The best way to improve access to the coastline of Wales is to
upgrade the existing extensive facilities, according to CLA Wales.
The organisation which represents rural businesses in Wales says
landowners and land managers are already committed to delivering
the required 'maximum possible benefits'.
South Wales policy advisor Sarah Andrews added that the Ramblers
Association's request to the National Assembly for Wales to extend
CROW legislation to include access to a continuous length of coastline
right around Wales was impractical. The Assembly is committed to
improving access to the coasts of Wales by 2008/2009, but the right
to roam contained in CROW legislation would not produce the 'round
Wales route' the Ramblers sought.
"CROW allows a number of exceptions when it comes to access",
she added. "People aren't allowed to walk on improved land
for example and then there is developed land such as golf courses,
caravan parks, and residential and other land uses.
"We think it would be better to address issues such as the
means people have of getting to the coast, and improving facilities
when they get there. Is there a car park, are there waymarked routes?
We would be much better off spending limited resources on finding
individual solutions to local problems and local needs".
Mrs Andrews added that landowners weren't convinced that there
was a widespread demand for any more coastal access. There was
already satisfaction with the coastal footpaths and existing voluntary
It seemed unnecessary to burden the taxpayer with another expense
for something for which there was no established need. There seemed
to be few benefits since statistics showed that very few people
ever walked more than a short distance from the car.
More access would be likely to place a huge burden on the public
purse and would cause real headaches for landowners and land managers.
There were also major cost and other implications with erosion,
maintenance, and public liability.
CLA Wales is currently delivering its views to the Countryside
Council for Wales which is due to report to the Welsh Assembly
Government in the Spring.
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