Weekly Roundup

Unmanned helicopter may fly to the rescue of Everest climbers After six years of research, Trevor Rogers and his team developed an unpiloted full-size helicopter called the Alpine Wasp, capable of flying autonomously at altitudes up to and even beyond 9,000m, 150m above the summit of Everest, and a full 3,000m higher than anything achieved before to carry two sick or injured climbers to safety. Source : Kairn Read more at the Guardian Further to the BMC news roundup on Wednesday this week here is the joint press release issued by the BMC and other bodies interested in the UK´s coastline: A coalition of Britain´s leading outdoor organisations is calling for Natural England to recommend ministers to introduce a permanent, multi-user, right of access around England´s beautiful coastline.  The Natural England board meets in Sheffield on 21 February to thrash out its policy on coastal access. The Ramblers´ Association (RA), British Canoe Union, British Mountaineering Council, British Caving Association, CTC, Central Council of Physical Recreation, Equestrian Access Forum, International Mountain Biking Association UK and the Open Spaces Society have joined forces to lobby for inclusive access rights along the coast on behalf of the public. The group is calling for a coastal zone – where informal and responsible recreation rights are guaranteed – which will promote people´s health and wellbeing and generate income for local communities.  In protecting the coast for access we also make it more able to withstand the impact of climate change and rising sea-levels. Within the zone, a code of practice should define the new access and set out rights and responsibilities.  It is important that access can be regulated to protect wildlife, and legitimate privacy issues and to take account of coastal developments. New grant schemes should improve the management of coastal land and increase the benefits for wildlife, landowners and the public.  And there should be new planning guidance for the coast. Kate Ashbrook, RA chairman: “We are an island nation and the coast is a precious part of our heritage, yet access to it is patchy at best.  There is no right to walk on the foreshore between mean and high tides, so even a child building a sandcastle may technically be trespassing. The government must grasp the opportunity to roll back the arable land so that a healthy range of flora and fauna can flourish. This will mean that England can boast of the type of access that countries like France, Scandinavia and Portugal provide for their citizens”.Richard George, CTC Off-road campaigner: “Cycling around England´s coast should be a pleasure – but only 33 miles of coastline is open to cyclists, and half go underwater at high tide!”     Henry Whittaker, Equestrian Access Forum: “The EAF recognises the importance of coastal and beach access as it provides a valuable resource to horse riders.  Any proposals should provide for multi use which will produce increased economic benefits to the coastal regions”.   Chloe Nelson-Lawrie, British Canoe Union: “Opening up coastal waters would help the BCU achieve its sporting and recreational aims. Greater access would also enable us to assist in reaching the Government´s targets for outdoor educational, participation in physical activity and for the health agenda”.Brigid Simmonds, CCPR chairman: “There is constant demand for new facilities for sport and recreation but so little is done to provide them. At the stroke of pen, ministers have the ability to open up sites which have been off-limits to the public for centuries. By signing up to this proposal, they can improve public health, strengthen coastal economies, and safeguard the natural environment”. Dave Turnbull, Chief Executive for the British Mountaineering Council: “The British coastline is internationally renowned for rock climbing.  There are more climbing routes on the cliffs of Land´s End then the whole of the Eastern and Western seaboards of the USA put together. What people want to know is where they can park, where they can go and how to get there.”   Duncan Simpson, Head of Communications, YHA: “YHA aims to help all to a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside, including our coast.  We operate around 50 coastal properties.  For many young people seaside holidays or walks along the coastline are their first experience of the outdoors and learning in this way instils a passion for further exploration.  This experience can only be enhanced by these proposals.”