Scotland's Land Reform Act (2003) and Outdoor Access Code

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Headline Messages: 
  • The Land Reform Act gives Scotland the most progressive access arrangements in the UK. The public has lawful access to most land and inland water, provided they act responsibly in accord with the guidance in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (also for land managers).
  • The Act’s clear and consensual approach to improving public access and resolving disputes should be a model for other parts of the UK to follow.
  • Improving cycle access to the countryside is highly beneficial to public health and the economy: the 7Stanes mountain bike trails helped create 205 full time equivalent jobs in southern Scotland and brought in over £9 million in visitor spend in 2007.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • CTC strongly supports this legislation and its outcomes.
  • The new networks of ‘Core Paths’ are important not only for leisure cycling but also for cycle travel for utility purposes. Investment in healthy outdoor activities and in more sustainable ways of making journeys is vital, both locally, and in delivering on national aims for a healthier and more sustainable society. 
  • If monitoring shows that local authorities are not implementing their Core Path Plans voluntarily, the Scottish Government should consider revising the law to make it a legal duty.
  • There should be better integration of cycle routes created under the legal framework for access and those created under roads legislation. 
  • Increased recreational cycling and its promotion through off-road access, plus the provision of Core and Longer Distance Paths, is potentially highly beneficial for the economy.
  • Measures should be taken to remove locked gates and other barriers that are still preventing access for cycling through some landownerships. 
  • Problems that arise from sharing paths should be resolved by Local Access Officers and Local Access Forums, many of which have CTC members on them.
  • Similar legislation should be adopted in the rest of the UK.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
June 2012
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