UK Liberty

Coastal landowners should be compensated if affected by route

Posted in politicians on liberty, state-citizen relationship by ukliberty on July 22, 2008

The Telegraph:

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.

The report:

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)

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2 Responses

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  1. sheila said, on July 25, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Public rights of way experts are pressing the Government to go ahead with the English Coast Path plans.

    IPROW (Institute of Public Rights of Way Management) President Alan Ibbotson says: “Consultation and negotiation is important and members of the Institute of Public Rights of Way Management have specialist expertise in resolving access and property issues.

    “In a recent letter to IPROW, Jonathan Shaw acknowledged the value of our input as members of the Government’s newly announced Stakeholder Working Group undertaking a fundamental review of Unrecorded Rights of Way.

    “The key now is not to let this great opportunity for coastal access be wasted. The time is right to address this glaring gap in public access. Our members are engaged in resolving public access issues right across the country. We recognise the need to work with property owners, expecting very limited liabilities for them in a similar way to those involved with open access land. Skillful negotiation by professionals need not imply compensation costs as packages of mutual benefits can be found by working together.”

  2. ukliberty said, on July 25, 2008 at 10:57 am

    I think that if the public decides it should have the right of access to private property, it should be prepared to compensate the owners of the private property.


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