Opening up the countryside for ordinary working folk

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It was great to read that the Thornbridge Brewery is launching a new pale ale called Wild Side on March 25, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Countryside & Rights Act or as is commonly known the ‘Right to Roam’ by the last Labour Government (Star, March 11).

This was a great achievement by Labour (unheralded) and the Ramblers Association who took on the powerful Land Owners to get it through. The passing of this Act more than doubled the amount of open heath and moorland now accessible to lovers of our countryside and wild open space. It continues the superb record Labour have built up over the years, working with the Ramblers Association and opening up the countryside for the enjoyment of ordinary working people and not simply for the wealthy.

It was a Labour Government way back in 1949 that introduced the concept of National Country Parks to this country and they passed the National Parks & Countryside Act, starting with five such Parks including the Peak District, the Lake District, North Yorkshire Moors etc. Indeed of the current 15 National Parks a Labour Government has created 11 of them, including two by the last government.

It also led to the formation of long-distance footpaths like The Pennine Way.

This Right to Roam Act and the Coastal Footpath Act were the latest phase in this wonderful partnerships and perhaps it’s worth remembering that we can do all the campaigning we like, but unless we have a Government sympathetic and prepared to listen and implement, then it gets nowhere.

I think Labour have proved themselves as the party of countryside lovers and deserve the support of all walkers.

Councillor Peter Price MBE

member of the Ramblers