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Calls for improved disabled access in rural areas

22nd May 2006

Disabled people with a passion for the countryside are set to receive good news this week.

Natural England is to launch a project this week in a bid to improve access to the countryside for disabled people.

The group's chief executive, Dr Helen Phillips, told BBC Radio Four's 'You and Yours' that the project would take the form of an action plan, laying down a framework to work to in a bid to improve access throughout England.

"The highways authorities have a statutory requirement to put rights of way improvement plans in place and they need to be thinking well ahead and we need to be getting alongside them and helping make preparations for that," she commented.

The chair of the Disabled Ramblers, Dr Mike Bruton, told the same programme that only ten per cent of the country's 118,000 miles of pathways are viable for disabled people.

He stressed that a series of guides, detailing which paths were accessible for the disabled, were a necessity to encourage more people to enjoy the countryside.