Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009
2009 CHAPTER 23
Summary and Background
Schedule 19 : Schedule 1a to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949
1006.Schedule 1A sets out the procedure for making and considering objections and representations about coastal access reports. This procedure is as follows:
1007.Paragraph 2 says that Natural England must advertise a coastal access report and must take reasonable steps to give notice of the report to those with a relevant interest in affected land and to certain bodies, and to persons set out in regulations. It also says that the Secretary of State may make regulations relating to the form, manner and timing of advertisements and notices.
1008.Paragraph 3 says that those with a relevant interest in affected land may make an objection to Natural England’s report. In order to be admissible an objection must meet certain requirements set out in sub-paragraphs (3) and (4) of paragraph 3 and any requirements of regulations made in accordance with sub-paragraph 7(b). The ground of the objection must be that the proposals fail to strike a fair balance as a result of certain issues set out in sub-paragraph (3). These are the position of any part of the proposed route; proposals for routes subject to erosion; proposals for alternative routes; proposals for the boundary of the coastal margin to coincide with a physical feature; proposals for exclusions and restrictions of access, and any decision to treat the relevant upstream waters of a river as part of the coast. Sub-paragraph (4) says that the person making the objection must specify the reasons they are of the opinion a fair balance has not been struck. Sub-paragraph (5) says that the person making the objection may propose modifications of the proposal, but these must meet certain criteria set out in sub-paragraph (6) – they must be practicable, take account of the considerations mentioned in section 297(2) and (where appropriate) 301(4), and must be in accordance with the coastal access scheme. Sub-paragraph (7) says that the Secretary of State may make regulations about the steps to be taken by Natural England to make persons with a relevant interest in affected land aware of their entitlement to make objections, and the form and manner in which, and period within which, objections are to be made.
1009.Paragraph 4 says that any objection received by Natural England must be forwarded to the Secretary of State, and that the Secretary of State must refer the objection to the appointed person. It also sets out details about the appointment of the appointed person.
1010.Paragraph 5 says that the appointed person must decide if the objection is admissible (as set out in paragraph 3) and must give a notice of that determination to the person who made the objection, Natural England and the Secretary of State.
1011.Paragraph 6 places an obligation on Natural England to provide comments on objections, which have been determined to be admissible, to the Secretary of State. The appointed person may require Natural England’s comments to include information on any relevant alternatives or rejected options.
1012.Paragraph 7 says that anyone may make a representation to the Secretary of State about the coastal access report. Paragraph 8 says that representations from those to whom Natural England had to give a notice under paragraph 2(2)(b) to (f) will be sent to the Secretary of State together with Natural England’s comments on them. Other representations will be summarised by Natural England and sent to the Secretary of State with Natural England’s comments.
1013.Paragraph 9 sets out the documents which the Secretary of State must send to the appointed person with regard to an admissible objection.
1014.Paragraph 10 says that the appointed person must determine whether the proposals in the report fail, in the respects specified in the objection, to strike a fair balance, as a result of the matter or matters within paragraph 3(3) specified in the objection. The appointed person will consider the information and if he is minded to decide that a fair balance has not been struck he will publish the objection and invite representations – anyone may make representations to the appointed person. This is necessary only if the appointed person considers a fair balance may not have been struck – if he considers it has been struck in Natural England’s proposals, then he must make a report recommending that the Secretary of State makes a determination to that effect. There has already been an opportunity to make representations on Natural England’s proposals.
1015.Paragraph 11 says that the appointed person must give a report to the Secretary of State in which he recommends whether the Secretary of State should determine that the proposals do not fail to strike a fair balance, or that they do fail to strike a fair balance. If he recommends that they do fail to strike a fair balance, then the appointed person must recommend either that no modification would strike the fair balance, a certain modification would strike the fair balance, or a certain modification may strike the fair balance. Where he recommends that no modification would strike a fair balance, he may additionally make a recommendation that a certain modification would, or may, mitigate the effects of the failure to strike a fair balance.
1016.Paragraph 12 says that the appointed person may ask for other relevant information from Natural England or the Secretary of State.
1017.The appointed person may limit the proceedings to written representations, or, as set out in paragraph 13, a hearing or local inquiry may be held where it is considered necessary or expedient to do so.
1018.Paragraph 14 gives the Secretary of State a power to make regulations regarding the consideration of objections by the appointed person. These may allow two or more objections to be considered together by the appointed person; may make provision for the appointed person to conduct an inspection of land and may make provision for the conduct of a hearing or local inquiry.
1019.Paragraph 15 gives the Secretary of State powers to make provisions for procedures to be followed where he may wish to consider modifications to Natural England’s proposals (these would be modifications other than those proposed with reference to an objection).
1020.The Secretary of State makes a determination on the report as a whole. In making the determination he must consider certain information as set out in paragraph 16, including any objections, Natural England’s comments on them, the report of the appointed person, any representations and Natural England’s comments on them. Paragraph 16 also makes clear that, in making a determination, the Secretary of State may approve proposals relating to one or more parts of the route only, and may reject the remaining proposals. He may also make regulations about the procedure to be followed where he is minded to approve the proposals with modifications other than modifications contained in a report from the appointed person. The Secretary of State will also be bound by a finding of fact in the report of the appointed person, except where, for example, there was insufficient evidence to make the finding or the finding was made by reference to irrelevant facts.
1021.The Secretary of State must give notice of his determination to persons with a relevant interest in affected land, or publish such notice, and in addition must give notice to certain bodies, including local authorities and local access authorities, as set out in paragraph 17. The notice must include, so far as relevant to the objection, a statement of his reasons for the determination.
1022.Paragraph 18 defines certain words for the purposes of this Schedule.
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