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A Ramblers Manifesto – My Alternative

February 22, 2015

The other day 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.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2015 3:42 pm

    It puzzles me why they are not doing this off their own bat.

  2. February 22, 2015 4:05 pm

    They would have once. But the document they’ve put out is hardly the campaigning document I would have expected to see at such an important time.

  3. February 22, 2015 4:22 pm

    I agree with and support points 1, 2,3,5,6,9,10.

    Point 4 needs to talk specifically about long-term plans as well as care and maintenance.

    Point 7 doesn’t get my vote. Our rail infrastructure has been allowed to stagnate for far too long.

    Point 8, about which I confess to knowing nothing, sounds far too specific for a national manifesto.

    The principle of having a national plan for open spaces, with money to implement, should be paramount.

    Good luck


  4. February 22, 2015 7:32 pm

    I agree with most of that too, except perhaps 5 but I don’t have any real objection to that, just not sure which areas should be picked and am not sure of the benefits. An example is that we live in a national park but they have just written to me and said that they’re considering an application to build a huge commercial building on one of the last few green spaces left in our rapidly-urbanising ‘village’ and I would have thought the national park should just say no.

    I personally wouldn’t want to see further restrictions on windfarms either as I’m a supporter of them (as unpopular as that makes me). I would like to see huge restrictions on further nuclear power stations though…

  5. February 23, 2015 7:41 am

    My objections to HS2 is the damage it will cause. 25 plus ancient woodlands lost and dozens of rights of way severed. And at 50 billion pounds (and you can double that once building actually starts) would be better spent on improving our already creaking rail network. And I don’t believe that in ten years time millionaire businessmen (for whom HS2 is designed) will want to make that journey by train. Far better to improve existing rail infrastructure and reopen some of the lines that Beeching closed.
    As for National Parks the present govt has told them that commercial pressures now override everything else. We need a govt that’ll take them back to basics.

  6. February 23, 2015 2:52 pm

    As for the Blackdown Hills, I think it becomes a national issue because it’s a massive attack on an AONB which lowers the status of all AONB’s and sets a dangerous precedent.

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