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Grass e-route 21st July

Welcome to the grass e-route for 21st July 2011. This week, coastal access, badgers and the Home Office Firearms Team visits Bisley.  

  • Coastal access & sporting rights
  • Badger announcement
  • Game Fair 2011
  • Home Office Firearms Team – Bisley visit
  • Casting for Recovery in Hampshire
  • Final call for lady entrepreneurs!

Coastal access & sporting rights

The process of extending coastal access is now underway, and we would urge everyone with an interest in coastal land to get involved in the consultation process. We have fought hard for owners of coastal land and sporting rights since the intention to open up coastal access was first announced under the previous Government. We met Ministers and put the case not just for owners of coastal land but also for those who own or lease sporting rights.

Natural England is responsible for the roll out of coastal access under the Marine and Coastal Access Act. Currently, five stretches of coastline are now being looked at by Natural England – a stretch in each of the counties of Durham, Norfolk, Kent, Somerset and Cumbria (further details from our website). The process of opening the access along these routes involves identifying the trail (coastal path) and the “spreading room” associated with it. Extensive consultation with owners and occupiers of coastal land (and with those having an interest in the land) is taking place before final decisions are reached.

Natural England will be writing to all whose land ownership is in the Land Registry. We are assured that every effort will be made to establish the owner of land along each relevant stretch of coast, but of course this is not always clear cut. It is imperative that if the land is not on the land registry or you are not the owner of land but have another interest, (eg you are a tenant, or own or lease the sporting rights), that you make yourself known to Natural England and take part in the consultation process. (Click here for Natural England's website.) This is particularly important because the Countryside Alliance has long been concerned that the holders of sporting rights do not have the same right of appeal as landowners. 

Land owners have been written to in Kent, Norfolk and Durham areas and letters to those in Cumbria will be sent at the end of the month. Those in Somerset will be written to in September. 

We can all agree that our beautiful coastline should be for everyone (most of it is already), but this has to be proportionate and reasonable and take full account of existing rights as well as wildlife, biodiversity and, of course, public safety. Please make your voice heard – this process needs your input if it is to achieve the right result.

Alice Barnard, Chief Executive

Badger announcement

On Tuesday the Government announced proposals for the next steps to tackle bovine TB. These proposals outlined the way forward on controlling the disease in the badger population, including plans to licence groups of farmers and landowners to carry out science-led, controlled culls of badgers in the areas worst affected by TB.
The Countryside Alliance welcomes this announcement and believes that badger culling must form part of the approach to help control bovine TB in cattle in high incidence areas. Only by tackling the disease in all main reservoirs (cattle and badgers) will effective control of TB be achieved. A number of culling trials carried out in the UK and Republic of Ireland over the past three decades have demonstrated that culling, if carried out effectively, can reduce TB breakdowns in cattle herds. This must, however, be done in conjunction with increased cattle controls and effective biosecurity. 

For more information on the Government’s announcement click here.  

Game Fair 2011

With the Great Yorkshire, Royal Welsh and the Festival of Hunting at Peterborough now over, we are all looking forward to the Game Fair, which starts at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire tomorrow. 

We are delighted to announce that Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP will be joining the panel for the Countryside Alliance panel debate in the Game Fair theatre on Saturday 23rd July at 10.30am. Chief Executive Alice Barnard will chair the Countryside Alliance Debate which is: "Killing and Kindness - Have "Bunny Huggers" Won the Conservation Argument? The topic has been inspired by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh's recent comments, making the clear distinction between the "huggers" and genuine conservationists. Joining Mr Clifton-Brown on the panel will be conservationist, writer and broadcaster Robin Page (pictured), ex-League Against Cruel Sports boss Jim Barrington, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust's Tom Oliver and Jamie Foster, Solicitor Advocate and author of "Fieldsports and the Law". The panel is hugely experienced and the debate is sure to be spicy, so please come and enjoy the show.

We can also tell you about an offer for members at the Game Fair: Courtlough Shooting Grounds from Balbriggan in County Dublin will be selling their ‘Country Essentials’ on stand C411. Countryside Alliance members will benefit from a 10% discount off the marked sale prices on production of a valid membership card. Courtlough have been particularly supportive to Countryside Alliance Ireland and our members over the years and we hope you will visit them to avail them of a bargain or two!

We also look forward to seeing you on our stand, B256, where we will be serving breakfast for members from 7am. In addition we hope to see you on the clay shooting lines where our dedicated team of professional instructors will be offering lessons. Please contact michelle-nudds@countryside-alliance.org to pre-book your clay lesson. 

Find out more about the CA at the Game Fair, and what’s going on on our packed stand, here

Home Office Firearms Team – Bisley visit

Eight members of the Home Office Firearms Unit visited the National Shooting Centre, Bisley on 15th July, for presentations, a tour and to have a go at different disciplines. This was an important day for shooting sports and vital to communication between the shooting world and the Home Office, which has responsibility for firearms matters. The event was organised by several shooting organisations across different disciplines, including the Countryside Alliance’s Graham Downing who gave a presentation on game shooting to the visitors.

This day was focused on target-shooting and featured a tour the NRA Museum a visit to the rifle, shotgun and pistol ranges, viewing presentations on Olympic and domestic clay pigeon shooting as they went (with the opportunity to try the latter).

Over lunch, the group heard Graham’s presentation as well as Nick Fellows on development of clay target shooting and Heather Webb on aspects of the NRA’s work.
The group was then given a demonstration of a wide variety of disciplines and invited to have a go. The visit was completed by a visit to the NSRA range for a presentation on international, Olympic and Paralympic rifle and pistol shooting and an opportunity to shoot 10m air pistol.

The twin messages about starting young and shooting being for everyone were emphasised throughout the day, and it can only be a good thing that the Home Office’s team has made this positive and worthwhile visit.

Casting for Recovery in Hampshire

A great week for Casting for Recovery UK & Ireland, the unique fly fishing charity for ladies who have, or have had breast cancer, of which the Countryside Alliance is proud to be a major donor. The charity was mentioned in Parliament during a Defra debate, with Jim Shannon MP, briefed by the Countryside Alliance, telling the House of Commons that Casting for Recovery is “a unique charity specially designed for women who have or have had breast cancer, using angling to promote mental and physical healing.”

This mention was very welcome and came just after the charity’s third retreat of 2011, its 19th overall. Twelve ladies attended Kimbridge on the Test near Romsey, Hampshire at the weekend. The torrential rain did nothing to dampen the ladies’ enthusiasm and each of the ladies caught at least one trout. The Countryside Alliance is a major donor to the charity, however the fishing and accommodation at Kimbridge was generously donated by owners Clay and Sue Brendish, who have been extremely supportive from the start and have hosted retreats on three occasions. More good news for the charity is that Clay Brendish has agreed to be Casting for Recovery UK & Ireland’s first ever Patron.

Two more retreats will be held this year, both in September – one at Brookhall in Co Antrim and one at Forbes of Kingennie in Angus. Applications can be made online at www.castingforrecovery.co.uk. You can follow the charity on Twitter @CfRUKandI  

Final call for lady entrepreneurs!

The NatWest everywoman Awards, the national search for a female entrepreneur, closes to nominations on 22nd July 2011 so lady entrepreneurs should enter now at www.everywoman.com/ewawards. The NatWest everywoman Awards have been running since 2003 and were established to celebrate women who have started and run successful businesses. 

The Awards categories are inspired by the ancient Greek goddesses. Hestia is the Goddess of Hearth and Home and the award in her name is given to the most inspirational and successful female entrepreneur who runs a business in a remote rural location and makes a contribution to the local community. The Countryside Alliance is a media partner in these awards and our support for rural enterprise has earned us a place on the judging panel, so if you know of a female entrepreneur please encourage her to enter this prestigious competition.

Applications can be made online at: www.everywoman.com/ewawards until 22 July. The winners will be announced at a ceremony held on 7th December 2011 at The Dorchester Hotel in London, attended by influential businesswomen, politicians, media and VIPs who will celebrate their achievements. 



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