Local Access Forum

The Tyne and Wear Joint Local Access Forum is an independent body with an interest in public rights of way and access to the countryside in our area. The Forum meets four times a year and new members are welcome.

It is their responsibility to examine how local authorities in this area manage rights of way, and put forward ideas about how things can be improved for people who want to enjoy the countryside on their doorstep. The Forum also seek to influence national government proposals where relevant.

The Tyne and Wear Local Access Forum was set up in 2003 following the enactment of the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000. Local Access Fora comprise appointed members to represent the users of local rights of way, byways and paths, or the owners or occupiers of the land they cross. They have access to the Rights of Way Officers in each of the five local authorities and they also attend and report to meetings, which are held three times a year.  The Tyne and Wear Joint Local Access Forum operates under the remit of the Local Transport Plan.

In carrying out their functions, the Forum must have regard to the needs of land management and the desirability of conserving the natural beauty of our area, including its flora, geological and physiographical features.

Children running through forest

Activities and achievements

  • The Forum contributed to the first Tyne & Wear Rights of Way Improvement Plan and Equestrian Strategy in 2006 and to the revised Plan in 2010
  • The Forum has contributed to public consultations relating to Rights of Way
  • Forum members have attended public events such as the Gateshead Flower Show and South Tyneside Countryside Festival, to engage with the public and spread the word about the Forum’s role and activities
  • Lobbied for safer crossings of major roads for rights of way users, leading to improved crossings being installed across the region eg Watergate Pegasus Crossing, Gateshead
  • Won two national awards for our rights of way network – Best Horse Riding Award and Best Local Access Forum Involvement

For more details about the work of the Forum, please visit their website at http://www.tyneandwearlocalaccessforum.org.uk/ or contact the Forum administrator Annabel Haynes at annabel.haynes@newcastle.gov.uk .  You can view the current Rights of Way Improvement Plan here.

The next scheduled meeting of the Forum will be on Tuesday 23rd September, starting at 16.30.  All meetings are held at Gateshead Civic Centre.