Support the Right To Roam in Wales

Posted by Eben Muse on 01/09/2023

Only 20% of Wales is considered open access land. The BMC has been campaigning for increased access to nature in Wales for many years and is now calling for new legislation – a Right to Roam Bill.

This would ensure that everyone lives within an accessible green or blue space; expand the freedom to roam; help protect and improve the existing paths and access network, and establish sound frameworks to support public access and outdoor recreation in the long-term.

Why are we campaigning for more access to more places?

Only 20% of Wales is considered open access land - a staggeringly low percentage for a nation which is 20% designated as National Park - not to mention our 5 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty - only 3% of the 10,800km of rivers and canals have an undisputed right of navigation.  Before the industrial revolution, more than half of Wales was common land, free for all to use  - today, a mere 8.5% remains as such, as a result of centuries of enclosure.

A recent study has found that the net impact of outdoor activity tourism on the Welsh economy is worth £1.6bn annually, with much of that wealth being retained in rural areas.

It is estimated that an increase in outdoor participation of 10% alone could bring an additional value of nearly £200m, with more people leading healthy lives, helping promote a sustainable economy, building stronger communities and helping to protect our environment.

A Right to Roam Bill in Wales (or similar) giving us greater freedom to access more places (similar to the Scottish Land Reform Act) would extend these benefits further, beyond our National Parks and honeypot areas. Along with partner organisations, the BMC has been campaigning for increased access to nature in Wales for many years, both via our network of access volunteers on the ground, and also by providing advice and potential approaches for reforming access legislation to Welsh Government.  Progress has been slow however, and has now halted completely.

We are therefore calling for new legislation – a Right to Roam Bill – to ensure that everyone lives within an accessible green or blue space; to expand the freedom to roam; to help protect and improve the existing paths and access network, and to establish sound frameworks to support public access and outdoor recreation in the long-term.

More information on a Right to Roam in England will be published shortly.

Help support the Right To Roam and write to your MS

If you are resident in Wales, you are represented by five Members of the Senedd - one is linked to your constituency, and four to your region. You can write to any or all of these, and they owe you a response.

To find your MS’s and their contact details, simply enter your postcode here.

If you live outside of Wales, you can still write to the minister responsible for access within the Welsh Government - this is currently Julie James MS, and she can be reached at Correspondence.Julie.James@gov.wales

Tips for constructing a letter:

• Ensure that you include your address and postcode - MS’s generally only reply to those who state that they are based within their constituency.

• Clearly ask for their support for a right to roam.

• Say what the Right to Roam means to you, your community, and their constituency.

 

Example letter asking for support for new access legislation:

Dear [name of MS],

I am writing to you as a resident of [your constituency] and a supporter of the right to roam campaign in Wales. My address is [your address]. I am asking you to support a bill that would grant people in Wales similar access rights to land and water as those in Scotland, under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act.

The right to roam is not only a matter of personal freedom and enjoyment, but also of economic, social and environmental benefits. As you may be aware, the outdoor recreation sector contributes significantly to the Welsh economy, generating £6.2 billion in Gross Value added and supports 206,000 jobs2.  A recent study by the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum found that the sector grew by 65% between 2013 and 2023, despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The study also highlighted the positive impacts of outdoor activities on people’s health, wellbeing, education and social inclusion.

However, these benefits are currently limited by the restrictive and inconsistent access laws in Wales, which create confusion, frustration and conflict among landowners, users and managers. A right to roam bill would simplify and clarify the access rights and responsibilities for everyone, creating a culture of respect and cooperation. It would also enable more people to enjoy the natural beauty and diversity of Wales, fostering a sense of connection and stewardship towards our environment.

A right to roam bill would also support the Welsh Government’s commitments to address the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, by encouraging low-carbon and nature-based outdoor recreation. It would also align with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, which aims to improve the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales.

I believe that a right to roam bill would be widely supported by the public. It would also be consistent with the recommendations of the Welsh Government’s Access Reform Advisory Group, which proposed a new statutory framework for access based on the Scottish model.

I urge you to support a right to roam bill in the Senedd and to raise this issue with your party colleagues and the Minister for Environment who holds responsibility for access and outdoor recreation. I think this is a unique opportunity to make Wales a more accessible, inclusive and sustainable country for everyone.

Thank you for your attention and your service to our community. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name] [Your contact details]

 

 

Yr Hawl i Grwydro yng Nghymru

Newyddion

Byddai hyn yn sicrhau bod pawb yn byw o fewn man gwyrdd neu las hygyrch; yn rhoi mwy o ryddid i grwydro; yn helpu i ddiogelu a gwella'r rhwydwaith llwybrau a mynediad presennol, ac yn sefydlu fframweithiau cadarn i gefnogi mynediad cyhoeddus a hamdden awyr agored yn y tymor hir.

Pam rydym ni’n ymgyrchu am fwy o fynediad i fwy o lefydd?

Dim ond 20% o Gymru sy'n cael ei ystyried yn dir mynediad agored - canran anhygoel o isel i wlad lle mae 20% ohoni wedi’i dynodi’n Barc Cenedlaethol - heb sôn am ein 5 Ardal o Harddwch Naturiol Eithriadol - a dim ond 3% o'r 10,800km o afonydd a chamlesi sydd â hawl mordwyo cydnabyddedig.  Cyn y chwyldro diwydiannol, roedd mwy na hanner Cymru yn dir comin, am ddim i bawb ei ddefnyddio - heddiw, dim ond 8.5% sy'n weddill, o ganlyniad i ganrifoedd o amgáu tiroedd.

Mae astudiaeth ddiweddar wedi canfod bod effaith net twristiaeth gweithgareddau awyr agored ar economi Cymru werth £1.6bn bob blwyddyn, gyda llawer o'r cyfoeth hwnnw'n cael ei gadw mewn ardaloedd gwledig.

Amcangyfrifir y gallai cynnydd o 10% yn unig yn y rhai sy’n defnyddio’r awyr agored ddod â gwerth ychwanegol o bron i £200m, gyda mwy o bobl yn byw bywydau iach, gan helpu i hyrwyddo economi gynaliadwy, adeiladu cymunedau cryfach a helpu i ddiogelu ein hamgylchedd.

Byddai Bil Hawl i Grwydro yng Nghymru (neu debyg) sy'n rhoi mwy o ryddid i ni gael mynediad i fwy o leoedd (fel Bil Hawl i Grwydro) yn ymestyn y manteision hyn ymhellach, y tu hwnt i'n Parciau Cenedlaethol a'n hardaloedd mwyaf poblogaidd. Ynghyd â’r cyrff sy’n bartneriaid i ni, mae'r BMC wedi bod yn ymgyrchu dros fwy o fynediad at natur yng Nghymru ers nifer o flynyddoedd, trwy ein rhwydwaith o wirfoddolwyr mynediad ar lawr gwlad, a hefyd drwy ddarparu cyngor a dulliau posibl ar gyfer diwygio deddfwriaeth mynediad i Lywodraeth Cymru.  Fodd bynnag, mae'r cynnydd wedi bod yn araf ac mae bellach wedi dod i stop yn gyfan gwbl.

Rydym felly yn galw am ddeddfwriaeth newydd - Bil Hawl i Grwydro - i sicrhau bod pawb yn byw o fewn man gwyrdd neu las hygyrch; i roi mwy o ryddid i grwydro; helpu i ddiogelu a gwella'r rhwydwaith llwybrau a mynediad presennol, a sefydlu fframweithiau cadarn i gefnogi mynediad cyhoeddus a hamdden awyr agored yn y tymor hir.

Helpwch i gefnogi'r Hawl i Grwydro ac ysgrifennwch at eich Aelod o’r Senedd

Os ydych chi'n byw yng Nghymru, cewch eich cynrychioli gan bum Aelod o'r Senedd - mae un yn gysylltiedig â'ch etholaeth, a phedwar â'ch rhanbarth. Gallwch ysgrifennu at unrhyw un neu bob un o'r rhain, ac mae dyletswydd arnyn nhw i’ch ateb.

I ddod o hyd i'ch AS a'u manylion cyswllt, rhowch eich cod post yma.

Os ydych chi'n byw y tu allan i Gymru, gallwch chi ysgrifennu at y gweinidog sy'n gyfrifol am fynediad o fewn Llywodraeth Cymru - Julie James AS sy’n gyfrifol ar hyn o bryd, a gellir cysylltu â hi yn Correspondence.Julie.James@gov.wales

Cynghorion ar gyfer ysgrifennu llythyr:

• Gwnewch yn siŵr eich bod yn cynnwys eich cyfeiriad a'ch cod post - fel arfer dim ond y rhai sy'n dweud eu bod yn byw o fewn eu hetholaeth y byddan nhw’n eu hateb.

• Gofynnwch yn glir am eu cefnogaeth i'r hawl i grwydro.

• Dywedwch beth mae'r Hawl i Grwydro yn ei olygu i chi, eich cymuned a'u hetholaeth.

Llythyr enghreifftiol yn gofyn am gefnogaeth i ddeddfwriaeth mynediad newydd:

Annwyl [enw MS],

Rwy'n ysgrifennu atoch fel rhywun sy’n byw yn [eich etholaeth] ac sy’n cefnogi’r ymgyrch hawl i grwydro yng Nghymru. Fy nghyfeiriad i yw [eich cyfeiriad]. Rwy'n gofyn i chi gefnogi bil a fyddai'n rhoi hawliau mynediad tebyg i bobl yng Nghymru i dir a dŵr â'r rhai yn yr Alban, o dan Ddeddf Diwygio'r Tir (Yr Alban).

Mae'r hawl i grwydro nid yn unig yn fater o ryddid a mwynhad personol, ond hefyd o fudd economaidd, cymdeithasol ac amgylcheddol. Fel y gwyddoch efallai, mae'r sector hamdden awyr agored yn cyfrannu'n sylweddol at economi Cymru, gan gynhyrchu £6.2 biliwn mewn Gwerth Ychwanegol Gros ac yn cefnogi 206,000 o swyddi. Yn ôl astudiaeth ddiweddar gan Fforwm Arfordir Sir Benfro bu cynnydd o 65% yn y sector rhwng 2013 a 2023, er gwaethaf yr heriau a achoswyd gan bandemig Covid-19. Amlygodd yr astudiaeth hefyd effeithiau cadarnhaol gweithgareddau awyr agored ar iechyd, lles, addysg a chynhwysiant cymdeithasol pobl.

Fodd bynnag, mae'r manteision hyn wedi'u cyfyngu ar hyn o bryd gan y deddfau mynediad cyfyngol ac anghyson yng Nghymru, sy'n creu dryswch, rhwystredigaeth a gwrthdaro ymhlith tirfeddianwyr, defnyddwyr a rheolwyr. Byddai bil hawl i grwydro yn symleiddio ac yn egluro'r hawliau mynediad a'r cyfrifoldebau i bawb, gan greu diwylliant o barch a chydweithrediad. Byddai hefyd yn galluogi mwy o bobl i fwynhau harddwch naturiol ac amrywiaeth Cymru, gan feithrin ymdeimlad o gysylltiad a stiwardiaeth tuag at ein hamgylchedd.

Byddai bil hawl i grwydro hefyd yn cefnogi ymrwymiadau Llywodraeth Cymru i fynd i'r afael â'r argyfwng hinsawdd a'r argyfwng bioamrywiaeth, drwy annog hamdden awyr agored carbon isel a natur. Byddai hefyd yn cyd-fynd â Deddf Llesiant Cenedlaethau'r Dyfodol (Cymru), sy'n ceisio gwella llesiant cymdeithasol, economaidd, amgylcheddol a diwylliannol Cymru..

Credaf y byddai Bil Hawl i Grwydro’n cael cefnogaeth eang gan y cyhoedd. Byddai hefyd yn gyson ag argymhellion Grŵp Cynghori ar Ddiwygio Mynediad Llywodraeth Cymru, a gynigiodd fframwaith statudol newydd ar gyfer mynediad yn seiliedig ar fodel yr Alban.

Rwy'n eich annog i gefnogi bil hawl i grwydro yn y Senedd a chodi'r mater hwn gyda'ch cydweithwyr yn y blaid a Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd sy'n gyfrifol am fynediad a hamdden awyr agored. Rwy'n credu bod hwn yn gyfle unigryw i wneud Cymru'n wlad fwy hygyrch, gynhwysol a chynaliadwy i bawb.

Diolch am eich sylw a'ch gwasanaeth i'n cymuned. Edrychaf ymlaen at glywed oddi wrthych yn fuan.

Yn gywir,

 

[Eich enw] [Eich manylion cyswllt]


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09/09/2023
Nice! Thanks for sharing
09/09/2023
This must be a great experience.

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