RYA – coastal access could affect recreational boating 

By | October 25, 2017

Work is now officially underway along the whole of the English Coast – Walking around the entire England coastline is now one step closer, after it was announced that work has started on every stretch of the England Coast Path.

The England Coast Path will be a new 2,700-mile national trail around England’s coast. The path means that, for the first time, the public will have a secure and legal right of access around the whole of the English coast.

The England Coast Path was a key Government objective when the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 was enacted. Implementation has begun and the scheme is due to be completed by the end of 2020.
As well as the path, a coastal margin is also being established where appropriate, particularly encompassing land between the trail and the sea. Some land is excepted, such as buildings and gardens, or not suitable for public access, such as a mudflat.

New guidance for clubs
The newly launched RYA Guidance Note on the England Coast Path and Coastal Access includes comprehensive information on how coastal access could affect recreational boating activities.

The RYA guidance, aimed at boat yards, sailing clubs and other boating facilities on the coast, covers a range of key topics including:
• What will the path look like?
• What does this allow the public to do on our land?
• How does Natural England decide between different route options?
• What is the ‘coastal margin’ and ‘spreading room’?
• What is ‘excepted land’?
• What is ‘curtilage’?
• How is liability to the public affected?

Details of which stretches are currently being worked on are available on the Natural England website, where boating facilities situated on the coast can also make comments on proposals.

Natural England provide an overview map of progress, as well maps and details of progress in more localised areas

Details are also provided as to how a new stretch is established. Natural England is required to strike a fair balance between the interests of the public in having rights of access, and the interests of those who own and use land over which the path passes.

It proposes that, where they meet the statutory criteria, the coast path will usually follow existing walked routes, which might include a mixture of sections with an existing public right of way interspersed with sections without.

Have your say
Boat yards, sailing clubs and other boating facilities on the coast, as with all landowners and occupiers with an interest in the coast, will be contacted directly by Natural England to discuss the most appropriate route for the new trail and any concerns about the new access rights.

Further information can be found in the RYA Guidance Note on the England Coast Path and Coastal Access, and on the Natural England website including guidance for landowners and the public.

For further information on the coast path, or if your club has any concerns during this process, please contact the RYA on 023 8060 4222 or at environment@rya.org.uk