Article Types News General election 2024 - have your say 

General election 2024 - have your say 


With the general election announced for Thurs 4 July 2024, get behind the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) as we lobby for more access to nature, outdoor education and more protection for the places we love to walk and climb in. Pick one (or all!) of the below and ask your election candidates if they will back it and why it’s important to them.

The BMC has these simple priorities for future MPs:

1 Access to nature so we feel connected and healthy

Our population is 20% less active than in the 1960s and is forecast to be 35% less active by 2030. Good access to green and blue spaces would bring more opportunities to be active and help reduce pressure on the NHS.

The BMC would like to see new legislation to help extend our freedom to roam to more landscapes, including waterways, woodland, riversides and downland, similar to the access rights in Scotland where there is a default of access. This would allow more and better-connected spaces close to where people live. People with a stronger connection to nature are more likely to behave positively towards the environment.

  • Ask your election candidate if they believe access to our green and blue spaces is a priority in helping to decrease pressure on the NHS and what they would do to enable more people to feel connected to nature in their constituency.

2. Access to nature so more people of all backgrounds and abilities can get out and be active close to home

Current access legislation is not doing enough for everyone and for too long public access has not been seen as a priority. The current freedom to roam under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 gives us access to only 11% of England and Wales, often away from population centres and requires a car to access. The BMC would like to see our access rights expanded to more landscapes to address this and a clear cross-party plan to ensure legally binding targets for public access. Read our Outdoors for All Manifesto here.

  • Ask your election candidate if they will champion the case for fair, shared, sustainable open access to more landscapes and put the “15-minute to nature” pledge at the heart of their campaign.

3. Educate, inspire and inform responsible behaviour

New rights of access must come with a duty to behave responsibly and respect to those who live and work in rural communities.

The BMC believe we urgently need investment in the promotion of the Countryside Code so people know how to access land responsibly, safely and in a way that protects the environment. We also need support to ensure children are given the opportunity to spend regular, extended periods of time in nature at every stage of their education to embed an understanding and love of wildlife and wild spaces, life and risk-management skills and self-sufficiency.

  • Ask your election candidate if they agree that outdoor education needs to be a greater priority, that children need more opportunities for adventure in the outdoors, and that the Countryside Code needs more promotion and understanding.

4. Climate change and reducing emissions

While vital efforts to reduce GHG emissions still have the potential to limit the extent of global temperature rises, the climbing, hill walking and mountaineering community is already experiencing impacts of extreme temperatures; storms, heat waves, shorter and less predictable winters, wild- fires, air pollution and sea level rise.

At the BMC, we’re supporting Zero Hour, the campaign group behind the Climate and Nature Bill - an important new law that seeks to address the full extent of the climate and nature crises.

  • Ask your election candidates if they will back the Climate & Nature Bill and why it’s important to them.

5. An efficient and fair national public transport system

The BMC supports active modes of travel such as walking and cycling, and supports campaigns and policies that improve suitable public transport services for rural and upland communities and their visitors that need to be better connected.

The BMC would welcome spending on active and sustainable travel includes schemes that enable people to access the natural environment without having to use a car.

  • Ask your election candidates if they would support and prioritise better public transport, safer cycling networks and if they are aware of issues locally?

6. Protecting nature and landscapes for future generations

The BMC support Wildlife and Countryside Link’s Nature 2030 proposals. We want these asks to ensure all parties stand on a platform with nature’s recovery at its heart.

The next Westminster Government will be in breach of the law if it does not halt the decline of wildlife in England by 2030. Failure to halt nature’s decline is already having and will have more serious consequences. Businesses and communities already face flooding, fire and food shortages. People’s health will suffer. Our economy will dwindle, with 12% of GDP exposed to nature-related risks. Precious wildlife could disappear forever.

  • Ask your election candidate if they understand the economic and ecological value of restoring nature and if they will help ensure Government meet its legally-binding target to halt nature’s decline by 2030.

7. Recognise the value of grassroots sports alongside elite participation

The government’s own figures show that every £1 spent on sport and physical activity generates almost £4 in return across health and wellbeing – providing an annual contribution of £85.5 billion to the country through social and economic benefits.

Growing participation at grassroots level is critical to the sustainability and viability of sport. Policy priorities must therefore tackle both equally and more political champions of outdoor recreation and grassroots sports are needed.

  • Ask your election candidate if they are aware of the green and blue spaces or areas of open countryside in their constituency and what the popular outdoor activities are in the area.

Donate to the BMC Access & Conservation Trust to help us preserve the places you love, click here.