The Government has been accused of dragging its heels over the England Coast Path

The Government has been accused of dragging its heels over the England Coast Path

Britain’s biggest walkers’ charity is claiming victory in its coastal access campaign after the coalition Government published a new timetable for work on the project.

Environment minister Richard Benyon said in June the England Coast Path was not a high priority and the bill that paved its introduction was ‘a sledgehammer to miss a nut’.

Mr Benyon was this month sacked from his post by David Cameron and the Government has now published a schedule for progress on the path for the next three years.

The Ramblers hailed this move after their Case for Coast report outlining the economic benefits of establishing access to the whole of the English coast.

The organisation also said Whitehall is also reconsidering its decision not to add the Isle of Wight to the England Coast Path.

The Ramblers said the new timetable outlines that work will have started on more than 75 per cent of the coast path by 2016, making a completed England Coast Path a step closer.

Benedict Southworth: 'campaign will continue'

Benedict Southworth: 'campaign will continue'

Benedict Southworth, Ramblers chief executive, said: “We welcome the Government’s decision to reaffirm its commitment to open up the whole of the English coast.

“Over a third of our coastline is out of bounds, yet for a small investment in time, money and enthusiasm the Government is giving the gift of the England Coast Path to the nation.

“The coast path is not just good news for walkers but will help breathe new life into struggling coastal towns, boosting tourism and reconnecting people with their stretch of coast, helping to promote health and wellbeing.

“Today we celebrate this renewed commitment but we will continue to promote the path until our entire coast is opened up for everyone to enjoy.”

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