Paths for All calls on local election candidates to champion walking

We are calling on candidates in the May local elections to support Scotland to be a nation where everyone can walk or wheel.

Walking Forward Local Elections 2022

Paths for All want to see communities where everyone has the opportunity and capability to be active everyday for healthier, happier and greener local communities.

Our call to candidates ‘Walking Forward’ details the huge benefits walking brings for people and communities and sets out key ways that candidates can support people to walk more for recreation and travel.

Kevin Lafferty, Paths for All’s Chief Executive Officer said:

Walking and wheeling are ways that everyone can maintain good health in body and mind. They are also the lowest carbon forms of travel.

If political parties and candidates show leadership to improve communities for walking, it will help to tackle climate change, improve health and wellbeing, protect nature and improve air quality. It will support people to be active every day, connect communities and support local economies. Walking is free and enabling everyone to take part has the potential to reduce health inequalities.

We want to see local communities walk forward to a happier, healthier, greener future by supporting walking and wheeling and putting people first.

We are asking for local government to make a difference through:

  • Investment: Investment in infrastructure, whether it’s in towns or rural areas is essential. Investment in behaviour change programmes can be targeted to help the most vulnerable to participate in physical activity and reduce health inequalities.
  • Maintenance: Climate change means that path network maintenance is more important than ever before. If paths are in good condition more people will walk or wheel for short journeys rather than driving. Through supporting regular Footway Condition Surveys you can help ensure our pavements are usable and don’t act as a barrier or hazard through disrepair.
  • Safer communities: Local authorities can help keep our communities safer by promoting walking and wheeling, improving lighting, reducing speed limits to 20mph and enforcing pavement parking legislation and new workplace parking regulations. 
  • Local impact: Local decision-making can make a huge difference to people’s lives. Often small-scale interventions, such as dropped kerbs, accessible public toilets and signage can make a big difference. Local communities work best when local services are easily accessible as part of 20-minute neighbourhood schemes and investment is made in improving the infrastructure enabling walking and wheeling access to schools and services. This also helps to reduce traffic congestion and associated pollution.
  • Part of the bigger picture: Local authorities can support the delivery of the National Walking Strategy at a local level to enable a step change going forward making Scotland a walking friendly country.