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Volume 690: debated on Thursday 4 March 2021

If he will increase the number of bridleways to improve the safety of horse riders; and if he will make a statement. (912934)

The Government share my hon. Friend’s ambition to improve safety and access for horse riders. Our 25-year environment plan and landscapes review explain how we will help to connect people with nature. Our new environmental land management schemes will include payments to ensure that those goods are delivered.

The Minister will be aware that as more and more building takes place in villages, more traffic is put on the road, which presents a danger to horse riders. Just last year alone, 46 horses were killed and 130 riders were injured. One way in which more access could be provided is by allowing horse riders to use footpaths, for example, and there are many other ideas. Will she work with me and others who are concerned about this issue to try to improve access to bridleways for horse riders?

I would be delighted to do that. I have first-hand experience of negotiating bridleways over motorway bridges and level crossings with two small daughters on their ponies, and I very much appreciate that one of the benefits of improving the bridleway network will be increased safety. The schemes we are introducing will incentivise farmers to enhance public access across the piece.