MPs back changes to access scheme

RURAL business campaigners have welcomed the support of an influential Parliamentary committee for changes to the Government's plans for coastal access.

RURAL business campaigners have welcomed the support of an influential Parliamentary committee for changes to the Government's plans for coastal access.

The House of Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Select Committee has backed calls from the Country Land & Business Association for additional protection for affected landowners in areas including compensation and public liability.

The move follows a visit by the committee to locations on the Essex coast, including Hamford Water, near Walton-on-the-Naze, during which CLA members from the eastern region explained their concern at the proposals.

A number of these have bow been addressed in recommendations from the committee for the coastal access element of the Draft Marine Bill.


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The recommendations include an appeal process for individuals and businesses on whose land the new access would be imposed and compensation for proven loss by individuals and businesses when the new rights come into force.

The committee has also called for greater detail on how the law will apply to arable land, designated wildlife sites and estuaries with ever-changing coastlines, and for greater clarity on the obligations on dog owners to control their pets.

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And, crucially for livestock owners, the committee it recognises the need to consider the issue of liability for the owners of cattle, horses and other animals in the event of visitors suffering injury.

Nicola Currie, CLA eastern region director, said: “This is great news and exactly what the CLA has been calling for. It shows that the MPs on the Efra Select Committee have listened to all our representations and supported our views on these key issues.

“Everyone with an interest in coastal access has made a huge investment in terms of time and cost in submitting evidence to this House of Commons Committee. This process is a key stage of pre-legislative scrutiny and should not be ignored.

“The CLA urges the Government to implement in full all the recommendations that the CLA and Efra Committee support to ensure the draft Marine Bill respects the rights of land and property owners.”

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