Pro-shooting organisations are urgently calling on the Government to clarify certain parts of the controversial Marine and Coastal Access Bill in a bid to safeguard the rights of wildfowlers and shooters.

Section 9 of the Bill aims to impose a right of public access in England on 1,400 miles of new coastal paths, which could pass through land owned by wildfowling clubs.

“The Bill is currently being discussed by the House of Lords and the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) is lobbying hard to make sure that various parts of it are clarified,” the CLA’s national access adviser, Sarah Slade, told Shooting Times. She added: “Members are becoming increasingly concerned that shooting and wildfowling interests could be at risk. Government needs to outline properly how the coastal access path will affect estuaries and whether or not parks and gardens will be included. We would also like landowners to be given the right to appeal and to receive compensation.”

BASC’s coastal access expert Conor O’Gorman agreed. He told Shooting Times that the Bill as it stands is ambiguous and that the Government needs to make more provisions for shooters: “It is important to note that the coastal trail being legislated for in this Bill will affect all shooting and land management interests. Areas of land used for shooting contain a wealth of wildlife and it is important to shooters that habitats such as covercrops, woodland, saltmarsh and mudflats are protected from undue disturbance.”

The rest of this article appears in 2 April issue of Shooting Times.

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