According to a recent report in the Guardian reveals that a national study by the Ramblers Association shows that 80% of Britain’s public footpaths are in affluent areas. And they are mostly inhabited by white, healthy and wealthy residents.
The survey conducted by the Ramblers Association focuses on the health benefits of walking. The non-profit organisation claim that Britain’s walking trails have improved the health of countless people and relieved the tax burden on the NHS by some £2 billion.
“The path network adds over 3,000 healthy years of life to the nation, worth an estimated £2 billion – more than £33 for every person in England and Wales. That’s the cost of 8.5 million ambulance call-outs or 10 million outpatient procedures.”Rambler’s Associaition
However, the Rambler Association also seek to draw our attention to the unequal balance of public footpaths throughout Britain. The organisation revealed that the wealthiest residents have access to 80% more paths than the residents of the most deprived areas and that white-dominated areas have 144% more local paths than the most ethnically diverse.
That means that ethnic minorities and ordinary working-class folk are missing out on the health benefits of walking in nature. The report also shows there is a correlation between the health and fitness of local residents and walking paths.
“Where health is the worst, the number of paths is the lowest.”Rambler’s Associaition
The Rambler’s Association are calling for local councils to address the issues of inequality. They propose extending existing walking paths by twice the length to give more residents throughout the UK easier access to walking routes.
Encouraging people to walk in nature could feasibly lower the cost of medical services provided by the NHS.