A new BMC Access Manifesto calling for more government support for countryside access and recreation has been sent to MPs to consider during the party conference season.
The access manifesto sets out our principles and proposals for government action on access to the countryside of England and Wales, particularly to cliffs and mountain areas.
It states that opportunities for recreation, leisure and tourism have enormous potential to deliver not only rural growth but a range of benefits, including improvements to public health, well-being and an increase in public understanding of the environment.
Yet today we are faced with new challenges threatening access to our coast and publicly owned areas, as well as uncertainty over the renegotiation of access agreements.
At a time when policy on the economy, environment and health is being debated at party conferences, the manifesto sets out in front of politicians the massive contribution access to the countryside for climbing and walking makes to the nation's economy and health.
BMC Access and Conservation Officer, Dr Cath Flitcroft said: "The BMC believes that public access and recreation must continue to be an essential component of government policy. We're calling on political parties to develop an integrated package of measures that will further secure and enhance sustainable public access to the countryside."
The manifesto puts forward 10 specific action points for government:
Ensure coastal access is not jeopardised by public expenditure cuts
Support potential changes to access legislation in Wales
Recognise and support informal recreation alongside sport
Understand personal risk in outdoor recreation and occupier's liability
Support use of agricultural subsidies to secure access opportunities
Ensure no loss of public access or the conservation value of public land through sale or transfer
Protect our countryside from inappropriate development and change
Dedicate public land to create permanent access rights
Recognise the potential of quarries for recreational opportunities
Change the wording of the CROW ACT 2000 to match the MCAA 2009
The BMC believes all these action points need addressing to maximise the benefits of access to our wider countryside.
Download the BMC Access Manifesto.
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