Why is the Isle of Wight the only English coastal county being excluded from Coastal Access Scheme?

The Island will stand alone among the 22 coastal counties of English, excluding us all from the tremendous financial uplift that the Coastal Access Scheme is predicted to bring. Why?

The Isle of Wight is now the one and only of the 22 coastal counties in England not to be included in the nationwide Coastal Access Scheme. This week, DEFRA confirmed that they’re not going to change their mind on that either.

Why is the Island being made to miss out on this?

Last Friday DEFRA announced their decision to block the Isle of Wight from the nationwide Coastal Access Scheme, which would have enabled Islanders and visitors to walk the whole way around the Island’s 70 miles of coastline.

Some hope was still held out that this decision, labelled as “bitterly disappointing” by campaigning groups, might be reviewed or reversed.

Not under this Political administration
Now, by this week saying, “It is not appropriate in principle for an order to be signed for the Isle of Wight to be included under the provisions of the 2009 Marine and Coastal access Act”, DEFRA is saying the Island will never be included in this scheme, under the current Political administration.

The utter confusion as to why DEFRA made their decision is heightened by campaigners claiming that, after their studying responses to the public consultation, they found that out of the 2,445 responses, just 73 responses objected to the proposal, leading them to conclude that 96.8% of the respondents agreed with the proposal.

Given what are overwhelming figures of support, the government department has chosen to ignore this huge majority and go against it.

Financial benefits would be huge
If the figures that the proposed English coastal path will generate £2.572 billion per year for the local economies and support 100,000 full time jobs, are even within a billion pounds of being correct, why are the residents and the businesses of the Isle of Wight being excluded from the opportunity of benefit?

Image: ronsaunders47 under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license

Tuesday, 23rd July, 2013 7:15pm


ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2b1y

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

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51 Comments on "Why is the Isle of Wight the only English coastal county being excluded from Coastal Access Scheme?"

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A very good question Simon. I know that our MP and the excellent IoW Ramblers have been campaigning for this coastal path funding, but to no avail. No reason is given: it is pure and simple discrimination because they say we are an “inaccessible island” ! And yet we have plenty of deprivation and need to boost our tourist attraction. I have said this many times before:… Read more »
Perhaps they don’t want to risk us encroaching on the Osborne estate, after all it was just one of a queens palaces over 100 years ago. I have never heard of a more ridiculous reason to bar access to a sizable section of a small Island whose economy is dependent on tourism. Still at least she actually had some power in those days and wasn’t just a… Read more »
I’m not particularly in favour of the principle of monarchy, but continually trotting out the cost to the taxpayer is a travesty of the truth. The only cost to the taxpayer is the cost of maintaining a Head Of State, which would be the same under a Republic – and there is a lot to be said for keeping politics out of such a position. All Charles’… Read more »

So the Duchy of Cornwall is exempt from corporation tax despite being a corporation in all but name and Charles only pays income tax because he chooses to do so yet you don’t consider that a subsidy by the tax payer. Google, Starbucks etc have been vilified for less. Double standards?


Plenty of red arrows I see it must be the royal birth – how soon we forget what they did to Diana. Did you know that when William was born Diana’s labor was induced so not to interfere with Prince Charles polo commitments


Buckingham palace has 52 bedrooms yet despite being the head of a family where three generations have never worked, funded by the tax payer, does the queen pay bedroom tax? Her subjects do and queue at the foodbank as a result of the poverty inflicted on them to pay for the royals.


And BTW the crown estate just happens to have been donated to the royals by us, the tax payer, as well

I think you need a lesson in history, Bystander. A thousand years ago the “taxpayers” (alias “the common people”) didn’t own anything, and William the Conqueror just seized the country’s real estate from the Anglo-Saxon nobility and divided it up between himself and his mates. I think that if you are going to take a tilt at the Crown Estates, then you have to attack the whole… Read more »

@watchdog the current royal family are Germans, they changed their name to Windsor due to the First World War because they though it sounded more English



But then…. most of the “English” also have German genes from the Saxon invasions of the past, while many of those who do not will have Norman French genes or those of the many immigrant waves of the past and present. even the Celts originated in Central Europe.

The Battenbergs/Windsors are just the latest invasive rulers.


@cicero The whole point is they aren’t rulers at all they are just obscenely paid actors playing a part for TV cameras. The changed Mountbatten/Battenberg and Windsor/Saxe-Coburg-Gotha because they feared lynching for being German.


@Bystander “they aren’t rulers ”

Do you really think that Big Ears, his new Horse and the hook-nosed biddies of both sexes that surround them really believe that? :-))


@Simon You don’t think that the Osbourne estate has any bearing on this decision?


@Simon and, I hadnt even seen Sally’s post when I answered a reply to my post. I’m afraid the layout is confusing and hard to follow when there have been multiple replies. I wont comment any further on this thread but to say that Osborne/royals is irrelevant to the decision just isn’t the case IMO


@simon I’m afraid anything to do with royals is contentious and polarized, when you make a criticism I can expect to be immediately attacked for that. Should a person not criticise anything for fear of the reaction? As I said I wont comment further per your wishes.

Simon- this might be pertinent to the discussion. “Documents obtained by the Politics Show using Freedom of Information legislation show Crown Estate to have lobbied hard during the passage of the Marine Access Bill through Parliament, to prevent a general access right by the public to the foreshore. ” “The Crown Estate belongs to the reigning monarch ‘in right of The Crown’, that is, it is owned… Read more »

I agree with all of “Bystander’s” comments.

And I think the majority deserve the Royals.
Being in the minority group of non-supporters I must endure them, sigh…

Sally Perry

This thread is getting pretty off-topic.

Perhaps we could return to comments being in relation to the subject?


Downwind resident
What is going on here? Have you lost the plot? Freedom to walk around the island has got nothing to do with how much the royal family which is our country’s major tourist attraction costs to run. Nor is it anything to do with the start up costs for Cowes Week and the fireworks every year ,just in case that’s your next comparison. It’s DEFRA which is… Read more »

I don’t really see the problem, if the royal family are the mainstay of tourism then why should tourists want to come to the Island at all given the royals left 100 years ago. They should go to London where according to you the air is less polluted as well.

happy daze

OK so our MP has not managed to convince the Coalition Government that we deserve some
financial support.

What’s to stop one of our employed IW Council Departments pro-actively organizing a Coastal Path?

Isn’t that what the Planning Department should be doing……PLANNING?

Who is in charge of that outfit these days?

@happydaze. Despite its name, the Planning Department doesn’t initiate planning – it is totally reactive, run entirely by civil servants, and simply pronounces on what is put before it. Within all those grand Portfolio Titles that the IW Council “Cabinet” bestows on its elected members, there must be one whose responsibility it is to actually initiate something like a Coastal Path. Somebody must know (e.g. Steve Stubbings).… Read more »
steve s
It’s about priorities, Watchdog. Just today we were assessing primary issues for the root and branch review. It was a very long list and I’m afraid the Coastal Path was not at the top. Re Localism, I can categorically assure you that IWC has no intention of ‘keeping all the control at the centre’ We inherited the cabinet system and are currently going through the process of… Read more »
Sorry, Steve. When I referred to “control at the centre” I didn’t mean the IWC – we are all hoping now for a new start where the IWC and Town & Parish Councils all work together for the benefit of the Island. I was referring to Eric Pickles and his ilk. I accept that the new Council will have a big job setting priorities, in the light… Read more »
Matthew Chatfield
No civil servants at the council, actually. Anyway, some readers may be familiar with the award-winning coastal path, designated and maintained by the council, that was one of the main reasons that in 1998 the Isle of Wight Council was the first (and still the only) authority in England to achieve the Countryside Commission’s National Target for Rights of Way. This coastal path is a major tourist… Read more »

This is all deeply wrong.

The island shouldn’t just roll over and accept this.

What are those that have influence nationally going to do about this?

If all of the other coastal areas in England are being benefitting, it’s deeply wrong that the island should be shut out.

Come on! Let’s get something done about it!

Craig from Bembridge

This is outrageous, as someone else has said, if other counties are benefiting why are the IW being denied the same?

I’d like to know what the council and the MP are going to do to defend our case.


The Government should be ashamed of themselves and our MP should be banging on the doors of No.10 demanding to know why the Isle of Wight has been left off the scheme.

Man in Black

It is very worrying that the island is being treated as the poor cousin once again.

We get classed as being in the rich south, but the reality is the island has many areas of deprivation and, as we all know, high unemployment and a lack of prospects for our young.

I too, would like to hear what Andrew Turner is going to do about this.


I agree with many of the sentiments above. Is there anything we, as islanders, can still do to help raise the profile of this campaign?

I have to agree with the comments and sentiments here. It is outrageous and it is discriminatory. At the same time there are the big funding issues here where we are being denied. The Trades Unions and the council have, for some time, been engaging with Vince Cable and others for justice. We are a deprived area, we do deserve inward investment but we have been refused… Read more »
Rupert Besley
The coastline is the Island’s greatest asset. Provision of a proper coastal path would be the best investment that could be made in the Island. I envy Scotland, with its traditional Right to Roam, and I strongly support moves to improve our present arrangement. That said, I do understand some of the difficulties and have sympathy for those who feel their property is at threat. None of… Read more »
You’re right that conservation has to be considered and although I love to walk the Island’s paths I don’t think all of the Island should be easily accessible to people. However, big chunks of the coast are denied to walkers through coastal developments like Port la Salle at Yarmouth – when the cliff eroded there was no choice but to divert the path onto a busy road.… Read more »
Getting back on topic, although the royal connection is highly relevant, I understood that the the Coastal Access Scheme was the methodology for implementation of the England Coast Path. Now we are not connected to the mainland, long may that remain the case, so are not directly connected to that coastal path. We are a separate case, you cant just pick and choose our status when it… Read more »
diogenes' barrel

I think it was you Bystander who went off topic on a royal wild goose-chase mixing up English Heritage with the monarchy.

As DWR says ‘Fight DEFRA’


If I need any advise on whom to fight you are the last person I would ask, thanks.

diogenes' barrel

Well that’s a relief!

Mike Vallender
Just as slight question in this discussion. It has been previously stated in articles that lots of the coastal path is slightly inland, or along cliff edges for good reasons. The foreshore between Binstead and Quarr is certainly dangerous due to the blue slipper on the coastline and so on. Surely, the work should be to find and create suitable access routes that are able to provide… Read more »
Happy daze

Well said Watchdog.

Perhaps the new IW elected Council could add a Coastal Path to their “aspirational’ Po.icy Document which we heard discussed at the recent Full Council meeting!

People before Politics rings a bell?

Mike Vallender

Simon please just do it and scrap this thread. It has moved beyond the ridiculous and deserves to be binned. There is no worthwhile conversation occurring on the whole, just bad and stupidity among the commenting.


Whilst it was local campaigners who highlighted this injustice, it must be our local representatives, our MP, our Council, to take up the baton and fight for the Island. We are not looking for handouts just a level playing field. So write to your MP or Councillor. And Chamber of Commerce, Visit Isle of Wight- are you listening too?


Write letters for sure,but you will get nowhere, the MP, you will find is a waste of time, politicians say a lot and achieve nothing.The Chamber of Commerce knows nothing, says nothing and solve nothing.in the end its up to us, the people, to make our voice heard. We have to make government recognise and act on our demands.


What do recreational clubs involved in shore fishing, orienteering, kayaking, surfing, climbing etc. think about the Isle of Wight being deprived of improved coastal access?
Can you think of any beeches you could make use of if access was better?


Ask the Coastguards as well: Luccombe Chine, Whale Chine, Orchard Bay etc. all closed.


Island left out again

Mike Vallender
There is always going to be a problem with access to the islands coastline, think of the recent damage that the winter weather has brought to the coastline at Totland, and coastal path closed in most places, Luccombe to Bonchurch, Seagrove Bay, Seaview etc for example. The point has to be how can we best give provision for us to view and access our coastline safely, and… Read more »
The Marine and Coastal Access Act provides for the route of the path to be determined by Natural England and they have a comprehensive scheme to ensure that the path is safe and that wildlife is protected. This will not now apply to the Island, and Defra has told IW Ramblers that they should now try to achieve local agreements. The submissions in the consultation were quite… Read more »
Mike Vallender

Thanks for that helpful information red4’s.