02 February 2021 by Helen Todd
As a nation we are living through extremely difficult times - with overlapping crises affecting our health, climate, biodiversity and economy.
Thanks to the support of members, volunteers and supporters, the work we do at Ramblers Scotland helps mitigate some of the most damaging impacts of these challenges.
However, we believe that walking can play an even greater role in helping Scotland become a happier, healthier and more thriving nation.
That is why we have joined with several leading Scottish charities to publish three manifestos in the run up to the 2021 Holyrood Election.
By working with partners, we’re amplifying our voice and making a strong, evidence-based case for why politicians must grasp the opportunity for Scotland to ‘walk back better’.
Our Manifesto for the Outdoors has been developed as part of the Scottish Outdoor Recreation Alliance, representing walkers, cyclists, paddlers and horse-riders.
We want to ensure that outdoor recreation is fully supported so that everyone across Scotland shares the benefits and pleasure of being active in the natural environment.
Together we’re calling for:
- An Outdoor Recreation Champion within government to ensure all divisions understand the role outdoor recreation can play in delivering their policies
- Full recognition of the wide-ranging and valuable contributions made by outdoor recreation across all of society
- Long-term investment in and support for the sector so that everyone, everywhere can enjoy the benefits of being active outdoors, while respecting the environment and supporting the economy.
A draft is available here and we’ll publish a final version before the election for our members and supporters to send to candidates in their area.
At the same time, Covid-19 travel restrictions have demonstrated the value of paths and our urban greenspaces for everyday walking, whether to the shops, to school or just for that important daily breath of fresh air.
We’ve joined forces with the walking charities Living Streets Scotland and Paths for All to create our Walk Back Better manifesto, which asks parties to support everyday walking by:
- Delivering better access to walking for everyone
- Making walking easier and more enjoyable
- Ensuring walking is safe in every community.
Walk Back Better was be launched at an online event on 26 January, and you can download it here.
The walking environment
Finally, as members of Scottish Environment LINK we have worked with 37 other organisations to publish a joint manifesto.
This covers issues from across the environmental spectrum, many of which we work on to influence government through LINK’s working groups.
- Protection of our landscapes and wild land
- A call for new Scottish national parks
- Stronger controls of vehicle tracks in our hills.
You can read the full manifesto here.