The Ramblers have published their walking manifesto

The next government should reward landowners who go beyond their legal obligations to provide access to the public, Britain’s largest walkers’ charity said.

The Ramblers said those who shirk their access responsibilities should receive no more public cash, the organisation said.

The charity, which represents walkers throughout Britain, urged outdoor enthusiasts to call on parliamentary candidates to back its Manifesto for a Walking Britain. It said would-be MPs should support its campaign, which it said would create a happier, healthier society, a better environment, and a more prosperous economy.

Ramblers’ director of advocacy and engagement Nicky Philpott said: “We all know that walking is critical in helping tackle a host of existing challenges facing the country.

“With Brexit on the horizon, the relationship between the UK and the EU will take centre-stage during the election, but this shouldn’t mean that other issues are overlooked. The UK’s exit from the EU means a new agricultural policy, and that gives us the opportunity to deliver improved access for walkers.

“We want the next Government to put public payment for public goods at the centre of the new agricultural policy and to ensure that agricultural subsidies for farmers and landowners are used to enhance access to the places we all love to walk.”

The Ramblers said they were urging the next Government to reward farmers and landowners who go beyond legal requirements by enhancing public access, to ensure that no additional public funding is provided to those who don’t meet existing legal responsibilities and to favour permanent access over temporary to deliver long-term public benefit.

Ms Philpott said: “We’d also like the new Government to secure the future of our much treasured national trails and re-commit to completing the England Coast Path by 2020.

“But importantly, we want to see sustainable proposals developed to support the long-term upkeep and management of the route so walkers will be able to enjoy the path for years to come.”

The Ramblers said their manifesto highlights the need to make towns and cities safe and attractive for walking, ensuring that everyone has access to high-quality green space no more than a 10-minute walk from their home and urges the government to put walking at the heart of improving the nation’s health through a properly funded strategy for walking.

Ms Philpott said: “We’d like as many people as possible to help us champion a walking Britain by contacting their parliamentary candidates to ask them for their support.

“People can visit our website to take action and email their candidates.  With the help of the walking community, we can ensure the new government understands the benefits of building a walking Britain.”

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