Recreational access to private land in England and Wales: public good; private interest
Ravenscroft, N., (1995) Recreational access to private land in England and Wales: public good; private interest. Working Papers in Land Management & Development. 41/95. Working Paper. University of Reading, Reading. pp11.
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Since the Eighteenth Century the protection of public recreational access to private land has been maintained by the state through a mixture of legal rights of passage and the safeguarding of certain de facto access rights. While this situation has been modified in the last fifty years to facilitate some formalisation of access arrangements and landowner compensation in areas of high recreational pressure and low legal accessibility, recent policies indicate that a shift from public to private rights is underway. At the core of this paradigm shift are the new access payment schemes introduced as part of the restructuring of the European Common Agricultural Policy. Under these schemes landowners are now paid for 'supplying' recreational access, with the state, as the former upholder of citizen rights, now assuming the duplicitous position of further underwriting private property ownership through the effective commodification of access, while simultaneously proclaiming significant improvements in citizens' access rights.