The Scottish Parliament passed landmark legislation in the form of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (LRA). The Act came in to force in 2005 and gives everyone statutory rights of responsible access to most land and inland water in Scotland. Since this legislation a wider understanding of access issues has evolved. Outdoor access is no longer solely focused on rural recreation but is recognised as a key driver for delivering a range of outcomes for residents and visitors, from improved health to economic growth.
Outdoor recreation and tourism contributes £269 million (Scottish Tourism Economic Activity Monitor, 2009) to the Dumfries and Galloway economy and plays a vital role in the physical and mental health and well-being of its residents.
The focus of Open Outdoors is on increasing the economic benefits of outdoor access; increasing tourist numbers and spend; promoting outdoor recreation and active lifestyles; delivering a safe and healthy environment; enhancing countryside assets; asserting and protecting access rights and empowering communities to take an active lead in monitoring and maintaining their path networks.
Open Outdoors will be implemented at a time of economic uncertainty, thus emphasising the requirement for central and local government to be focused on delivering outcomes. This strategy has been designed to contribute to Dumfries & Galloway Council (DGC) Priorities and the Scottish Government’s Single Outcome Agreement (SOA).
A high standard of access to the outdoors, appropriate to its location and level of use, will help Dumfries & Galloway Council achieve its corporate objectives and vision of making Dumfries and Galloway the best place in Scotland to live, work, visit and grow.