A PUBLIC consultation starts this week on the creation of a map that will show new sections of open country in the region.

The process, to consider the Countryside Agency's regional draft map, begins tomorrow.

The map covers parts of County Durham, Tyneside, Wearside, and North Yorkshire, including the North York Moors.

The map of open country and registered common land is being drawn up as part of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, which will give the public greater access.

The consultations are the first stage in a three-part process and are designed to give people the opportunity to have their say before a provisional map is issued.

Paul Mutch, a senior countryside officer at the agency, said: "I would urge everyone to take this opportunity to get involved. This is the only chance people have to comment upon the map."

The maps will be on display around the region until June 13, and at www.countryside. gov.uk/access/mapping - the Countryside Agency's website.