Love London, Walk London

Love London, Walk London logo

Londoners can gain massive benefits from walking at relatively little cost - it reduces the chances of developing depression, stroke, heart disease and even some cancers. Not only that, walking is free, fun and accessible – it allows us to explore our wonderful city and discover its world class attractions and hidden gems. 97% of Londoners walk, but walking across Greater London as a share of the modes of transport isn’t on the increase.  Physical inactivity is a public health challenge comparable to smoking. Obesity costs London £900m a year and one in five of the capital’s children are overweight. The full costs per year from mental health problems is estimated to be £26bn. With significant health inequality across London, we need to take advantage of the benefits increased physical activity from walking can bring to our communities.

Along with the Ramblers Areas in outer London (together representing more than 12,000 members), we campaigned before the 2016 elections for the next Mayor of London to support Ramblers’ Love London, Walk London campaign and to:

1. Employ a walking ambassador to promote London as a world class walking city for all.

As a champion for walking, the ambassador would help Londoners to realise the full physical and mental health benefits of walking as well as the environmental, social and economic benefits it brings. The ambassador would raise the profile of walking and walking routes as a healthy and enjoyable way to travel and spend our leisure time. They would ensure that new and existing developments protect and promote walking routes as well as include green space. They would champion new and existing walking routes and ensure the streets are safe for walkers.

2. Champion the Thames Path and other routes to ensure they remain safe and open for all Londoners to walk. 

We need a champion to protect our access rights across the city and make sure our walks are safe. Parts of our celebrated Thames Path are still inaccessible and the access rights unclear - we are concerned that some private developers are encroaching onto this public space. Walking opportunities like the London Loop and Capital Ring in outer London lack adequate crossings on some sections of busy roads, which make them dangerous for walkers – especially families and vulnerable adults. Fear of road traffic injury is the leading reason people give for not walking

3. Ensure equality of access to our amazing parks and green spaces, so that everyone has a green space close to their home.

Our parks provide us with the opportunity to experience the natural environment, research shows that access to green space is associated with better health outcomes, and reduce income related health inequality. Parks present opportunities to be physically active and sociable. But access to green space is not equal – in areas of deprivation, people are less likely to live near green spaces and therefore don’t have as many opportunities to experience the health benefits of green space. vii Research has indicated disparity in access to nature between boroughs, much of which can be reduced by better planning: by gaining access to inaccessible sites; opening up new access points, or by shortening a walking routes.

We're delighted that a Walking & Cycling Commissioner has been appointed by mayor Sadiq Khan, and we look forward to working with him.

The Ramblers helps everyone, everywhere, enjoy walking and protects the places we all love to walk. And that includes London, where we have more than 12,000 Ramblers members with a vote in the upcoming London elections.

In May, we’ll be voting in a new Mayor and London Assembly. The issues that will dominate the campaign election are clear: housing and development, pollution, congestion and transport.  As Ramblers, we know we can make a valuable contribution to all of these topics.  We know that the more London becomes a 'walking city' the more pleasant and enjoyable London will be for all of us.

Take two minutes to email your candidates and add your voice to our Love London, Walk London volunteer led campaign.

We're calling for the next Mayor to:

  1. Employ a walking ambassador to promote London as a world class walking city for all.
  2. Champion the Thames Path and other routes to ensure they remain safe and open for all Londoners to walk.
  3. Ensure equality of access to our amazing parks and green spaces, so that everyone has a green space close to their home.

Some people may think of the Ramblers as only being interested in the rural areas, and know us for our campaigns to defend and promote access to the countryside and the coast. As Ramblers, we already make a massive difference to thousands of people's lives in this city: we know that people in London like to walk and that they deserve a city that works for walkers.

Click here to sign the petition.

To find out more about the Ramblers London-wide campaign for 2016, check out the main campaign page at http://www.ramblers.org.uk/London.

There you'll be able to see a fully-referenced description of our campaign briefing, plus our campaign video (direct link), learn how to put our policy requests to candidates and canvassers, and access other resources for the campaign.