The Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009)

The Kennel Club position

The Kennel Club welcomed the Marine and Coastal Access Act (MCA), which was enacted to open up access for the public to the English coast by creating a long distance walking route around the entire coastline. Following a successful lobbying campaign by the Kennel Club, the Act also gives dog walkers access to the entire coastal trail, under the premise that as dogs are kept under effective control.

Definition of 'Effective Control'

The Kennel Club worked with RSPB to establish a definition of 'effective control', which was included as an amendment in the Act. According to this clause, a dog is considered to be under effective control provided:

a) it remains on land which becomes access land by virtue of this Act, and
b) is kept on a lead whether fixed or extendable, or
c) if not on a lead, the person in charge of the dog remains aware of its actions and the dog will return to him reliably and promptly on command. The Act therefore introduces 'effective control' as a legally defined term, since used in the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act.

Why is the Marine and Coastal Access Act significant?

  • Equal Access - The Act provides dogs kept under effective control the same access rights as other walkers to use the coastal path around England.
  • Dog Control Order Consultations - The Act places an obligation upon local authorities to consult with Natural England - the government agency given the task of implementing the coastal path - on any proposals to introduce dog control orders.

How will the MCA be implemented?

The long distance route has been divided into administrative sections, each of which will be consulted upon with the local council, local access forums, landowners and local interest groups and clubs. Natural England will then submit a finalised schedule to the DEFRA Minister. After this has been approved, this section of pathway can be implemented. Each section will be approximately 30km in length.

The Kennel Club is continuing to submit responses to all coastal section consultations.

For more information about the progress of the English coastal path, please visit:


More information

Related Topics

Countryside Code Responsible Dog Ownership
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