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Stackyard News Feb 07

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Natural England takes wrong turning on coastal access - NFU

Natural England’s plans for creating a statutory right of access to coastal land have been sharply criticised by the NFU as being a recipe for confrontation and controversy.

coastal path

The Government’s recently formed conservation advisory body has recommended that a coastal access corridor should be created around the whole of the undeveloped English coast, other than where good quality access already exists. It is arguing against compensation to landowners, despite the fact that there is no provision in the proposals as they stand for land to be closed off for short periods - during lambing, for example - as there is under the access to open country legislation.

The NFU argues that this is the wrong approach, and that increased coastal access could be achieved more speedily and with much less controversy and confrontation through local solutions put together by local partnerships.

NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond commented: “We share Natural England’s aspiration of improving access to the coastline, but we firmly believe that this should be achieved by agreement rather than by imposition.

“These proposals, which appear to take no account at all of entirely justifiable agricultural concerns, can only generate conflict and confrontation, when what we should be cultivating is co-operation and consent.

“It is a great pity that Natural England should embark on a course of action which, as they must know, risks miring an issue as sensitive and important as increasing access to the coastline in unnecessary controversy.

“We think that this is the wrong way to go and we will continue to make that very clear both to Natural England and the Government.”

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