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The steps we should take to rescue our footpaths | Letters Categorical Occasions

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The Ramblers’ report into public footpaths (Whitest elements of England and Wales have 144% extra native paths, examine finds, 20 September) highlights an injustice. However this can be a downside with an extended backstory and it’s about greater than misplaced rights of manner. Earlier than the approaching of the motorcar, pedestrians used the roads to get in regards to the nation, sharing them for a lot of centuries with riders and horse-drawn autos. If you learn the chronicles of a few of our biggest walkers – Coleridge, Keats and, at the same time as not too long ago as 1913, Edward Thomas – it’s clear that they’re largely strolling on roads, not footpaths.

The automotive, backed by large state funding, has progressively pushed walkers off the roads and left them with nowhere else to go.

It’s time to proper that unsuitable, but it surely’s not sufficient to have a patchwork of outdated rights of manner: we’d like a significant community that connects the place individuals are to the locations they wish to go.
Tony Hufton
Norwich

It’s no shock to me that Liverpool is among the many backside 5 native authorities for provision of public footpaths in England and Wales. Over 60 years in the past, as children we’d use a well-liked footpath to stroll from Orrell Park previous Walton jail to the native public library in Walton. The identical path, later confirmed as a public footpath, was additionally a well-liked secure off-road strolling path to Rice Lane faculty.

Not any extra. Regardless of a brave marketing campaign by my late brother, Tony Birtill (Obituary, 18 January 2022), it was gated off by the council on the behest of native property homeowners, supported by compliant councillors.

Public footpaths solely work in the event that they join up neighbourhoods. Lengthy-established footpaths ought to all the time take precedence over opportunistic residents in search of benefit for his or her properties. If residents don’t like a footpath, they need to transfer some place else.
John Birtill
Guisborough, North Yorkshire

In addition to the unequal entry to public footpaths in native communities, the shortage of public transport, significantly in rural and county council authorities, can be a significant barrier for a lot of to have the ability to take pleasure in the advantages of strolling farther afield.

Getting individuals out of automobiles via a coordinated strolling and public transport technique would additionally contribute to defending the surroundings. However this method appears extremely unlikely given the federal government’s softening on web zero pledges, together with their opposition to low emission zones (which might make native strolling extra engaging and wholesome), the delay in banning the sale of latest petrol and diesel automobiles, and the shortage of funding in public transport.
Mike Stein
Pudsey, West Yorkshire

It’s fascinating to see that the supply of footpaths in Norwich is allegedly so poor. Having moved right here from the Peak District the place she needed to drive to entry the GP, retailers or cinema, my mother-in-law now walks all over the place. The centre of town is totally pedestrianised. Certainly the primary road ever pedestrianised within the UK is in Norwich. There are various parks and footpaths alongside the river that are used as integral elements of individuals’s day by day routines, not simply as locations to “go for a stroll”.

Could I respectfully counsel that the Ramblers re-examine their methodology.
Kathy Moyse
Wacton, Norfolk

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