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Coastal path warning over climbing rights

Posted 19 September 2011
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Coastal path warning over climbing rights
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Those who like to take their climbing gear along to cliffs on the Dorset coast could be at risk of losing access rights under a dispute centring on the development of the English Coastal Path.

The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) has said it attended a public hearing in Dorset last week, where local landowners have been objecting to Natural England's plans for the area and calling for climbing bans on stretches of the route.

As well as establishing the stretch ahead of next year's Olympics when the bay will stage sailing events, the BMC has made submissions in a bid to ensure these are protected.

It warned that the Marine and Coastal Access Act supersedes the Countryside and Rights of Way Act of 2004 that established the rights, potentially putting the climbing routes at risk of being left out-of-bounds.

Recent campaigns by the BMC to improve access have included discussions earlier this month with MPs aimed at ensuring the government's red tape review does not disadvantage walkers and climbers.

Such talks were held on an occasion when the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mountaineering visited the Lake District, which included an ascent of Blencathra via the Sharp Edge route.