Coastal access rethink urged

The CLA is urging the Government to take another look at the financial implications of the proposed round-England coastal path that is part of the Marine Bill after rumours that the Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, is thinking of scrapping the coastal access section of the Bill due to the potential detrimental effect on holiday businesses.
The CLA says proposals to extend a statutory right of access to the entire coast could inflict terminal damage on businesses which depend on privacy as their key selling point.
South-west director John Mortimer comments, ‘The Bill as it stands can only add to downward financial pressures on service-based businesses such as hotels and holiday camps.
‘Our members who operate holiday businesses are seriously concerned about the economic impact of this legislation. The argument that a statutory right of access will bring more people to the coast and create more business is illusory.
‘This is a grandiose scheme which will almost certainly be overspent. We cannot see the justification in spending millions of pounds of public money on a project which will inflict harsh financial losses on already struggling businesses.’
The coastal path is a Natural England initiative. It has the backing of the Ramblers Association and the National Trust, but some conservation and farming groups are urging caution and questioning who would be liable for maintaining the path. Some 70% of the English and Welsh coasts are already accessible.

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