling to cope with the increase use of public footpaths, especially at a very busy time in the farming year. Whilst we would encourage the Government to review the formal measures to permit temporary diversions of such rights of way at this time, there is nothing to stop those affected making an alternative route available and signposting a permissive diversion. One cannot close the definitive route, but our experience is that most will willingly follow this guidance if it is clear and expressed as a request to protect you and your staff’s health.
We encourage all those who are using public footpaths for their one allowance of exercise a day to be aware of their surroundings. Enjoy the countryside but please consider and follow the Countryside Code which outlines simple measures you can take to respect the local community and protect the environment. Please click here to view. We must all support each other now more than ever.
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