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North West does badly in coastal path audit

August 1, 2009

The North West’s coastal access takes a battering as Natural England’s survey of the 2748 miles of England’s coastal path revealed that 56 per cent was not satisfactory.

It either had no access or access only on permissive paths and that shows that, on average, a walker can go no further than 2 miles before encountering a section without a satisfactory, legally secure path.

The paths in the North Wesr reflect on industrial use on Merseyside and the Cumbrian coast from Barrow-in-Furness’s shipyards to nuclear and chemical works as far as Workington.

The findings come as the result of an extensive audit – conducted by Natural England, in partnership with 53 local access authorities – into existing access to England’s coast. The results have been published in the form of a series of maps, identifying the huge differences between regions in their provision of public access to the coast.

Natural England’s audit has also highlighted the importance of the Marine & Coastal Access Bill in enabling footpath networks to adapt to the increasing problem of coastal erosion. Natural England’s audit estimates that 13 per cent of the existing coastal rights of way could be lost to erosion in the next 20 years.

Natural England have produced maps of each area and the NW’s shows that the only areas with substantial routes open are between Southport and Fleetwood and Heysham and Carnforth.

Routes between Bootle and Southport and much of the Lake District coastline are deemed to be not satisfactory.

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