Wiltshire and Swindon Countryside Access Forum
Wiltshire and Swindon Countryside Access Forum
The Wiltshire and Swindon Countryside Access Forum (WSCAF) offers strategic advice and comment to Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council and other statutory and independent bodies on ways to improve access to the countryside for outdoor recreation and sustainable travel, and on public rights of way matters.
The Wiltshire and Swindon Countryside Access Forum (WSCAF) is a Local Access Forum (LAF) established under the legislation.gov.uk: Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW 2000). LAFs advise decision making organisations, such as local authorities, Defra and Natural England, about making improvements to public access for outdoor recreation and sustainable travel. They are regulated by The Local Access Forums (England) Regulations 2007. Advice about how the Regulations should be applied is contained in the Guidance on Local Access Forums in England, which was issued by Defra in 2007.
The WSCAF is a joint LAF and has responsibility for the whole of Wiltshire and the area administered by Swindon Borough Council. Details of Wiltshire's and Swindon Borough Council's rights of way network are as follows:
|Rights of way type and miles by location||Wiltshire|
|Byways open to all traffic||509||10||519|
Wiltshire's 509 miles of Byways Open to All Traffic (BOAT) represent 22% of all the BOATs in England. These, together with open green spaces (access land), provide an invaluable network for public recreation, travel and health, a refuge for wildlife, and attractions for visitors which help to boost the local economy.
Whilst it is hosted by Wiltshire Council, which also undertakes its administrative functions, the WSCAF is an entirely independent body. It engages with the local councils and LAFs of Hampshire, The New Forest, West Berkshire, Dorset, North Somerset, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, West Berkshire and Bath & North East Somerset for cross-boundary matters.
The members of the WSCAF represent a range of interests relevant to accessing the countryside and rights of way matters.
They are volunteers who are appointed jointly by Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council to represent an interest rather than a specific organisation.
Their aim is to appoint members of the public with experience in aspects of rights of way matters and countryside recreation, to achieve a balance between users of rights of way (such as walkers, horse riders, carriage drivers, cyclists, disabled users and vehicle users), those who provide access to them (such as land owners, farmers and land managers) and other users (such as those involved in forestry, conservation and tourism). It is this wide range of interests which enables the WSCAF to provide balanced advice.
WSCAF members are appointed for a three-year term. The current term will end in March 2024
Although the Forum has a fairly full membership, we would welcome applications for membership from farmers and land managers, individuals with mobility or visual impairments, or the equivalent, those involved in forestry, conservation and tourism, and other interests not currently represented - please complete and return an .
This paper, which was prepared by Nigel Linge, the chair of the Wiltshire and Swindon Countryside Access Forum (WSCAF) at the time, was formally endorsed by the WSCAF at its meeting on 4 July 2019. It contains much useful information about Wiltshire Council's Rights of Way and Countryside department, even though it has since been absorbed by the Council's Highways department. It also makes a number of recommendations about how to address the many problems described in the report. The present WSCAF is monitoring the implementation of those that are still applicable.
The WSCAF was reconstituted in 2021 and its first meeting was held on 2 March 2021 The minutes and papers discussed at meetings since its reconstitution can be accessed below.
Meeting on 2 March 2021
Meeting on 29 June 2021
Meeting on 8 March 2022
Future meetings are as follows:
28 June 2022
9 November 2022
These meetings are open to members of the public, subject to certain conditions and the capacity of the venue. If you would like to ask questions about the activities of the Forum, please submit them to the secretary in writing no later than five working days before a meeting. If the questioner is not present at the meeting, an answer will be provided by email or post after the meeting. Only one question may be asked by a member of the public at any meeting, and the agenda will allow for a maximum of ten minutes to answer questions from members of the public.
To contact any member of the forum please contact the WSCAF Secretary in the first instance: firstname.lastname@example.org.