The report indicates that the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee remains dissatisfied about the uncertainty that surrounds the process of prelegislative scrutiny as exemplified by this case. The Committee was surprised at the vague and uncommunicative way that the Government deals with the House in preparing for such scrutiny. It argues that when the Government is preparing draft bills in the future, it should inform the Liaison Committee which should recommend, in consultation with the relevant departmental select committee, how pre-legislative scrutiny should be conducted. The Committee believes the Bill places too much emphasis on trusting Natural England to ‘get it right’ in terms of determining the alignment of the route and extent of spreading room; 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. It also criticises the lack of a formal appeal process as a fundamental weakness of the Bill. and is still to be convinced that GBP 5 million a year for 10 years is enough to create access land all around England. The Committee urges the Government to clarify responsibility for long-term maintenance before the Bill is introduced.

Link: http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmenvfru/656/656.pdf