Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Landowners to Fight Back

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Landowners to Fight Back

Article excerpt

Byline: By Robert Brooks

Angry landowners are planning a disobedience campaign in retaliation against the ban on fox hunting and impending `right to roam' legislation, it was claimed last night.

The Countryside Alliance says access permission for Government or amenity activities ( laying or maintaining pipelines and cables, road improvements or setting telecom masts ( could become a political weapon.

They claim the move is a response to increasing Government "interference" in rural life. With anger mounting over the hunting ban, some farmers and estate managers are already in talks with field sports activists for a campaign designed to bring the countryside to a virtual standstill.

There is even talk of the Armed Forces being denied access to sizeable tracts of Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, where they have traditionally trained for decades thanks to the goodwill of the landlords.

As well as the hunting row, landowners say they face the prospect of walkers in the North-East being given the green light to roam

across their land from next May.

Richard Dodd, regional director of the Countryside Alliance, said last night: "Rights are being given to those who don't own the land while we are no longer allowed to hunt on it. It's a disgrace.

"I think we can expect to see increasing non-cooperation from landowners towards Government agencies until this wrong is righted."

One North-East farmer, who asked not to be named, last night said his gates would be firmly closed to the Government and its "minions", even though he wasn't a hunt supporter.

He said: "This has now gone beyond fox-hunting It's about the countryside as a whole, and how our freedoms are being eroded by this Government.

"I certainly will not be co-operating until we in the rural community get equal treatment to the rest of British society. …

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