£1 Million For South West Coastal Path
7:33am 1st August 2014
Almost a million pounds is being given to the South West Coastal Path association , to repair, improve and promote the Path, including here in Dorset.
The government says funds will help with 32 urgent repair works to the path and safeguard just under eight hundred jobs in construction, management and tourism generated by the path.
Management of the Coast Path is co-ordinated by the Trail Partnership, with representatives from Local Authorities, the National Trust and other landowners who will all play an important role in delivering the two year project. The Trail Partnership Chairman,
Alistair Handyside said today 'The South West Coast Path is the region's biggest tourist attraction, attracting around 8.6 million people each year, this project will ensure we are able to repair the storm damaged sections and build resilience by increasing our marketing efforts'.
Prior to 2012, we would expect on average 3-5 path diversions per year over the Coast Path's 630 miles, due to cliff falls or storm damage. However, due to the exceptional weather in the past 2 years there have been over 50. The record breaking rainfall of 2012 resulted in a large number of cliff failures, whereas the storm surges of early 2014 caused much of the damage to low-lying infrastructure and shorelines. There remains a backlog of 32 locations along the path, where damage has yet to be repaired and the estimated cost of rectifying this is £552,340.
Ken Carter, Vice-Chairman of the South West Coast Path Association goes on to say: 'The Trustees are working hard to build the capacity of the charity, to contribute to the marketing and fundraising effort, to ensure the path is one of the best walks in the world and to protect it for all to enjoy. The SWCPA will sustain and grow this marketing effort by providing opportunities for people, business and funders to show their support for the path. The funding from Coastal Communities will help the SWCPA and the National Trust to also deliver a range of events for people to enjoy our coastal assets'.
Due to the pressure on local authority budgets, and a 30% reduction in the SWCP maintenance funding since 2010, another solution has had to be found. The funding from Coastal Communities will enable these important repair projects to be completed and the integrity of the path to be reinstated.
£100,000 will be spent on improving signage at key coastal locations, including 43 National Trust sites. Bella Crawford, National Trust SW Coastal Engagement Officer, said: 'We are excited to be involved in this partnership project and the funding will provide vital and urgent repair work to some of our coastal sites that were badly damaged by last winter's devastating storms. The grant will also help improve information provision at our coastal sites across the South West'.