Tuesday 31st July 2018
Off road riding? Contact your MP regarding the Agriculture Bill
The Agriculture Bill – Access Provisions
The forthcoming Agriculture Bill will set the agenda for the future of our countryside. The British Horse Society believes that opportunities to improve and enhance access to safe off road riding should be integral to the Agriculture Bill.
Please contact your local MP to support The British Horse Society’s call for farmers and landowners to be paid to widen the network available to horse riders, and to help maintain the network as part of any future subsidy scheme under the Agriculture Bill.
You can find and contact your local MP from the websites below:
A draft letter is set out below; if you are a carriage driver please amend as appropriate.
Re: The Agriculture Bill
The £4.3 billion horse industry is important to agriculture and land use.
The forthcoming Agriculture Bill will set the agenda for the future of our countryside. It will have far-reaching consequences for both the quality of our environment and all those who seek to enjoy it.
I am a horse rider and believe that responsible access to the countryside is inherently beneficial to society. Opportunities to improve and enhance access should be integral to the Agriculture Bill. The benefits of countryside access are well proven to enhance both physical and mental health and well being. Riding is also an effective way for women and children to exercise alone as they feel safe on horseback.
In England, horse riders have access to only 22% of the public rights of way network and horse-drawn carriage drivers to only 5%, meaning that they have to use busy roads to access the countryside and the existing fragmented public rights of way network.
In the past six years, the Society’s records show that there have been 2900 reports of road incidents involving horses, 39 rider deaths, 230 horse deaths, 840 horses injured and it is believed that these statistics are under reported. An improved network is desperately needed for equestrians so that riding in the countryside does not become a thing of the past.
Please support The British Horse Society’s call for farmers and landowners to be paid to widen the network available to horse riders and to help maintain it as part of any future subsidy scheme under the Agriculture Bill. In particular, I would be most grateful if you would confirm that you support the provision of access for horse riders away from the vehicular road network.