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Marine Bill is Farron's first legislative challenge as new Shadow Secretary

December 10, 2008 9:00 AM

As the dust settles on last week's Queen's speech, local MP Tim Farron is squaring up to leading for the Liberal Democrats on the upcoming Marine and Coastal Access Bill as his first big legislative challenge in his new role as Shadow Secretary of State for DEFRA and has urged the Government to strike a proper balance between planning authorities and local commercial interests.

Mr Farron met yesterday with Rambler's Association to discuss the Coastal Access segment of the Bill, and then later with representatives from the House of Lords in preparation for the introduction of the Bill into the House of Lords next Monday.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"It's important that the planning authority designated within the Marine Maritime Organisation is given a clear statement of purpose with easily defined duties.

"But it's equally important that the Bill isn't so rigid that it stops workers like the cockle pickers of Morecambe Bay from making a living.

"While the decision of where to site these zones should be based primarily on scientific knowledge it must also consider socio-economic factors.

"There is a danger that unless the Bill strikes the right balance between environmental protection and community interest that it could turn into a field day for lawyers."