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Farmer's angst after council lifts Covid-19 restriction on footpaths

A farmer has branded a council’s decision to lift a public rights of way (PROW) block on two pathways which cut through his land a ‘shocking oversight’.

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Farmer's angst after council lifts Covid-19 restriction on footpaths

Brian Jones registered his fears after Flintshire Council revoked an official closure, which had been accepted seven weeks prior, on two walkways which run two metres away from the family’s holding.

 

Mr Jones highlighted the footpaths were fenced in which meant it was ‘impossible’ for countryside walkers to adhere to the Government’s social distancing rules.

 

He said: “The restrictions have been lifted in the past few days which is a shocking oversight on behalf of the council given that my family, including myself, are all classed as vulnerable under the Government’s Covid-19 guidelines.

 

“These footpaths run through my home and workplace and therefore people walking through our land regularly presents a dangerous risk to our health.”


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Mr Jones added he had received a letter from the council reassuring him the restrictions on both footpaths would be the ‘last to be lifted’ given the nature of his claims, but had later seen them removed from the local authority’s website.

 

“According to the Welsh Senate, there is a law which ensures an individual’s life must not be threatened within the workplace, which means there can be no reasonable justification for these pathways to be open during this pandemic,” he said.

 

“All we are asking for is common sense. It is well known that the farming industry suffers from one of the highest accident rates – we do not need anymore pressure being placed on us by exactly the same people we are supposed to be protected by.”

 

Liaising

 

Mr Jones is currently liaising with the CLA in an attempt to overturn this PROW ruling, which was confirmed under the Highways Act of 1980.

 

A Flintshire Council spokesperson said: "The temporary closures were put in place following Welsh Government guidance that closures would only be considered where a path is liable to large numbers of people congregating or being in close proximity to each other, or the use of which otherwise poses a high risk to the incidence or spread of infection in its area with the coronavirus.

 

"This footpath no longer meets the closure criteria set out by Welsh Government and therefore should remain open."

 

They added the footpath was at least 10 metres away from an outbuilding and 30 metres from the main house and that the decision had been discussed with Mr Jones.

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