We’re all used to looking for road signs on rural walks – but what about looking for QR codes instead?
The campaign is to be dotted with scannable codes to help hikers understand farmers’ fields and where they should and shouldn’t walk, a minister has said.
Speaking at an event organized by the charity CPRE, Victoria Prentis, Minister for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said the measure would provide more information to visitors on the work of farmers and would reduce conflicts by ensuring they know how to behave responsibly.
Government-funded programs would “pay for QR codes on street signs,” she said.
These “would explain to the general public what’s going on in the field, why it’s not great to walk it at any time of the year, why you have to keep a dog on a leash, why you may not have to not come in at lambing time,” she added.
The charity has called for better funding of greenbelt land to prevent it being built by property developers.
Spending on the green belt is ‘setting back’ the rest of the campaign, he said, with just over a quarter of green belt farmland covered by schemes that reward farmers for upkeep of the earth in an ecological way, compared to 42 percent. hundred nationally.
Current farm payments under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy are set to be replaced by a new environmental scheme which will be phased in over the next few years, although details of compensation for farmers and landowners and what is currently unclear.
The charity said the greenbelt would become increasingly important due to the cost of living crisis.
Paul Miner, Head of Policy and Planning at CPRE, said: “With train fares going up, the cost of petrol going up, it will be more difficult for the public to be able to get to the national parks, but with the green belts, we have landscapes that are just as beautiful, just as precious, just as accessible.
Crispin Truman, Managing Director of CPRE, said: “The alternative to green belt funding increases the risk that it will be built instead. History shows time and time again that when the protected countryside is underestimated, it risks being lost to development forever.