Coastal Access Bill becomes law

The controversial Marine and Coastal Access Bill, which will establish a public path around the English coast, becomes law today.

The 2,500-mile-long, 30ft-wide path, which will cost the taxpayer £50 million over 10 years to implement, will pass through private beaches, golf courses and farms.

Landowners have no right to compensation or contribution towards clean-up costs or security. However, they won’t be liable for accidents that occur, as the responsibility for maintenance lies with local authorities and Natural England.

Landowners and small businesses do have the right to appeal to an independent body if they feel the path adversely affects their livelihood. However, some are already threatening to take their concerns to the High Court.

Sarah Slade, national access adviser for the CLA, said: ‘Natural England thinks it’s going to be easy to find a route that won’t affect anyone and will deliver access. They need to think again, because there will be occasions where there’ll be protests.

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‘If you’re going to bring in a right to roam and not pay people for the losses they incur, then you have to be very careful about the route. We will continue to fight to make sure that the Bill has the least-detrimental impact on the land and business affected.’

Meurig Raymond, deputy president of the NFU, also pointed out that the coastal path could give farmers concerns about health and safety where animals are grazing.

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