Wednesday, 20 October 2010

WARNING - Walking Route Cuts .....

Impending Government cuts could put the countryside out of bounds to walkers, according to the Ramblers.
The charity is predicting a return to the 1960s, with footpaths blocked and rights of way not maintained, if expected cuts to local authority budgets are imposed.

The coalition Government’s comprehensive spending review will be announced tomorrow and the Ramblers fear the cutbacks, of up to 40 per cent, will herald a return to the deplorable state of the country’s footpaths 50 years ago.

The organisation issued a top ten of walkers’ favourites that could be under threat, including Cumbria, North Yorkshire, the Peak District and Cornwall.

Ramblers’ chief executive Tom Franklin said: “In 2010 people feel confident that the footpaths they plan to follow will be open and easy to use.  If we return to the forbidden Britain of the 1960s, with its pot-luck footpath network we will see a dramatic reduction in the number of people walking.

“This not only spells bad news for the economy, but a decline in walking will also put an unsustainable burden on the NHS.”

The Ramblers said £7.3bn was spent on visits to the countryside last year. But the charity said cuts to rights of way budgets will make walking in many popular destinations problematic and will adversely affect tourism – the last thing rural economies need in these troubling times.

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