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But it also tackled more modern issues, with clearer rules for dog walkers to take home dog dirt and use their own bin if there are no public waste bins. This is to try to stop the scourge of country paths being littered with dog poo bags left hanging in hedgerows. The Code also contains information on outdoor activities including the current fashion for wild swimming.
The advice includes checking tide times and the Environment Agency website for water quality.
The Code, first issued in 1951, was released ahead of the Easter weekend and the easing of some lockdown restrictions which is likely to lead to a surge in visits to the countryside.
Earlier the Country Land and Business Association raised fears of a rise in attacks on livestock, particularly after a dramatic increase in the number of people buying puppies in the past year.
Mark Bridgeman, the president of the CLA, said: “With lockdown restrictions easing up as the crucial lambing season is hitting its peak, we want to help inform the millions of people who are new owners on how to protect their dog and keep farm animals safe, allowing everyone to enjoy the countryside together.”
Natural England chairman Tony Juniper said: “The Countryside Code has been providing an excellent guide for people on how to get out and enjoy the outdoors safely for over 70 years.
“With more people than ever before seeking solace in nature, this refresh could not come at a more crucial time. We want everyone to be aware of the Code, so people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy the invaluable health and wellbeing benefits that nature offers, while giving it the respect it deserves.”
Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner said: “With so many people visiting the countryside, the Countryside Code has never felt more relevant. Crucially it now covers all green spaces, waterways, the coast and even parks in towns and cities, so that everyone, as we lift restrictions, can enjoy a greener future.”
NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts said: “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the countryside has been invaluable in Britain’s recovery, with millions of people visiting during lockdown to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. This new look Code is vital to deal with the extra pressures on the countryside from walkers and people enjoying our farmed environment, so it’s important that people stick to the messages such as keeping to public rights of way, ensuring dogs are under control and binning dog waste.”
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