The BMC has joined several other outdoor organisations in calling on the Prime Minister and the Defra Secretary of State to state their priorities for access to the outdoors.
A letter has been sent to the PM, signed by the BMC’s Chief Executive Paul Davies, which outlines plans for how the outdoors could be made more accessible to more people.
In the letter, 14 organisations have in fact outlined three headline proposals
Fair access for all to the outdoors
Better opportunities for young people to experience and enjoy the outdoors
Investment in people’s wellbeing and ability to enjoy the outdoors.
One of the main actions that the letter calls for is for levelling up missions for health and wellbeing to have public access to nature at their heart, as well as for farmers to be rewarded for creating more opportunities for the public to enjoy the outdoors through future farming schemes.
Dr Cath Flitcroft, Access & Conservation Policy Officer said: “We are calling for a clear, ambitious, long-term national strategic plan for outdoor recreation.
“Investments in our green and blue environments will change lives for the better, while teaching people to become good custodians of the natural world.”
Everyday, people are getting active by walking, horse riding, swimming, paddling, camping and climbing. It is well known that access to the outdoors has wide reaching benefits including for health and a prosperous economy. However, the ability to enjoy the outdoors is far from equal to all and we want to remove those barriers to our green and blue spaces.
The three proposals that have been sent to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Defra set out a clear path to a more inclusive outdoors for all.
Firstly, fair, shared access for all to the outdoors means a more equal freedom to roam, on land and water, with more and better connected spaces close to where people live. Long-term investment for walking, horse riding, cycling routes and the expansion of green public transport would be beneficial not only for people's health, but also in reducing our impact on climate.
Secondly, better opportunities for young people to experience and enjoy the outdoors must be a priority for future policy. There needs to be a much greater focus on the responsible enjoyment of the outdoors from a young age and the Countryside Code should be included as part of an outdoor recreation curriculum.
Thirdly, greater investment in people’s wellbeing and ability to enjoy the outdoors would promote good health, avoiding future costs to the NHS and helping to build a better quality of life for all. One of the key proposals within this theme includes a fund to be established to support local authorities to create, improve and promote green and blue routes in towns and cities.
The organisations who have signed the letter include: British Canoeing, BMC, Ramblers, Open Spaces Society, Living Streets, RYA, Disabled Ramblers, British Cycling, OIA, the British Horse Society, Sport and Recreation Alliance, We Are Cycling UK, Swim England, Mountain Training England.
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