The York Ramblers invited Hugh Bayley to join them on a walk. Because of constraints on his time Mr Bayley was not able to do this, but agreed to meet some of the committee and York members for an hour in a local pub.
Some of the points made by the York Ramblers were that National Parks funding has been cut drastically, leading to problems of path maintenance. This is having an effect in the North York Moors National Park where many of the group's walks take place. Similarly within the North Yorks County Council area, cutbacks have led to the loss of one of the Rangers, which has meant that the group's volunteer maintenance working party has not been given any work for almost two years.
Mr Bayley said he would contact DEFRA on our behalf to ask when the Government will introduce the Forests Bill.
The group also expressed concern that the loosening of planning regulations could be a threat to PROW and access to current walking areas. Mr Bayley said that Labour would be more sympathetic to this issue than the other parties.
He made the points that, if elected in 2015, Labour would not promise to change very much in the first two years, but would expand services after that. This could include improving footpaths and access as a way of promoting walking as an activity which is beneficial to health.
He said that landowners in receipt of Common Agricultural Policy funding should be obliged to ensure well-maintained access on their land where appropriate.
One of the main points which came out of the discussion was that countryside groups should talk to each other to show a common purpose, and that lobbying MPs and being persistent is sometimes the best way of achieving success.