People are right to trespass in the fight for the right to roam England, says Green MP | Access to green spaces

People all over England are right to trespass to defend their right to roam, Caroline Lucas He said.

The Green MP will introduce a bill later in October to allow the public to access woodland and greenbelt in the same way they can currently walk on the Coast Path.

Currently, the Country and Road Rights Act (CRoW) 2000 gives a statutory right of public access to about 8% of Englandincluding mountains, swamps, rocks, some lowlands and commons, along with the recently created England Coast Trail.

Activists have called for this to be expanded to include rivers, forests and greenbelt lands. Ninety-seven percent of the rivers are currently off-limits to the public, and tens of thousands of acres of forest have benefited from public support, yet they remain inaccessible to the public.

Although her campaign seems drastic, Lucas says it’s not actually a huge request. Speaking to the Guardian shortly before the bill was launched, Lucas said: “I think if the measures in the bill were to be implemented, instead of just getting to 8% of English territory, we’d be close to about 30%. So it’s a modest question. Extremely “.

She notes that the bill has important implications for inequality. The majority of people who do not have access to nearby nature are people in low-income areas who do not have a car, which is necessary to access most nature reserves. These areas also tend to have fewer trees and smaller gardens.

Caroline Lucas.
Caroline Lucas. Photo: David Levine/The Guardian

Opening up areas around cities will allow more people to easily visit nature, which has become well established Physical and mental health benefitsand for contracts now Consultants You have He appealed to the government to prioritize access to green spaces in order to improve life.

But Conservative ministers say that while this may sound like an attractive idea, they are concerned the public will disrupt rural businesses and litter. The debate over the so-called irresponsible public is a “distraction,” says Lucas.

“I think it’s a very easy way to try to end the conversation. It’s not your brute swimmers polluting the rivers and it’s not your people exercising the right to roam leaving huge pieces of decaying equipment, you know, stashed away in the woods and so forth.”

Lucas recently met Richard Binion, the Tory counterpart responsible for Nature Access (and also a big landowner Himself).

“We had a long conversation about how we could do more to assuage understandable concerns about litter, dogs, all the arguments that always come up when you talk about increasing access to nature. It seems ironic to me that the government has already done a great deal of work on country law however She didn’t even bother to post it.”

In Scotland, where there is a right to roam, she points out that there has been a lot of education about responsible access to the countryside, and the system appears to be working well.

“There’s a problem that Richard Binion himself has admitted, that problem of having nature close by, so you don’t have to get in a car or go very far. And one of the areas we’ve been talking about is that feeling of making sure that people don’t live more than a short distance away. Of good quality open green space as well.”

The government earlier this year Cancel a review of the right to roaming In rural England, activists are angry because trespassing law prevents people from walking freely across the country.

Over the past few months, mass infringement It took place across the country on private estates by activists demanding the right to roam. They have strict rules about leaving areas in better condition than they found them, for example by picking up trash, and sticking to forest trails and trails so as not to disturb the wildlife. The deputy agrees with the excesses – and said she would like to do them herself.

She said, “I agree with them.” “I think they did an incredibly responsible job. I was really sorry I couldn’t make one locally last week. The idea that you don’t leave any traces but we actually have a positive impact, so if you see trash picking up, don’t take anything home except memories and pictures.

“I think it fills part of that void that I’ve been referring to in terms of lack of information and education from elsewhere. So I think that’s a really important political point. I think it gives people the confidence to feel that yes, we have the right to be able to access nature “.

The direction the new government appears to be taking on environmental issues is causing great concern to Lucas.

“We need someone in Defra who will really stand up for nature. We know that there is no financial capital that does not depend on natural capital.

It was the treasury that realized this before. She said the Dasgupta review that she commissioned certainly made that point clear. “For all this rush to growth, if that growth is going to basically swallow up natural capital, and I don’t like that language, and eat up the environment in which all wealth is built, it’s not going to be very sustainable for long.”

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