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Somerset’s Local Access Forum Needs You!

Are you a walker, cyclist, horse rider or vehicle driver who enjoys getting out and about in Somerset’s beautiful countryside?

If you use the county’s extensive rights of way network, you might be interested in joining Somerset’s Local Access Forum.

The Forum acts as an advisory body which offers views and suggestions on improvements to access for all users.

The Forum meets twice a year to discuss a formal agenda, but throughout the year members have the opportunity to contribute to a number of consultations from organisations such as Natural England, Defra and Somerset County Council.  In the past year the Forum have discussed issues such as proposed A road schemes and their likely impact on the access network, temporary diversions for livestock management, and auditing the List of Streets.

Current Chairman Julia Gadd said: “As a keen walker with an interest in education and tourism, I am totally committed to maintaining public access but also improving knowledge and awareness around public access to the countryside.

“I also understand that there are many other interests that need to be considered and the Local Access Forum (LAF) is the place where all these interests come together to help develop policies and initiatives that are fair to users and land owners together with commercial and political interests.  It has the ability to communicate these views to the political decision makers.

“It is very rewarding to be involved in consultations about major initiatives such as the England Coast Path and more recently the proposals for dualling of the A303 and A358. There is no doubt that the voice of the Somerset LAF as a statutory consultee should be heard and have an influence when developing policies and major infrastructure projects that affect public access.”

If you’d like the opportunity to get involved, gain a new interest and meet new people, then please get in touch. The next meeting takes place on 17 May and the closing date for applications is the end of February.

For further information, please visit or you can contact SLAF’s Secretary, Emma Parsons on 01823 356264 or email

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