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‘Outdoors For All’ – CPRE joins leading organisations supporting manifesto

6th March 2024

Forty two leading national governing bodies and environmental organisations have joined together to support an Outdoors For All manifesto, seeking to extend responsible access to more green and blue landscapes.

Signatories include representatives from paddlesport, swimming, horse riding, climbing, rambling, wheeling, flying and many more. The manifesto also has the support of National Trust, The Canal & Rivers Trust, The Wildlife Trust and Campaign For National Parks.

The government has set its sights on getting 3.5m more people active by 2030, through its ‘Get Active’ 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.

Ben Seal, Head of Access & Environment at British Canoeing said:

“I am extremely proud British Canoeing is part of the Outdoors For All Coalition. With a general election on the horizon, it is so important that we speak with a unified voice. Outdoors For All sets out a really compelling case for change. We have a real opportunity now to create a lasting legacy for the next generation.

Dr Catherine Flitcroft, Senior Policy and Campaigns Manager, British Mountaineering Council said:

“The outdoors really is for everyone and the past few years have demonstrated this. And yet those in power have yet to fully realise the huge health, economic, and social benefits of this – for too long access to our green and blue spaces has not been seen as a priority and it’s heart-warming to know that so many of us believe this needs to change. The BMC is proud to support this partnership vision for action.”

Andrew Denton, Chief Executive of the Outdoor Industries Association said:

“The Outdoor industries are delighted to support this document – our core mission is to Get more people , more active , outside and many of the proposals and recommendations in this document supports just that. We look forward to the response from all political parties, and their proposals on how to link the outdoors to health and many other positive incomes for the UK in their own 2024 manifestos.”

Tom Platt, Director of Advocacy and Operations at the Ramblers said:

‘No one should have to travel far or make a big effort to experience the enormous health and wellbeing benefits of being in nature. Yet almost 20 million people in England do not have easy access to a green or blue space close to home and many people also face physical or social barriers that prevent them from getting outdoors. We’re delighted to be part of the Outdoors for All coalition, supporting a range of reforms to ensure that everyone can access nature.’

Dom Higgins, Head of Health and Education at The Wildlife Trusts said:

‘The evidence is loud and clear – being active in nature helps people grow, live and age well. However the lack of natural places in many neighbourhoods across the country is impacting people’s mental and physical health, leading to shorter lives and fewer years spent in good health. There are structural barriers, such as access to public transport, as well as social inequity, which means that some people from ethnic minority groups, for example, are less likely to access nature. This is unacceptable, but it is also avoidable. It is time to create good and equitable access to natural places for all’.

Xavier Brice, Chief Executive at Sustrans:

“Access to nature, wherever you live, has many rich rewards including better physical and mental health and a chance to explore our surroundings. The government is right to recognise that everyone should live close to areas of green spaces and water bodies. Making this a reality would transform life for millions of city dwellers.”

Mark Weston, Director of Access at The British Horse Society said:

“We are pleased to be part of the Outdoors For All Coalition. Getting out and about with horses provides proven significant health benefits and access to off road routes and places provides safe places for equestrians to enjoy the outdoors. But currently, riders have access to only 22% of the rights of way network, and carriage drivers to just 5%, and this needs to greatly improve. Through this coalition, we have a great opportunity to work collaboratively to make sure the great outdoors is available for everyone to enjoy for future generations to come.”

Jon Moses of the Right to Roam Campaign said:

‘Two years ago the government promised a “quantum shift” in access to the outdoors and called for “big creative ideas” for “structural and system changes” on access reform. They may not have delivered, but we have. Outdoors for All represents the collective voice of the millions of people calling for the right to access nature on their doorstep, and the skills, confidence and infrastructure they need to do it.”

Kate Ashbrook, General Secretary of the Open Spaces Society, said:

‘We are delighted to sign up to this manifesto for the outdoors, and in particular to call for better access and high-quality open space on people’s doorsteps.’

Phil Nunnerley, Chair of Endurance GB said:

“Providing opportunities for everyone to take part in outdoor sport, whatever their preferred discipline, is important for the health of the nation.”

Dr Andrew Smart, Conservation and Science Manager, Froglife said:

“Froglife is pleased to be able to support the ‘Outdoors for All’ manifesto which aligns with our strategy to ‘transform lives’; helping communities spend more time in good quality green spaces and habitats where reptiles and amphibians are found, whether that be countryside, local parks, community spaces or gardens.”

Kate Rew, The Outdoor Swimming Society said:

The Outdoor Swimming Society sees first hand the barriers to swimming in rivers, reservoirs and lakes. We know how easy they would be to remove and how much free health and happiness that would give millions of people. We are proud to stand united with all our partners in the Outdoors For All Coalition, asking for that change to come now.

Martin Baxter, Sites Officer for the BHPA said:

“The British Hang gliding and Paragliding Association is delighted to be part of the Outdoors For All Coalition. It is time to review the Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000 to give better access for environmentally friendly activities in England & Wales. It just doesn’t make any sense that our members can walk to a launch site, fly over it and land, but legislation prevents us from the brief and harmless act of taking off from Open Access land.

Simon McGrath, Head of Communications and External Relations at The Camping and Caravanning Club said;

“Camping in all its different forms puts you on the doorstep of the countryside and The Camping and Caravanning Club is proud to get behind the Outdoors for All alliance. Our members value the importance spending time in the great outdoors, and it’s vital we help more people to connect with nature through accessible, sustainable and responsible initiatives.”

David Toft, Chair of Hayfield Kinder Trespass Group:

“Our group are extremely excited to be part of the Outdoors for All Coalition. This is a critical moment for everyone who wants to secure and, crucially, extend our access to open spaces, urban and rural, land and water. The breadth, depth and clarity of the arguments and proposals set out in the coalition document form a robust platform for us all to campaign together to achieve the advances we need to benefit everyone, now and in the future.”

Graeme Collins CEO of the Trail Riders Fellowship said:

‘Outdoors For All calls on government and authorities to address the inequalities in public access so that everyone can better explore, enjoy and benefit from access to the countryside. Beyond this, it demonstrates how organisations within the sport and recreation sector who share a love for nature respect the freedom of all users to access the countryside in their preferred manner. This helps build a more inclusive and tolerant society whilst contributing to the rural economy and communities.”

Man using mobility aid in the countryside British Canoeing


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