DEFRA’s decision to further consult on including the Isle of Wight in the all-England Coastal Path is a waste of money, according to a landowners organisation.
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said the Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs should stand by the previous decision to exclude the Isle of Wight from the national coastal path.
DEFRA is considering further consultation on the access provisions of the Marine and Coastal Access Act following objections from the Ramblers’ Association — a move warmly welcomed by campaigners calling for better access to the countryside who point to the Isle of Wight’s coastal network having big gaps which force walkers inland.
But the CLA has said a formal scheme of access under the Marine and Coastal Access Act would result in "a great deal of duplication and unnecessary expense, with no guarantee that the final outcome would provide any better access."
CLA Isle of Wight director Belinda Walters said: "The Island already has an excellent coastal path of around 67 miles.
"Clearly, following the first consultation, the government decided that, in these times of financial restraint, there was better use of public money than spending it replicating something we already have. We are therefore disappointed that this issue is to go to consultation again which is a waste of public money.
"We encourage landowners to work with the local authority on voluntary agreements that enhance the existing coastal access on the Island resulting in a locally managed solution.
"If DEFRA is to run a second consultation, the CLA will be responding on the basis that the Isle of Wight does not need a formal scheme of coastal access."