The controversial project, which set out to unearth disused rights of way, was originally a £15million flagship Countryside Agency scheme.

Land management and countryside organisations condemned it, however, arguing that investment should be made to improve the current rights of way network.

CLA president, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, pointed out: “After five years and more than £3million of public funds, the project has failed to deliver one single route on to the definitive map.”

“There could not be a more damning outcome for this project or a clearer vindication of our arguments against it.”

Since the project was handed over from the Countryside Agency to NE a year ago, opponents have argued that it was excessively expensive and failed to address whether or not there was any public demand for the project.

NE’s board discussed DLW’s future at a meeting on 13 February, where “a fundamental review of the legislation” was proposed. This has now been submitted to DEFRA and a response from the government department is expected shortly.

The rest of this article appears in 6 March issue of Shooting Times.

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