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.