Greater cross-government working required to protect nation’s favourite activity

The Alliance is calling for government departments to work closer together to make sure the nation's favourite activity, walking, has a sustainable future. 

Government needs to work better together to make sure that the nation’s favourite physical activity, walking, remains accessible.  

Today, the House of Lords Select Committee on Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 released a report that highlighted concerns for the sustainability of the National Trails Network.  

The report considered concerns over the long-term funding for the National Trails Network and called on Defra to work with ramblers and other organisations to develop proposals for how to create a sustainable funding structure.  

The latest Active Lives results, which captures how physically active the nation is, confirms that walking remains the most popular way to get active.18.6 million people were active through walking for leisure in 2016 – 2017. 

Working collaboratively with organisations that aim to make walking as open and as accessible for people, of all backgrounds and abilities, is a positive step in addressing the sustainability issues of the National Trails Network. But if we are to make sure that the National Trails Network is protected, government must work better together.  

Cross-government working, as identified in the government sport strategy Sporting Future, will create opportunities for sport and physical activity to influence strategies from departments such as Defra. It will also help government to recognise that investing in sport and physical activity will help to solve some of the nation’s biggest public health issues including diabetes and obesity.  

If we want to continue encouraging people to go walking, from all communities across the country, then the government must make sure that the nation’s trails are accessible and have a long-term sustainable future.