The BMC campaign for coastal access remains strong despite DEFRA’s recent decision to issue the public consultation paper outlining options for increased public access to the coast in early 2007 – rather than this October as previously hoped.
You can help the BMC campaign for a right of permanent access to our coastline by writing to your local MP.There is currently a lack of clarity and consistency in access arrangements along the coast of England and Wales. There are many areas that remain inaccessible where public rights of way have been eroded resulting in an incomplete coastal experience.
The BMC would like to see a permanent right of access to the foreshore, cliffs, beaches and an area back from the cliff face / bank and sand dunes. Natural England are currently in the process of considering improving access to our coast but some of the options under consideration include simply improving the path network around the coast.
A ‘rights of way’ approach alone cannot deliver a satisfactory set of access rights and is too restrictive to deliver the full ‘coastal experience’. Currently, access to the beach, cliff and foreshore is often permissive or by de facto, a luxury which can and has been revoked on occasion; a CRoW approach would ensure coastal cliff areas are accessible for perpetuity, reduce concerns regarding occupiers liability and strengthen conservation legislation.
Any improvements made to coastal access must be demonstrable to the public in a clear physical form; i.e. on an OS map, on websites or with access furniture/symbols. It is the BMC’s contention that the process of improving coastal access should be implemented as a clear, accurate one off process which would allow for the strategic long term management of these areas to develop.
Help us campaign
If you would like to help us campaign for permanent, open access to our coastline then please write to your local MP expressing your support for a right of access on foot to all coastal areas including cliffs, foreshore and beaches. Your local MP can be found here or your local Welsh Assembly Member.
Download the campaign letter (England) (pdf)
Download the campaign letter (Wales) (pdf)
You can also ask your MP to write to the Secretary of State on your behalf, expressing your support for a right of access to the coast, or if you fancy writing two letters you can do it yourself:
Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR
If you have experienced problems in accessing the coast of England whether to visit the beach or to go climbing then we want to hear from you. Contact Cath with your story at Cath@thebmc.co.uk
Find out more
Take a look at the BMC Coastal Access Database to see the importance of coastal access to climbing.
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