Minister to review decision to exclude the Isle of Wight in the English Coastal Path
Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DEFRA has informed the Ramblers that he will review his decision about excluding the Island in the English Coastal Path.
In July 2012, DEFRA set up a consultation on whether the Isle of Wight should be included under the provisions of the 2009 Marine and Coastal Access Act. In July 2013 a report was eventually issued on the consultation which concluded that:
'The Government has decided that it will not make an order for the Isle of Wight as it is not a priority for the coastal access programme. It considers that the Isle of Wight Ramblers should work with local landowners and the local authority to see what can be achieved by voluntary agreements.'
In August this year as a prelude to a potential Judicial Review, the National Ramblers Organisation formally challenged this decision by the Government on the grounds that their analysis of the consultation was flawed and that the conclusions reached were irrational.
In September, the Government responded to this challenge by saying that:
'The Secretary of State will reconsider whether to make an order under section 300(2)(b) of the Act specifying the Isle of Wight as part of the English coast for the purposes of the coastal access duty contained within the Act. He will publish his decision and, and a full account of the reasons for it, following that reconsideration.'
The Isle of Wight Ramblers consider it would be an injustice if the Isle of Wight was the only coastal English County to be excluded from the recreational and economic benefits of improved coastal access and a complete coastal path that this Act provides.
David Howarth, Area Chairman, IW Ramblers, said “While the Act was passing through Parliament in 2009 the Government of the day, with multi-party support, promised to raise an order to include the Isle of Wight. After four years of procrastination, we hope that the Secretary of State will now sign an order without further delay.”
The Isle of Wight Area of the Ramblers has over 550 members in 2 groups - The Isle of Wight Group and Wight Sole Group (mainly for the 20 to 40 age group). Information about Wight Sole can be found at their own website www.wightsole.org.uk Each week the groups lead a variety of walks on the Island and occasionally on the mainland. They will be delighted to welcome you.
The Isle of Wight has over 500 miles of public rights of way.
hts of way. We help maintain them by walking them, reporting faults and carrying out practical work. This is one of the best networks of paths in the country with spectacular views of the coast, estuaries, downs and woodland. There are also 26 areas of access land on the Island.
The Ramblers is for the benefit of everyone, the enjoyment and discovery that walking outdoors can bring. As a charity, we campaign to increase and improve access to the countryside.
The Ramblers' Association is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Company registration number 4458492. Registered Charity in England and Wales number 1093577, registered charity in Scotland, number: SC039799. Registered office: 2nd floor, Camelford House, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TW