Rochdale MP, Tony Lloyd, is calling on the government to extend the right to roam, which allows anyone to wander in open countryside. The move would cover more landscapes and recreational activities, which in turn would help improve the public’s connection to nature whilst opening up the mental and physical health benefits.
Tony said, “It will be 90 years this April since the mass trespass onto Kinder Scout, which was led by people from the Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire areas.
“This was an important protest which highlighted that the fact that a vast majority of people were denied access to areas of open country, and undoubtedly contributed to the eventual creation of the the UK’s first national park in the Peak District.
“These decades on, a staggering 2.7 million people in the UK still have no publicly accessible green space within easy walking distance from their home, and people with low incomes or from ethnic minorities are less likely to live near green spaces. That cannot be right.
“In Scotland and European countries there is greater provision for the right to roam, yet only 8% per cent of English land is publicly accessible, and only 3% of rivers in England and Wales.
“The government must bring forward legislation to extend the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to include rivers, woods and Green Belt land. This will bound to improve the public’s connection to nature whilst opening up the mental and physical health benefits of the natural world.”
Tony is one of 18 cross-party MPs who have signed a Parliamentary motion calling for such legislation to be brought forward. The motion also points out that such plans would deliver “on the Government’s commitment in the 25 Year Environment Plan to open up the mental and physical health benefits of the natural world”.
Notes to editors:
• The full text of the motion, and a full list of signatories can be found here: https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/59570/right-to-roam