Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Session 2007-08

24 April 2008


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs published the Draft Marine Bill on 3 April 2008.

The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has decided to undertake pre-legislative scrutiny of aspects of the Draft Bill.

The Committee's Report of 2004, Marine Environment, said that there was a pressing need to update and streamline arrangements for marine nature conservation and licensing for development, and indicated that a wide-ranging Marine Act might be necessary. The Government has now made proposals for a Bill to amend these arrangements.

However in the light of the fact that the Government has added coastal access as a new dimension to the Draft Marine Bill, the Committee believes it is right to look in the first instance at this part of its proposals. In the light of the Committee's future work programme, it may subsequently decide to examine other parts of the Draft Bill.

The Committee invites interested parties to submit their views in writing by Monday 19 May 2008 about the coastal access provisions of the Draft Marine Bill, by which the Government proposes the creation of a long distance coastal route around England, with associated land for open-air recreation ("spreading room"). Respondents may address those aspects that they wish, but they may wish to comment on one or more of the following:

€ The Government's vision for coastal access, and the extent to which the Draft Bill provides for it

€ Whether new legislation is the best or most cost-effective means of providing increased access to the coast

€ The case for exceptions to, and deviations from, a route giving continuous access to the coast itself

€ Whether the Draft Bill strikes the right balance between the rights of access and the rights of owners and occupiers, and whether there should be compensation in any circumstances for the creation of coastal access rights

€ The proposals for coastal access in estuaries

€ What classes of land should be excepted from access rights

€ The proposed arrangements for limiting liability

€ Whether there should be access rights for other users such as cyclists or horse riders.

More information about the required format of submissions is given below.

Oral evidence sessions will be announced in due course but are likely to be held in June. The Committee expects to agree its conclusions by July.


Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to efracom@parliament.uk. The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Please mark the submission for the attention of the EFRA Committee inquiry.

€ Submissions should be as brief as possible, and no more than 3,000 words.

€ Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference.

€ The document should include an executive summary (no more than one page long).

€ If a submission proposes amendments to the Draft Bill, these should be highlighted.

€ Please do not resubmit your response to the Government's consultation paper of April 2008€”if you need to enclose your response to the Government's consultation paper, please do so only as an appendix to your submission to this inquiry.

Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

Personal information, such as address and contact details, should be provided separately from the body of your submission. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, no public use should be made of the submission unless you have first obtained permission from the Committee.

For further details about this inquiry, please contact Chris Stanton, Clerk, on 020 7219 3263.

Information from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the Draft Marine Bill can be found at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/marine/legislation/index.htm

The Committee's Report of 2004 on Marine Environment can be found at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmenvfru/76/76.pdf


Media Enquiries: Laura Kibby: Tel: 020 7219 0718, Mob: 079174 88557, Email: kibbyl@parliament.uk

Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/efracom

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk