Labour’s Countryside Protection Plan: What we think

Thursday 6 June 

In the run up to the General Election, we’re calling on all parties to commit to a new bill that unlocks the outdoors in England.  

And today, in a significant election campaign announcement, the Labour Party has recognised the importance of including public access in its proposals for a Countryside Protection Plan.

But we need a clear commitment from all parties, should they form the next government, they will go much further in breaking down the persistent barriers to the outdoors.  

Over 21 million people live more than 15 minutes’ walk from nature. And 56% of people with disabilities tell us physical barriers stop them using our network of paths, a network that is suffering years of neglect and blocked in tens of thousands of places.  

These issues must be tackled urgently and the only way to do this in any meaningful way is through new legislation. In 2023, the Labour Party hinted that it would commit to introducing an Access to Nature White Paper if elected.

We’re calling for a transformational new Access to Nature Bill to:


  • Create more opportunities to access nature close to home, by extending the freedom to roam to woodlands and riversides and establishing green routes in cities. 

  • Unlock the potential of the path network, by improving its accessibility and ending the threat to 41,000 miles of unrecorded rights of way. 

  • Build a plan for the future, by setting legally binding targets to improve access and establishing plans for future investment.  


Ever since the General Election was called, we have been fighting to make sure access to nature is on the political agenda. And we know from experience that pressure from constituents has a direct impact on how much attention an MP, candidate or party is likely to give an issue.  

So we need as many of you as possible to pick up your pens (or open your emails!) and get writing to your local candidates. 

help us

The next government will be faced with critical decisions on public health, the NHS and the environment. Opening up access to the outdoors will enrich everyone's lives and boost the nation's health and wellbeing.  

As Britain’s walking charity, we stand ready to work in partnership with the next government to deliver it, whichever party is successful on 4 July.

A group of seven walkers on green grass.

Independence Day – Will the next UK Election bring everyone the freedom to enjoy the outdoors?

The next UK General Election has been announced and as all political parties work to publish manifestos ahead of Thursday 4 July, we will be lobbying all parties to commit to an Access to Nature Bill.


Outdoors Unlocked

Our 2024 general election campaign is calling for new legislation that will unlock the outdoors for all.