Scottish local elections 2022

In May 2022 we will all have the chance to vote in local elections across the UK, including in Scotland. 

Ramblers Scotland groups and members can influence how your local council works over the next five years by telling candidates what is important in your local area.

Ramblers Scotland recommends you ask your candidates for: 

  1. A path network that makes it easy, quick and safe to walk, wheel or cycle to school, the shops or work
  2. High-quality parks and greenspaces
  3. Well-maintained, mapped paths across your local authority area
  4. A good local ranger service
  5. Sufficient access officers to remove obstructions and plan for access.

How can you influence your candidates?

  • Invite them for a walk. Especially in these times of Covid, outdoor events are a great way to walk and talk. Why not send your walk programme to local parties’ offices, or to any candidates you know?
  • Raise walking issues with candidates. Think about what’s important to you and then be ready to talk about these issues with them. For example, if they knock on your door or you see candidates on a party stall in the high street.
  • Attend a hustings event. Look out for events in your area and ask a question about an issue that is important to you.

 

Five topics upon which to question your candidates

  1. A path network that makes it easy and safe to walk, wheel or cycle to school, the shops or to work.

    We have joined the Walk, Wheel, Cycle Vote campaign. This is all about getting people to be more active for short trips, rather than taking the car. The website has useful tips and ideas. How can you make your local area more accessible for everyone? First of all this means getting more funding to build the right infrastructure. This could mean better paths which separate cyclists from walkers and wheelers, and more pedestrian areas.

    ASK YOUR CANDIDATES to support measures to help more people to walk, wheel or cycle.

  2. High quality parks and greenspaces.

    Our local parks and greenspaces are vital for helping us all to get outdoors into nature and be more active. The Covid pandemic has shown how important this is for our mental health and wellbeing. But parks which aren’t looked after aren’t welcoming to everyone. We also know that people living in more deprived areas are less likely to live near a park or use their local park. This 2021 Greenspace Scotland report shows attitudes to greenspace. NatureScot has two useful reports: a 2018 survey on people and nature, and a 2021 report on people visiting the outdoors during the pandemic.

    ASK YOUR CANDIDATES to support investment in your local parks and greenspaces, to help more people enjoy visiting them.

  3. Well-maintained, mapped paths across your local authority area.

    While Scottish access rights are fantastic, paths help people get out and about more. Path maintenance is important. This means cutting back vegetation, clearing drains or repairing bridges and gates. But knowing where paths actually are is also vital for finding places to walk. This is why we are developing our Scottish Paths Map. Ask local candidates to support this map by encouraging people to volunteer to check paths in your area.

    ASK YOUR CANDIDATES to make sure that paths are well maintained and mapped in your area.

  4. A good local ranger service.

    Rangers play an important role in helping people to learn about nature. They also teach how they can enjoy the outdoors in a responsible way. Rangers often work a lot with local schools and take children out to explore their local area. Many local authorities have cut back the number of rangers they use. Can you find out what’s happening in your area?

    ASK YOUR CANDIDATES to support ranger services.

  5. At least one access officer to remove obstructions and plan for access.

    Over the years many councils have cut down on access staff. In some cases there is now no access officer at all, but other employees are trying to do this work as well as their own. Access officers make sure your Local Access Forum is running well. They maintain your path networks. They review any ‘keep out’ signs that appear and fix blocked paths. To find out the situation in your own area, have a look at the contact list here. We can help you have a look at how this has changed over the years, and whether you have lost staff.

    ASK YOUR CANDIDATES to make sure your access officers have enough funding to do their work.