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Country Paths in Crisis

November 25, 2013

 

 

100,000 path problems stopping walkers in their track, say the Ramblers Association

 

 

 

There are over 100,000 outstanding path problems ranging from missing signposts and overgrown hedges to dangerous barbed wire and flooded paths

 

 Our Paths in Crisis report reveals there over 100,000 problems on paths waiting to be dealt with by local authorities in England, with the growing backlog putting walkers off from enjoying the outdoors and having a negative impact on our health and local economies.

 

 We contacted every local authority in England using a freedom of information (FOI) request to ask about rights of way budgets and activities and were shocked at the number of unresolved problems ranging from missing signposts to dangerous barbed wire, affecting paths.

 

 We also discovered a worrying 4,000 historic paths are waiting to be designated as rights of way, meaning they would be protected for future generations of walkers to use by being put on official records known as ‘definitive maps’.

 

 If the current rate of work were to stay the same it would take over 13 years to clear the bottleneck of paths waiting to be put on the map and two years to get through the outstanding path problems, but 30% of councils have cut their budgets this year alongside reductions in staffing.

 

 The Paths in Crisis report calls on councils to recognise the value of the path network by addressing the backlogs, to stop the severe and disproportionate cuts to rights of way budgets and staff levels and to work with us to try and find solutions to the path crisis.

 

 We’ve highlighted 11 ‘Councils of Concern’ which have the most path problems and have made the biggest budget cuts including Somerset, where 279 paths are waiting to be put on the map, Cornwall, which has 19,614 path problems waiting to be tackled, and Oldham, which slashed its rights of way budget by more than half this year.

 

 Throughout the report we’ve shown how we can help and how we’re working with 44 councils to improve paths. In Oldham our volunteers investigate footpath problems for the council while in Surrey our volunteers work with the council to keep paths in good repair.

 

 “Our paths have never been in such a poor condition in the 20 years I’ve been working in outdoor access,” said Hugo Blomfield, who compiled the Paths in Crisis report. “The Ramblers is here to help, but council leaders must ensure the resources are in place to support this vital work.”

 

 Read the report and find out how you can help ensure funding cuts don’t stop us in our tracks by volunteering for us.

 

– See more at: http://www.ramblers.org.uk/what-we-do/news/2013/november/paths-in-crisis.aspx#sthash.Vw0M1TTM.dpuf

 

 

00,000 path problems stopping walkers in their tracks

Walkers on overgrown pathThere are over 100,000 outstanding path problems ranging from missing signposts and overgrown hedges to dangerous barbed wire and flooded paths

Our Paths in Crisis report reveals there over 100,000 problems on paths waiting to be dealt with by local authorities in England, with the growing backlog putting walkers off from enjoying the outdoors and having a negative impact on our health and local economies.

We contacted every local authority in England using a freedom of information (FOI) request to ask about rights of way budgets and activities and were shocked at the number of unresolved problems ranging from missing signposts to dangerous barbed wire, affecting paths.

We also discovered a worrying 4,000 historic paths are waiting to be designated as rights of way, meaning they would be protected for future generations of walkers to use by being put on official records known as ‘definitive maps’.

If the current rate of work were to stay the same it would take over 13 years to clear the bottleneck of paths waiting to be put on the map and two years to get through the outstanding path problems, but 30% of councils have cut their budgets this year alongside reductions in staffing.

The Paths in Crisis report calls on councils to recognise the value of the path network by addressing the backlogs, to stop the severe and disproportionate cuts to rights of way budgets and staff levels and to work with us to try and find solutions to the path crisis.

We’ve highlighted 11 ‘Councils of Concern’ which have the most path problems and have made the biggest budget cuts including Somerset, where 279 paths are waiting to be put on the map, Cornwall, which has 19,614 path problems waiting to be tackled, and Oldham, which slashed its rights of way budget by more than half this year.

Throughout the report we’ve shown how we can help and how we’re working with 44 councils to improve paths. In Oldham our volunteers investigate footpath problems for the council while in Surrey our volunteers work with the council to keep paths in good repair.

“Our paths have never been in such a poor condition in the 20 years I’ve been working in outdoor access,” said Hugo Blomfield, who compiled the Paths in Crisis report. “The Ramblers is here to help, but council leaders must ensure the resources are in place to support this vital work.”

Read the report and find out how you can help ensure funding cuts don’t stop us in our tracks by volunteering for us.

– See more at: http://www.ramblers.org.uk/what-we-do/news/2013/november/paths-in-crisis.aspx#sthash.Vw0M1TTM.dpuf

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 27, 2013 4:29 pm

    Hello, I’ve just launched a wordpress Ruskin blog site and your site came up as having related material, which proved true enough! Ruskin, as you know, was an inveterate walker and hiker and nature lover. Why don’t you have a look at the site and let’s see if there might be useful ways to link our audiences? http://www.whyruskin.wordpress.com. Cheers, Jim

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