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Local Access Forum

Local Access Forum

The South Downs Local Access Forum (SDLAF) advises the National Park Authority and others on how best to manage access to the countryside in the National Park.

It is an independent statutory body with seventeen members who represent the views of recreational users, land managers and others with an interest in countryside access. The main function of this group is to look at how the public rights of way network and access land is managed and improved.

Forum members will also be asked to comment on broader access, transport and countryside subjects.

A Local Access Forum is a statutory body and, by law, the organisations that they give advice to must have regard to that advice.

A Local Access Forum needs to have a range of members that reflect the views of both land managers and recreational users of the countryside.

The forum may also have members who represent the interests of conservation, tourism, people with disabilities, transport or other interests.

The function of the Local Access Forum is to advise on the improvement of public access to land for the purposes of open-air recreation and the enjoyment of the area.

In carrying out its functions, the Local Access Forum shall have regard to;

  • The needs of land management
  • The desirability of conserving the natural beauty of the area for which it is established, including the flora, fauna and geological and physiographical features of the area

The minutes of the South Downs Local Access Forum can be viewed here.

Terms of Reference

The South Downs Local Access Forum has Terms of Reference which sets out its purpose, membership, administration and voting procedures.

The South Downs Local Access Forum has also agreed its principles for aiming to reach consensus in making decisions about the advice it gives.

Governance at SDLAF Meetings – Consensus Aim

Further information

Local Access Forums were created by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

For information on the regulations that govern how they are set up and run, as well as government guidance on how they work and what they do, visit Natural England’s Local Access Forums webpage.


"The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness."