Deep budget cuts proposed by Tory/Independent-run Powys County Council will risk Countryside Access Services “being unable to meet health and safety responsibilities in a timely way e.g. collapsing footbridges, leading to increased risk of injury and associated claims”, according to a devastating impact assessment report.
The damning document warns of the impact that proposals to slash the Countryside Access Services budget will have on public health and the tourism industry.
Commenting, Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor for Rhayader, Kelvyn Curry said:
“I raised concerns about the scale and severity of this budget cut at scrutiny committee. At present, only 40% of our public rights of way network is considered “open and easy to use”, and this situation surely won’t improve with reduced staffing resources and greater reliance on volunteers. We are failing to provide the public health benefits of increased access to outdoor activities.
“It is possible that this budget fails to meet the County Council’s obligations under the ‘Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act’.
“Fortunately, the Welsh Liberal Democrat-Green Group has proposed an Alternative Budget that would reverse £150, 000 of proposed Countryside Access cuts”.
Welsh Lib Dem Cllr for Felinfach Roger Williams, who is also a representative on the Powys Local Access Forum, added:
“Powys is blessed with an abundance of beautiful countryside. We have still not fully tapped into our full potential as a tourism and sports location.
“These short-sighted cuts reduce the economic, environmental and health benefits that countryside access gives to our population. The public health and safety concerns raised in the impact assessment are also very troubling.”
DIWEDD / END
The budget impact assessment can be read here: https://powys.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47326/Appendix%20I%20Impact%20Assessments.pdf