Recent innovations in the design of mobility scooters are being taken into account in the creation of a new coastal path route stretching from Wallasea Island to Southend.
Natural England, the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England, said it recognises that new innovations mean that mobility scooters are more versatile and capable of exploring routes on rugged terrain.
It has therefore promised to take “all reasonable steps” needed to make the trail “as accessible as possible” for disabled people and those with reduced mobility.
The pledge comes after The Disabled Ramblers urged Natural England to take “fuller account” of the needs of mobility scooter users in its proposals for the coastal path.
The charity said: “Natural England has not recognised that there is a significant and steadily increasing number of people with reduced mobility who use off-road mobility scooters and other mobility vehicles to enjoy routes on more rugged terrain including uneven grass and bare soil paths.”
The Disabled Ramblers has called for Natural England to assess how disabled people and those with limited mobility will be able to access the sea banks along this stretch, and make suitable adjustments to the proposals to achieve this.
It added: “Where such adjustments are not possible Natural England should identify short diversions from the path to allow these users to reach alternative access points to the seawall.”
Caption: In 2018, a large section of the Malvern Hills opened up to disabled visitors after improvement works to the surfacing and camber of the De Walden Drive path.