Natural England - England Coast Path – a step closer in Cumbria

England Coast Path – a step closer in Cumbria

17 December 2012

Natural England publishes report to the Secretary of State proposing improved public access to 36km of coast in Cumbria between Allonby and Whitehaven.

Natural England has today (17 December) published its final proposals to improve public access along a 36km stretch of coast in Cumbria between Allonby and Whitehaven.

The route, which will eventually form part of the England Coast Path, will pass through some of Cumbria’s most populated areas and a variety of coastal habitats and cliff scenery, providing greater access for local residents and visitors where they can walk, rest and admire the view.

The report has now been submitted to the Secretary of State for consideration. Its publication marks the start of the eight week period during which representations and objections can be made.

Anyone can make representations to Natural England about the report, but owners and occupiers of affected land may make objections about the report on specified grounds, which will be considered by a Planning Inspector before the Secretary of State makes a final decision about the report.All representations and objections must be received by Natural England no later than 5 p.m. on Monday 11 February 2013

This is the first coastal access report in Cumbria and follows on from an public consultation held from May to August 2012 after extensive discussions with landowners, tenants and local organisations.

The report outlines key improvements to existing access along the coast in Cumbria between Allonby and Whitehaven, with proposals:

  • to identify a clear and continuous walking route along this part of the coast, bringing sections of existing coastal footpath closer to the sea;
  • to allow the route to ‘roll back’ if the coastline erodes or slips, solving the long-standing difficulties of maintaining a continuous route along the coast; and
  • to secure statutory rights of public access to areas of beach, cliff and coastal land for the first time in places where people currently enjoy access by long tradition or with the landowners permission.

Simon Humphries, Natural England’s Area Manager for Cumbria said:  “The proposals published today are the result of 18 months of detailed work carried out in partnership with Cumbria County Council with landowners and many other interested parties, and we are extremely grateful for their effort and contribution. These proposals present an opportunity to improve access to a great stretch of Cumbria’s coastline. Before the Government decides how to proceed, we do want to make sure that everyone has had their say, so we hope that anyone who wants to make a representation or objection will do so over the next eight weeks.”

Cllr Tony Markley, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for highways (including countryside access) said: “The proposed access improvements to this stretch of the Cumbrian coast have the potential to bring real benefits to local communities in the area – both social and economic – and fit with the largest population corridor along the Cumbrian coast. The development of this stretch will also be an added attraction to visitors to west Cumbria, and we hope that everyone will support these proposals.”

Copies of the report can be viewed in council offices and libraries along the coast between Allonby and Whitehaven. The full report and all the forms and guidance on how to make a representation or objection within the next eight weeks are also available on on our website

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Press office contacts:
a) Natural England
Michelle Hawkins, Press Officer / 0300 060 1109 / michelle.hawkins@naturalengland.org.uk

b) Cumbria County Council
Gareth Cosslett, Strategic Communications Adviser / 01228 226 337 / gareth.cosslett@cumbria.gov.uk

2. The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 places a duty on the Secretary of State and Natural England to secure a long distance walking trail around the open coast of England, together with public access rights to a wider area of land along the way for people to enjoy.
 
The England Coast Path will be a new long distance National Trail that will eventually allow people to walk 4,500km around the whole of the English Coast. In addition to Cumbria, Natural England is also currently working to deliver coastal access in several other locations around the country:

  • Dorset
  • Kent
  • Norfolk
  • North East / Yorkshire and the Humber
  • Somerset
  • Cumbria – work to prepare proposals for the next stretch of the England Coast Path in Cumbria between Whitehaven and Silecroft started in April 2012.
  • The first stretch of coastal access was approved in Weymouth earlier this year, and was opened in time for people to view the sailing events for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

3.  About Natural England Natural England is the government’s independent adviser on the natural environment. Established in 2006 our work is focused on enhancing England’s wildlife and landscapes and maximising the benefits they bring to the public.

  • We establish and care for England’s main wildlife and geological sites, ensuring that over 4,000 National Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are looked after and improved.
  • We work to ensure that England’s landscapes are effectively protected, designating England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and advising widely on their conservation.
  • We run Environmental Stewardship and other green farming schemes that deliver over £400 million a year to farmers and landowners, enabling them to enhance the natural environment across two thirds of England’s farmland.
  • We fund, manage, and provide scientific expertise for hundreds of conservation projects each year, improving the prospects for thousands of England’s species and habitats.
  • We promote access to the wider countryside, helping establish National Trails and coastal trails and ensuring that the public can enjoy and benefit from them.

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