Government missing vital opportunity to improve access to nature say Ramblers

Walking in nature

As the Environment Bill returns to Parliament this week, Rebecca Pow, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has highlighted the important of access to nature. But right now her Government are not doing enough to make this a reality for everyone.

Writing in the Daily Express, Rebecca Pow, the Government Minister with responsibility for the Environment Bill, argued that the Covid-19 pandemic has has highlighted the importance of being able to connect with our natural environment. I am a major advocate for getting people out into nature as well as promoting the role we can all play in protecting our planet.”

Yet, while they continue to highlight the importance of getting out and enjoying the natural world, without improving the Environment Bill, ministers will miss a vital opportunity to ensure everyone, everywhere can access nature.

How we can strengthen the Environment Bill to increase access to green spaces

The Ramblers welcomes many of the aims set out in the Environment Bill, which returns to Parliament this week. As it stands the Bill enables the Government to set targets and develop plans to improve ‘enjoyment’ of the natural environment. But it does not actually require the Government to do anything to support improvements in access provision where it is needed most. As a result, the Ramblers has been calling for the Bill to be strengthened to require the Government to set targets and develop plans to improve access to nature.

Stephen Russell, Policy and Advocacy Officer for the Ramblers said: "It's great to hear the Minister speak so passionately about the benefits of connecting with nature. We couldn't agree more. So we’re disappointed that the same Minister has consistently refused to strengthen the Environment Bill, which returns to Parliament today. We are now in danger of missing an opportunity to lay the foundations for improving access to nature and ensuring that these benefits are experienced by more people"

It’s time to bring ensure everyone, everywhere can access nature

To show there is widespread support across society for change, the Ramblers has launched a petition calling on the Government to make connecting people with nature a priority and to invest in the infrastructure that enables everyone to enjoy walking in nature. 

 

Karen


I live in a rural area surrounded by farmland where too many footpaths have become unpassable following the constant churning of the soil without reinstatement of the paths. Our village has no shops but is only one mile away from a local butcher with a public footpath leading to it that is inaccessible by anyone with a pushchair, large dog, disability or infirmity because of stile construction and or ploughing. During the pandemic this concern has been highlighted even more.

Ken Chisholm


A must for all our well being.

Norman Blaby


Whilst applauding the Government's recognition of the benefits for all of us of connecting with nature it is regrettable that, so far, they have failed to make that a priority and to invest in the infrastructure that enables everyone to enjoy walking in nature. Covid-19 has shown us the importance of getting out into nature for our health and well-being, so I would urge the Government to recognise the need to strengthen the environment to include the above.