As the debate on secondary legislation for the Coastal Access Act receives approval in the House of Lords, the BMC continues to lobby Government to ensure that the views of climbers, walkers and mountaineers are considered at the earliest stage of implementation.
This secondary legislation, known as the Access to the Countryside (Coastal Margin, England) Order 2010, will come into force on 6th April 2010 and sets out changes that will be made to the existing Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW) to include coastal margin in the definition of access land. These changes form part of the new Marine and Coastal Access Act which received Royal Assent on Thursday 12 November 2009. The Act will ensure the creation of better coastal access, with a new right to walk along England’s coastline and will provide a permanent right of access to a coastal margin around the coast (including beaches and cliffs).
Under the new proposals, as set out in the coastal access scheme, Natural England aims to identify any issues and opportunities along each stretch of coast and identify any foreseeable need for access management restrictions and temporary or alternative routes in consultation with the landowner and those recreational organisations who have ‘relevant expertise and local knowledge’.
The BMC has been reassured that representative organisations such as the BMC will be consulted at an early stage of the implementation process. The Minster for the Environment, Huw Irranca Davies stated that “the interests of walkers and climbers, and of the organisations that represent the interests of those who walk or climb—for example, the Ramblers Association and the British Mountaineering Council—will be fully taken into account before any proposals for the route are finalised” (Report Stage 26/10/09).
The BMC however, continues to raise the issue in Parliament of the inclusion of organisations with a ‘recreational interest’ along the coast, in particular the BMC, and of the importance that user groups and the wider public must be able to discuss with Natural England where the new coastal access rights should be applied on the ground. This secondary legislation will be discussed in the House of Commons on 23rd February.
Your coastline needs you!
For this reason, the BMC will be looking for people who know and love their local coastline to volunteer to help ensure local climbers and walkers interests are met. The BMC and Ramblers are currently putting together a Coastal Access Volunteer Guidance pack and will be running a number of workshops around the country to inform members of the new legislation and how they can get involved….for more information on how you can get involved watch this space....
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