Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has challenged the DCAL minister to outline her proposals to promote walking as a leisure activity.
Roy Beggs MLA who is a keen recreational walker said “Walking is an easy way for the majority of us to keep fit and healthy. In my constituency of East Antrim, there is an abundance of scenic countryside to explore and I feel that we should be investing more resources into creating more pathways and routes for ramblers to explore and increasing the uptake in walking.”
The DCAL Minister responded by stating, “ My Department through Sport NI and in partnership with DOE and DETI funds Outdoor Recreation NI in support of its outdoor recreation Action Plan ‘Our Great Outdoors’ 2013-2020. This plan details a range of activity to ensure that outdoor recreation as a leisure activity contributes significantly to healthy lifestyles for local people from all communities; delivers economic growth in the sector through the encouragement of visitor participation at outdoor walking venues; and supports the protection of landscapes and eco-systems for future generations.”
“The plan highlights the objectives of WALK NI and has set a target through to 2018, to increase the number of quality walks on WALK NI by 10%.”
“Additionally, my Department through its Strategy for sport, Sport Matters, sets out a number of targets specifically designed to increase participation generally in sport and exercise. DCAL’s delivery body Sport NI continues to invest heavily in a number of regional consortia of district councils to increase participation in sport and physical activity, including walking.”
“My Department also maintains and provides access to a total of 18.5 miles of traffic free walking and cycling routes, along towpaths and in regional parks and water recreation sites which provide a variety of riverside walking routes.”