DEFRA has refused to recognise the legal status of sporting rights’ holders under the provisions of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill, and has instead offered a weak assurance that letters airing shooters’ grievances will be read by the secretary of state for the marine and natural environment.

The Countryside Alliance (CA), Country Land & Business Association (CLA), BASC and the Angling Trust attended a meeting with secretary of state Huw Irranca-Davies, on 7 September, to seek assurances that sporting rights holders would have the same right of appeal and legal status as landowners under the proposed Bill.

In the Bill, the Government has tasked Natural England (NE) with creating a continuous path along the whole of England’s 2,748-mile coastline. However, in its current state, the Bill fails to acknowledge the significance of sporting rights.

At present, the appeal mechanism for landowners and tenants involves the planning inspectorate (an independent body) in deciding whether or not the landowner has been treated fairly, which can lead to a hearing or a public inquiry if necessary. Shooting groups argue that holders of sporting rights should be given the same rights of appeal.

The rest of this article appears in 16 September issue of Shooting Times.

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