Government blocks Isle of Wight from Coastal Access Scheme

IW Ramblers are “bitterly disappointed”, saying Coalition Government hasn’t honoured their 2009 commitment to include the Island.

Conservative Environment Minister, Richard Benyon’s department, DEFRA, has made the decision to exclude the Isle of Wight’s 70 miles coastline from the Coastal Access Scheme, despite the majority of the replies to a public consultation being in support of the scheme.

If passed, Islanders and visitors would have been able to walk around the whole the Island’s coastline, on what was labelled the ‘Wight Coast Trail’. Currently large sections of it are inaccessible.

IW “Not a priority”
The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 provided the Secretary of State with a power to make an order to extend the coastal access duty in relation to the Isle of Wight, which prompted a consultation after considerable campaigning by Isle of Wight Ramblers.

The Government decided that the Isle of Wight “is not a priority for the coastal access programme”, suggesting that, “the Isle of Wight Ramblers should work with local landowners and the local authority to see what can be achieved by voluntary agreements.”

Past promise to include the Island
The IW Ramblers say they are “bitterly disappointed” with the Minister’s decision, pointing out that in 2009, the Labour Government, with multi-party support, promised to sign an order to include the Isle of Wight under the provisions of the Act. Showing the disappointment, the IW ramblers say, “The Coalition Government has not honoured this commitment.”

The Isle of Wight Ramblers are to now seek further clarification about the Minister’s decision.

Numbers for and against
The full report (below) looked at 117 of the responses, finding 69 replied Yes (58.9% of the total), 42 replied No (35.9% of the total) and 6 replied that they were Not Sure (5.2% of the total).

More space in the report is given to those who said No, despite this being the lesser sized group.

An additional 2,328 emails were also received by the Government department.

The full response

Image: Just Another Caulkhead under a CC BY 2.0 license

Friday, 19th July, 2013 11:51am



Filed under: Government, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story, Tourism

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12 Comments on "Government blocks Isle of Wight from Coastal Access Scheme"

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Why should private land owners give open access to people to go out to their land? If I owner a property that went all the way down to the beach I certainly wouldnt want every Tom, Dick, Harry, rambler and burglar allowed onto it because the government said so. There are plenty of places to “ramble” already. Private land, MOD property, etc…. are not places.

Steve Goodman



What was the purpose of the consultation in that case?

This once again shows that the Government’s treatment of the island, and its attitude towards it. is unfair and unjust. This attitude is reflected in all aspects of funding. The government is happy to take out in taxes from here but not wiling to put anything in. The Coastal Access Scheme isn’t simply what has been highlighted by ramblers. It has wider implications for the island and… Read more »

They don’t want us accessing the coastline or the countryside they want us doing workfare and eating from the foodbank and being grateful


That’s because 2009 was Labour, the Co-alition won’t want to honour anything they didn’t want, typical right wing agenda


The Tories(spits on the ground twice) are only slightly to the right of Labour (spits on the ground)though

Government b***shit to save money: nothing else. We now have the largest Walking Festival in Europe and our Coastal Path is a major attraction for tourists, and yet… “The Government decided that the Isle of Wight “is not a priority for the coastal access programme”: I wonder why that is ? “The Isle of Wight Ramblers should work with local landowners and the local authority to see… Read more »
Rupert Besley

Call me a pedant, but… it’s a bit hard to place much confidence in a Government report on the Island that manages to spell the name of the place wrong (twice down as Isle of White in para 16).


So it does, how embarrassing for the Minister, I wonder if they will be producing a Wight Paper next


How many other place names are misspelt by the Government, or is it indicative of the minimum amount of attention felt required for the sterotypically joke-destination of the IW?


The reason for including us can’t be almost the only one that might be a good one – to protect wildlife habitats – when the Government also refused to create Marine Conservation Zones around the Island’s coast
(and when this Government are so ignorant they don’t even understand that we all need a healthy environment for human civilisation to exist).