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Coastal Areas: Access

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consideration he has given to the extension of the right to roam to encompass the foreshore; and if he will make a statement. (201271)

Part 9 of the draft Marine Bill which we published on 3 April 2008 contains provisions for improving access to the English coast. The draft Bill includes provisions to provide a coastal margin, within which people will be able to walk along a long-distance route for the length of the English coast (with certain exceptions, including, for example, developed land). In addition people will have access to coastal land including the foreshore, beaches, cliffs, rocks and dunes, for the purposes of open-air recreation on foot. It is unlikely that the route itself will be established over the foreshore, but the coastal margin (to which the public will have access for open-air recreation) will be.

The right of access under the draft Marine Bill will be established by means of an Order under section 3A of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, and the approval of a proposal for a long-distance route on a particular stretch of coast will be made under the procedures in the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.