Outdoor access and recreation – guidance

Local Access Forums: participate in decisions on public access

Join a Local Access Forum to advise local decision-makers on rights of way and green space; find out how to contact each LAF in England.

Role of Local Access Forums

Local Access Forums (LAFs) advise decision making organisations (such as local authorities) about making improvements to public access for outdoor recreation and sustainable travel through local transport plans.

LAFs can set their own priorities depending on local issues. They also respond to consultations and draft policy documents. When making recommendations, LAF members need to consider land use, as well as the need to conserve flora, fauna, geological and physical features.

How to become a LAF member

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

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

Contact a LAF if you are interested in becoming a member. They will let you know when vacancies become available.

New members are appointed by the local authority or national park authority, known as the ‘appointing authority’ or ‘access authority’.

LAF meetings

All the meetings are advertised on the local access authority’s website and many are included in the local press.

Most LAFs meet at least 4 times a year. Some forums also have topic groups which meet more regularly.

Members of the public can attend meetings as an observer, but only LAF members can participate in the discussions. There may be an opportunity after the meetings for non-members to ask questions.

Advice for LAF members

LAF members can use online resources available through Huddle (a secure, shared workspace):

  • for advice on how to fulfil day-to-day and annual reporting responsibilities
  • to share best practice and ideas

If you are a LAF member and would like access to Huddle, email: LAF@naturalengland.org.uk.

Get updates about the work of LAFs and related information in the LAF newsletter and in documents produced from previous Local Access Forum national conferences.

Annual reports

Natural England receives annual reports from the LAFs and produces the national Local Access Forum annual report using this information.

Contacts

North east

North west

Yorkshire and Humberside

East Midlands

West Midlands

East of England

South east

South west

Further information

For more information about LAFs, please contact LAF@naturalengland.org.uk.