After consulting LAFs, Natural England organised 2 national LAF conferences for 2016 in Bristol and Leeds. The Bristol ‘South’ conference was held on Tuesday 23rd February 2016 at Natural England’s Bristol office and the Leeds ‘North’ conference was held on 1st March 2016 at the Oxford Place Centre. All LAFs were asked to nominate a representative to attend a conference (in addition to members doing talks or running workshops) and around three quarters (72%) of LAFs were represented with 111 delegates in total attending both conferences. In the online consultation we invited LAF members to suggest the topics of most interest to them and this resulted in a programme with a range of speakers and workshop facilitators from the LAFs, Defra and from other organisations with an interest in public access.
The presentations included: an update from Defra on the Deregulation Act, the Disabled Ramblers on barriers to disabled access, the British Horse Society on creating new rights of way and influencing local authorities, and from John Dennis on alternative funding for access projects. Workshops were held on the subjects of: recreational vehicles, Dartmoor and Exmoor National Park’s Naturally Healthy project, charitable status for LAF sub-groups, 2026, registering white roads, disability access, dementia inclusive walks, the Sandstone Way, access prioritisation, cycling on footpaths and Nottinghamshire guided walks.
The lively discussions within workshops, and informally in the margins of the conferences, along with positive feedback from delegates, clearly demonstrated that the events were worthwhile and appreciated.
For more details about the conferences, please click the links below: