CLA slates Government’s ‘unjust’ refusal to accept parliamentary committees’ coastal access viewsThe CLA today (25 September) slammed the Government's refusal to accept two parliamentary committees' views on coastal access - thereby denying landowners the chance to appeal against the new right of public access being imposed over their land.
The Government rejected the Efra Committee's finding that the "lack of a formal appeal process is a fundamental weakness" of the draft Marine Bill. An appeals system had also been recommended by the Joint House of Lords and House of Commons Committee.
However, today the Government declared it did not feel an "appeals process would be appropriate".
CLA President Henry Aubrey-Fletcher said: "It is absurd, unjust and unfair that the Government has rejected an independent right of appeal on the spurious grounds that the cost of all the appeals against the "right to roam" introduced in 2000 was disproportionably 'lengthy and expensive'.
"In fact, two thirds of all appeals against the right to roam were successful which clearly demonstrates the real need for an appeal procedure. It is ridiculous the Government now seems to assume its system is infallible."
The CLA President said: "Despite refusing a right of appeal, the Government also ruled out compensation for rural businesses and landowners who could prove they had lost out financially because of the new right of coastal access.
"It is hard to equate this approach with a Government that repeatedly claims 'fairness' is its calling card. There is precious little in the way of concessions in its response to pre-legislative scrutiny and public consultation to the draft Marine Bill."
Dorothy Fairburn, CLA Yorkshire Regional Director added: "It is a great shame that the Minister has not heeded the advice of two parliamentary committees and the CLA among many others. The draft Marine Bill is little improved by the few concessions on coastal access that he has allowed to go through.
"By ignoring the majority of what the two parliamentary committees have recommended with the CLA's backing, the Minister has missed a golden opportunity to correct basic inequalities on the coastal access proposals in the Bill. At the very beginning of this process, the Minister was keen to involve landowners, saying he wanted to ensure they were not adversely affected. It appears he has failed to do this - preferring to ride roughshod over their rights and interests."
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A farmer’s daughter from the North York Moors, where her brothers still farm, Dorothy has clocked up more than 30 years’ service to the rural economy since graduating from Wye College (University of London) with a degree in agriculture.
She qualified as a rural practice chartered surveyor (land agent) whilst working for Savills plc in London and York, dealing with sales and purchases of country houses and estates as well as the management of investment estates for financial institutions.
Prior to joining the CLA, Dorothy worked for the National Trust in Yorkshire. There she managed some 30,000 acres of outstanding countryside as well as being responsible for historic houses open to the public and the acquisition of major new properties.
Dorothy was awarded an MBE in the 2011 New Year Honours List in recognition of her services to rural affairs.
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