Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Coded Message?

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Coded Message?

Article excerpt

Byline: By Tony Henderson Environment Editor

Landowners in the North-East have welcomed a new Countryside Code launched today.

The new version updates the original 1950s code and is aimed at helping to prepare people for the gradual introduction of the public's new right of access to the countryside.

But Douglas Chalmers, regional director of the Country Land and Business Association, also warned that the code was only a start and much more needed to be done to avoid "huge potential for misunderstanding" over where people could roam.

Aardman, the Academy-award winning animation company has created the characters Colin the pony, John the dog, Ricky the spider, Andy the fly and Issy and Dawne the seagulls to help the Countryside Code reach the widest possible audience.

The characters ( in coastal, farmland and moorland scenes ( will be screened on TV channels across England and Wales and at selected cinemas and outdoor venues from today.

Educational materials, specially developed for teachers and youth leaders, will be available from January next year.

The introduction of the updated Code by the Countryside Agency follows the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) which creates new rights of access to open country and registered common land in England.

The agency is responsible for mapping 458 square miles of land in the North-East for open access. A target date of May next year has been set for the new rights to come into force.

Landowner James Cookson, who owns a 4,000-acre estate at Meldon Park near Morpeth, backed the launch of the new Code.

He said: "Next year the public will be able to enjoy greater access to some of the most beautiful countryside in the North-East.

"The introduction of the Countryside Code is a helpful way to prepare everyone for co-existence in the countryside. …

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