The Argyll and Bute Local Access Forum is an independent advisory body of volunteers from a variety of backgrounds including farming, forestry, community interests, walkers, horse riders and cyclists.
The access rights that were established under part 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 have now been in force for almost 10 years. Throughout this time Local Access Forums have played a key role in providing statutory advice to Access Authorities and other interested parties on things such as access rights, public rights of way, core paths planning, signage and a host of other topics associated with outdoor access management.
Over the last few years the forum members have been instrumental in a number of key developments in outdoor access in Argyll and Bute, most notably assisting in the production of the Argyll and Bute Core Paths Plan and the establishment of the Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust.
The Access Forum is currently recruiting for new members and ais especially keen to hear from people working in the farming/crofting sector as well as from people living in island communities as these interests are currently underrepresented on the Forum. It is also felt that women and people under 50 are a demographic currently underrepresented on the Forum.
Policy Lead for Sustainable Environment, Councillor Vivien Dance, said: “Members of the Forum have a variety of interests which include keen walkers, cyclists, horse riders, kayakers, farmers and foresters, business people and most have an active interest in their community. I would encourage those with an interest in our natural environment to become involved and help to formulate ideas on this important aspect of life in Argyll and Bute."
The current chair of the Access Forum, John Urquhart said “Being a Member of the Access Forum has given me a better insight into some of the issues surrounding the countryside access debate as well as a growing understanding of how important countryside access can be to the rural economy in Argyll and Bute.
“I like to think my LAF membership might have put me in a better position to influence some of the authority's decision making with regard to how best to go about improving countryside access in Argyll and Bute and, in this regard, I was delighted recently to be given the opportunity to help set up the new Coast and Countryside Trust which I think has a great future ahead of it.
“With Julie Young at the helm, I think it has the potential to deliver a lot of exciting new developments throughout the area and in time these will be seen to bring increasingly important economic benefits.”
There are normally four ABLAF meetings a year which are held in different locations including Lochgilphead, Dunoon, Ardrishaig, Oban and Inveraray.
The meetings can be attended through video conferencing if required and all reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Argyll and Bute Local Access Forum or would like to receive some more information please call 01546 604228