Reacting to Theresa May’s speech and publication of the government’s 25 year plan for the environment today, the Ramblers welcomes the positive ambition. We’re keen to start to look at the detail of how this plan will be delivered, so everyone can enjoy the natural environment on foot.
We are particularly encouraged to see the ambition to increase engagement with the natural environment. Our recreational access infrastructure – including our public rights of way, access land, National Trails and other publicly accessible green space – has a critical role to play in delivering this.
What we are now keen to see is detail which:
- Ensures that the Government’s commitment to establish a new system of financial support for farmers delivers public good including enhanced public access – a principle supported just last week by the Environment Secretary in his speech at the Oxford Farming Conference.
- Aligns ambitions set out in the plan with national planning policy, so that all new developments encourage walking. We want to see Government take account of recommendations from the Natural Capital Committee to establish targets designed to ensure everyone has access to local green space.
- Ensures woodland is publicly accessible wherever possible. While the Government works to create more woodland to address key issues such as timber production, carbon capture and habitat creation, we seek to ensure this maintains access land, where people can walk using their rights under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000).
- Better supports local authorities work to maintain our much valued rights of way network – a national asset enjoyed by millions each year – in order to deliver on ambitions to improve the nation’s health and wellbeing through improved access to the environment.
We agree wholeheartedly that we all have a stake in our environment and everyone needs to pay a part in securing a better future. The Ramblers looks forward to being part of the solution.