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Thread: Writing to Your MP to Help the Access Campaign

  1. #1

    Default Writing to Your MP to Help the Access Campaign

    We could a build up a list here of every MP and a summary of their position. Here is our map of SOTP members.





    You can see we have great coverage of members...

    These are the MPs we have already contacted...

    Sam Gyimah, East Surrey, (Dougdew99)
    John Pugh, Southport,(DougoutCanoe)
    Zac Goldsmith,Richmond Park ,(Nakedfriremaker)
    Simon Hughes, North Southwark & Bermondsey (Jon Wood)
    Pauline Latham, Mid Derbyshire, Brygun
    Dan Byles, North Warwickshire, Ratty
    Geoffrey Cox,Torrige & west Devon ,(Paul Smith)
    Angela Smith, Stocksbridge & Peniston, (Pete in the Peak)
    James Paice, South EastCambridgeshire, (SamB)
    Phillip Lee, Bracknell , (KeithD)
    Rhodri Thomas,Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, (Bob Andrews)
    Ester Mcvey,Wirral West,(Quicky)

    Some people say that once an MP receives 6 letters on the same topic he/she feels pressured to act... so you should write whether or not you see your MP above.

    Opinions differ as to whether an email is effective as a hand written letter. My very limited experience (one MP) is that I got an immediate response to my email followed up by a letter in the post. Others may have found different.

    If you want to send an email, you can use this website, you just key in your postcode and it finds your MP and lets you compose and send an email. You will find examples of letters by scrolling through the "Canoe England Access Thread".
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    We could a build up a list here of every MP and a summary of their position. Here is our map of SOTP members.





    You can see we have great coverage of members...

    These are the MPs we have already contacted...

    Sam Gyimah, East Surrey, (Dougdew99)
    John Pugh, Southport,(DougoutCanoe)
    Zac Goldsmith,Richmond Park ,(Nakedfriremaker)
    Simon Hughes, North Southwark & Bermondsey (Jon Wood)
    Pauline Latham, Mid Derbyshire, Brygun
    Dan Byles, North Warwickshire, Ratty
    Geoffrey Cox,Torrige & west Devon ,(Paul Smith)
    Angela Smith, Stocksbridge & Peniston, (Pete in the Peak)
    James Paice, South EastCambridgeshire, (SamB)
    Phillip Lee, Bracknell , (KeithD)
    Rhodri Thomas,Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, (Bob Andrews)
    Ester Mcvey,Wirral West,(Quicky)

    Some people say that once an MP receives 6 letters on the same topic he/she feels pressured to act... so you should write whether or not you see your MP above.

    Opinions differ as to whether an email is effective as a hand written letter. My very limited experience (one MP) is that I got an immediate response to my email followed up by a letter in the post. Others may have found different.

    If you want to send an email, you can use this website, you just key in your postcode and it finds your MP and lets you compose and send an email. You will find examples of letters by scrolling through the "Canoe England Access Thread".

    And the response so far has been ??????

  3. #3

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    Sonar
    Some of the responses have been logged in the Canoe England Access Campaign thread.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  4. #4
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    Phillip Lee, Bracknell , (KeithD) - No response!

    I wrote to my previous MP at the time of the Early Day Motion. He
    • Told me that he was supportive but as a front bench bag carrier to David Cameron he was not allowed to vote for EDMs
    • He resigned as bag carrier after he had been caught with his hands in the expenses till. I wrote to him again asking for an assurance of his support now he was no longer a bag carrier. He promised it.
    • He wrote again a few weeks later (after he had decided not to stand for re-election as it might provoke a riot ) and advised that after consultations with colleagues he no longer felt able to support the access issue. Perhaps he expected to have more leisure time for fishing or hoped to get a job as a water bailiff.
    Keith

  5. #5
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    You can see we have great coverage of members...

    These are the MPs we have already contacted...

    Sam Gyimah, East Surrey, (Dougdew99)
    John Pugh, Southport,(DougoutCanoe)
    Zac Goldsmith,Richmond Park ,(Nakedfriremaker)
    Simon Hughes, North Southwark & Bermondsey (Jon Wood)
    Pauline Latham, Mid Derbyshire, Brygun
    Dan Byles, North Warwickshire, Ratty
    Geoffrey Cox,Torrige & west Devon ,(Paul Smith)
    Angela Smith, Stocksbridge & Peniston, (Pete in the Peak)
    James Paice, South EastCambridgeshire, (SamB)
    Phillip Lee, Bracknell , (KeithD)
    Rhodri Thomas,Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, (Bob Andrews)
    Ester Mcvey,Wirral West,(Quicky)
    Ian Wright, Hartlepool, MickyFinn.

  6. #6

    Default

    [QUOTE=MickyFinn;322723]You can see we have great coverage of members...

    These are the MPs we have already contacted...

    Sam Gyimah, East Surrey, (Dougdew99)
    John Pugh, Southport,(DougoutCanoe)
    Zac Goldsmith,Richmond Park ,(Nakedfriremaker)
    Simon Hughes, North Southwark & Bermondsey (Jon Wood)
    Pauline Latham, Mid Derbyshire, Brygun
    Dan Byles, North Warwickshire, Ratty
    Geoffrey Cox,Torrige & west Devon ,(Paul Smith)
    Angela Smith, Stocksbridge & Peniston, (Pete in the Peak)
    James Paice, South EastCambridgeshire, (SamB)
    Phillip Lee, Bracknell , (KeithD)
    Rhodri Thomas,Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, (Bob Andrews)
    Ester Mcvey,Wirral West,(Quicky)
    Ian Wright, Hartlepool, MickyFinn.
    Phil Wilson Sedgefield MP..Sonar

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=Sonar;322724]
    Quote Originally Posted by MickyFinn View Post
    You can see we have great coverage of members...

    These are the MPs we have already contacted...

    Sam Gyimah, East Surrey, (Dougdew99)
    John Pugh, Southport,(DougoutCanoe)
    Zac Goldsmith,Richmond Park ,(Nakedfriremaker)
    Simon Hughes, North Southwark & Bermondsey (Jon Wood)
    Pauline Latham, Mid Derbyshire, Brygun
    Dan Byles, North Warwickshire, Ratty
    Geoffrey Cox,Torrige & west Devon ,(Paul Smith)
    Angela Smith, Stocksbridge & Peniston, (Pete in the Peak)
    James Paice, South EastCambridgeshire, (SamB)
    Phillip Lee, Bracknell , (KeithD)
    Rhodri Thomas,Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, (Bob Andrews)
    Ester Mcvey,Wirral West,(Quicky)
    Ian Wright, Hartlepool, MickyFinn.
    Guy Opperman, Hexham, Sundowner
    Phil Wilson Sedgefield MP..Sonar
    You can see we have great coverage of members...

    These are the MPs we have already contacted...

    Sam Gyimah, East Surrey, (Dougdew99)
    John Pugh, Southport,(DougoutCanoe)
    Zac Goldsmith,Richmond Park ,(Nakedfriremaker)
    Simon Hughes, North Southwark & Bermondsey (Jon Wood)
    Pauline Latham, Mid Derbyshire, Brygun
    Dan Byles, North Warwickshire, Ratty
    Geoffrey Cox,Torrige & west Devon ,(Paul Smith)
    Angela Smith, Stocksbridge & Peniston, (Pete in the Peak)
    James Paice, South EastCambridgeshire, (SamB)
    Phillip Lee, Bracknell , (KeithD)
    Rhodri Thomas,Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, (Bob Andrews)
    Ester Mcvey,Wirral West,(Quicky)
    Ian Wright, Hartlepool, MickyFinn.
    Guy Opperman, Hexham, Sundowner
    Phil Wilson Sedgefield MP..Sonar

    "Der Hirsch springt hoch,
    Der Hirsch springt weit.
    Es macht ja nichts........
    Er hat ja Zeit"

  8. #8
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    I have written to Jonathan Lord, Con MP for Woking, Surrey

    I'll let you know if I hear anything back...his predecessor was not supportive...but I think he may have been a naughty boy with his expenses & resigned.

    Sam Gyimah, East Surrey, (Dougdew99)
    John Pugh, Southport,(DougoutCanoe)
    Zac Goldsmith,Richmond Park ,(Nakedfriremaker)
    Simon Hughes, North Southwark & Bermondsey (Jon Wood)
    Pauline Latham, Mid Derbyshire, Brygun
    Dan Byles, North Warwickshire, Ratty
    Geoffrey Cox,Torrige & west Devon ,(Paul Smith)
    Angela Smith, Stocksbridge & Peniston, (Pete in the Peak)
    James Paice, South EastCambridgeshire, (SamB)
    Phillip Lee, Bracknell , (KeithD)
    Rhodri Thomas,Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, (Bob Andrews)
    Ester Mcvey,Wirral West,(Quicky)
    Ian Wright, Hartlepool, MickyFinn.
    Guy Opperman, Hexham, Sundowner
    Phil Wilson, Sedgefield MP
    Jonathan Lord, Woking (Mal Grey)

  9. #9

    Default writing to your MP

    One more
    Sam Gyimah, East Surrey, (Dougdew99)
    John Pugh, Southport,(DougoutCanoe)
    Zac Goldsmith,Richmond Park ,(Nakedfriremaker)
    Simon Hughes, North Southwark & Bermondsey (Jon Wood)
    Pauline Latham, Mid Derbyshire, Brygun
    Dan Byles, North Warwickshire, Ratty
    Geoffrey Cox,Torrige & west Devon ,(Paul Smith)
    Angela Smith, Stocksbridge & Peniston, (Pete in the Peak)
    James Paice, South EastCambridgeshire, (SamB)
    Phillip Lee, Bracknell , (KeithD)
    Rhodri Thomas,Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, (Bob Andrews)
    Ester Mcvey,Wirral West,(Quicky)
    Ian Wright, Hartlepool, MickyFinn.
    Guy Opperman, Hexham, Sundowner
    Phil Wilson, Sedgefield MP
    Jonathan Lord, Woking (Mal Grey)
    Megg Munn, Sheffield Heeley (pocketdave)

  10. #10

    Default

    One more

    Sam Gyimah, East Surrey, (Dougdew99)
    John Pugh, Southport,(DougoutCanoe)
    Zac Goldsmith,Richmond Park ,(Nakedfriremaker)
    Simon Hughes, North Southwark & Bermondsey (Jon Wood)
    Pauline Latham, Mid Derbyshire, Brygun
    Dan Byles, North Warwickshire, Ratty
    Geoffrey Cox,Torrige & west Devon ,(Paul Smith)
    Angela Smith, Stocksbridge & Peniston, (Pete in the Peak)
    James Paice, South EastCambridgeshire, (SamB)
    Phillip Lee, Bracknell , (KeithD)
    Rhodri Thomas,Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, (Bob Andrews)
    Ester Mcvey,Wirral West,(Quicky)
    Ian Wright, Hartlepool, MickyFinn.
    Guy Opperman, Hexham, Sundowner
    Phil Wilson, Sedgefield MP
    Jonathan Lord, Woking (Mal Grey)
    Megg Munn, Sheffield Heeley (pocketdave)
    Stephen Dorrell MP, Charnwood, (highland spring)
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  11. Default Angela Smith MP for Stocksbridge & Peniston

    My MP, Angela Smith, of Stocksbridge & Penistone has writen back to me and supports the case for increased access to rivers. She has writen on my behalf to DEFRA. She was one of the main opposers to the forestry sell off and wrote to me at that time too.
    See what comes of it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete in the Peak View Post
    My MP, Angela Smith, of Stocksbridge & Penistone has writen back to me and supports the case for increased access to rivers. She has writen on my behalf to DEFRA. She was one of the main opposers to the forestry sell off and wrote to me at that time too.
    See what comes of it.
    Are you planning to send the response to 38 degrees?

    http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...686#post322686
    See post #7
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

  13. Default

    Doing that now.

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    All I got from my MP, Harriett Baldwin, Worcestershire, was an automated "I'm out of the office" reply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimonMW View Post
    All I got from my MP, Harriett Baldwin, Worcestershire, was an automated "I'm out of the office" reply.
    To be fair, they need to go out now and again to justify the expenses.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimonMW View Post
    All I got from my MP, Harriett Baldwin, Worcestershire, was an automated "I'm out of the office" reply.
    It could have been worse - the automated reply could have said "Gone Fishing"
    Keith

  17. #17
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    Well, my MP, John Pugh has forwarded, to me, a letter he received from Richard Benyon MP, Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries.

    Benyon's stance seems to be, negotiated access agreements are the way forward. When will they learn????? He is of course an angler!

    This is Benyon's answer to my MP:



    The EA website about "strategic plans for water related sport and recreation across England and Wales" seem to offer nothing new or positive.

    Due to the comments regarding access agreements, I have responded with the following:

    Dear John Pugh,

    Thank you John, for forwarding the answer you received from Richard Benyon MP, Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries.

    Although he tries to justify the benefits of access agreements, he has little understanding of the reality of the situation on our rivers. Access agreements have failed to be organised between the canoeing bodies of the British Canoe Union, Canoe England and the Welsh Canoe Association and the landowners and angling fraternity.

    Access agreements did not work in the 100 year struggle for ramblers to have access to much of our nations land. This was only partially remedied with the introduction of the CROW Act 2000.

    Why was the "access to rivers etc" removed from the Act before it was passed?

    The land owners and anglers I have met on my passage down rivers in England and Wales have mainly been of the opinion that they have exclusive rights to our rivers. Also frequently stating that canoeing is an illegal activity on their river.

    In Wales the angling organisations are attempting to persue a policy of sueing canoeists.

    You may be interested in the research carried out by Rev. Caffyn, his site is caffynonrivers.co.uk. His papers are now being studied with a view to supporting our claim to free access to England's and Wales' rivers.

    Your support and opinion on these matters would be appreciated.

    I have written to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

    It appears that the government stance on "Access to rivers in
    England and Wales for canoeing" is still based on access
    agreements.

    Access agreements did not work in the 100 year struggle for
    ramblers to have access to much of our nations land.

    Yet the government insists that access agreements are the way
    forward.

    Already, talks with the purpose of negotiating agreements have failed.

    What arrangements are available for the present situation of
    canoeists being denied access to rivers?

    Will Rev Caffyn's papers be considered as support for our right to navigate our nation’s rivers?

    Yours sincerely,

    I will post any reply I receive.

    Doug
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougoutcanoe View Post
    Well, my MP, John Pugh has forwarded, to me, a letter he received from Richard Benyon MP, Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries.
    Interesting that John Pugh, a Lib Dem, feels the need to contact a Conservative to tell him what to say!

    Since he clearly doesn't know, and Richard Benyon has chosen not to tell him, perhaps you should let him know that this issue doesn't feature in the coalition agreement so he's still allowed to think for himself.

    It did however feature in the Liberal Manifesto, created prior to the general election to let voters know what they could expect from their Lib Dem MP's. "We will also increase the general right of access to the countryside, along the lines of the model introduced by Liberal Democrats in Scotland."

    His next reply should be more interesting.
    Keith

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    I haven't had a reply from Dan Byles,Warwickshire.

    Soooooo just sent him another mail, this time via a link from his own web site.
    because When I received a confirmation mail I noticed they require a contact number, but when i filled in the original mail via SoTP link it said phone number optional.

    Please note that there is a strict Parliamentary convention that MPs can only deal with matters raised by their own constituents or businesses in the constituency. If you are a North Warwick shire and Bed worth constituent, please ensure that you have provided the following information:

    * full name
    * postal address
    *
    contact telephone number

    dan.byles.mp@parliament.uk

    Anyway I have sent another mail minus my contact number.
    I don't give out my number until after the first date.
    Ratty (Russ)

    I know only that what is moral is you feel good after. What is immoral is what you feel bad after.
    Ernest Hemingway

  20. #20

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    When you use this, it asks for your name and address details, with the phone number as optional.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  21. #21
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    Yep that is the link I used and i agree it said phone optional

    but when i received the confirmation via email, this was in it.

    Please note that there is a strict Parliamentary convention that MPs can only deal with matters raised by their own constituents or businesses in the constituency. If you are a North Warwick shire and Bed worth constituent, please ensure that you have provided the following information:

    * full name
    * postal address
    *
    contact telephone number

    Its a bit contradictory, I will see what happens, as they have my address and email.

    Ratty (Russ)

    I know only that what is moral is you feel good after. What is immoral is what you feel bad after.
    Ernest Hemingway

  22. #22
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    Letter gone to the top man, he is after all my local MP.

    Sam Gyimah, East Surrey, (Dougdew99)
    John Pugh, Southport,(DougoutCanoe)
    Zac Goldsmith,Richmond Park ,(Nakedfriremaker)
    Simon Hughes, North Southwark & Bermondsey (Jon Wood)
    Pauline Latham, Mid Derbyshire, Brygun
    Dan Byles, North Warwickshire, Ratty
    Geoffrey Cox,Torrige & west Devon ,(Paul Smith)
    Angela Smith, Stocksbridge & Peniston, (Pete in the Peak)
    James Paice, South EastCambridgeshire, (SamB)
    Phillip Lee, Bracknell , (KeithD)
    Rhodri Thomas,Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, (Bob Andrews)
    Ester Mcvey,Wirral West,(Quicky)
    Ian Wright, Hartlepool, MickyFinn.
    Guy Opperman, Hexham, Sundowner
    Phil Wilson, Sedgefield MP
    Jonathan Lord, Woking (Mal Grey)
    Megg Munn, Sheffield Heeley (pocketdave)
    Stephen Dorrell MP, Charnwood, (highland spring)
    David Cameron, West Oxfordshire (Bootstrap Bob)
    Bootstrap
    There's no such thing as inclement weather - you're just incorrectly dressed

  23. #23

    Default Have written to Ed Vazeye & Richard Benyon

    I have written to my MP Ed Vazeye (Wantage Constituancy) and he replied that he was sending it on to Richard Benyon.

    I also wrote to Richard Benyon in his ministerial position, I had a reply from hime (or rather one of his assistants) to the same effect as already published above.

    I wrote back to both, explaining why access agreements have not worked, are not working and will continue not to work. I now await a response to this one.

    Allen

  24. #24
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    Dear Mr Quick

    Thank you very much for your email and our apologies for not replying earlier. As you will be aware, in 2000 the Government legislated to introduce a limited right to roam, without compensation for landowners. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 was gradually implemented from 2000 onwards to give the general public the conditional right to walk in certain areas of the English and Welsh countryside: principally downland, moorland, heathland and coastal land.

    Following a successful campaign by anglers, rivers in England and Wales were excluded from CROW, leaving other river users such as swimmers and canoeists with restricted access to less than 2% of navigable water. The British Canoe Union is running the Rivers Access Campaign, to highlight the level of restrictions the public face in gaining access to inland waterways in England and Wales.

    The Coalition Government is currently working on plans to transfer British Waterways from government to a new charity for the waterways in England and Wales, through the Public Bodies Bill. The move will attract new investment and give the public greater involvement in the running of their local canal or river. It will convert the current annual Government grant into a long-term contract, ensuring improved financial security for the waterways. The development is good news for the hire boat businesses, marinas, pubs, waterside attractions and waterway-led regeneration schemes which are reliant on a vibrant canal system. Allowing for due diligence, the Government intends to have the new body up and running by April 2012.


    Ian Lewis
    Press Secretary

    Jacqueline Foster MEP
    Conservative MEP for the North West of England
    Conservative Spokesman on Transport & Tourism in the European Parliament

  25. #25
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    Following a successful campaign by anglers
    Is there any way, or does anyone know, the conclusions of the research and consultations that lead to the final CROW act so that we can actually see why precisely the angling fraternity was successful?

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    Is there any way, or does anyone know, the conclusions of the research and consultations that lead to the final CROW act so that we can actually see why precisely the angling fraternity was successful?
    Lack of support by the ramblers for one....

    Maybe the MP's with fishing interests for another...

    Check out the amout of fishing interets in the Welsh Assembly Group for example

  27. #27
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    Here is the reply received

    Thanks for the emails. As this is UK legislation, it may be worth contacting Esther McVey’s office (632 4348) to see if she can assist. I would imagine the submissions by the anglers to CROW would be available, if not easily then certainly under FoI. In terms of the mutualisation of British Waterways, there is going to be fairly comprehensive consultation so I’d suggest you make sure the BCU is involved – I’m sure they would be!

    Best wishes


    Ian Lewis
    Press Secretary

    Jacqueline Foster MEP
    Conservative MEP for the North West of England
    Conservative Spokesman on Transport & Tourism in the European Parliament


  28. #28
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    Certainly an FoI request should be made to save time.

    Lack of support by the ramblers for one....

    Maybe the MP's with fishing interests for another...

    Check out the amout of fishing interets in the Welsh Assembly Group for example
    I found this, which was interesting
    http://www.martinsalter.com/pdf/charter.pdf

    A quote from it
    Canoeing
    There is strong pressure from canoeists to open up access to more river systems. However, the existing policy of the EA is only to support increased access where it will not adversely impact on existing uses and users, or the economic and conservation value of the site. Quite clearly, opening up access to the smaller rivers and streams would have an adverse impact on angling, bird-watching and other existing users. This is less of a problem on larger rivers such as the Severn, Trent or Thames.
    Labour supports the existing EA policy and believes that managed solutions need to be sought to canoe access issues which do not adversely impact on existing users.
    Uhuh. What I love (or actually hate) about such statements is that they never say exactly *how* opening up the access will have an impact on angling etc. They never say *why* angling is deserved of such exclusive protection over all other activities, and most importantly they never state which set of researched evidence they are basing their conclusions on!

    Now, the above document has nothing to do with CROW specifically, but it was written as a Labour document, and as Wildswimmer Pete on UKRGB suggests, it is highly likely that this Martin Salter chap had undue influence on the outcome of the CROW consultations etc.

  29. #29
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    We also need to write to the following people on the benefits of access.

    Keep the letters very positive and how the Gov etc can help bring about a positive outcome (always helps)

    Don’t forget that DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sports ) also need to be lobbied... as do the health Department ... Jeremy Hunt is the Sec of State... Hugh Robertson is Sports Minister (he is a good friend of canoeing)

  30. #30
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    Hi all,
    I have today received a reply to my email sent to Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham. It reads...

    "Dear Ingo,

    Thank you for your letter about canoeing and access agreements. I will write to the Minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to seek a resolution. I will let you knowwhen I have received the response.

    Your ever, "


    I find it interesting that he already mentions that he seeks a resolution. My hunch would be that this is NOT the first letter/email he has received on this subject. I know of 3 other canoeists in my area and will get them to write to him too, they should have already voted on 38 degrees.
    Will all of you who have written to their MP's let us know what's being said?
    Cheers

    "Der Hirsch springt hoch,
    Der Hirsch springt weit.
    Es macht ja nichts........
    Er hat ja Zeit"

  31. #31

    Default Post MP comments on 38 Degrees

    It is a good idea to post an extract of MP responses on 38 degrees e.g.

    We are getting good response from MPs; here is how my MP responded...
    "Thank you for your letter about canoeing and access agreements. I will write to the Minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to seek a resolution. I will let you know when I have received the response.

    Write to your MP here http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/spe...ontact-your-MP Tell him about the situation on your local river. Include this sentence:

    Please advise me of your position on this issue and communicate my concerns to Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Natural Environment and Fisheries), Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Hugh Robertsson, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Sport and the Olympics) and Sir Peter Bottomley MP""


    This demonstrates to 38 Degrees that we are pro-active campaigners worthy of their support
    Last edited by dougdew99; 18th-March-2011 at 01:25 PM.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  32. #32
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    A huge thanks to all the folks on here giving up their time to push for this cause When we get free access I'll buy you all a pint.

    It's getting on for two weeks since I mailed my MP, (Geoffry Cox). I've had no reply as yet. How long should I expect it to take. is it the 'done thing' to chase him for a reply so soon.
    Paul.

  33. #33
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    I am not impressed

    I have emailed Dan Byles (North Warwickshire) twice and no reply. So far my letters have been nice and polite.
    I think the next one will be polite but I will let him know my displeasure in him for not replying.
    After all, he is my MP and is there to help his constituents and not ignore them as soon as he gets his MPs seat.
    Wait till the next election is coming up and he will be on my door step plying for my vote.
    Ratty (Russ)

    I know only that what is moral is you feel good after. What is immoral is what you feel bad after.
    Ernest Hemingway

  34. #34
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    Rather than wait for a letter
    find out where he constituency offie is and organise a meeting!
    He cannot esacpe then.

  35. #35
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    I had allready wrote a third letter and copied in another local MP Marcus Jones. I will give them a few days to reply as it is weekend.
    I have also made it known of no responce to previous emails.
    Ratty (Russ)

    I know only that what is moral is you feel good after. What is immoral is what you feel bad after.
    Ernest Hemingway

  36. #36
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    I've recieved my answer from James Paice (Minister of state for Agriculture and food)
    It is on headed DEFRA paper and basically points out to me how good access agreements are, and that landowners would love to make agreements with paddlers, but many are put off because the governing bodies of canoeing in England and Wales do not support the use of agreements.
    He (or more likely a DEFRA civil servant) also points me at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk...ion/31435.aspx

    I wiil scan the letter so I can post the reply up here, but in the mean time start thinking about, and giving examples of, how I point out to him that access agreements don't work.
    I will be writing back to him shortly to point out that I initially asked for clarification on the law regarding access and to ask his - not the departments - views on the confusion of the current situation.

    Sam

  37. #37

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    I think the fundamental flaws in access agreements are these....

    1. They are based on the assumption that the land owner has the right to control navigation on the river. This is disputed by Rev Caffyn.

    2. If it assumed that the land owner does have this right, then the canoeist has nothing to bargain with. He is in the position of a beggar..."Please may I canoe on your river".

    3. There is no benefit to the Land Owner from having canoeists on the river.

    4. In seventy years, the access gained by voluntary agreements is negligible and fragile.

    5. There is an argument, that by asking for a voluntary agreement, you are implicitly reinforcing the idea that the land owner has the right to stop you.

    6. This will not be fully resolved until Rev Caffyn's view is ratified in a court or the law is changed.

    My opinion is that we should move as quickly as possible to make a plan to get Rev Caffyn's views accepted and to get the new law we need. Then we should put all our energy into getting those two things achieved. We should not reinforce the idea that the land owner has navigation rights.

    This means we will forgo the access benefits we might have had by the "Please may I canoe on your river" approach, for the time (years) it will take to reach our goal. This is a price we will have to pay.

    Of course, if by some miracle, landowners start coming to us with offers of access, we should graciously accept.

    It may also be possible to negotiate on the basis, "Mr Land Owner, I am not asking you for the right to paddle on this river, because I already have it (Rev Caffyn), but can we agree mutually acceptable entry and exit points, and I would be happy to talk about limitations based on special needs or events or environmental considerations". This might work in some cases and with some diplomacy.

    I also think that we should be ready to talk to land owners and anglers when invited. I will be very interested to see WCA's response to the accusation that they won't talk. Hopefully they have a good argument.

    If Scotland can have responsible, sustainable access, then so should we.
    Last edited by dougdew99; 20th-March-2011 at 11:27 AM.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  38. #38
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    Default Reply to James Paice MP, minister of state for agriculture and food

    Dear James Paice

    Many thanks for your reply to my email dated 6/3/11 which clearly puts across the Defra view point on the way forward for river access for canoeists, however I feel that you may have missed my point about the confusing nature of the current law -
    The environment agency says:
    ‘If there are no known rights or arrangements, a negotiated canoe access agreement will be required before canoeing can commence.’
    ( http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/static/documents/Leisure/appendix_c1_1467947a_1467947.pdf )

    and yet legal research concludes that in the past:
    1. All rivers which were physically usable were legally usable.
    2. There is a high probability that each section of a river which is now physically usable was usable by small boats in the period 1189-1600.
    3. On the balance of probabilities each section of a river which is now physically usable was used during that period.
    4. So there is, therefore, a public right of navigation on all unregulated rivers that are physically usable."
    ( http://www.caffynonrivers.co.uk/ )


    This suggests it would be legal for me to paddle all rivers that I can float my boat on – and I needn’t bother the land owner about it – unless I need to access by crossing their land. So why do we need access agreements unless I know that there is not, and never has been a right of navigation?

    I have to also point out that access agreements do not seem to be working. They are restrictive in nature, usually permit use of small sections of rivers only and are for short periods of the year. Over the last 40 years only 814 kms of additional access has been added through voluntary agreements and many of the agreements are for only one day per year! As an example the river Dove, where I paddled at the weekend, has an access agreement; The river is open for canoeing on two days each year and one weir (and immediately above and below) is open to paddlers during summer (but only on Mondays between 4.00 and 6.00pm!) This hardly fits in with the Governments statement that it “'is a firm believer in the benefits of outdoor recreation on land or water. The visitors are good for the local economy and people who exercise regularly are healthier than those who do not. So we are keen to promote recreational opportunities as widely as we can and this includes canoeing' as an example of how VAAs can work.

    I am not suggesting that land owners have no right over their land,(and many people would happily pay for car parking and other facilities) or that angling should be stopped in order to allow me to follow my interests: In Scotland, all are free to carry out their outdoor interests so long as it is done responsibly. (http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/responsible-access/) Why can’t we in England have the same clarity and arrangement? Does the government think that English people who want to use the countryside for recreation are not as responsible as those who live north of the border?

    Please advise me of your position on this issue and communicate my concerns to Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Natural Environment and Fisheries), Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Hugh Robertsson, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Sport and the Olympics) and Sir Peter Bottomley MP.

    Yours sincerely

  39. #39

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    Sam
    This is a great response... where did you get the mileage of added access from?
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  40. #40
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    Hi Doug
    that was from http://www.river-swimming.co.uk/rac.htm

    While I'm here, can I thank you for taking this on - from the amount of input you have had on the access campaign threads, you must be almost working full time!
    Keep up the good work
    Sam

  41. #41

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    Sam
    Thank you for your kind word
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  42. #42
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    Letter sent by email to Helen Grant MP for Maidstone & The Weald.

  43. #43
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    Just had a reply from Ester McVey with the standard copy and Paste reply from Richard Benyons assistant about VAA and how great they are.

    Looks like Richard won't answer his own now he he.

    Will reply to Ester with the real facts...



    Actually looking at it I have exactly the same Photocopy as you have received Doug, down to exactly the same signature and signing on the back.... Richard Benyou has been absent for a very long time.... Time to use this to our advantage and ask them if they actually have any independant opinions or do they just follow the party photocopier.....
    Last edited by Quicky; 22nd-March-2011 at 09:39 PM.

  44. #44
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    Default Reply from MP for Woking

    I've had a reply from Jonathan Lord, Tory MP for Woking.

    Dear Mr Grey

    Thank you for your wonderful and joyful email about canoeing.

    Thank you in particular for your kind offer to take me canoeing on the Wey. I have seen much of the Wey from a barge, but never from a canoe.
    Regrettably, I must decline your kind invitation - I am simply too busy during the week, and my family demand my attention and input at the weekend!

    On the question of access to the rivers of England, there is a broad range of organisations and individuals with differing views on this matter, but I will certainly bear what you have said in kind when this issue is raised in parliament in the future.

    With good wishes

    Yours sincerely

    Jonathan Lord MP


    So, a bit of a fob off, but hopefully he will remember in the future, & at least it appeared to be a personal reply.

  45. #45
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    It's nearly three weeks since I wrote to my MP and I have not yet had the courtesy of a reply. So I have written again.

    Dear Phillip Lee,
    I wrote to you on 6th March drawing your attention to the situation
    regarding lack of clear public access to our rivers and I'm
    disappointed not to have a reply.

    This is a divisive issue which sets apart many landowners from the
    widespread wish of many members of the public who simply want clarity
    over their right to use all aspects of the countryside, including our
    rivers, responsibly as they do in Scotland and almost every other
    civilised country. Quite possibly, as a new MP, you have been seeking
    advise on "the government line" on the issue but here you will find
    equal divisions.

    DEFRA has a long established policy of upholding the view that all the
    rights are vested in the landowners and those seeking to use the rivers
    must seek the landowners consent.

    The Department for Culture, Media and Sport favour a more inclusive
    approach as expressed by the report Red Card to Red Tape which
    recommends "DEFRA should introduce a statutory
    right of access in England and Wales for unpowered craft to inland
    water for recreational purposes. This system of rights and
    responsibilities should be based on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code."

    The Liberal Democrats policy as detailed in their 2010 Manifesto is
    "Increase the general right of access to the countryside, along the
    lines of the model introduced by the Liberal Democrats in Scotland.

    David Cameron is pleased to support the Witney to Westminster Canoe
    Challenge even though on many rivers such activity would be considered
    by some as trespass.

    So you see, I know where the government stand (or rather I don't) What
    I was hoping you could tell me was where YOU stand. Can I count on
    your support to promote the recommendation within the Red Card to Red
    Tape report, with all the pleasure and health benefits that it will
    bring?

    Yours sincerely,

    Keith Day
    If anyone feels the need to write to their MP again please feel free to plaguarise any ideas from my letter but please don't just copy it. I know how I feel when I receive a standard response to an enquiry (but not from my MP) and I don't want them to feel the same way about us.
    Keith

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Lord MP
    my family demand my attention and input at the weekend!
    Perhaps he would like to bring his family, it would make a great day out for them. I would be pleased to provide a tandem facility if he felt the need for it.

  47. #47
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    Default

    We have unintentionally got several threads running - all dealing with Writing To Your MP. All content is now being consolidated and redirected to here.
    Keith

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