Coastal access plans will be a ‘fair balance’ for the public and landowners under the Draft Marine Bill, according to The House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee (EFRA).

EFRA’s report, ‘Draft Marine Bill: Coastal Access Provisions’ recommends that there should be:
– An appeal process for individuals and businesses on whose land the new access would be imposed
– Compensation for proven loss by individuals and businesses when the new rights come into force
– A commitment to look at the issue of animal liability

CLA Deputy President William Worsley 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.’

The CLA had taken the EFRA Committee to Essex and demonstrated the potential impact coastal access could have on businesses around Hamford Water.

NFU concerns about the coastal access proposal include:
– Concerns that £50m is not enough money to fund the creation and ongoing maintenance of the route
– A ‘fundamental weakness’ in the Bill’s current lack of appeal procedure for farmers which will be
essential to strike a ‘fair balance’ between the interests of landowners and walkers
– Details over dog control on land where livestock is kept is described as ‘not obvious’ and the report calls for the use of short leads as detailed under CROW

NFU Vice President Paul Temple also visited some farms that might be affected, and said: ‘This report makes a number of clear practical recommendations for the Draft Bill which, if the Government listens to and acts on, will significantly improve its acceptability to farmers.’

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