Andrew Gillett  -  Public Access and Farming a “ hindrance or opportunity?: A comparison of access provisions around the world.

The National Trust

I live in rural Dorset with my wife, Fran and two young children Olivia and Felicity.  I completed a law degree at the University of Reading and qualified as a solicitor in 2008.  I have spent the last four years working for the CLA based in London.  A significant part of my role is providing legal advice to members on a variety of issues but predominantly on the law relating to public rights of way, public access and advising on the liability that farmers and landowners may owe to others accessing their land as a result of the condition of their property or of the livestock they keep. I also spend time lobbying and responding to Government consultations.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with family and friends, also cooking and brewing and when I can, getting out on the south coast, either walking or in the kayak. 

I am incredibly grateful to my sponsor the National Trust for the opportunity to undertake a Nuffield Faming Scholarship.

  • Project Details

My research will involve a comparison of the extent of public access provision in other countries to determine how good our current access provisions are and whether there are any lessons that can be learnt in the way they are provided and in mitigating the impact they have on farming. 

I believe this subject would be a worthwhile subject for research and is topical as there are ongoing calls for increased access from public access user groups; as you would expect their calls focus on the provisions that would be most beneficial to their members.  The suggestions put forward by such groups for increased access provisions do not necessarily align with what would be most appropriate to the public in general and in particular what would be most effective to encourage members of the public who either currently do not have access to such facilities or do not take the opportunity to engage in outdoor recreation. 

Previous research that has compared the provisions of access in the UK with European countries have largely concentrated on the access provisions of Norway, Sweden and Germany.  I do not believe that concentrating on these countries provides an adequate cross section and Norway and Sweden in particular has a very different population density and land use. 

By researching comparable countries public access provisions, including public access on private agricultural land; including how future access needs are determined and also how liability for accidents are apportioned I hope to be able to find a more rigorous approach to assessing both the need and the type of future outdoor recreation provisions in England and Wales and whether there are any changes that could mitigate some of the adverse impacts of such access.