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Summary Note of Annual Joint Meeting of National Access Forum and Local Access Forums

17 March 2017

Promoting the Benefits of Access- Making Responsible Access Happen

Chair: David Henderson Howat (Convenor, National Access Forum)

Opening David introduced himself as the new convenor, and welcomed everyone. In a brief introductory exercise, delegates chatted and noted their key topic of interest for the day. These are recorded in annex 2 below.

Morning theme: Enjoying the Outdoors with Dogs

Speakers - Stephen Jenkinson, Kennel Club Access and Countryside Advisor - ‘Promoting the good: minimising the bad’

Dr Fiona Fylan, Brainbox Research Ltd. -

‘Getting dog owners (and their dogs) more active in woodlands’

Theresa Kewell, SNH -

‘Promoting responsible dog walking on National Nature Reserves – a project researching ideas, trialling practical solutions and training Followed by discussion on dogs in the outdoors.

New “Outdoor Access Design Guide” launch – John Duffy, Paths for All - revised version of the design guide on outdoor infrastructure like gates, boardwalks, ramps, fences, seats, etc.

Afternoon theme recognising successes for all on the ground Quick-fire reports on real-life positive initiatives around Scotland:

- St. Fillan’s Group - Kenny Auld LLTNP

- Community Paths Groups - Roxanne Kerr, Paths for All

- Kinneil Estate cycling routes – Angus Duncan

- Smarter Choices Smarter Places – Andrea Partridge, PfA

Copies of any of the above presentation powerpoints can be emailed on request to the NAF Secretary.

Open Issues group sessions – small group discussion sessions to share participants’ queries and interests (see annex 2). Key points reported -

a) Dogs: all about turning difficulties into opportunities / material on SNH website / lack of knowledge over picking up and disposing of dog poo / dog-friendly tourism.

  • lots of opportunities, how do you make connections and find people? / networking events / community planning, community groups / swapping emails addresses for longer term contacts / use local councillors, as conduits in both directions / Community Sports Hubs / Town Centre re-generation groups / links within Council departments.
  • SOAC possibly a bit dry? / re-boot, using social media / resources - more hand-out materials needed / use partnerships and events / run safety days in schools / run training events eg. on John Muir, and on SOAC / work via target groups.
     
  • Legal – discussion on s14 notices, how to phrase, which parties to serve on / how to deal with landowner refusals (but that can be their prerogative) / s27 Guidance is currently being updated, due for public consultation shortly / a consensus view that it is perfectly valid to use s11 orders over non-motorised events, eg large orienteering or mountain bike events.
     
  • Funding – needs a higher level national push for resources from health and transport to be applied eg. to core paths, possibly as a statutory duty? / promote the benefits of the access officer functions / make the annual returns data on activities more widely published and distributed – possibly through NAF?

In closing, convenor thanked all the speakers and those who had helped organise a successful and positive day.

 

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