CLA Wales is calling on the National Assembly to carefully consider how it is going to implement the commitment given to extend access to coastal areas. The organisation which represents rural businesses argues that instead the opportunity should be taken to upgrade some existing facilities. Most of the coastline is already accessible thanks to voluntary arrangements.
CLA President Mark Hudson was speaking during a visit to Gower, where pressure on the coastline is as high as anywhere in the UK. He argued that there needs to be an intelligent application of resources, rather than a blanket approach to the commitment to extend access.
The Countryside Council for Wales is looking at options for extending access to coastal land by 2009, in order to report to the National Assembly next year. One of the options would be to extend access using Section 3 of the CROW Act. The Countryside Council for Wales is looking at this and other options.
"We would argue that there needs to be a local solution to a local problem, rather than a one size fits all approach", added Mr Hudson. "This could mean shuttle buses from car parks to sensitive areas in Glamorgan. In another area it could mean creating footpaths to link up existing access.
"There is already a huge amount of coastal access and using the CROW Act isn't going to produce a Right to Roam corridor right around the coast of Wales. There are exception sites and other perfectly legitimate obstacles".
South Wales regional policy advisor, Sarah Andrews, added that it would be better to concentrate scarce resources on improving existing access. There were issues such as compensation to the landowner, maintenance, and public liability which had yet to be addressed.
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