Protecting precious landscapes in a changing climate
The Ramblers values our countryside for its natural beauty, sense of peace and tranquillity and its wildlife, as well as the vital role it plays in promoting wellbeing, in food production and in its contribution to the national economy.
Our beautiful countryside – already under pressure from development – is having to adapt to greater climatic extremes which, over time, threaten to radically alter its familiar and much-loved character. Climate change is already directly affecting the Ramblers’ mission and our ability to meet our charitable objectives due to the damage caused by droughts, storms and the many other effects of a changing climate.
In the countryside, we want the places we walk in to be as green and beautiful as they can be. Government must support energy efficiency and conservation measures, investment in micro-generation and the development of new green energy technologies. If we keep emitting greenhouse gases as we are, our rural landscapes could really suffer, so renewable energy is a big part of the solution. However, we want to see green energy schemes sensitively sized, designed and positioned, with better use made of the energy we generate. Government must also keep to its climate change commitments including the Paris Climate Agreement, which it ratified in 2016 (see our renewables policy).
Greener, walkable towns and cities have huge benefits by encouraging more people to walk to shops, schools or work (rather than relying on polluting vehicles). They also improve the quality of the places we live and work and green spaces will help to cool the urban environment and soak up intense rainfall. Government, local and national, must promote walking as a sustainable mode of transport and to promote urban design which encourages walking. They must consider walking routes and spaces in the same way that they do roads; make a positive commitment to creating more and better quality urban green spaces; and prioritise walking routes and connectivity in new developments (see our urban policy webpage).
Even if carbon emissions are radically reduced now, England will experience the significant impacts of the climatic changes already underway. Government must ensure that local authorities have the necessary funding, resources and technical support to properly manage these impacts on our walking infrastructure and the wider countryside.
For further information contact Alison Hallas, Policy Officer
Published August 2017