Public Footpaths: Coastal Areas

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 5th November 2019.

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Photo of Lord Greaves Lord Greaves Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are on track to meet their commitment, made in December 2014, that the English Coastal Path will be completed and open in 2020; and if not, what are the reasons for any delays.

Photo of Lord Greaves Lord Greaves Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government which sections of the English Coastal Path are now open; and what are the expected opening dates of those sections in each area which are not yet open.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Work is well underway on all 66 stretches of the England Coast Path - a new National Trail around all of England’s coast. A European court judgement in April 2018 affected how Natural England could assess the impact of England Coast Path proposals on environmentally protected sites, and progress on the England Coast Path slowed as a result. While this means the path in its entirety is unlikely to be open in 2020, Natural England will work towards opening as much of the England Coast Path as possible throughout 2020.

The England Coast Path when completed will stretch approximately 2,717 miles around the coast. To date 385 miles (14%, 12 stretches) have been completed and new rights commenced, with a further 98 miles (4%, 4 stretches) undergoing establishment works before they are open for the public to walk. A summary of progress on each of the 16 open and approved stretches, with opening dates where known, is included in Tables A and B. The 50 unopened stretches are summarised in Table C. It is not currently possible to give estimated opening dates for many of the stretches still in progress. This is because the timeline for the final stages of the process depends on several factors including the number and nature of comments during the public consultation and the complexity of implementing works on the ground.

Table A - Open stretches

Stretch name

Opening date

Rufus Castle to Lulworth Cove

29/06/2012

Allonby to Whitehaven

11/04/2014

North Gare to South Bents

12/04/2014

Sea Palling to Weybourne

12/12/2014

Brean Down to Minehead

15/03/2016

Camber to Folkestone

19/07/2016

Folkestone to Ramsgate

19/07/2016

Filey Brigg to Newport Bridge

21/07/2016

Hopton On Sea to Sea Palling

24/10/2016

South Bents to Amble

26/07/2018

Skegness to Mablethorpe

27/02/2019

Newport Bridge to North Gare

18/09/2019

Table B - Unopened stretches undergoing building works

Stretch name

Opening date

Walney Island

February 2020 (estimate)

Whitehaven to Silecroft

TBC

Ramsgate to Whitstable

TBC

Maldon to Salcott

TBC

Table C - Unopened stretches

Region

Stretches

South West

8

West

4

South

7

South East

6

Essex

8

East

7

North East

5

North West

5

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