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Thread: Access! What Can I Do to Help? Be Credible, Take Action!

  1. #1

    Default Access! What Can I Do to Help? Be Credible, Take Action!

    You can:

    1. Write to your MP here

    2. Vote on 38 Degrees, see here

    3. Post to the 38 Degrees Facebook page, see here

    You can see how to do this on the posts below.
    Last edited by dougdew99; 12th-April-2011 at 05:00 PM. Reason: new link
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  2. #2

    Default How to Write to Your MP and AM

    We need your action! This forum represents a tremendous asset within the UK paddling community but it only has any real value in the Access campaign if we can mobilise that resource effectively.

    The Sports & Recreation Alliance wants to promote access to inland waterways and change DEFRA's response to access issues via their 'Red Card to Red Tape' campaign. They need our help because we have great coverage of England and Wales and probably have a member in every MP's constituency.



    The "Red Card to Red Tape" campaign 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
    .”


    We have been asked by both the Sports & Recreation Alliance and the BCU to help them in the next stage of the campaign by writing to our MPs.

    You can read about the campaign on this website, see page 200 of their report.

    Sports & Rec asked us to do this:

    When approaching an MP it is necessary to offer them something practical to do, something which they can make a difference. We have two suggestions:

    1) Our review is with DCMS who are considering which recommendations to prioritise - Ask your MP to write to the Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson to highlight the access recommendation as important to their constituents.

    2) Caroline Spelman (DEFRA Secretary of State) shows little sympathy for access issues and will not meet with us to discuss them - Ask your MP to write to Caroline Spelman to ask her to meet with the Sport and Recreation Alliance to discuss issues on improving access to inland water as recommended in 'Red Card to Red Tape
    '”.

    The bottom line is that if we want the Ministry of Sport to join the access campaign we should do our bit by writing to our MPs. If we do not make our voice heard, who will?



    What Should I Say in My Letter?

    1. It is far better that you write your letter in your own words.

    2. You should draw your MP’s attention to the “Red Card to Red Tape” campaign

    3. Explain how this affects a river in the MP’s constituency

    4. Explain the more general benefits of access

    5. Ask the MP to act on your behalf, as requested by Sports & Recreation Alliance, see above.



    How do I find my MP and write to him or her?

    1. You can find your MP and see their address and background on this website,

    2. You can write by hand or by email; be sure to include your name and address, otherwise you may be ignored.

    3. This website enables you to easily send an email. You enter your postcode, it inserts your MP's name and address and takes you through the
    process.

    What should I do after I’ve written?

    1. Post on SOTP to let us know you have written. We want every MP to receive several letters. Five is the magic number which makes them realise something is up...
    2. When you get a reply, post it on SOTP. We are keeping a database of responses to identify who is for and against.

    3. If you don’t get a reply after two weeks, follow them up by letter, phone and visit.


    Do you have a sample letter?

    Here is an example which you can change into your own words:

    " Dear Mr MP,

    The Sport and Recreation Alliance recently launched its review of regulatory burdens on sports clubs, entitled “Red Card to Red Tape”, commissioned by DCMS. The review recommends that DEFRA introduce a statutory right of access to rivers in England and Wales for canoes and kayaks. You can read about this report here: http://www.sportandrecreation.org.uk/redcard.

    This affects me directly because I live less than one mile from the River Mole, a beautiful Surrey river, yet I am unable to enjoy it as a canoeist without fear of being taken to court for trespass. In Scotland and nearly every other country in the world I would be able to share this natural resource with other river users in a responsible and environmentally sound way.

    Canoeing and Kayaking is enjoyed by more than 1,000,000 people, providing a healthy outdoor activity for young people, families and older people. We have 41,000 miles of rivers suitable for canoeing, but only 2% - 4% of our rivers are available to us. I hope you see the benefits of providing a general right of recreational access to rivers within a sustainable and responsible framework such as works so well in Scotland. This would be a very positive step, providing benefits to all who enjoy the countryside.

    I ask you to support this campaign to give access to the River Mole and other rivers. I am happy to provide you with further information, and would be happy to take you for a paddle on the Mole in the limited area where access is available.

    Will you please:

    1. Advise me of your position on this issue,

    2. Write to the Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson to highlight this access recommendation as important to your constituents,

    3. Write to the DEFRA Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman to ask her to meet with the Sport and Recreation Alliance to discuss issues on improving access to
    inland water as recommended in 'Red Card to Red Tape'.

    Your sincerely”
    Last edited by dougdew99; 12th-April-2011 at 04:55 PM.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  3. #3

    Default How to Vote on 38 Degrees

    38 Degrees is a community based organisation which takes up causes suggested by its members and tries to bring about the changes its members want.

    Recently it was instrumental in getting the Government to stop its plans to sell off the Forests, stopping the creation a mega-dairy factory farm in Lincolnshire and getting Donald Trump to cease trying to evict people who lived near his golf course.

    Richard Openshaw, (anyone know him?), suggested that 38 degrees take up a campaign to provide access in England similar to Scotland. This was spotted by some of our members (Bob? Keith?) in early March. Since then we have pushed it from being the 300th most favoured campaign idea to its current position, 13th!

    We hope that if we keep pushing, 38 Degrees will take it up.

    You can vote here

    Voting is a little tricky... make sure you have voted, not just left a comment...



    David, Chas and Andy have voted. Stuart and Wayne haven't.
    Last edited by dougdew99; 15th-May-2011 at 06:41 AM.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  4. #4

    Default How to Post on the 38 Degrees Facebook Page

    This is an opportunity to bring the attention of 38 Degrees general membership (500,000) to our cause and influence 38 Degrees to support us

    Here is an example
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  5. #5

    Default Posted to 38 Degrees Facebook page

    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Shropshire
    Posts
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    Doug, maybe that should say;

    "The general public seems to have no idea that access to rivers for canoeing, swimming, paddling and picnicking is denied by landowners and anglers."

    Hopefully that will include a lot more people.
    Keep up the good work BTW. We appreciate your efforts!
    Cheers, Pieface.

    "What's so special about the cheesemakers?"

  7. #7

    Default

    Pieface
    Good point... I wonder if someone could post Pieface's message to Facebook... I don't want to be the only poster....

    and thanks for the kind word...
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  8. #8

    Default Reply from Sam Gyimah

    I just got my second letter from Sam Gyimah.

    He enclosed a reply to his letter to Robin Davis, Parks and Countryside Manager, Reigate & Banstead Council.

    Robin wrote that the council owns a small section of the Mole river bank. His reply was based on his assumption that riparian owners have the right to give permission or not, to canoeists, thus indicating that while the coucil could give permission for their bit of the river bank, this would be of little use without the co-operation of other riparian owners. He recommended contact with British Waterways who he presumed were ultimately responsible for authorising boating use of the Mole.

    Sam suggested that it might be best for me to follow up with British Waterways, but if I needed any further help, to let him know.

    I feel that Sam has responded to my enquiry in a reasonable way. Certainly he now knows more than he did before I wrote to him. Before I wrote he didn't know that the canoeist access problem existed. Now he does.

    I am going to write to both Sam and Robin explaining that Robin's assumption of riparian rights is incorrect and pointing out the solution is adoption of the same rights as in Scotland. I will also write to British Waterways telling them that my MP recommended me to do so, with a copy to Sam, and see what their response is.

    A tiny step, hopefully forward... I would appreciate some advice as to the best way to respond... should I refer to the CROW act and the late withdrawal of water access?
    Last edited by dougdew99; 11th-March-2011 at 12:25 PM.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  9. #9

    Default 42 votes to get into the top ten for 38 Degrees

    Get voting guys... here
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  10. #10

    Default A Reply from my MEP, Sharon Bowles

    Dear Mr Dew,

    Thank you for your email.

    I have researched into whether any European Directives give access to
    inland waterways for canoeists.

    Unfortunately I could not find any corresponding legislation and so I
    suspect it is a national competency. I would recommend contacting DEFRA
    who should be able to clarify the legal status of such waterways.

    You can write to them at:

    Defra
    Nobel House
    17 Smith Square
    London
    SW1P 3JR

    Or you can telephone their helpline: 08459 33 55 77

    Thank you once again for your email.

    Yours sincerely,

    Ashley Dorrington
    Constituency Office Manager


    Office of Sharon Bowles MEP, Liberal Democrat
    Chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee
    Member of the European Parliament for South East England
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  11. #11

    Default We are now 8th on 38 Degrees!

    Please vote here

    We have a troll, Merfyn Cymro, don't respond to his desire for attention.

    Dealing with Trolls 101 - don't respond; they crave your attention, use the energy to persuade interested people to vote, tell your own story here of why this campaign is important to you...
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    717

    Default

    Please Vote (don't just comment).

    8th Now but we need more people to vote. Considering SOPT UKRGB, Swimmers groups, mountain groups and others have all been contacted about the campaign 461 voters looks very pitiful so please vote if you have not and get the message out there to clubs, Unis etc and ask them to vote.

    http://38degrees.uservoice.com/forum...land?ref=title

  13. #13

    Default

    I received a note from the BCU saying that our campaign to write to MPs has resulted in more requests from MP's researchers to the BCU for information about access.

    For the twenty or so people who have written to their MPs, thanks...

    For the 7,920 SOTPers who haven't written yet, now is your chance to make a difference...
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  14. #14
    Join Date
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    UK
    Posts
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    Default

    Apathy is a terrible thing but it is true, look at home many paddlers are on UKRGB, SOTP, Swimmers forums etc as well and how many have voted in the campaign or written to MP's.

    Everyone likes to moan but until they get up and do something we will always be disregarded.

  15. #15

    Default

    The 7,920 SOTPers aren't necessarily apathetic... we all have many priorities in our lives, but now is a good time to give this cause 15 minutes worth of priority. My letter to my MP was my second letter to an MP ever... it is fun too... you get a response on beautiful House of Commons note paper and you feel good by helping the cause. Next thing you know you'll be storming the barricades...

    Writing to your MP makes a difference. You are educating him or her and letting him or her know what you want.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  16. #16
    Join Date
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    UK
    Posts
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    Default

    ...and once you have a conversation with them going. Inviter them and there children out for a free paddle. It is a great way to get the message across...

  17. #17

    Default

    We need some more positive comments on 38 Degrees. The comment thread is being highjacked by an irrelevant discussion by anglers about spawning. Please add positive comments about the real issues... don't enter into the angling discussions... we are being trolled by experts
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  18. #18
    Join Date
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    UK
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    Default

    You can actually write to 38 degrees if you think the campaign is being deliberately hi-jacked. There email address is at the bottom of the page (link)

  19. #19

    Default

    Make it habit to make a positive comment on 38 degrees every day
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  20. #20

    Default Post Your Mp's responses here and on 38 Degrees

    Post your MP's responses here....

    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 or her 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 02:27 PM.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  21. #21

    Default What if my MP doesn't reply?

    This is what it says in writetothem.com

    "What should I do if my MP (or other representative) doesn't reply?
    There are lots of things you can do to follow up your enquiry if you get no reply, or an unsatisfactory reply, from your representative.

    See your MP or other representative in person, raise your issue with them at their local "surgery". Call your MP's local constituency office or your representative's party office to arrange this. You can find the number in your local phone book, or on your MP's website.
    Make sure you have taken all other courses of action to raise your issue, or to get your problem solved. For example, contact the relevant central Government department, and relevant officers at your local councils. Ask your local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice.
    Write a letter to your local newspaper about your issue, and your dissatisfaction with your MP, MEP or councillor.
    Write a letter to your other representatives, such as your MP, your local councillors, MEPs or regional representatives, if appropriate. You can do this for free using WriteToThem.
    Complain about your representative to their local party. Contact the local party office. The local party has the power not to select your MP as a candidate for the next General Election.
    Use PledgeBank (made by the same charity that makes WriteToThem) to gather a group of people with the same issue as you, and solve the problem together.
    "
    Last edited by KeithD; 19th-March-2011 at 08:40 AM. Reason: add links
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  22. #22

    Default 38 Degrees is slowing down Vote Now! Link enclosed

    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  23. #23

    Default 38 Degrees in Action... see their Artful Dodger Campaign and Vote!

    Last edited by dougdew99; 23rd-March-2011 at 02:43 PM.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  24. #24
    Join Date
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    Default

    I voted, and I'm a Scottish person
    Good luck with this!!
    WW

  25. #25
    Join Date
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    Default

    A lot mor votes are still needed. Please vote for the campaign. (make sure you have a number next to your comment)

  26. #26

    Default

    Sounds like a good idea, is the 38 degrees vote thing still open? I get a "problem loading page" message when using any of the links to it...?

    Thanks.

  27. #27

    Default

    Try this link
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  28. #28

    Default

    Thanks Doug,

    It turned out to be a computer problem my end (as is often the case, lol.)

    Now voted!

    Cheers for the help.

  29. #29
    Join Date
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    Default

    Just votes on 38Degrees - if you haven't, you should!

  30. #30
    Join Date
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    Default

    Start writning again please. Never has there been a greater time to write to press, radio and TV with all the legacy talk form the Olympics....

  31. #31
    Join Date
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    Macclesfield
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    Filled in the BCU reform survey, copied the MP's letter to email later, already "rocking the boat" on 38 deg & paddling wherever I see fit!
    I have to say though, that rarely have I met anyone on the water who has been anything but friendly!
    For those few that haven't been so accomodating, I'm always polite and respond with facts. Until they "cross the line" & then......
    I lift my ugly, battle-scarred 90kg bulk out of my boat & continue the conversation on the bank!
    Usually calms down after that!
    Happy Paddling to everybody!

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Just an off the wall idea, If we are being prevented from accessing waters that we believe we have an ancient right to use, could we not use the European Court For Human Rights to resolve it?

  33. #33
    Join Date
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    UK
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    Default

    I have brought this up with local MEP's but they said it was something for UK law which is weird as everything else seemd to be Europe dictating to the rest of us.... Maybe worth another enquiry

  34. #34
    Join Date
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    Bristol
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    Default P,f,l,o,p

    I always thought we would have recourse to a European court, but I have since learned from this forum that

    it is not in their remit !

    I do not have the reference, but it was asked as a question in the European Parliament, and the grounds for rejection

    were set out, I may be posted again... I was surprised..

  35. #35

    Default

    i wrote to my European MPs... they replied with the same news...
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


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