Nearly 600 homeless people died last year in the UK, first official government figures show

Homeless deaths soar by 24 per cent in five years

May Bulman – Social Affairs Correspondent – @maybulman – Fri 21 December 2018

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/homeless-deaths-2017-last-year-figures-streets-rough-sleeping-a8692101.html

Nearly 600 homeless people died last year in England and Wales, according to government figures published for the first time.

The figure marks a 24 per cent increase over the last five years, according to the data.

Only two days ago, a homeless man was found collapsed yards from parliament. He later died in hospital, prompting claims ministers were ignoring the growing problem of street homelessness on their doorstep.

Another homeless man died in the same place during a freezing cold night in February.

The latest figures, collated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show more than half of all deaths of homeless people in 2017 were due to drug poisoning, liver disease or suicide.

London and the northwest of England had the highest mortality of homeless people, both in numbers of deaths and per million population of the region.

Some 84 per cent of those who died were men. The average life expectancy for homeless people was found to be 44 years for men and 42 years for women.

For the general population of England and Wales in 2017, the mean age at death is 76 years for men and 81 years for women.

The records identified are mainly those sleeping rough, or using emergency accommodation such as homeless shelters and direct access hostels, at or around the time of death.

Separate figures published by Crisis last week revealed levels of rough sleeping in the UK – including sleeping on public transport and in tents – had doubled in five years, rising by 20 per cent to 24,000 in just 12 months.

Gyula Remes, a 43-year-old Hungarian national, was found by British Transport Police on Tuesday night outside Westminster underground station. Although officers administered first aid, he died hours later.

He was initially found by his friend Gabor Kasza looking “all blue” near a set of revolving doors used by politicians and staff in the House of Commons.

Mr Kasza said Mr Remes had been drinking that night and had been given a cigarette, which he suspected had been laced with the synthetic drug spice.

He said the Hungarian had recently begun work as a chef’s assistant. He said that Mr Remes was due to receive his first pay cheque “some time this week”, which he had hoped would enable him to get off the streets for good.

Mr Remes’ death caused widespread outrage. Labour MP Neil Coyle said: “We should all be ashamed that Westminster – a world heritage site – is also a place homeless people are forced to try to stay warm.”

Responding to the latest figures, shadow housing minister Melanie Onn said: “These figures are utterly shameful and reflect a complete failure of Conservative policy on housing, which has seen rough sleeping skyrocket since 2010.

“We are one of the richest countries in the world and there is no excuse for people dying on our streets.”

Howard Sinclair, chief executive of St Mungo’s, which supports rough sleepers across the south of England, said: “The figures don’t surprise me. I wish they did. I have personally been informed of five deaths in the past couple of weeks.

“We’ve seen increased numbers, but also increase in the need of people in terms of range and depth of need, particularly in last three to four years. People’s mental health needs are far greater, people’s dependency on drugs is far higher.

“It’s a result of cuts in funding, particularly to NHS services and local authorities. This is one of the effects of austerity – the services people need have been reduced, so it’s no surprise that it’s what we’re seeing day in day out.”

Greg Beales, campaign director at Shelter said: “This appalling loss of life should be a source of national shame. There is nothing inevitable about homelessness or about these tragic deaths which are a consequence of a housing system which fails too many people.

“Our crippling shortage of social housing and a threadbare safety net are at the root of this national emergency and we call on government to make this year a turning point in the fight to ensure that there is a safe home for all those who need it.”

Ben Humberstone of the ONS said: “Every year hundreds of people die while homeless. These are some of the most vulnerable members of our society so it was vital that we produced estimates of sufficient quality to properly shine a light on this critical issue.”

Communities secretary James Brokenshire said: “No one is meant to spend their lives on the streets, or without a home to call their own. Every death on our streets is too many and it is simply unacceptable to see lives cut short this way.

“That’s why we are investing £1.2bn to tackle homelessness and have bold plans backed by £100m to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it by 2027.”

He said he was also committed to ensuring independent reviews into the deaths of rough sleepers are conducted where appropriate and that he would be holding local authorities to account.

Revealed: over 500 a year. The UK homeless deaths this Tory government refuses to count

The number of homeless deaths tops 500 amid empty government promises

The Bureau’s count of people who have died homeless in the UK since last winter has now passed 500 – days before the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is due to produce its first ever count of deaths.

Our year-long investigation, currently stands at 554 deaths, though that is likely an underestimate. Those that died include an 81 year-old man who was sleeping on the streets, a mum of two that died in a night shelter and a 47 year-old man who died after being tipped into a bin lorry.

The project prompted the ONS to start compiling its own figures on homeless deaths in England and Wales, which it will release on December 20. Scotland and Northern Ireland’s national records offices are now also considering similar counts.

In October the government pledged to make sure deaths were investigated by local authorities so that lessons could be learned. The Bureau’s figures are “utterly shocking,” said Housing Secretary James Brokenshire, and “it is so important that we understand what has caused those deaths, [by] actually having serious case reviews.”

However the government has admitted since then that it has not offered any extra funding or support to councils to help them do this. The Bureau has found many local authorities are still failing to carry out such reviews, citing lack of resources or saying they do not believe the cases meet the relevant statutory requirements.

Despite the fact five people died in the same homeless hostel in one year, Brighton and Hove council said that no Safeguarding Adult Reviews would be undertaken, because the deaths had not met the “statutory criteria”. Redbridge council also echoed this reasoning.

It is crucial that all homeless deaths are investigated so that lessons can be learned, said Matt Downie, director of policy and external affairs at Crisis. “It is disappointing that no progress has been made to support local authorities to implement this,” he said. “We cannot wait any longer, we need to see action now.”

The Bureau’s statistics on deaths were a harrowing reminder of how deadly life on the streets could be, he added.

“It’s a failure of the largest magnitude that in one of the world’s richest nations, people with nowhere to turn are dying. This has to stop and the government must put in place a full-scale plan to end homelessness once and for all.”

Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, went even further and called for specific funding for reviews: “We think there is a strong case for Government to fund a separate programme outside of the Safeguarding Adult Review process to ensure every death of someone sleeping rough is reviewed. This way we can identify the changes needed, at the local and national level, to stop these tragedies,” he said.

2018: A year of deaths

One of the first deaths we recorded in January was that of 81-year-old Alan Higginson. The octogenarian had been sleeping rough near a John Lewis shop in Norwich city centre. Alan died in hospital of natural causes. Despite an appeal by the police, no family members were found.

Later that same month, 47-year-old Russell Lane died from injuries he sustained when the bin he was sleeping in was tipped into a lorry. An inquest into his death has been postponed.

In February, Polish-born Henrik Bartlomiej was found in Watford outside the tent he slept in. Chief executive of local charity New Hope, Matthew Heasman, said: “We were shocked and saddened to learn of Bart’s death, he is missed dearly by both service users and staff. It’s devastating for someone to lose their life so young because of rough sleeping.” An inquest found he had died from acute alcohol toxicity.

A spell of very cold weather labelled “the Beast from the East” stretched into March, and homeless deaths continued. The weather forced former quantum physicist Hamid Farahi, who had fled the Iraq war, out of the car he lived in and into emergency shelter in a local hotel, where he died.

Martin Dines, 56, died in April after suffering a prolonged physical attack during which he sustained more than 70 injuries. His body was found in a stairwell. Two men were convicted of murder and a woman was convicted of manslaughter.

Mother of two Anna Raynes died in May aged 28. She had spent the night in a shelter after sleeping rough in Bristol and Bath. She was described as “a very kind person” and “the most amazing mum.”

In June, Tracey Patsalides’ body was found in a beach shelter in King Edward’s Parade, Eastbourne. A man was later convicted of her manslaughter. Friends and well-wishers left tributes at the spot but were saddened to see them cleared away by street-cleaners. Her friend described her as “a lovely lady” saying: “She used to light up a room when she walked in, she’d have a smile on her face.”

Anna Raynes died in May aged 28
Tracey Patsalides’ body was found in a beach shelter in Eastbourne

Big Issue seller Fabian Bayet – known as “the Belgian Waffle” for his ability to tell a good story – died in July at the age of 48. He was much loved in the Midlands town of Stony Stratford and in late November a portrait of Fabian was unveiled on the town’s high street.

Kawal Singh, 61, came to the UK from India. He lost his job and ended up rough sleeping for nine years in the Ilford area. He repeatedly asked authorities to return him to his family in India without success, according to a friend. He died on the entrance steps of Redbridge Council in August.

Thirty-two year old Michael Cash, described as a “gentle soul” by his aunt, was found dead in a Middlesborough cemetery in September. Days earlier, a local man Aaron Jones had sprayed red paint over him using a water pistol. The story shocked the country and Jones was later convicted of common assault and criminal damage.

October brought the death of Craig Cunningham, who was also known as “Blakey” and was much loved. He was in his early 40s when he died in hospital. A friend said: “He was always pleasant, always good mannered and always very smiley.” A local charity worker said: “We will all miss him dreadfully, words can’t explain the pain we feel when this happens.” A fellow rough sleeper told local media Craig used to manage a Kwiksave supermarket branch before falling on hard times.

In November, Joanne Jones 44, became the second person to die in a homeless hostel in Bath in just one week. Workers at the shelter described her death as a “tragedy”.

Earlier this month Lee Jenkinson died in hospital with family members at his bedside. He had been sleeping rough in Leeds, despite having a council flat. Charity Simon on the Streets said: “He was a lovely man, well known to services and the public alike. RIP.”

Fabien BayetFabian Bayet was much loved in the town of Stony Stratford
Kawal SinghKawal Singh died on the entrance steps of Redbridge Council

Remembering the dead

Across the country, people have been coming together to mark the deaths and make sure they are remembered.

In London, an annual memorial service at St Martin in the Fields in November heard the names of 170 people that had died homeless in the area last year. In Long Eaton, local campaigners have created a memorial stone with the number of those that have died, while in Manchester a candle lit vigil was held last week.

Jacob Quagliozzi is director of Housing Justice, the charity that organises the annual memorial in St Martin in the Fields. “Each person we remember at that service and those the Bureau has documented have their own story and represents a failure of public policy,” he said. “No one should die on the street in Britain in 2018.”

Header image of tents in an underpass in Milton Keynes by Alex Sturrock

Skin deep beauty of Britain’s Lake District: Villages that no one calls home

Lake District: Villages that no one calls home

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1059840/lake-district-villages-second-houses-britain

VILLAGES in the Lake District are being turned into “ghost towns” because of the large number of people buying second homes in the national park, the former leader of the Lib Dems has said.

By DAVID MADDOX – 
Many people buy second homes in the national park
Tim Farron is to demand a change in planning and local taxation laws in Parliament this week because of the problem in one of the most picturesque parts of England. He wants local authorities to have the power to demand double the council tax rate for second homes. The issue, which is replicated in areas of natural beauty such as Devon, Cornwall, North Wales and Norfolk, sees the number of second homes driving up the cost of housing, pricing out local people and threatening services.
Mr Farron, whose Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency includes the Lake District, said: “We don’t want to be unwelcoming or say that people should not buy second homes, but there is a problem in many villages which are being turned into ghost towns because there is nobody living there for much of the year.

“I went door knocking in one village near Hawkshead and every house was empty apart from one where there was just a man in his 70s.”

Mr Farron said the knockon effect was that schools close because there are no children to go there any more, bus services are cancelled and shops go out of business.

He also wants to close a loophole where second homes owners register as a small business avoiding local tax.

“It seems wrong that people who own these homes are not even contributing financially to the community,” he said. “Many people would think it was fair for them to actually pay extra to help keep services alive even if they are not there for much of the year to spend money in the community.”

Mr Farron wants to force property buyers to seek planning permission for a second home designation.

The MP said: “That way the number of second homes in a village could be limited simply by the council refusing to give planning permission.”

He added: “We need to restrict the impact that second homes are having on communities.”

Homeless pods designed to keep rough sleepers alive in the cold and safe from street violence, are denied funding

Homeless pods designed to keep rough sleepers safe are denied funding

The pods were launched in October but haven’t been seen since

The pods on Bridge Street, Newport (Image: Stuart Johnson/Amazing Grace Spaces)

The roll out of pioneering sleeping pods for homeless people has been dealt a blow.

The so-called “pods”, described as an emergency space for rough sleepers, were manufactured by charity group Amazing Grace Spaces.

The units, which offer a warm self-contained space with a bed, chemical toilet and light, were launched in Newport back in October.

Husband-and-wife team, Stuart and Caroline Johnson, who run the charity, showcased two pods on Bridge Street in Newport city centre in an effort to attract interest from organisations and councils.

The two prototypes were funded out from the couple’s own pocket – with each pod costing around £5,500 to produce.

So, where did they go?

Stuart, the charity’s founder and designer of the pods, was in talks with Newport City Council, who were looking to help the charity secure funding for the project.

(Image: Amazing Grace Spaces)

However, the funding application, which went to the Welsh Government, was rejected.

Stuart said: “When we launched the sleeping pods, we had such a fantastic response from both housing professionals, the public and the homeless and we are deeply disappointed and perplexed as to why funding for them was turned down”.

“The sleeping pods are a relatively inexpensive short term emergency accommodation option for the homeless to keep them safe away from the dangers of sleeping in doorways, tents and in underpasses.”

A spokesperson for Newport City Council said: “A funding application to Welsh Government was submitted by Newport City Council in partnership with the Pobl Group and the Wallich.

“It focused on three themes: the provision of additional outreach support for rough sleepers, additional and intensive move-on support and the pod accommodation.

“Two parts of the bid were approved but, unfortunately, funding was not provided for the pods.

“The council is currently considering options as to how this scheme could be funded and supported from potential avenues.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We are investing more than £20 million in tackling homelessness and rough sleeping over the next two years.

“This includes funding for projects in Newport to fund more outreach workers to work proactively with people who are sleeping rough to support them into longer term, stable accommodation.

“We will continue to work with Newport City Council and other partners to prioritise the most effective appropriate projects to support people to move off the street and into longer term housing solutions.”

What now for the pods?

Amazing Grace Spaces will be utilising the two sleeping pods that were showcased and have arranged with a local businessman to house the two sleeping pods at the back of his premises.

Stuart said: “We need to put some final touches to the sleeping pods and arrange insurance and put in place the support required to maintain the pods and we hope to get them out before Christmas.

“We will not give up and will continue to talk with councils across Wales and the Welsh Government to get more of these pods out on our streets so our homeless have a safe emergency shelter to sleep in rather than sleeping in shop doorways.”

Inside the pods (Image: Amazing Grace Spaces)

Amazing Grace Spaces says its does not see this as a solution to homelessness but as an inexpensive option to keep homeless people safe when they need emergency shelter.

They are now looking at other options for funding and one of those is to start their own fundraising campaign, which should be set up in the next few weeks.

For more details, visit the charity’s website.

Email or call us for more information
Email | info@amazinggracespaces.org
Telephone | 07802 451340

Ramblers’ Pathwatch app includes OS 1:50k Landranger & 1:25k Explorer maps

Pathwatch – report path features and problems

Ramblers Assn Pathwatch app includes 1:50 Landranger & 1:25k Explorer OS maps

Found a problem on your walk? Let us know!

https://www.ramblers.org.uk/advice/pathwatch-report-path-features-and-problems.aspx
Whether it’s locked gates, rampant overgrowth or missing signs, occasionally we find our paths blocked or in need of care. Whatever the issue, we want to know about it! As Britain’s walking charity, we’re here to help.
Report path problems through Pathwatch and for England and Wales we’ll alert the local highway authority. Where possible, we’ll also work with them to fix the problem. In Scotland, Pathwatch is still in a pilot stage, so we’re gathering information to build up a picture of walkers’ experiences north of the border by monitoring reports we receive. Where appropriate we’ll share these with access authorities or landowners to try and resolve issues.
Remember Pathwatch isn’t just for reporting problems. You can also tell us about great things that you find on walks too – such as interesting flora and fauna or an impressive view.
By reporting problems and celebrating the great things you discover, you are not only doing your bit to look after paths, but helping us celebrate the best of British walking and find long term solutions to protecting paths and access for years to come.
There are two ways you can report problems:

1. The Pathwatch app

We’ve built an entire app that allows you to report features on the go – straight from your pocket.
Using the app you can report positive and negative features, send us photos and even share your discoveries via social media. Using GPS and your phone signal, the app can locate you on OS maps and will allow you report what you’ve found with the press of a few buttons.
The app also works offline and allows you to download OS grid square maps for your walks in England and Wales.

Get started with the app on Android
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.co.esdm.bpw
or iOS today:
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/the-ramblers-big-pathwatch/id999463505

2. Pathwatch online

You can report features directly through the online version of the app.
It’s slightly different to the app but still gets us all the information we (and local authorities) need. It also syncs up with the features you record on the app, so you can view all your reported features. Online, you can also report features anonymously and won’t need to register or login.
Just like the app, you can scroll around Britain on OS Map data to find the location of the feature you’re reporting.
https://www.ramblers.org.uk/get-involved/big-pathwatch.aspx

How path maintenance and access works

In England and Wales it’s the responsibility of local councils to make sure paths and access land are open and easy for walkers to use. The body responsible for maintaining public rights of way and keeping them free from obstruction is called the Highway Authority. In practice, this is the county council or unitary authority. That’s why we let them know what you send us through Pathwatch – so we can work together to resolve issues.

In Scotland, the  legal situation is  different, as walkers enjoy a right to roam on most land. While Pathwatch was designed for the context of walking in England and Wales, we are pleased that it can now be used in Scotland too. The project is currently in the pilot stage in Scotland so we can gather information about the experiences of walkers north of the border. We’ll collect all the information you report and pass problems on to access authorities or landowners where possible to help get them resolved.

What do the Ramblers do?

On average we solve over 600 path problems each year in England and Wales. Look at our map of successes to see where we’ve unblocked, saved and even created paths.

We work directly with local councils to keep the countryside open to all. Our volunteer path teams cut back overgrowth, insert new waymarks and signposts, replace stiles with gates and even repair bridges. Why not join them?

Any queries?

If you’ve got any queries or can’t report path features with the options above, let us know via pathwatch@ramblers.zendesk.com or give us a call on 0203 961 3130  or for Scottish queries call 020 3961 3270.

If you are unable to use either the app or the dedicated web pages to report a path problem, please take a note of where the path issue is when you are on your walk and pass this information to a group member who is able to submit on your behalf, or contact us using the details above.

Memory lanes: the ramblers trying to save 10,000 lost British footpaths

Memory lanes: the ramblers trying to save 10,000 lost footpaths

It’s not just walkers who get lost – paths can get lost, too. Now a small army of volunteers are seeking to recover thousands of public rights of way before they disappear for ever

Kevin Rushby Tue 4 Dec 2018

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/04/memory-lanes-the-ramblers-trying-to-save-10000-lost-footpaths

Once paths failed to appear on maps, people stopped walking them and, within a few years, they were invisible.

Paul Howland is standing in a bed of nettles, his head surrounded by a halo of dusky blue sloes. Behind him is an impenetrable tangle of undergrowth, self-seeded trees and what looks like the long-discarded parts of an a vehicle.

“The old path went up here,” he says, waving his walking pole further into the thicket. “I first spotted it on Milne’s county map of Hampshire from 1791.”

Howland emerges from the nettles and shows me an image on his phone which confirms his suspicions: we have just found one of Britain’s missing footpaths.

“This is Greenwood’s 1826 county map and you can see the path. It was called the Markway and goes straight up to this line – now the A30 road. But compare that with the current Ordnance Survey map.” He unfolds a paper map and points to our position.

“Instead of going straight, the footpath turns hard left at this point and heads back towards Andover. What we have here is a missing mile to a forgotten right of way – and a very useful missing mile, because it links to other footpaths.”

Paul Howland.

England and Wales have about 140,000 miles of footpaths, but there are an estimated 10,000 more that have been lost from current maps. Even that figure looks like a huge underestimate: a recent survey in Cornwall alone identified 3,000 possible paths that had fallen out of use and needed to be checked. That work of rediscovery is being done by volunteers, people such as Howland, who has so far made 85 legal applications for the recovery of lost paths in a small corner of Hampshire. A government deadline of 2026 for such claims has given Howland’s work a renewed sense of urgency.

“It sounds like plenty of time, but I reckon that in our area we’d need to make two applications every week until 2026. There is just so much to be done.”

As a walker, I reflect, I’m used to losing my way. It’s a bit alarming, however, to find that paths can get lost, too.

Howland chuckles. “It’s easier than you think.”

We give up any attempt to force a way through the bushes and set off up the path to the left. Two deer watch us warily from a stubble field and the giant white dish of a radio telescope appears to hover on the horizon as we catch up with a group from the Ramblers, among them Jack Cornish, project manager for the nationwide campaign Don’t Lose Your Way. He explains how government legislation in 1949 ruled that every council should draw a definitive map of footpaths and bridleways, a laudable aim, but one carried out piecemeal.

“Some parishes recorded hundreds of paths, others did almost nothing. You ended up with footpaths that led nowhere or simply disappeared.” Once those paths failed to appear on OS maps, people stopped walking them. The nettles grew, the ash and sycamore seeds blew in and, within a few years, they were invisible. If a housing estate or a major road then appeared, that path was truly lost. And it did not only happen in the countryside. The Open Spaces Society has pointed out that urban areas were often exempt from the 1949 regulations and produced no definitive maps, leaving footpaths in cities and towns particularly under threat.

Howland has a rough estimate of losses from his own experience. “In my area I expect an annual loss of half a percent – mostly from new buildings and roads.”

“Those missing paths can be the vital element in a good circular walk, or access to great countryside.”

“These are ancient rights of way,” Cornish adds. “Rights built up over centuries. And it’s not just about walkers: cyclists and horse riders need them, too.”

We reach a sign – “Private road, access only” – and ignore it. “It’s a public bridleway,” says Howland, reassuringly. One of the ramblers finds a sign lost in the undergrowth and, producing a pair of secateurs, quickly makes it visible again.

Walking with Howland is to see the British landscape through a fresh pair of eyes. Where I see walls of thorny bushes, he sees a double hedge hiding an ancient drovers’ path; where I see neat white posts at the entrance to someone’s drive, Howland sees a devious attempt to gull the public into believing they are on private land; most of all, where I see cul-de-sacs and dead ends, he spots opportunities to discover lost routes. He reads the landscape like a detective, building the physical elements into narratives of growth and change.

He shows me a patch of land on his OS map called Bransbury Common that was declared open-access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Almost surrounded by a chalk stream, it was both biologically important and a local beauty spot. For as long as it has been an open-access area, the two bridges that once allowed entry have been unusable. They have never been replaced. “The public have the right to be on Bransbury Common,” says Howland. “But getting there is harder.”

He has seen abandoned railways, used as footpaths and recorded as such on OS maps, summarily closed when new owners arrive. In other places, agricultural schemes such as the Countryside Stewardship demand that landowners open up paths in return for payments. When the schemes finish, these “permissive” paths can disappear overnight. On other occasions, new owners simply don’t understand local traditions. In October 2016, for example, villagers in Bratton, in Wiltshire, were astonished to find a traditional riverside path through watercress beds blocked by barbed wire and “private property” signs. A London property dealer had bought the local mill and erected the barriers. It took a two-year court battle to establish that the path was a legal right of way.

“There are two ways to recover a lost path,” Cornish says. “By proving regular public use over a 20-year period without any attempt to prevent access by a landowner, and by detective work on historical maps.”

What about the Markway, I ask. How did that disappear?

“Almost by accident.” Howland says. “In the second world war, a Hurricane fighter base was built here and the path temporarily blocked. That order was not rescinded until 1956. By then it was too late: the last mile of the route had got overgrown and forgotten.” If not for Howland, this right of way would have permanently disappeared.

We stop talking to stroll along a short section of busy road, before turning once again on to a path where spindle flowers gleam like nubs of coral in the hedge. A kestrel cuts away across the field, glorying in its freedom. We come eventually into the pretty thatched village of Chilbolton and, in the way of all good country walks, reach a pub.

Over a bowl of hot soup, Howland shows me the paperwork that each Definitive Map Modification Order entails. “It does take hours of work, but a lot of the information and maps are now online. The National Library of Scotland website is particularly useful. You don’t need to be spending days in the National Archives at Kew, interesting as that would be.”

The campaign has put pressure on under-resourced local councils. Hampshire’s executive member for rural affairs, Edward Heron, pointed out to me that Hampshire has seen a rise in applications from five a year to 35. “We expect that these increases will continue until the closure date of 2026.”

The good news is that any application submitted by the 2026 deadline will, eventually, go through the legal process of assessment and consultation.

Meanwhile Howland is planning more routes. His diffident manner masks a steely determination, and he clearly likes the elements of research and historical analysis. “It’s given me a better understanding of how the landscape changes and develops.” In theory, that research could go back to the era of Richard I. His reign, which began on 4 July 1189, is the beginning of legal time. In practice, many rights of way date back to the enclosure acts of 1750 to 1850. Either way the sense of a long game being played is palpable and Howland knows it.

“A restored right of way will usually last for ever.” He smiles. “There aren’t many tasks in life that you can say that about.”

a Landrights campaign for Britain

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