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Rural Areas: Visits

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of visits made to the countryside in (a) the 12 months prior to and (b) each year since the Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000 gained Royal Assent; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the provisions of the Act on the numbers of people visiting the countryside. (204895)

No national monitoring of the number of visits made to the countryside was undertaken in the 12 months prior to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW) receiving Royal Assent on 30 November 2000. However, the UK Day Visit survey 1998 estimated that there were 1253 million visits to the countryside that year.

The Leisure Day Visits survey 2002-03 for England estimated that there were 1126 million visits to the countryside and a further 200 million to the ‘seaside coast’.

The England Day Visits survey 2005 reported that in the twelve months surveyed there were approximately 692 million leisure visits made to the countryside and a further 72 million leisure visits made to the ‘seaside coast’. Of these, 21.2 million trips were made to open access land which was introduced by the CROW Act and fully rolled out by October 2005.

Natural England is currently designing a new methodology for a day leisure visits survey and there is no further breakdown of figures available until the survey is published.

Due to differences in the methodologies, the figures in these surveys are not directly comparable.