Landowners who may be affected by the round-England and Wales coastal path have received a boost from a Parliamentary committee which says that the lack of a right to appeal against the placing of the path is a breach of their human rights.
 
The proposed 4m-wide coastal corridor is part of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill. It would give Natural England power to designate access corridors and ‘spreading room’. Farmers and landowners would be engaged in the designation process, but would have no right of appeal once a decision was confirmed by the Secretary of State.
 
Now, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights says the lack of an independent appeal process would be a breach of landowners’ human rights. The Committee is backing an amendment to the bill put forward by the Country Landowners and Business Association (CLA). The amendment has already been proposed in the House of Lords.
 
CLA deputy president William Worsley says, ‘The Committee has recognised what we’ve been saying from the outset—that landowners should have the right to a fair hearing in which they can appeal against the line of the proposed route and any other aspects of it.’
 
John Mortimer, regional director for the south-west, which would be one of the most affected areas, adds, ‘It’s an argument which won the support of three select committees, but their recommendations were ignored by the Minister.’
 
James Legg, the Countryside Alliance’s head of politics, comments, ‘Defra must now accept that the Bill in its current form is not compliant with human rights legislation. Nor does it meet the Government’s own commitment to strike a fair balance between the interests of the public and those of people with an interest in the land.’

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