MP Mak takes a look around Hayling coastal path project

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HAVANT MP Alan Mak has backed the government’s environmental institute’s work around Hayling Island’s coastline.

The nationwide England Coast Path project, which is being led by Natural England, will see the creation of the largest National Trail in the country, part of which will consist of a stretch from Portsmouth to South Hayling.

Mr Mak took the Hayling Billy Trail walk with Natural England’s area manager Fran Davies to discuss the importance of the Solent Recreation Mitigation Partnership.

This partnership involves Natural England, NGOs and local authorities, which will help visitors to understand the importance of local wildlife habitats.

The Havant MP was shown the Coastal Defence Scheme at Eastoke – a £5m project to combat rising sea levels and reduce the risks of flooding for 1,700 residential properties in the area.

Following his visit, Mr Mak said: ‘I enjoyed hearing about plans for Hayling to play a role in the new England Coast Path but we must get the balance right between widening access for and protecting the private property of local residents and businesses.

‘Natural England play an important role protecting and enhancing Hayling’s coastline and natural environment, and it was good to see the work first hand.’

But the MP acknowledged that the path must not jeopardise any existing home or business by intruding into privately-owned areas.

Mr Davies added: ‘The coastal path planning is under way, and will take account of defence schemes, such as the one we’ve recently advised on at Eastoke Point.

‘It is great that Alan is supportive of our work to enable Hayling Island to remain an attractive place for coastal wildlife, residents, and visitors alike.’

The England Coast Path is due to be completed by 2020, and will provide 2,795 miles of unprecedented access to explore England’s beaches and clifftops. The aim is to raise awareness of protected habitats and species, as well as boost the local economy by attracting.