MP's pushing NE to meet farmer groups
With many months of work having already been undertaken by NE (Natural England) on the Essex section of the England Coastal Path, but with no-one aware of any formal meetings with farmers and landowners, and the apparent opposition to any group meeting with farmers... ECO has had to ask MP's to ensure the process is more open and transparent and is pushing for a group meeting with farmers/landowners that are directly affected.
There have been 'drop-in' sessions organised by NE, but these are aimed as public awareness events, and are not designed to deal with the specific issues of individuals affected by the proposals.
The concern is that NE are forging ahead with ideas and plans on 'routes', 'spreading room' and 'roll back' without any input from those that will be affected by changes to access rights over their land.
Access to salt-marshes/saltings, foldings, farm access tracks, livestock grazing areas, mud-flats and sand dunes are all potential areas that whilst privately owned and currently heavily restricted via a variety of environmental designations (Sites of Special Scientific Interest, RAMSAR sites, Special Protection Areas etc etc), and are also often used by the landowner for livestock grazing, bird-watching or wild-fowling etc, could potentially be given public access to anyone and their dogs!