Following Island Pulse news:
The Open Spaces Society, Britain’s oldest national conservation body, is delighted that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is considering whether it should extend the coastal-access provisions of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 to the Isle of Wight.
The Act excludes from coastal access any island to which it is not possible to walk from the mainland at any time. However, there is a provision in the Act enabling the Secretary of State for Environment to make an order applying coastal access to specific islands. The Secretary of State must be satisfied ‘that the coast of the island is of sufficient length to enable the establishment of one or more long-distance routes along its length capable of affording the public an extensive journey on foot’. The Isle of Wight coastline is about 70 miles and the Secretary of State considers that this is sufficient to satisfy the condition.
The environment secretary wishes to consult on this first, and has issued a consultation to elicit the public’s response.
Says Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society: ‘We are delighted that Defra is at last considering adding the Isle of Wight to the coastal-access plan. We could never understand why it was excluded and during the passage of the Bill pressed many times for its inclusion. It has a magnificent coastline and is an important tourist destination. If there is a right for people to walk right round the coast, with additional spreading room for public access, it will ensure that residents and visitors can truly enjoy this spectacular island as well as boosting the income from tourism.’
The consultation can be viewed on: www.defra.gov.uk/consult/2012/07/24/iow-access-mcaa/ external website link.
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