Here are the rules on outdoor exercise in Dacorum during lockdown

The Prime Minister receives criticism for a 7 mile bike ride

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 1:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 1:28 pm

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been criticised for cycling in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London on Sunday (10 Jan), seven miles away from his residence in Downing Street.

Labour MP, Andy Slaughter, has accused Mr Johnson of failing to lead by example. However, Downing Street told the BBC the Prime Minister exercised within the current Covid rules.

What are the rules for outdoor exercise?

Bunkers Park received a Green Flag last year (C) Dacorum Borough Council

People living in England are currently allowed to leave their home to exercise. However, it is recommended that this should be limited to once a day, and people should not travel outside their local area to do it.

There are plenty of green spaces and parks for residents in Hemel Hempstead, Tring and Berkhamsted to visit, with five sites in Dacorum receiving a Green Flag last October.Bunkers Park and Water Gardens in Hemel Hempstead, Canal Fields in Berkhamsted, Chipperfield Common and Tring Memorial Garden all received Green Flags.

The Green Flag Award scheme is an international quality mark, recognising and rewarding well-managed parks and green spaces.

You are allowed to exercise with the people you live with, with a support bubble, or with one person from another household. If the person is not your household, you must stay two metres apart, or one metre apart with a face covering.

Physical education delivered by or for schools, pre-schools and other education providers in Hertfordshire is permitted to continue.

Where am I allowed to exercise?

The rules allow people to exercise in public outdoor spaces, including parks, public gardens, playgrounds and the countryside.

And there is plenty of green space in Dacorum, according to a report published by Friends of the Earth and supported by People's Postcode Lottery, nearly two thirds of Dacorum neighbourhoods have good access to green spaces.

Sports venues, including golf courses, swimming pools and tennis courts, have been required to close.

How far can I travel to exercise?

In England, national lockdown guidelines state that exercise “should be done locally wherever possible”.

However, you are allowed to “travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space).”

People living in Berkhamsted could walk to nearby Ashridge Estate, which remains open for local visitors to access for walks.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has tried to add clarity about what counts as a short distance. Speaking at the Downing Street conference, he said: “If you went for a long walk and ended up seven miles away from home, that is OK.”

Can I drive to exercise?

The short answer is no. Travel should only be undertaken for essential purposes, and exercise should be taken locally.

Can I sit on a park bench while exercising?

Residents in England and Scotland are being urged to only leave their house for essential reasons and exercise.

In England, people have been warned about not sitting on park benches and chatting with friends, amid a rise in rule bending during the latest lockdown.

Downing Street has clarified that sitting on a park bench for a “short pause” during exercise is reasonable, but leaving the home just to sit in public is unlawful under the current lockdown rules.

Vaccinations Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, advised people to stop socialising in parks under the guise of exercise.