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‘Sheffield and the Peak District National Park are the crucible of the access crusade. The new Sheffield Environmental Movement is well placed to enable everyone to enjoy the park’s special qualities today’.
So said Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary, when she launched the new charity, the Sheffield Environmental Movement, led by Maxwell Ayamba, at Sheffield Hallam University on Thursday evening (14 July).
‘We live in uncertain times,’ Kate continued, ‘but our national parks and wild places are constant and give us stability, refreshment and renewal. It is vital that everyone should be able to enjoy them. That was the intention of the government nearly 70 years ago when the then Minister of Town and Country Planning, Lewis Silkin, introduced the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Bill in 1949 as “a people’s charter for the open air”.
‘Today there are still barriers preventing people from minority communities from enjoying what the parks can offer. The Campaign for National Parks’ excellent Mosaic Project did much to ameliorate this, but now that project has ended and the Sheffield Environmental Movement is taking up the baton in Sheffield.
‘We need good public-transport systems, and a warm welcome to all visitors to the parks. They need to know where they can go and what they can do there; once they have tasted the exhilaration, freedom and unparalleled landscapes of our national parks their lives will be enriched.
‘I am delighted to launch the Sheffield Environmental Movement which aims to help communities in Sheffield to gain access to the natural environment, promoting their health and well-being and awareness of the natural world.’