Paths To Nowhere

March 05, 2008 8:34 AM

Opening up the countryside


The government's £250m pa eco-quango Natural England has just shredded another £4.5m.


Discovering Lost Ways, a £15 million project, was set up by the Government six years ago to restore forgotten countryside rights of way. But:

"Staff searched hundreds of land deeds, maps and agreements, many dating back to the 1800s, for the lost rights of way. All they have to show for almost six years of effort are five pending applications with Cheshire County Council and twenty case files sent to Shropshire County Council.


Amanda Earnshaw, a project manager for the scheme, said: “What should have been a sensible process has got itself mired in bureaucracy. As yet we haven’t got any more rights of way on the map.”

So after six years, £4.5m, and countless miles of red tape, the whole nonsense has finally been canned.


Your correspondent strongly supports preserving the best of Britain's past, and pays his annual subs to the National Trust accordingly. But why should his taxes be spent on half-baked government plans to reinstitute paths that are so disused nobody even knows where they are? And why should landowners be forced to open their lives to yet more quad-bikers?


We've met Natural England before of course. They're the quangocrats ripping up our woodlands to construct their preferred landscape of blasted heath (see here).


Did anyone vote for this?

Opening up the countryside


The government's £250m pa eco-quango Natural England has just shredded another £4.5m.


Discovering Lost Ways, a £15 million project, was set up by the Government six years ago to restore forgotten countryside rights of way. But:

"Staff searched hundreds of land deeds, maps and agreements, many dating back to the 1800s, for the lost rights of way. All they have to show for almost six years of effort are five pending applications with Cheshire County Council and twenty case files sent to Shropshire County Council.


Amanda Earnshaw, a project manager for the scheme, said: “What should have been a sensible process has got itself mired in bureaucracy. As yet we haven’t got any more rights of way on the map.”

So after six years, £4.5m, and countless miles of red tape, the whole nonsense has finally been canned.


Your correspondent strongly supports preserving the best of Britain's past, and pays his annual subs to the National Trust accordingly. But why should his taxes be spent on half-baked government plans to reinstitute paths that are so disused nobody even knows where they are? And why should landowners be forced to open their lives to yet more quad-bikers?


We've met Natural England before of course. They're the quangocrats ripping up our woodlands to construct their preferred landscape of blasted heath (see here).


Did anyone vote for this?

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