Owners affected by the route of the coastal path around England should be paid if they can prove they will suffer financial loss as a result, says a new report [not sure why the Telegraph didn't link to it].
This could mean, for example, that a farmer who loses the use of a field due to having to allow the public to pass through it could be given a payout to cover the loss.
It seems odd that wasn’t among the original proposals, doesn’t it?
Landowners should also have the right to appeal if the route of the coastal path allows walkers on to their land, says the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA).
The MPs describe the lack of a formal appeal process in the Draft Marine Bill as a “fundamental weakness” and say it will be impossible to create a continuous path around the coast without causing financial loss to an owner or occupier.
We are uneasy that the Bill places so much emphasis on simply trusting Natural England to “get it right”. We believe landowners and occupiers, in particular, are entitled to more concrete safeguards—especially as the Government intends to strike a “fair balance” between public and private interests. We believe that adoption of the recommendations we make later in this Report would provide some safeguards. (Paragraph 30)
The proposed level of parliamentary scrutiny of the real detail of these proposals is poor, especially when compared to the powers given to the Secretary of State. We are not convinced by the argument that the generality of Natural England’s final Scheme precludes it from being subject to parliamentary scrutiny. This will be an important document and Members of Parliament should be allowed to give their views about it in debate. The Bill should provide that the Secretary of State can only approve the Scheme after Parliament has given its approval via the affirmative resolution procedure. (Paragraph 38)
The lack of a formal appeal process is a fundamental weakness of the Bill. We consider the right of landowners and occupiers to have an independent, third-party appeal process to be an important element of the fair balance between public and private interests that the Government is aiming to achieve. The Bill should provide for such a process. (Paragraph 45)
The Bill should give Natural England the power to offer compensation to owners and occupiers who can demonstrate financial loss as a result of the coastal access provisions where such compensation is necessary to achieve the fair balance between public and private interests that the Bill requires. (Paragraph 53)
Unions have thrown their weight behind airlines and airport operators in lobbying against the proposed roll-out of identity cards to the industry, adding to the political pressures on the government over the contentious scheme.
The Trades Union Congress has told Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, of its “significant and substantive” concerns about the plans for thousands of airport workers to become the first British nationals to be issued with the new biometric cards.
ID cards are due to become compulsory for workers in “sensitive roles” in the airline industry by autumn next year. Ministers claim the cards will prove more secure than the passes and swipe cards being used, in a sector of crucial importance to national security.
How will they be more secure? Surely the cards already being used are only issued after stringent background checks.
But the proposals are running into a wall of opposition. In a protest letter to Ms Smith, ten leading airline chief executives have stressed their “joint and determined opposition” to a proposal they claim will add unnecessary costs and risks to an already secure system.
The TUC is scheduled to meet the home secretary shortly to add its voice to the concerns. Writing to Ms Smith ahead of that meeting, the union body argues: “Unions representing the airport workforce recognise the need for effective security measures but see no evidence that these proposals would enhance airport security arrangements.” …
Is there any group that wants to become Jacqui Smith’s guinea pig? Anyone?
The Telegraph has a bit more of that last paragraph:
[Frances O'Grady, the deputy general secretary of the TUC wrote]: “Unions representing the airport workforce recognise the need for effective security measures, but see no evidence at all that these proposals that these proposals would enhance airport security arrangements.
“They have raised a number of specific issues: the move has significant civil liberties’ implications; that it would not be cost effective, and indeed, appears to impose additional burdens on business and employees with no measurable security benefit.“
The Unite union, which represents some airport workers, have also attacked the plans, saying it is wrong that workers should face a £30 charge for an identity card before they can apply for an airside pass.
Commons leader Harriet Harman said MPs will be asked to give the go-ahead in the autumn to an e-petition system.
She said petitions “would be subject to checks and filters”, with an MP – normally the petitioners’ local one – acting as facilitator for each one.
Ministers would be expected to reply to most of them, while some would be picked for debate by MPs in Westminster Hall or for select committee scrutiny. …
AE, who is subject to a control order made pursuant to the provisions of sections 2 and 3 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (“the PTA”), appeals against a decision of the Secretary of State for the Home Department (“the Secretary of State”) made on 18 September 2007 refusing to permit him to attend the Regional College in the town in which he lives (“the specified college”) during the 2007-2008 academic year in order to undertake AS level courses in Human Biology and Chemistry. It is common ground that the purpose of this appeal is now to permit AE to carry out this course in the 2008-2009 session.
As I have explained in paragraph 10 an issue to be determined on this appeal is whether the Secretary of State’s action in refusing to allow AE to do both or either of these AS level courses was proportionate. Applying with appropriate amendments, the very well-known proportionality tests set out De Freitas v Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture  1 AC 69, 80 C-H, I conclude that:
(a) the objective of the Secretary of State in seeking to prevent or restrict involvement by AE in terrorism related activity is sufficiently important to justify limiting the right of AE to education;
(b) the decision by the Secretary of State in refusing to allow AE to do these courses was rationally connected to the objective and was not based on arbitrary, unfair or irrational considerations. There was no cogent contention to the contrary; and
(c) the decision of the Secretary of State refusing consent was no more than was necessary to accomplish the objective of seeking to prevent or restrict involvement by AE in terrorism related activity. As I have explained AE contends that the “primary” purpose for him in doing these two AS Level course in the words of his witness statement “was an effort to start on the ladder to my medical studies”. In paragraph 49 above, I have explained that if AE had studied, as he contends was the case, “Chemistry and Human Biology to a higher level in Iraq to a higher level than the AS Level offered by the College”, there would be alternative ways in which he could be admitted to study Medicine at a university in the United Kingdom. If AE’s contention is incorrect, this would raise very serious doubts about his motive for wishing to study medicine as I have explained in paragraph 50 above.
A few people have linked to this post with comments along the lines of, “new banned activities include A level Chemistry and Biology”. Lee Griffin is concerned that our education system improves the capabilities of young terrorists. All valid points, but perhaps a little unfair.
I confess I initially felt the same way but reserved my opinion until I had a chance to think about it overnight. Do read the judgement, there do seem to be some grounds for thinking AE’s motives aren’t entirely noble:
I concluded that the Secretary of State had reasonable grounds to believe first that AE had received terrorist training and had taken part in terrorist activities; second that he was also involved in providing support for the Jihadist insurgency in Iraq and in radicalising individuals in the United Kingdom; third that he is a well-known figure in the Iraqi Kurdish community and had expressed extremist views; fourth that he has been in contact with Ansar Al Islam (“AI”) associated Iraqi Kurds and others with extremist connections and fifth that he is a leading figure in Islamist extremist circles in the town in which he lives.
The Secretary of State places reliance on the evidence of witness X who concluded that the practical experience that AE would obtain whilst doing each of these courses would give him the confidence to work safely with chemical and biological substances and increase his confidence and ability to produce chemical or biological substances. By completing the proposed AS level courses, AE would then become better able as a result of the experience acquired on the course to assist in the production of chemical or biological substances and in that sense he would become a competent laboratory technician.
That said, it is important to note that AE has not been convicted of any crime: receiving terrorist training is a crime, for example, that you might have thought AE would be charged with if someone believed he had taken part in it. I also get a bit confused by things like this:
The Secretary of State is better placed than the court to decide the measures that are necessary to protect the public against the activities of a terrorist suspect and, for this reason, a degree of deference must be paid to the decisions taken by the Secretary of State.
The reason for my confusion is that I don’t think that any of the Home Secretaries in recent years have been better placed than the courts to decide anything!
Of course it is important to note that I do not, and probably will never have, the full story.
I must say also that it is a bit unsettling about the prevalence of “closed judgements” (I am completely ignorant of the consequences of this for the suspect) and ‘expert’ witnesses who don’t seem to know many specifics (see para 17 for example) about the case.
In conclusion, and weighing up the information I have available, I would say there seem to be grounds for concern about AE but we should also be concerned about how much deference is paid to the Home Secretary, how much we rely on expert witnesses about generalities but not specifics, and what effect closed judgements will have on suspects.
179 hits on this article but only 15 clicks on the judgement.
A bit disappointing!
The UK Border Agency – which is tasked with tracking down illegal immigrants – has admitted that one has been working in its offices.
An agency spokesman said the person was employed by a contractor and managed a team of cleaners at its Liverpool base.
A UK Border Agency spokeswoman said: “We remove one person every eight minutes.”
He must be getting fed up with that…