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.

We are pleased to see the new role of The Mayor’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner being recruited, as a Walking Ambassador for London has been one of the campaign asks for the Love London, Walk London campaign since its inception a year ago.

The new Mayor of London's Walking and Cycling Programme will bring together all the relevant activities undertaken by Transport for London (TfL) and key partners to help promote and support healthy, active, non-polluting travel in London.   The Mayor’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner will have a good understanding of the benefits of walking and cycling and the issues and challenges relating to increasing these activities in London.  Most importantly the new Commissioner will be a credible and passionate change agent, who will represent London’s interests on walking and cycling at events and to the media to raise the profile of walking and cycling in London.

The role will be within Transport for London for pastoral care, however working very closely with the Mayors office and particularly with the Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross. The Mayor's office will drive the agenda for the incumbent.

The key deliverable of the position is to be an ambassador for these methods of transport and to harness the delivery engine of Transport for London along with the influence of the Mayor's office to respond to the challenges of transport congestion in London as well as promoting wellbeing within the capital.

Whilst our ideal would have been a role focused on walking, and there has been some comment in the media that a role incorporating both walking and cycling should be a full-time one, we see this as a key campaign success - and we look forward to working with the new The Mayor’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner once recruited.

 

 

We started the Love London, Walk London campaign to make sure that walking was included in the debate about what London needs from its mayor and from the GLA ahead of the elections at the start of May.

We were successful in this, with many of the candidates and parties talking about walking in their manifestos, two mayoral candidates coming walking with us, and with walking being mentioned by all of the main candidates who took part in the Greener London hustings in March.  We made good contacts with other candidates who weren’t, for logistical reasons, able to come for a walk with us, and with their staff, as well as with other community organisations and charities whose aims overlap with ours in London.

London’s new mayor – Sadiq Khan – made a strong manifesto commitment to walking here, so our campaign becomes about holding him to account to follow through on that commitment building on the conversations we had before the election. Sian Berry and Caroline Pidgeon, both of whom came for a walk with us and were sympathetic to our aims, were elected to the assembly, so we will work with them as well as other assembly members from all parties.

We continue campaigning for the mayor to:

  • Employ a Walking Champion
  • To champion The Thames Path and other routes to ensure they remain safe and open for all Londoners to walk
  • To ensure equality of access to our amazing parks and green spaces, so that everyone has a green space close to their home

We will keep you updated via this website on our progress.  If you would like to get involved in the campaign, please get in touch here.

Love London, Walk London logo

In the run-up to the election, we invited all of the major candidates to walk with us. Sian Berry (Green) and Caroline Pidgeon (Lib Dem) accepted. They, are both on the Greater London Assembly now. Congratulations to them.

At the Green electoral hustings, Sadiq Khan (Labour) described the Right to Roam as a big victory and said we need something similarly big for London.

Clare Wadd, our Publicity Officer has compiled the following list of promises from the Labour manifesto that we look forward to seeing implemented:

  • Appoint a pedestrian champion at TfL, to lead on measures to make walking safer and easier across London.
  • Complete the Thames Path, working with boroughs, landowners and business to complete missing sections and protect access to what is already open.
  • Open up more walking routes around London, and work with local authorities and TfL to improve the London Loop and Capital Ring walks.
  • Encourage the roll-out of 20mph zones across the city by backing the '20’s Plenty For Us' campaign.
  • Prioritise the improvement of high streets, squares and public spaces across the city – including outer London and inner London.
  • Work to break down some of the city’s physical barriers, such as by backing the Rotherhithe-Canary Wharf cycle and pedestrian bridge.
  • Make London the first "National Park City" – setting a long term target to make more than 50 per cent of our city green and ensure that all children have access to nature.
  • Oppose building on the Green Belt, which is even more important today than it was when it was created.
  • Strengthen protections for open spaces within the London Plan, including playing fields, Metropolitan Open Land, and our Sites of Importance for Local Nature Conservation and nature reserves.
  • Protect wildlife and biodiversity by creating green corridors through the city.

We congratulate Sadiq Khan on his election to the Mayoralty, and look forward to working with him and the GLA to enable walking to make London a healthier, more pleasant and sustainable city.

Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat leader on the London Assembly and Liberal Democrat London Mayoral Candidate joined London Ramblers for a walk on February 24th.

 CarolinePidgeonWalk

Caroline and some of her team joined Ramblers volunteers and staff to walk along the Thames Path from City Hall, led by the Chair of The Ramblers, Des Garrahan, himself a Londoner.  We talked to Caroline about our campaign to make London a walking city ahead of the mayoral elections in May, and asked her to support our campaign asks.

London Ramblers are calling on the next Mayor of London to:

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

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

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

Find our more and get involved in the campaign: www.ramblers.org.uk/london.

We have asked all the main candidates in the election to come for a walk with us.

On the 26th of January 2015, Sian Berry, Green Party mayoral candidate, stepped out with the London Ramblers’ volunteers to stroll down the Thames Path and talk about the many benefits of walking and how the next Mayor can help to build a walking city.

With obesity costing London £900m a year and one in five of the capital’s children overweight, the Ramblers knows that walking is more important than ever.

Sian Berry, Des Garrahan and London Ramblers our walkingSian Berry said, “Many of our greatest walking amenities were fought for by visionary people whose achievements we now take for granted. We shouldn’t – and we should bear in mind that, without them, the South Bank would be as unwalkable as the North Bank. If I’m elected Mayor of London I’ll prioritise walking as a healthy and enjoyable way to travel and spend leisure time. It’s central to the Green vision, and protecting the Thames Path from the encroachment of developers or properly preserving and signing the London Loop and the Capital Ring are to me an essential part of the job of running London for the common good."

Des Garrahan, Chair of The Ramblers, led the walk, and commented “Walking works to prevent physical and mental health problems and offers an effective, low-cost solution to many of the problems we face in London. We’d love to see our communities walk more for health, travel and pleasure.”

London Ramblers are calling on the next Mayor of London to:

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

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

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

Find our more and get involved in the campaign: www.ramblers.org.uk/london.