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Climbing

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the contribution to the rural economy of (a) mountaineering and (b) hill walking. (197466)

DEFRA has not specifically assessed the contribution to the rural economy of hill walking or mountaineering. However, Natural England has published the results of a survey of leisure day visits in England in 2005 and these do provide an estimate of the value of walking, hill walking and rambling in rural areas. The estimated value, in 2005, of walking, hill walking and rambling in the countryside and along the coast was £1.325 billion.

Not all of this expenditure was made in the rural economy as, for example, many of the visits started from urban areas and involved spend on petrol and ticket fares. Also, this figure does not include overnight spend on accommodation, or spend by overseas visitors. Although mountaineering activity was captured in this survey, the numbers of participants interviewed as part of the telephone survey of 46,000 households was too low to make a statistically reliable estimate of spending specifically associated with this activity.