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Farm group demands walkers ‘respect’ countryside

As thousands of walkers descend on the countryside during the coronavirus lockdown, the National Sheep Association (NSA) has called for visitors to show more ‘respect’ for the land and those who farm it.

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Farm group demands walkers ‘respect’ countryside

The call follows reports of a spike in ‘irresponsible’ behaviour of those visiting the countryside, which has resulted in a worrying rise in the number of dog attacks on livestock and an increase in littering.

 

Hundreds of acres of moorland and forestry have also been engulfed by wildfires due to a surge in the number of disposable barbecues discarded by the public.

 

Pointing to the detrimental impact this behaviour has on farmers and the environment, NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “What we are seeing shows that there a lot of people who do not realise that the farmed countryside is a working environment.

 

“Most farmers welcome legal and responsible access but too many people seem to think they are visiting a staffed public attraction where the only objective is their enjoyment and a paid litter picker will be along soon.”


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Farm groups urge countryside walkers to ‘respect’ rural communities amid pandemicFarm groups urge countryside walkers to ‘respect’ rural communities amid pandemic

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The level of devastation has been documented on Twitter, with many users venting their frustration at the public’s lack of consideration for the Countryside Code.

 

 

 

 

Awareness

 

Mr Stocker warned this type of behaviour was not only ‘illegal’ in certain cases but also dangerous to both farm animals and the public, adding: “It is not as though guidance does not exist and it is time the Countryside Code was dusted off and put into wider use.

 

“This would be a good time for a Government-sponsored television and radio campaign to raise awareness of the Code and invest in the responsible use of the countryside.”

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