Local Access Forum

The Local Access Forum is a partnership to promote and develop sustainable access for the growing benefit of the environment and all in our community. The forum was set up in 2003 to advise the council and other bodies on improvements to public rights of way, and promote sustainable access for the benefit of the environment and all in our community. LAFs are statutory advisory bodies under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

The Local Access Forum concentrates on issues relating to access to land for recreation and utilitarian use. 

Terms used:

  • The term 'land managers' includes the owners, occupiers or tenants of land or those who are involved or interested with the management of estates.
  • The term 'users' includes anyone who uses land for leisure and recreational purposes or for other purposes such as walking to work or shops etc. This includes but is not limited to walkers, cyclists, disabled users and horse riders.
  • The term 'other viewpoint' includes anyone with an interest in countryside access who does not necessarily fall into other groups. This may include those involved with business, transport, tourism, nature conservation, heritage or health.

Who we work with

The forum works closely with the borough council, rights of way user groups, landowners and parish and town councils. It also works with and provides advice to other bodies such as Natural England and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Member representation

Membership consists of up to 22 local people, chosen to represent a variety of interest groups including land management interests, health issues, walking, cycling, horse riding and disabled access issues. Members of the forum are also active in other organisations such as the Rural Forum, East Berks Ramblers, the Council for the Protection of Rural England, Crown Estate and the National Trust.

How members are chosen

Forum members are recruited based on interest area, and anyone with an interest in public access to land, from either a user, land manager or other viewpoint can apply to join. Membership lasts for three years. Forum members are chosen by a panel consisting of two councillors and the principal rights of way officer. To apply for membership please contact [email protected].

Forum meetings

There are at least two formal meetings per year with advice provided on behalf of the forum in between by the Fast Response Team. In addition there are working groups and sub-groups with specific areas of interest and expertise that meet as often as is required. Formal meetings are open to the public.