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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 April 2007, 04:23 GMT 05:23 UK
'Right to roam' England's beaches
Boscombe beach
The government is to consult on access to England's coastline
Walkers are to be given the "right to roam" around the entire coastline of Britain, under government proposals.

At present the public only has access to around half the English coastline.

But Environment Secretary David Miliband told the Independent on Sunday he wanted to create an "access corridor" to open it all up.

The paper says the corridor will take about 10 years to establish at a cost of about 50 million, but adds it is likely to be strongly opposed.

The Country Land and Business Association has said previously that landowners would have to be compensated, and has warned about safety issues along coastlines.

'National treasure'

Scotland already has a legal right of access to its coastline and the creation of a coastal path is under way in Wales.

If England had an "access corridor" it would open up the entire 9,040 miles (14,548km) of the mainline British coastline to the public.

Mr Miliband told the Independent on Sunday: "England's coastline is a national treasure. It should be the birthright of every citizen.

"Many parts of the coast are already accessible but some are not. We want to create an access corridor so that people can walk the entire length of the English coast."

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was due to launch a public consultation on improving access to the coast within the next few months.

Natural England, the new official wildlife and countryside watchdog, advised the government in February that more of England's coastline should be open to tourists and walkers.




SEE ALSO
Pathways proposal for coastline
16 Feb 07 |  England

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