§ Valerie Davey
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects the new rights of access under Part 1 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to commence in the Central Southern Region. 
§ Alun Michael
I announced in November last year that the new right for the public to walk on mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land will be rolled out on a region by region basis. This will give walkers the right to walk in open countryside and on registered common land as early as possible, rather than having to wait for the mapping process to be completed for the whole country. I intend to open the first two regions to public access during the summer of 2004. These are the south east and central southern England.778W
This is a demanding timetable as we will need to have in place not only the conclusive maps for those regions but also all necessary restrictions and exclusion on access. Guidance and codes of practice will also need to be available to walkers and landowners. These mechanisms are necessary under the CROW Act and it is important for them to be in force in each region before access land is made available to the public so that the interests of both land managers and walkers are safeguarded. We expect to meet the target of having all access land open by the end of 2005.