England's 83 Local Access Forums (LAFs) are statutorily prescribed bodies, introduced by s94 and s95 of the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000.
Their main function is to advise their appointing authority, ie. either a local highway authority (LHA) or a national park authority (NPA) for their area, as to the improvement of public access to land in that area for the purposes of open-air recreation and the enjoyment of the area.
In carrying out its functions, a LAF must also have regard to the needs of land management and the desirability of conserving the natural beauty of the area for which it is established, including the flora, fauna and geological and physiographical features of the area.
LAFs comprise appointed members who must be representative of both users of local rights of way or access land and owners and occupiers of access land or land encompassing local rights of way.
Local Access Forums: a review June 2006
The Handbook for LAF Members: (2mb), commissioned by Natural England, has been written specifically for England's approximately 1,300 Local Access Forum members (although it will happily find a wider audience). In addition to including guidance about the general practicalities of running a LAF, it contains key facts and useful information about all aspects of access.
More information about the each region's Local Access Forums: