A while ago I suggested that the Ramblers Association’s manifesto for lobbying MP’s before the General Election was too timid. So here’s what I think they should be asking for:
1. A commitment to produce an access law equivalent to the Scottish model in the lifetime of the next parliament.
2. A recognition that footpaths and bridleways are the common heritage of us all and that these paths should not be closed or diverted without an exceptional reason, and always, if then, only in the best interests of walkers and riders. And an acknowledgement that our ancient paths are an important part of Britain’s social history. There should be ring-fenced money to allow local authorities to properly fund public rights of way.
3. A commitment to make it easier for the public to claim greens and open spaces for public use.
4. A commitment to properly fund National Parks and Areas of outstanding Natural Beauty.
5. A move towards the creation of at least one new National Park in each UK country during the lifetime of the next Parliament.
6. A commitment by all political parties that the preservation of wild and unspoiled countryside should override any commercial or infrastructure considerations.
7. Total opposition to the construction of the HS2 and HS3 high speed railway lines.
8. Total opposition to plans to construct a dual carriageway through Devon’s Blackdown Hills.
9. The creation of two new National Trails in Britain during the lifetime of the parliament, with the suggestion that they be the existing Coast to Coast Path and The Two Moors Way, which have both suffered thanks to austerity cutbacks.
10. The Coastal Footpath around all of Britain’s coastline to be completed by 2018.