The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), has issued an alert to people who shoot in a number of coastal areas in England that their shooting could be affected.
Natural England is developing proposals to create coastal paths in five areas around the English coastline. They have begun stage one of an eight stage process to introduce new rights of coastal access in Durham, Norfolk, Kent, Somerset and Cumbria.
BASC is calling on anyone who shoots or has sporting rights on coastal land in these areas to contact them for advice. Shooting interests could include clay pigeon shooting, airgun and rifle range shooting, pest control, deer stalking, game shooting, rough shooting and wildfowling.
BASC’s Dr Conor O’Gorman said: "If people’s shooting interests are on potentially affected land they should be aware of the coastal access proposals and get involved at this early planning stage. BASC members can call on our advice at any time during these projects. BASC is working very closely with Natural England at national and regional levels to make sure people who shoot have a say on this issue."
Alert emails have been sent to BASC members living in each of the five counties involved and a dedicated webpage and email address have been created to help raise awareness.
The five sections of coast where the proposals are being developed are:
• Durham: Sunderland to Hartlepool – 38km *
• Norfolk: Weybourne to Sea Palling – 36km *
• Kent: Ramsgate to Folkestone – 39km *
• Somerset: Minehead to Brean Down – 54km *
• Cumbria: Whitehaven to Allonby – 30km *
When the coastal access related legislation was made under the last Government, 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 Natural England’s Coastal Access Scheme took account of the needs of shooting. As a result this guidance includes a detailed explanation of the approach Natural England will take in places where there are shooting interests.
In the event of a disagreement BASC also secured a right of appeal to the Secretary of State for people with sporting rights over affected land. 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.
For more information on coastal access, visit www.basc.org.uk/en/shooting/coastal-access.cfm, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01244 573019.
*These figures are BASC estimates of the length of each section of coast.