Local Access Forums (LAFs) advise decision making organisations (such as local authorities) about making improvements to public access for outdoor recreation and sustainable travel. They are statutory, independent bodies established under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW 2000). In Dorset, public paths and rights of way extend to some 4600km and along with open green space provide an important network for public recreation, travel and health, a refuge for wildlife and attractions for visitors that help to boost our local economy.

The Dorset LAF has responsibility for the entire county, encompassing both the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch (BCP) and Dorset local authority area, and while it is administratively hosted by Dorset Council it remains an entirely independent body. Additionally, LAF engages with neighbouring authorities in Devon, Somerset, Hampshire and Wiltshire for cross-boundary matters. 

Work focuses on all access issues relevant to the county as well as those debated nationally. A range of local interests are considered, from walking, horse riding, cycling, horse carriage driving, 4X4 use, people with disabilities, young people, farmers, foresters, conservation, public health bodies, tourist organisations, and public transport teams. Anybody involved in public access to open spaces and rights of way.

Members of the LAF are all volunteers and include a range of people from the local community, including:

  • landowners and land managers
  • access users such as walkers, cyclists and horse riders
  • those with other interests, such as health and conservation

Find out how to become a member of the Dorset LAF.

There is a minimum of two, but more usually three, meetings per year. They are open to the public, although only LAF members can participate in the discussions. There may be an opportunity after meetings for non-members to ask questions.

You can find out more about LAFs on gov.uk or contact us:

Dorset Local Access Forum Co-ordinator

Name: Tara Hansford
Name: Tara Hansford
Email: tara.hansford@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk
Tel: 01305 221779
Full contact details

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