Row of cows at farm in Shropshire

Code of conduct for the countryside

04/07/22Code of conduct for the countryside

Last year, a refreshed version of the Countryside Code was launched to try and ensure, particularly during Covid times, that anyone visiting the countryside could do so in a safe and respectful manner. Earlier this year, still mindful that people are enjoying the countryside in greater numbers than ever before, new guidance for land managers was also released to help them assist those visitors to follow the Countryside Code.

Lord Benyon, Minister for Rural Affairs, said:

“We want to ensure that nature is accessible for all, whilst also supporting people to do the right thing when they are visiting the countryside. The new advice in the Countryside Code will help farmers and land managers to help the public enjoy the outdoors in a responsible way.”

With bank holidays and summer holidays fast approaching, and thousands of people opting for a ‘staycation’ rather than venturing abroad, it’s important for anyone, farmers, landowners and land managers alike, to be aware of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to the public venturing onto their land.

As well as helping people respect as well as enjoy rural surroundings, the guidance is also helpful in explaining how landowners can help protect themselves as far as possible by reporting any outbreaks of anti-social behaviour such as noise problems, fly tipping, dropping litter, criminal damage, livestock worrying and similar issues. Some of these need to be reported to the police, while some are a matter for the Local Authority, so it’s important to know the correct process of reporting.

As well as advice for managing and protecting livestock, using machinery in public spaces and the safe storage of chemicals, other key changes include items such as advice on creating a safer environment, including the safest way of storing bales and logs, as well as guidance on using and storing dangerous substances or employing firearms. Guidance is also available on how to keep rights of way usable, including public waterways as well as footpaths.

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