The Marine and Coastal Access Bill - are watercourses next?
While most of our members are not directly affected by coastal access, the lobbying work being undertaken is extremely important as this bill could be used as a "blue pint" for greater public access, without compensation or a right of appeal.
The importance of the CLA's work was proved by a comment made by Lord Greaves (Liberal Democrat) at the end of an amendment debate over the extent of the path along estuaries. Incidentally CLA lobbying on the subject of estuaries has been accepted and it seem likely that estuaries may be excluded from access. Lord Greaves stated "One of the great access battles of the future will be about access along watercourses, which may resolve the estuarial problem in due course. That is some years away, but it is there and will happen. Secondly, I forgot to ask whether Morecambe Bay is part of the coast or an estuary."
The CLA are working extremely hard on the Marine and Coastal Access Bill being debated in the House of Lords. The Bill has within it a section which is intended to establish a continuous footpath around the coast. The proposed Bill is to open a path and "spreading room" extending to the seaward side of the path. There is no provision for compensation or any independent right of appeal for landowners as the Bill is drafted at present. Our lobbying is proving fruitful at the present moment with the Lords minister accepting that there is a need for an independent right of appeal when it was debated on Tuesday. The CLA briefed a number of Lords in the debate and received a number of complementary mentions with in the debate.
Members should be aware of this aspiration and support the important and ongoing work on this matter.
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Tim Broomhead is Regional Surveyor and covers the whole South East region. He is based in the South East office near Andover.
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