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CPRE supports ‘Outdoors for All’ manifesto, launched today

13th December 2023

CPRE has joined 35 other leading national governing bodies and environmental organisations to support a manifesto seeking to extend responsible access to more green and blue spaces.

The Outdoors For All coalition calls for new legislation to open up more of our countryside, including waterways, woodland, riversides and downland for public enjoyment. A new bill would create opportunities for people to enjoy more land and water for activities including cycling, walking, climbing, horse riding, caving, swimming, flying and paddling.

Read the manifesto (pdf)

The UK ranks lowest of 14 European nations on connectedness to nature. It also ranks 11th out of 15 European nations on levels of physical activity. Nations that rank higher than the UK have far more freedom to enjoy their outdoor spaces.

The government has set its sights on getting 3.5m more people active by 2030, through its Sporting Future Strategy. It has also committed to giving the public access to green and blue spaces within a 15-minute walk of home, through its Environmental Improvement Plan. The Outdoors For All manifesto argues that to meet these targets, rights to responsibly access the outdoors must be expanded.

Less than 4% of rivers in England have an uncontested public right of access. The path network is frequently inaccessible and 19.6m people do not live within a 15-minute walk of green and blue spaces. Access land which gives us our current and limited right to roam covers just 8% of England. This right extends only to those on foot and excludes others such as equestrians, paddlers and cyclists.

Physical inactivity is associated with 1 in 6 deaths in the UK and is estimated to cost the country £7.4bn annually (including £0.9bn to the NHS). Our population is 20% less active than in the 1960s and is forecast to be 30% less active by 2030. It is estimated that good access to green and blue spaces would save an astonishing £2.1bn in health spending every year.

Tackling barriers

Elli Moody, Director of Policy, Campaigns and Communications at CPRE, said:

‘At CPRE we know how much people love the countryside and their local green spaces. We campaign to protect and enhance these places for people, nature and the planet, with a focus on tackling the barriers that can make them difficult to access.

‘CPRE was founded with the aim of ensuring a ‘countryside for all’ and we hold true to that mission today. That’s why we’re working with our partners and the government to strengthen people’s connections with the natural world. We want to see new, improved and better protected Green Belts, a new network of regional parks and for the government to deliver on its Environmental Improvement Plan commitment to ensure everyone lives within a 15-minute walk of a green or blue space.’

Adults and children hiking in the Cotswolds
Fas Khan / Unsplash


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