The Pembrokeshire Local Access Forum is a statutory body advising on the improvement of access to the countryside for recreation and enjoyment.
The forum was established jointly by Pembrokeshire County Council and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority in 2002, following legislation and regulations introduced in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Pembrokeshire was one of the first counties in Wales to establish a forum.
Role of the Forum
The statutory function of the forum is to advise the County Council, National Park Authority and Natural Resources Wales on the improvement of public access to the countryside of Pembrokeshire for the purposes of open air recreation and enjoyment.
Since its initial formation the forum has considered a wide range of issues in advising the National Park Authority and Pembrokeshire County Council on the improvement of public access to the countryside. The remit of the forum is large and it has advised on all forms of countryside access including on foot, horseback, cycling and motorised off-road access.
Membership of the Forum
The forum meets in public on a quarterly basis and its membership is balanced to reflect the concerns of local farmers and land managers, as well as the interests of recreational users in the countryside.
The appointing authorities, Pembrokeshire County Council and the National Park Authority, must ensure that there is a reasonable balance of members representing the interests of the users of public rights of way and the owners, occupiers and managers of the countryside. Forum members, however, sit as individuals, rather than as representatives of any specified organisation.
Local Access Forums must review their membership every three years and in May 2019 the Forum moved into its sixth term with the secretariat rotating to Pembrokeshire County Council. Contact the Forum secretary Matthew Cloud Matthew.Cloud@pembrokeshire.gov.uk.
Members are appointed on their ability, through knowledge and experience, to represent the interests of at least one group of access users, land mangers or other issues relevant to access such as tourism. The membership is committed to the improvement of public access.
Agendas/Minutes of Local Access Forum meetings
Copies of the minutes and agendas of forum meetings can be requested by contacting the secretary.
Meeting Dates 2019
The next meetings will be held on 6 September 2019, 6 December 2019 and 6 March 2020. For more details contact the secretary.
The Work of the Local Access Forum
- In its role of a statutory consultee for matters relating to countryside access and public rights of way, the Local Access Forum has responded to many consultations and strategies published by the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales.
- The forum was involved in helping to develop the revised Countryside Code and commented on a range of guidance and regulations regarding the management of public rights of way arising from the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
- The forum highlighted the mapping of open country and common land in preparation for the launch of the new right of access introduced by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act in 2005. In addition to being consulted on the mapping process and appeals, it also advised on signage and other management issues relating to Access Land.
- The forum has been closely involved in the preparation of the Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) which is intended to become the prime means by which local authorities identify, prioritise and plan for improvements to the public rights of way network.
- The forum was a member of the local partnership that guided the Coastal Access Improvement Programme, a major grant programme which succeeded in its objective of creating the Wales Coast Path.
Other issues that have been considered include the problems of illegal motorised access to the countryside and the control of dogs.