asked Her Majesty's Government:
In view of the National Audit Office report on The Right of Access to Open Countryside, why the board of the Countryside Agency was asked to approve options for improving coastal access while the in-depth investigation of the four study areas still lacked costings; and [HL6672]
Why the board of the Countryside Agency was asked to approve options for improving coastal access when only one of the seven parts of the Coastal Access Project Group's work programme was complete.[HL6673]
The Countryside Agency's (CA) board paper, which was discussed at its meeting on 25 May, summarised the results of the initial evidence, fact-finding and research work which had been undertaken to date by the CA, along with its Natural England partners: English Nature and the Rural Development Service. The board was asked to agree some initial conclusions about the best way to improve access to the English coast, subject to the completion of further work.
The Natural England partnership's final advice to Defra will include details of all the elements of the partnership's work programme and the costs of possible options. The board will look again at the options in the light of all the information available before that advice is submitted to Defra.