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Marine and Coastal Access Bill [HL]

Volume 707: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which islands off the coast of England qualify as being accessible under the definition in Clause 290(3) of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill. [HL934]

Islands off the coast of England which will qualify as being accessible under the definition in Clause 290(3) of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill are those where it is possible to walk to the island across the foreshore, or by means of a bridge, tunnel or causeway, either from the mainland of England or from another accessible island. This applies even where an island is accessible on foot only at certain times such as at low tide, or only during certain periods.

Natural England's initial advice is that the following islands are likely to qualify as accessible for this purpose:

Burgh Island (Devon);

Canvey Island (Essex);

Foulness Island (Essex);

Great Stonar (Kent);

Hayling Island (Hampshire);

Hilbre Island (Merseyside);

Holy Island (Lindisfarne—Northumberland);

Isle of Sheppey (Kent);

Mersea Island (Essex);

Northey Island (Essex);

Portsea Island (Hampshire);

Potton Island (Essex);

St Michael's Mount (Cornwall);

Thorney Island (West Sussex);

Wallasea Island (Essex);

Walney Island (Cumbria); and

Whale Island (Hampshire).

The Secretary of State will also have power by order to specify any other island as accessible for this purpose under Clause 290(2) and (5) of the Bill, if that island is suitable for the establishment of one or more long-distance routes along its coast. It is envisaged that the Isle of Wight will be specified by order in this way.

Where an island is treated as accessible for either reason, it will be possible for Natural England, in fulfilling its coastal access duty under Clause 286, to propose that the route for the whole coast referred to by Clause 286(2) of the Bill should pass over the island. Land within the island may also form part of the margin for public enjoyment referred to by Clause 286(3) of the Bill subject to any of the land falling within the category of excepted land or any restrictions on access that may be in place on that land. The Secretary of State will take the final decision on whether land within accessible islands should be affected by the new access arrangements in either of these ways.