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MP secures commitment from Government for Countryside Code campaign

March 24, 2021 11:20 AM

Local MP Tim Farron has secured a promise from the Government to launch a campaign to raise awareness of the Countryside Code from this Easter.

Last summer, there were many reports of people not behaving responsibly in the Lake District - blocking roads with their cars, leaving litter and damaging wildlife.

Ministers have told Tim that they are now in the process of strengthening the Code and will run a campaign throughout 2021, urging people to 'Respect, Protect and Enjoy' the countryside.

In a letter to Tim, the Minister for Rural Affairs Lord Gardiner said: "I understand your constituents' concerns about the increasing number of people accessing the countryside over this past year, and the behaviour of a minority of those visitors, which has put a lot of pressure on our beautiful landscapes at such an unprecedented time.

"Given this increasing pressure, Natural England is updating the Countryside Code in two phases: an initial refresh of the detail of the Code in time for launch in Easter and an associated campaign which will run throughout 2021.

"As part of that campaign we will have a broader conversation with stakeholders about what a 'post COVID-19' Code for the 21st century would look like and how we can promote more positive behaviours and awareness.

"A very wide range of views and experience is being sought to help us make the Code as strong as it can be, striking the right balance between encouraging access and informing people how to behave in the countryside."

Commenting on the news, Tim said: "It's really good to hear that the Government have accepted our request for a public information campaign for the Countryside Code and I'd like to thank the many local residents who have been supporting our calls.

"It's a shame that the Government say they won't be launching it until Easter, despite that fact that visitors will actually start arriving this Monday when the 'stay at home' guidance will end.

"Nevertheless this is a really welcome step in the right direction in getting the message out there that we all should respect, protect and enjoy our beautiful countryside."