Accessing the countryside safely during the Covid-19 pandemic

Accessing the countryside safely during the Covid-19 pandemic

Press Release

Responding to the statement today (9 April 2020) by Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, on access rights during the Covid-19 pandemic, Sarah-Jane Laing, Chief Executive of Scottish Land & Estates said:

“It’s important for good physical and mental wellbeing that people have access to their local countryside during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, our members who own farmland and estates are contacting us on a daily basis with concerns about the number of people using the countryside with apparent disregard for the health of farm and estate workers and the safety of young calves and lambs and their mothers. Our members are having to erect new signs as a result of this to remind people of their responsibilities.

“Key workers such as farmers working hard to deliver healthy local food should not have to worry about members of the public infringing on their personal space during this crisis. People should ensure they always keep at least two meters away from others. Another huge concern is people taking dogs into fields with young livestock – this should be avoided. If the farm animals become distressed, or a young lamb is mauled by a dog, this can have a devastating impact on the mother, young animal and the farmer.

“We want everyone – the public, farm and estate workers and animals to be able to enjoy our beautiful local countryside during the pandemic, but people need to understand the importance of keeping their dogs on a lead around farm animals, never going into  fields with young calves or lambs in and giving a wide berth to our hardworking key workers.”

Read the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.