Right to Roam access in Kent is just 0.6%

Did you know access to nature is very unequally distributed across England. 72% of the Peak District is access land, compared to just 0.6% of Kent

According to data released by the Right to Roam Campaign Group, Kent has only 4,886 hectares of land where residents have the pleasure to responsibly roam. In total, 30 sq mi (48.86km2) is accessible to roam out of a possible 1,368 sq mi (3,544km2). Put another way, the  population of Kent is, 1,578,500 according to the 2021 Census, and we the residents of the Garden of England are allowed to roam over the equivalent of 9,130 football pitches, when Kent is made up of 662,279 football pitches.

There is also very little open access land in the areas surrounding our cities, towns and villages, although that might seem odd, the fact is much of the open land cannot be roamed, even though many constituencies do not have much built urban areas. And before we move on, we are not suggesting anybody roam through your garden.

The parliamentary district with the most right to roam access is Ashford with 1,018 hectares. And the lowest is South Thanet with 7.3 hectares.

We know that having regular access to thriving nature is vitally important to everyone’s physical and mental health. A simple walk in the woods can boost our immune system for a month afterwards. Exercising in a green space can help address ADHD in children, and obesity, stress and depression in adults. Physical inactivity costs the NHS around £1bn per year, and wider society around £7.4bn per year.

Being better connected to nature as a society is also crucial if we’re to resolve the climate and biodiversity crises we face. Studies show that the more people experience nature, the more likely they are to protect it. But how many of us today can name common species of wildflowers, or recognise birds by their song? A society cut off from nature is ill-equipped to recognise signs of ecosystem decline. As
scientist Robert Michael Pyle has written:

“People who care conserve; people who don’t know don’t care. What is the extinction of the condor to a child who has never known the wren?”

Yet access to nature in Kent is strikingly limited and starkly unequal. The public has a right to roam over just 0.6% of the County, the Garden of England.

The solution

A right of responsible access in England that adopts the successful approach modelled by Scotland for the past 20 years

By creating a comprehensive right of responsible access in England, a vast new public health amenity or ‘Natural Health Service’ would be created at minimal cost.

The time has come for a new Right to Roam Act in England; which would allow us to roam more freely and responsibly across the Garden of England, a place we call home.

If you want to get involved, the Right to Roam Campaign have written a letter for you to use – Support a Right to Roam Act – letter to MPs we need more than 0.6% of the land, or 9,130 football pitches for 1,578,500 souls to roam responsibly.

The Shepway Vox Team

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About shepwayvox (1801 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

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