Farmers plea with public to access land with 'care and respect'

NFU Scotland has produced a poster for farmers and crofters, which urges care to be taken by those accessing the countryside during the Covid-19 crisis
NFU Scotland has produced a poster for farmers and crofters, which urges care to be taken by those accessing the countryside during the Covid-19 crisis

Scottish farmers have pleaded with the public to follow posters on how to access and enjoy the countryside with 'care and respect' during the Covid-19 crisis.

NFU Scotland has received almost a hundred calls from farmers over access to land during the virus outbreak.

One concerned farmer, Dave Shepherd, challenged a cyclist who opened his farm gates without gloves near Dunkeld, Perthshire.

He told the BBC that farms are a 'place of work' and for people to have access to a farmer's workplace during the coronavirus pandemic is 'ridiculous.'



"I was making sure he was going to sanitise gates and things like that as he went through. He just ignored me," he told the broadcaster.

"We have a job to do in farming; there are no staff sat on the sidelines waiting to come in if we become infected."



NFU Scotland has produced a poster for farmers and crofters, which urges care to be taken by those accessing the countryside during this exceptional period.

The Scottish countryside remains open for people to access and enjoy but 'care and respect' for those living and working in rural areas is requested.

Calls have been taken by the union from a substantial number of farmers reporting problems with public access.

These include people ignoring government recommendations and travelling considerable distances to take access, and people walking through fields of cows with calves; ewes with lambs and pregnant animals with dogs off the lead.

NFU Scotland’s Head of Policy Team, Gemma Cooper said farmers are respectfully asking that members of the public follow the guidelines in the poster.

“For many, accessing the countryside is a new experience and we want to help guide them on how to do that responsibly and safely, recognising the legitimate concerns of those who are farming," she said.

“To fulfil our pledge to keep Scotland’s plates and glasses full throughout this crisis, we need farmers to stay safe, healthy and able to get on with the job of producing food and drink.



“We respectfully ask that people please follow these simple guidelines in the poster. It will assist the many people taking access in the countryside and receive the thanks of all living and working in the countryside at this challenging time.”