Spending cuts announced today could close off the countryside to an entire generation. We're predicting we will return to the ‘Forbidden Britain’ of the 1960s where accessing our countryside was often more of a challenge than a pleasure.
I'm saying in a press release today: “Millions of people are going to be affected by today’s announcement, in all sorts of difficult ways and we understand that together we face some tough times ahead. However, walking has always been a simple pleasure, a free activity that any family can do, even when money is tight.
“When today’s cuts take effect at a local level, walking in the countryside will be taken back 50 years, to a time when you were lucky to be able to reach the end of a path without difficulty. We urge local councils to safeguard this essential and cost-effective service before we close off the countryside and deny an entire generation one of life’s free joys.
“Britain is indeed facing sad times when a short walk in the countryside becomes a challenge.”
I'm going into a meeting with Caroline Spelman, DEFRA Secretary of State, later today.