The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 places a duty on highways and national park authorities to establish local access forums (LAFs), to advise on the improvement of public access to land for the purposes of open air recreation and enjoyment. This paper examines these proposals in the context of recent academic and political debates about deliberative democracy, and empirical research on the nature and practice of existing access liaison groups and forums. While demonstrating that the proposed LAFs are consistent with contemporary constructs of participative, if not deliberative democracy, the paper argues that most existing groups and forums fall short of this ideal, in a number of significant respects. The paper proceeds to discuss the extent to which the draft regulations for LAFs in England and Wales address these issues, and concludes by questioning the extent to which such consultative arrangements can contribute to new forms of local governance.
Ravenscroft, N., Curry, N., & Markwell, S. (2002). Outdoor recreation and participative democracy in England and Wales. Journal of environmental planning and management, 45(5), 715-734. https://doi.org/doi:10.1080/0964056022000013084