How campaigning on walking can go a long way

Clare Wadd, Area Publicity Officer for Inner London Ramblers, speaks about how campaigning and walking go together.

Love London Walk London. Boot print with image of London inside 

The London mayoral elections took place on May 5th and, for the first time, The Ramblers in Inner London Area and The Greater London Forum worked together to ensure that walking formed part of the election debate. 

With the help of over 1,000 of you, we made a real impact. Mayoral and Assembly candidates met us for discussions, walked with us and tweeted their support; their researchers got in touch with us for information, and we made contacts and allies with friends groups for local parks, the Greater London National Park City campaign, Living Streets and more. Local groups and individuals in London also made a real difference by getting in touch with their local candidates and making contacts.

Our success was illustrated at the Greener London hustings organised by the Green Alliance in March, when a panel of four of the main candidates – Sian Berry, Zac Goldsmith, Sadiq Khan and Caroline Pidgeon – all talked in-depth about their plans for walking.  

What’s more, each party made commitments to improve walking conditions and help more people enjoy the benefits of walking: with Labour pledging to bring in a pedestrian champion and improve the London LOOP and Capital Ring, and the Conservatives pledging to open up more of the Thames Path.

Previously I often met people who were surprised Ramblers exists in London, thinking of us as a rural organisation, despite such a high proportion of our members being based in major conurbations; now many more people know we’re here!

London’s new Mayor – Sadiq Khan – made a strong manifesto commitment to walking, so our campaign becomes about holding him to account to follow through on that commitment building on the conversations we had before the election. Sian Berry and Caroline Pidgeon, both of whom came for a walk with us and were sympathetic to our aims, were elected to the assembly, so we will work with them as well as other assembly members from all parties.

If you’d like to get involved in further work in London – please contact us on campaigns@ramblers.org.uk