Coastal landowners in England whose property is used for shooting could be affected by access proposals, warned the Country Land & Business Association’s (CLA) national access adviser, Andrew Shirley.

Mr Shirley told Shooting Times, “The right to coastal access is coming and will not go away. So if you own or rent land near the coast you need to address this issue urgently.”

Plans for coastal access and new marine conservation zones were published in the draft Marine Bill on 3 April followed by Natural England’s (NE) Outline Scheme, which seems to make no provision for closing off access to prevent people from being injured either by gunshot or falling quarry.

Mr Shirley continued: “Curiously, there was no acknowledgement that public access would impact on shooting and the tacit assumption that they could co-exist in harmony. No compensation will be paid to landowners and it will be up to them to manage the public who go on their land.”

The proposed coastal access path will be at least four metres wide and will include mud and salt flats unless there is a risk of drowning or quicksand.

“NE has a duty to reduce the economic impact of the new right of access which is likely to become law in less than two seasons’ time. There would almost certainly be financial losses for landowners if the right of access disturbed sporting activities. There may also be costs attached to re-organising existing coastal sporting activities,” added Mr Shirley.

The rest of this article appears in 24 April issue of Shooting Times.

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