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Written Statement: Review of the Wales Coast Path (11 May 2022)

Today (11 May) we are marking the 10th Anniversary of the establishment of the Wales Coast Path.

In 2012, Wales became the first nation in the world to create a dedicated path around our entire coastline.

To coincide with the Anniversary, I asked Huw Irranca-Davies MS to lead a review of the Wales Coast Path and to make recommendations on maximising the impact of the Wales Coast Path and the wider trails network, and to set out a strategic direction for their future development.

Since the landmark establishment of the Wales Coast Path in 2012, the Welsh Government has subsequently passed ground-breaking legislation in the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Environment (Wales) Act 2016.

Our natural environment has never been more important to us.  Welsh Government has recognised the public health challenges of sedentary lifestyles.  The recent challenges of Covid 19 highlighted the benefits to physical and mental health that being outside can bring.  Within this changed context, the Wales Coast Path Review Group has focussed on new ways in which the full potential of the Wales Coast Path can be realised, bringing the widest possible range of sustainable and inclusive benefits for the people of and visitors to Wales.

The Review Group have made 19 recommendations recognising the potential value of the Wales Coast Path, and our wider trails network, to our health and wellbeing, our education and to addressing the climate and nature emergencies.

The report also recognises the challenges the Wales Coast Path is facing – from coastal erosion, increased visitor numbers and in attracting new users. The report is available at Wales Coast Path: tenth anniversary review

I am grateful to Huw Irranca-Davies MS for leading the review, for the work of the Members of the Review Group and for the contributions made by stakeholders. 

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