Cycling next to a field of poppies (Shutterstock)
Cycling next to a field of poppies (Shutterstock)
Whether you voted for or against it, the reality is that post-Brexit the Government now have to come up with a new system for farm subsidy payments. They’ve already said that they’re looking to pay subsidies to those landowners who promote public goods or benefits and one of the benefits they’re looking at is public access. Cycling UK’s ‘Get on my land’ campaign is all about linking public subsidies with public access, to enable more people to enjoy and experience our fantastic countryside.

What’s the problem?

At the moment, cyclists can only ride on around 20% of England’s rights of way network.

When they do have access to paths and trails, they often find that …

  • There’s gaps in the network, so they can’t connect from one off-road route to another;
  • The parts of the network they can ride on are poorly maintained, and unsuitable for many users;
  • There are limited off-road routes from urban areas into the countryside, or from the countryside into the urban centres.

So, imagine what cycling in the countryside could be like if …

  • You could ride on some of the 80% of the network you can’t use now;
  • Farmers and landowners were rewarded for improving access for all recreational users of their land, including cyclists;
  • The Government passed legislation which made it crystal clear that public access to the countryside was a public benefit, which they supported through farm subsidy payments.

What is Get on my land?

Get on my land is Cycling UK’s new campaign to persuade the Government to better support a national network of paths and trails, including our rights of way, by linking farm subsidies to improvements in public access.

We called for this when we published our Beyond the Green Belt report setting out the vision for cycling in rural areas.

Since making that call, the Government launched a consultation ‘Health and harmony: the future for food farming and the environment in a Green Brexit’ seeking views about linking payments and public subsidies to farmers in England to various public benefits. One of the public benefits they specifically ask about in the consultation document is public access to the countryside.

While they’ve raised the public access question, we’re worried that this won’t be one of the Government’s priorities and Cycling UK want to make sure that public access is included in the new Agriculture Bill as one of the public benefits which determine eligibility for farm subsidy payments.

Get on my land is a campaign aimed at sending these messages to the Government:

  • Improved public access to the countryside brings massive public benefits
  • The public wants access to what it pays for through post-Brexit farm subsidies 

How can we make it happen?

If you share our vision for cycling Beyond the Green Belt and can see the opportunity to make this happen by linking farm subsidy payments to public access improvements, then you can help us bring this vision to life by:

What’s next?

We’re going to be responding to the Government’s Green Brexit consultation, setting out the arguments for rewarding farmers and landowners who enhance and improve existing cycling routes.

We’ve now got a golden opportunity to shape the future of farming payments to better support our rights of way and enable more people to experience more of the countryside.

To do this we need people in their thousands to tell the Government that they must include public access in the Agriculture Bill.

You can help us do this by completing our action and emailing the Government to say you support our call, sharing the action, and encouraging your friends to respond.

This isn’t just about cyclists. We’re already working with other outdoor access groups who share our belief that outdoor recreation brings massive public benefits. It’s essential these are supported in the new agriculture policy through a direct link to farm subsidy payments.

Help us persuade the Government to let us all enjoy the countryside, rewarding those farmers and landowners who say “Get on my land”.