Do you believe it’s important to have the opportunity to get outdoors to picnic, play, socialise, relax, keep fit …… keep healthy? That there needs to be better opportunities to walk or cycle instead of having to use the car? That opportunity to walk, horse ride or cycle on safe off-road routes is limited? That public outdoor space and paths provide essential green space for people and wildlife? That public outdoor access needs to be sensitively managed with regards to agriculture, forestry and environmental management?

Since it was established in 2002, the DLAF has helped make a difference improving and developing outdoor access. Current work includes improving disabled access, agreeing the route of the Dorset coast path and improving links between Public Rights of Way and public transport. But you may have new projects to bring to the Forum?

The Forum is an independent, statutory body working with various organisations; for example, all county, town and parish councils; AONBs, National Trust, CLA, Forestry, Defra and Natural England.

There are a number of activity categories which include , using paths and public green space for recreation and travel, liaising with owner, occupiers and managers of land – especially with open access or PRoW and  access-related interests, eg tourism, health, disability or transport .

The Forum meets three times a year, with additional training and working groups as required. Certain expenses and allowances can be claimed.

Dorset Council, Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole, as appointing authorities, provide support for Forum members and the work they do.

If you have the time, experience and enthusiasm to make a valuable and constructive contribution to the work of the Forum, an application form and information pack is available at  or from:

Dorset LAF
Project and Service Support Team
Environment and Economy Directorate
Dorset County Council
County Hall
Colliton Park

The Council encourages responsible dog ownership

The council continues to promote considerate dog ownership and would like owners to take pride in the area when they’re out and about. People are urged to report those who are letting responsible dog owners and the community down to the Environmental Health Team by email at or by phone on 01305 251010.

Guidance for responsible dog ownership can be found on and includes:

For safety, dog owners must keep their dog under control at all times. This can include keeping dogs on a short lead whilst on areas such as pavements, roads, formal gardens and sports grounds.

The safety of other dogs, dog owners and members of the public is crucial when exercising dogs. Councils can take action in serious cases of dog-on-dog attacks, if a dog attacks a person the Police will then be involved.

It is against the law to let your dogs foul on land open to the public. Specific dog waste bins are supplied in some areas and public litter bins can be used for bagged dog waste. Household residual waste bins are also fine to use for bagged dog waste.

Council dog wardens will issue fixed penalty notices to those who fail to follow these legal requirements. Dog wardens can also act on information received from members of the public.

The welfare and safety of dogs is important. Dogs should not be left in a hot car or in a car for an excessive period of time as this could be interpreted as abandoning the animal and the owner could risk prosecution by the RSPCA. The Police would be empowered to break into a car where a dog is clearly suffering.

Dog Wardens spend a lot time dealing with stray dogs. It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that their dog cannot stray from their property. Dogs must wear a collar with identification if in a public place. Microchipping of your dog is strongly advised. This helps to re-unite dog and owner as quickly as possible. If your dog is picked up by the Dog Warden there is a considerable fee to be paid for the return of the dog and the owner will be responsible for any offences arising by the dog whilst it is not under their control.