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Ramblers call on would-be councillors to improve rights of way

 
Created on 25/04/2022 @ 11:43

The Powys Ramblers group has written to all candidates in next week’s County Council elections calling for support on improving public rights of way.

And the group is calling for elected councillors to support the appointment of a Cabinet member as Public Rights of Way Champion.

“On behalf of all Powys residents and visitors, Powys Ramblers calls upon all candidates in the forthcoming County Council elections to commit to actions to reverse the deterioration of our Public Rights of Way (PROW),” says the letter.

“There are over 9,250 kilometres of PROW in Powys, of which only 38% are in a satisfactory condition. Information collected by Welsh Government shows that Powys compares badly with other Council areas.

“In many cases routes are unmarked, overgrown or obstructed and the situation is getting worse. Many stiles are in poor condition and some are dangerous. Also, there are 7,200 reports of problems from members of the public, waiting to be resolved.

“Council surveys show that users are most concerned about obstructions and poor signage/waymarking.

“Every year, bridleways, footpaths and other routes are being lost. This neglect is not a new situation that can be attributed to COVID and unless strong action is taken, we will continue to lose our PROW.

“Footpaths and bridleways are the means by which locals and visitors can walk in the countryside. Our paths contribute to people’s physical and mental well-being and the economic viability of small businesses, particularly in the recreation and tourism sectors.

The group is asking for:

• The appointment of a Cabinet member as a Public Rights of Way champion.

• Setting priorities, clear objectives and adequate resources to prevent further deterioration and to complement tourism and health objectives.

• Protection of the small amount of funding that remains after cuts in the PROW budget, accompanied by action to increase resources dedicated to PROW.

• Clarification of the role of Town and Community Councils in looking after their PROW and delegation of more responsibility and authority.

• Enforcement action to be taken against those who fail to remove obstructions from PROW.

• Action to recruit more Countryside Volunteers and increase the opportunities for them to work effectively.

• Urgent measures to fulfil the statutory duty to signpost public rights of way where they join tarmac roads.

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