LORD Young's review on health and safety and compensation culture could herald a major and long-overdue social change: an end to the damaging effects of health and safety laws. From schools who decide to ban sports days to verges not being mowed in public areas because of the risk involved in running a lawnmower over its steep slopes; around the UK examples of failures to do the most simple (and sometimes, the most serious) tasks because of fear of litigation has meant society is now somewhat regulated in every aspect of day to day life.

The Countryside Alliance Foundation (TCAF) has conducted extensive research into the perception that health and safety is the main reason schools simply do not take young people into the outdoors to engage in practical learning about the outdoors.

TCAF's research found that whilst over 76% of teachers claimed fear of litigation was their main reason for not taking children on school outings, the realty is local authorities paid out on average £293 in compensation per year over the last ten years.

The review proposes a radical simplification of the number of forms that schools have to complete before taking pupils on trips, bringing in a single consent form for parents to sign. Such measures, hopefully, will enable our young people to engage with the countryside and re-build people's passion for our open spaces.

ALICE BARNARD Chief Executive The Countryside Alliance Foundation Kennington Road London