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TIMETABLE SET FOR OPENING UP ACCESS TO THE COUNTRYSIDE - GOVT PROVIDES FURTHER FUNDS TO HELP BUSINESSES HIT BY FOOT & MOUTH

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The government is on track to meet its target for opening up access ...
The government is on track to meet its target for opening up access
to four million acres of open countryside and common land, minister
of state for rural affairs Alun Michael, announced yesterday. He was
launching a timetable which sets out how Part I of the Countryside
and Rights of Way Act 2000 will be implemented to give public access
to mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land by the end
of 2005.
Responding to a parliamentary question on the government's target of public access to open country by the end of 2005, Mr Michael said:
'We are firmly committed to the 2005 target, although the exact
timing of each of the intermediate stages in our programme may depend
on responses to the various consultation papers which we shall be
issuing. I shall consider the views of respondents carefully before
laying regulations before Parliament.
He also said: 'I now expect to lay regulations during the summer
recess enabling the Countryside Agency to issue the first draft maps
of open country and registered common land in November. I shall
review the case for giving earlier access to mountain land and
registered common land in the light of experience of the first
mapping exercises. This would lead to the commencement of certain
regulations earlier than the proposed timetable.'
NOTES
1. Part I of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 requires
various regulations to be made before the right of access may be
brought into force. The table below sets out the government's
provisional programme for consultation on proposals for
regulations, and for bringing the regulations into force in order
to meet its Public Service Agreement (PSA) target.
2. The government's firm expectation is that the public will have
new rights to walk across mountain, moor, heath, down and
registered common land in England by no later than the end of
2005. This is one of DEFRA's Public Service Agreement targets. The
Countryside Agency is preparing and will consult on maps of open
countryside and registered common land to which the new right of
access will apply. In the case of mountainous land above 600
metres and registered common land, there is the possibility that
the new right of access could be brought into effect ahead of the
production of the statutory maps. The government will be examining
the feasibility of this option next year.
Regulation Section Consultation Date regulations
commenced in force
Regulations regarding Section 11 March 2001 October 2001
mapping of access
land and consultation
on draft maps
Regulations regarding Section 94 July 2001 December 2001
the establishment (Part V)
of LAFs and the
appointment of members
Regulations regarding Section 11 October 2001 April 2002
issue of provisional
maps, appeals, and
issue of conclusive maps
Regulations regarding Section 16 October 2001 March 2002
dedication of land
for access
Regulations relating Section 32 November 2001 May 2002
to exclusion or
restriction of access
under Chapter II,
including appeals
Regulations on removal Para.7, November 2002 May 2003
or relaxation of Schedule 2;
restrictions on access Section 31
land and to exclude
access in emergencies
Regulations on appeals Section 38 February 2003 August 2003
relating to notices
Regulations regarding Section 11 February 2004 August 2004
review of
conclusive maps
References to public Section 42 To review before
places in existing general implementation
enactments of right of access
3. Further information about the Countryside and Rights of Way Act
2000 is available in the form of a fact sheet, published on the
internet.
GOVERNMENT PROVIDES FURTHER FUNDS TO HELP BUSINESSES HIT BY FOOT AND
MOUTH DISEASE
The government is providing more money to support businesses in rural
areas hardest hit by foot and mouth disease (FMD). The rate relief
scheme, which increases the amount of money Central Government gives
to local authorities in affected areas, will continue to apply in 151
rural areas until the end of the year.
Local government minister Alan Whitehead said:
'The rural economy has suffered greatly due to the impact of foot and
mouth disease. Ever since the outbreak, the government has been
determined to support the small businesses hardest hit. The extension
of the rate relief scheme announced today will ensure further
financial support to those businesses in the rural areas suffering
most from the impact of FMD. It will help councils to grant 100%
rate relief to eligible small businesses in these areas for the
period up to the end of the year.'
The government is also announcing an extension to the scheme which
has operated since April of this year. For the 37 councils in the
areas most seriously affected by FMD, central government's 95%
contribution to the cost of rate relief will apply to larger
businesses with a rateable value of up to£50,000. The local
authority will pay the remaining 5%. In the other 114 rural councils,
central government will continue to contribute 95% of the cost of the
rate relief given to small businesses with a rateable value of
£12,000 or under.
The government is determined that other services should not be
affected by the costs of rate relief in the hardest hit areas. If any
of the eligible local authorities grant relief worth more than 8% of
their annual net budget on this, central government will now pay at
the increased rate of 98% for any costs above that.
NOTES
1. Any business suffering hardship is eligible for rate relief up to
100%, at thediscretion of the local authority, under section 49 of
the Local Government Finance Act 1988. Central government normally
meets 75% of the cost of such relief and councils the remaining 25%.
Farms are completely exempt from rates, but any other businesses
seriously affected by foot and mouth disease which pay rates are
eligible for the relief, including ancillary agricultural and
transport businesses and those involved in tourism.
2. Special Grant Report No 80, approved by parliament on 2 April
2001, provided additional funding to the 151 most rural English local
authorities, for rate relief granted to small businesses seriously
affected by foot and mouth disease. The grant covered 20% of the
costs of the relief, in addition to the 75% already centrally funded,
increasing the total central government contribution to 95%, leaving
councils to fund 5% of the costs. It applied for the period from 1
April to 30 June 2001.
3. Special Grant report No 86, laid in parliament on 9 July,
will, if approved, continue the scheme for a further 6 months. It
will also provide help in the most seriously affected areas. In 37
specified local authorities in the areas worst affected by foot and
mouth disease (list attached), the threshold for additional support
will be raised from£12,000 to£50,000 rateable value, helping those
councils to give relief to larger businesses. In all 151 areas,
central funding will increase to 98% for relief which exceeds in
total 8% of the council's net budget requirement. This will reduce
costs for those areas with the highest costs as a proportion of their
resources.
4. For any business with a rateable value of more than£12,000 in the
114 areas, or more than£50,000 in the 37 areas, or of any rateable
value in any other area, local authorities have the power to grant
100% rate relief. In these circumstances, Central Government
contributes 75% of the rate relief and the local authorities the
remaining 25%.
Local authorities eligible for special grant for relief given to
business up to£50,000 rateable value.
95% central support for relief (central and local contributions)
totalling up to 8% of net budget requirement for 2001/02 (ie council
contribution is up to 0.4% of net budget requirement), 98% central
support for relief above that level.
North East
Alnwick
Berwick-upon-Tweed
Castle Morpeth
Derwentside
Durham City
Easington
Sedgefield
Teesdale
Tynedale
Wear Valley
North West
Allerdale
Carlisle
Copeland
Eden
Lancaster
Pendle
Ribble Valley
South Lakeland
Wyre
Yorkshire And The Humber
Craven
Hambleton
Harrogate
Richmondshire
Ryedale
Scarborough
Selby
South West
Cotswold
East Devon
Forest of Dean
Mid Devon
North Devon
South Hams
Stroud
Teignbridge
Tewkesbury
Torridge
West Devon
Local authorities eligible for special grant for relief given to
business up to£12,000 rateable value.
95% central support for relief (central and local contributions)
totalling up to 8% of net budget requirement for 2001/02 (ie council
contribution is up to 0.4% of net budget requirement), 98% central
support for relief above that level.
North East
Redcar and Cleveland
North West
Chester
Congleton
Crewe and Nantwich
Ellesmere Port and Neston
Vale Royal
Yorkshire And The Humber
East Riding of Yorkshire
North Lincolnshire
East Midlands
Bassetlaw
Boston
Daventry
Derbyshire Dales
East Lindsey
East Northamptonshire
Harborough
High Peak
Hinckley and Bosworth
Melton
Newark and Sherwood
North Kesteven
North West Leicestershire
Rushcliffe
Rutland
South Derbyshire
South Holland
South Kesteven
South Northamptonshire
West Lindsey

West Midlands
Bridgnorth
East Staffordshire
Herefordshire
Malvern Hills
North Shropshire
North Warwickshire
Oswestry
Shrewsbury and Atcham
South Shropshire
South Staffordshire
Staffordshire Moorlands
Stratford-on-Avon
Wychavon
East
Babergh
Braintree
Breckland
Broadland
East Cambridgeshire
East Hertfordshire
Fenland
Forest Heath
Huntingdonshire
King's Lynn and West Norfolk
Maldon
Mid Bedfordshire
Mid Suffolk
North Norfolk
South Bedfordshire
South Cambridgeshire
South Norfolk
St Edmundsbury
Suffolk Coastal
Tendring
Uttlesford
Waveney

South East
Arun
Ashford
Aylesbury Vale
Canterbury
Cherwell
Chichester
Chiltern
Dover
East Hampshire
Horsham
Isle of Wight
Lewes
Maidstone
Mid Sussex
New Forest
Rother
Sevenoaks
Shepway
South Oxfordshire
Tandridge
Test Valley
Thanet
Tonbridge and Malling
Tunbridge Wells
Vale of White Horse
Waverley
Wealden
West Berkshire
West Oxfordshire
Winchester
Wycombe

South West
Caradon
Carrick
East Dorset
Isles of Scilly
Kennet
Kerrier
Mendip
North Cornwall
North Dorset
North Wiltshire
Penwith
Purbeck
Restormel
Salisbury
Sedgemoor
South Somerset
Taunton Deane
West Dorset
West Somerset
West Wiltshire
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