Coastal Access England
Implementation of the England Coastal Path is now well underway. Natural England, the government agency responsible, expects to complete work on the England Coast Path in 2020. Current progress can be viewed here https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/england-coast-path-improving-public-access-to-the-coast
Coastal access involves more than just the creation of a path. The path is called a “trail” and that is because it can be up to four metres wide. The trail will often follow existing rights of way. However, the public may be granted new access rights to a much wider area of land to either side of the trail. This is called “spreading room”. The extent of the spreading room and the public’s right of access to it will depend on a complex set of criteria. These criteria are outlined in the statutory guidance document called the “Coastal Access Scheme” and can be viewed here http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/5327964912746496?category=50007
When the coastal access related legislation was made, BASC successfully persuaded Defra to place a duty on Natural England to take account of sporting rights on the coast. BASC worked to ensure that the Coastal Access Scheme took account of the needs of shooting. As a result this guidance contains a detailed explanation of the approach Natural England will take in places where there are shooting interests.
BASC also secured a right of appeal to the Secretary of State for people with sporting rights over affected land in the event of a disagreement. BASC is the only shooting organisation named in the relevant regulations. This will help BASC to safeguard shooting interests if the consultation process fails to take account of them.
What to do if you think you might be affected?
Anyone with shooting interests along the various sections of coast who thinks they might be affected should contact BASC at the earliest opportunity. We will then be able to provide advice and assist members with liaising with the relevant NE staff.
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