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Thread: Writing to Your MP

  1. #1
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    Default Writing to Your MP

    This thread is a consolidation of many things relating to Writing to MPs covered by several other threads which have now been closed and redirected here.


    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.

    On 22nd March 2011 The Sport and Recreation Alliance published the Red Card to Red Tape report which had been commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. One of the recommendations of the report is
    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.
    Although commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the mere publication of the report does not imply that the department accepts the report’s recommendations or will attach any priority to their implementation. They will be making these decisions over the next few months.

    To encourage the department to prioritise the recommendation concerning Access to Inland Water we need to demonstrate the importance that we, the paddling community attach to the issue by writing to our MPs now! (all MPs in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – they will all have a vote).

    Template Letter/e-mail
    We have been encouraging members to write personalised letters to their MPs with limited success. It seems that many members would like a template letter to simply cut and paste. Whilst it is not the most effective way it is clearly better than not writing at all so if you feel this is what you need, here it is.

    I am writing to you to seek your help for the creation of a fair and equitable framework for access to and along our rivers for all users. I am a recreational canoeist and fully accept my responsibility to accommodate the rights of other users and the needs of wildlife and the environment.
    The Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP, has recently commissioned the report “Red card to Red Tape” (see page 199) which has investigated, among many other things, the constraints to wider access to our inland waterways. Following the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 200, the majority of mountain, moor, heath, down and common land is now ‘open access’. Rivers and Inland Waterways were however conspicuously not covered by the CROW Act.
    The report contrasts the restrictions in England & Wales with the situation elsewhere in Europe, particularly Scotland where the Land Reform Act (Scotland) 2003 did address the issue of access to and along rivers and inland waterways. The report also comments on the effectiveness of the current arrangements and notes that “There are over 41,000 miles of rivers with no access meaning only 4% of linear rivers in England and Wales can be accessed for water recreation.” and “Over the last 40 years only 504 miles of additional access has been added through voluntary agreements and many of the agreements are for only one day per year.” The report ends with the recommendation that;-
    “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.”
    This would represent a change of policy for DEFRA who maintain that Voluntary Access Agreements are the way forward and no change in legislation is required. Local agreement on how a right of responsible access can be exercised, while accommodating rights of other users and the needs of wildlife and the environment, are necessary but they can only be achieved on the basis of equitable rights and responsibilities for all as recommended by the report.
    Please consider the report and the failure of DEFRAs current policy and then :-
    • contact the Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson giving your support to the recommendation regarding Access to Rivers in the Red Card to Red Tape report and highlighting this issue as important to your constituents.
    • contact Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State, DEFRA and Richard Benyon, Secretary of State for the Environment , indicating your belief that their current stance regarding Voluntary Access Agreements does not represent an effective solution to the agreed objective of extending access to our rivers and asking them to meet with Hugh Robertson and the Sport and Recreation Alliance to discuss their recommendation for improving access to inland water as recommended in 'Red Card to Red Tape'
    Thank you for your help.
    If you just want to send the template letter go to http://www.writetothem.com/, enter your postcode, click on your MP and cut and paste away! Please be sure to post the reply here.

    Personalised Letter e-mail
    If you are able to personalise your letter/email there are a number of samples bellow which may serve as inspiration. Follow the step by step guide:-

    • Identify your MP by entering your post code on www.ukparliament.uk
    • Click on your MPs name to get their full profile, which will show their email address and their Political Interests.
    • The general theme of all letters will be similar (i.e. Drawing their attention to the lack of clarity re access to our rivers and contrasting this with the situation in almost every other country in the world especially Scotland) but there are several areas where you can personalise the content to your own experience and their interests. E.g. many MPs list “Health” as among their Parliamentary Interests so a paragraph like
    “Canoeing is a low impact, healthy sport suitable for all age groups and many disabled people. It is already enjoyed by an estimated 1,000,000 people every year. Nearly everyone lives within 2 miles of a canoeable river. Clarification of widespread access to rivers therefore offers a significant contribution to the health of the nation and in these financially constrained times it will cost very little to make it much more widely accessible.”
    • If they are interested in “Small Businesses” talk about the benefits on this area.
    • Remember that the Lib-Dem manifesto for the 2010 General Election said
    “We will also increase the general right of access to the countryside, along the lines of the model introduced by Liberal Democrats in Scotland.”
    If you are writing to a Liberal Democrat it will do no harm to remind them of this!
    Tell them that this is entirely in line with the Red Card to Red Tape recommendation and ask if this has their personal support.
    • Ask your MP to write to the Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson to highlight the access recommendation within Red Card to Red Tape as important to their constituents.
    • Caroline Spelman (DEFRA Secretary of State) shows little sympathy for access issues and will not meet with the Sport & Recreation Alliance to discuss their report so 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'.
    • Many MPs will forward your letter to the offices of the Ministers concerned (Hugh Robertson - Sports Minister, Caroline Spelman (DEFRA Secretary of State) and Richard Benyon - Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries) before replying but you should also stress that you would like to know their personal stance on the issue and whether you, as their constituent, can count on their support in ensuring that the recommendation is implemented
    • Don’t just copy someone else’s letter. You know how you feel when you receive a standard letter and they will feel the same. It is important to describe the access problem on a river within the MP's constituency.
    • There are many ideas contained in the sample letters that follow. Use these ideas to construct your own letter.
    • Most importantly, when you get a reply post it here so that we can gauge the level of support from your MP. And if you feel you are just being fed the party line, write again stressing that it is his/her personal commitment (as your MP ) to the implementation of this recommendation as your MP that are seeking.

    Unless you are perfectly happy with the current access situation and want it to stay this way forever, we have no positive alternative but to do what we can to change it. Your letter will contribute to growing pressure on Parliament to end the current stalemate.

    Please do your bit now!

    _______________

    Sample Letters

    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 the report here: http://www.sportandrecreation.org.uk...w%20res%29.pdf (see page 199).

    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”
    I write to you to bring to your attention the fact that only 4% of English inland waterways have undisputed access for canoeists. Apart from England and Wales, other countries provide for shared responsible use of rivers by both canoeists and anglers and in my personal experience such arrangements work well. I understand this issue affects more 2,000,000 canoeists in the UK.

    Recent work by the Rev Douglas Caffyn ( www.caffynonrivers.co.uk) indicates that the right to paddle exists on many rivers hereto thought by many to be private.

    There have been many attempts over the years to negotiate voluntary access agreements between canoeists, anglers and land owners. This strategy has met with very little success. I believe this is because there is no benefit to land owners to give up their assumed, though legally suspect, right to control access to the water itself.

    Responsible access to our wonderful rivers and lakes would bring an immediate and direct benefit to the health, wellbeing and enjoyment of our fellow citizens, particularly young people.

    My local river is the Mole. It is about 1 mile from my house. If I, or other Horley residents canoe on it, we risk prosecution from the riparian owners, and abuse, threats of violence and actual violence from anglers.

    We seek only to gain access to the Mole from a public place, to paddle responsibly through beautiful Surrey countryside, showing respect to the needs of anglers, and to exit from another public place. Research shows that canoeing is not harmful to fish or any other aspect of the environment.

    There are some parts of the Mole, further North (part of the 4%), where access is not disputed. It might would be my pleasure to take you on a canoe trip there, so you could appreciate the joy of our wonderful river landscape.

    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 and Hugh Robertsson, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Sport and the Olympics) and Sir Peter Bottomley MP.
    As a canoeist I am finding that access to English and Welsh rivers is being increasingly denied.

    Many of our countries rivers are considered by anglers and riparian's to be their exclusive property.

    Canoeing and kayaking is a sport or activity that does no damage and leaves no trace of its passing. Yet anglers and riparians wish to exclude us at all times.

    Our local River Ribble is just one of many where a canoeist can encounter abuse and intimidation on many occasions.

    The latest issue against canoeing and kayaking is that the Welsh Angling Clubs are preparing to sue canoeists.

    This could of course go in our favour but it may not.

    The right to navigate a river in an unpowered craft is an ancient right and no law has been passed to remove this right.

    The suggestion by MP's that voluntary agreements is the way forward is ludicrous, they didn't work for ramblers in their 100 year struggle.

    We need the law on our side and our rights to be included in CROW Act.
    Hello, I would like to bring to your attention the issue of legal
    access to the UK's Rivers and water ways for recreational use.

    I am a qualified British Canoe Union Paddle sports coach, Keen canoeist
    and wild swimmer. Consequently, I like to be able to make use of our
    natural resources for the purposes of pursuing my profession and
    hobbies.

    Did you know that only 2% of the UK's waterways are open to public
    access?

    Did you know that by allowing your children to paddle in one of 98% of
    the UK's streams, rivers, lakes and ponds that they are committing
    tress pass, and by encouraging them to do so you are committing the
    more serious offence of incitement to tress pass?

    While the majority of man made waterways are indeed open to public use,
    canals offer little in the way challenge, natural beauty and can even
    be more dangerous to use on owing to man made weirs and other hazards.

    I am regularly threatened by land owners and anglers, have had stones
    thrown at me, fishing tackle cast at me and my group and have even been
    threatened to have my boat 'shot out from under me', merely for
    floating silently down a river.

    There are estimated to be over one million recreational paddlers in the
    UK, all of who appear to be committing a crime in pursuit of their
    hobby.

    We wish to have free and open access to out natural waterways, nothing
    more.

    It has been investigated and proven that canoeing has no detrimental
    effect on the environment or ecosystem. No danger or disturbance to
    wildlife, and we leave no trace as we pass through.

    I, and many others, would appreciate your assistance in turning this
    absurd situation around.

    Here is a link to an Environment Agency report on the effects of
    canoeing to fish stocks (which you may find is the most common reason
    cited by land owners to denying public access)

    http://publications.environment-agen...TRW266-e-p.pdf

    In short, the report concludes that there is no detrimental effect to
    fish stocks as a consequence of canoeing on a river.

    Canoeing is one of the oldest forms of transport known to man, is
    environmentally friendly, an Olympic sport, fosters a sense of
    achievement and teamwork to thousands of children and vulnerable adults
    and is a generally wholesome activity that the vast majority of land
    owners alongside rivers are seeking to continue to prevent access to.

    Please help
    RIGHT OF FREE NAVIGATION IN ENGLAND & WALES

    We last communicated on this subject in October 2005 and I thank you for your efforts in getting answers from various ministers at the time.
    Under discussion was extension of the CROW act (2000) to include rivers, or to at least clarify the current legal situation.
    At the time an EDM was also being proposed.

    It was heartening to see the Lib Deb 2010 manifesto pledge:

    The beauty of Britain’s natural landscape is vital to the quality of life of those who live there and to visitors.
    Liberal Democrats will change the way the environment is protected so everyone has fair access to clean water, clean air, and open spaces.
    We’re the only party that takes seriously the responsibility of protecting our natural inheritance and ensuring access for all.
    Liberal Democrats will:
    • Increase the general right of access to the countryside, along the
    lines of the model introduced by the Liberal Democrats in Scotland

    May I now draw your attention to some recently published work by the Reverend Douglas Caffyn for his doctoral thesis:
    http://www.caffynonrivers.co.uk
    His extensive research has shown that although navigation on our rivers was accepted as common law for centuries, this right has erroneously been eroded by incorrect interpretation.
    In addition, there are various statutes of navigation still on our country's law books, yet the public receive abuse from riparian owners or fishermen if they decide to exercise their rights to use the river.

    As an active canoeist, I still look forward to the day when the law is clarified, and all river users can again enjoy our heritage freely and responsibly.

    Hopefully Rev Caffyn's work may move that day one step closer.
    As one of your constituents and a recreational canoeist I am writing to
    draw your attention to the woeful lack of public access to inland
    waterways in England and Wales and to seek your support for a change in
    the law to clarify the position and establish parity with the situation
    in Scotland ( Land Reform Act (2003)) , the rest of Europe and the
    English speaking world.
    Prior to 1830 there was a generally accepted right of public access to
    all rivers that were physically navigable. This right had existed
    since time immemorial and was enshrined in Magna Carta. The Rev
    Douglas Caffyn has researched the subject extensively and has produced
    overwhelming evidence (seehttp://www.caffynonrivers.co.uk/) to support
    the view that the general right of access to inland waterways still
    exists beyond the 3-4 % of waterways where there is legally defined
    access via Navigation Acts etc.
    Unfortunately there is also a widely held view among riparian
    landowners that rivers are subject to property rights which give them
    the right to control access along rivers. This leads to conflict with
    and aggression against canoeists and other waterway users seeking only
    to pursue a peaceful pastime in a reasonable and responsible way.
    The Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) did an excellent job of
    clarifying public rights of way over land but unfortunately reference
    to inland water which would have provided equal clarity for our rivers
    was removed from the Bill at a late stage leading to today’s ongoing
    lack of clarity.
    I write to ask you to clarify your own position on this subject and to
    ask for your active support in changing the law to give clarity of
    access as is the norm virtually everywhere except England & Wales.
    As a canoeist, I have been very surprised by the confusion that exists
    in England when it comes to free access to what is without doubt a
    fantastic public resource. I am finding that access to English and
    Welsh rivers is being increasingly denied.

    In Scotland I can, as I understand it, paddle pretty much anywhere I
    want subject to minimal regulation.

    As a canoeist , any of our countries rivers are considered by anglers
    and riparian's to be their exclusive property.

    Canoeing and kayaking is a sport or activity that does no damage and
    leaves no trace of its passing. Yet anglers and riparians wish to
    exclude us at all times.

    The right to navigate a river in an unpowered craft is an ancient right
    and no law has been passed to remove this right.

    The suggestion by MP's that voluntary agreements is the way forward is
    ludicrous, they didn't work for ramblers in their 100 year struggle.

    We need the law on our side and our rights to be included in CROW Act.

    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 Robertson, Parliamentary
    Under Secretary of State (Sport and the Olympics) and Sir Peter
    Bottomley MP

    I am 48 years old with a love of the outdoors, I am neither a militant,
    nor a trouble causer, yet in one year of enjoying a peaceful healthy
    outdoor pursuit with my family I have experienced the above.

    I look forward to reading your thoughts on this matter and extend the
    invitation for you to experience a canoe paddle for yourself should you
    be so inclined.
    ___________________

    Progress to date

    These are the MPs that have already been written to (the more letters an MP receives, the better):-

    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, (Sonar)
    Jonathan Lord, Woking (Mal Grey)
    Megg Munn, Sheffield Heeley (pocketdave)
    Stephen Dorrell MP, Charnwood, (highland spring)
    David Cameron, West Oxfordshire (Bootstrap Bob)
    Harriett Baldwin, West Worcestershire (SimonMW)
    Jonathan Djanogly, Huntingdon, (Blinky)
    Helen Grant, Maidstone and The Weald, (elvys)
    Mark Hoban, Fareham, (markpfc)
    Marcus Jones, Nuneaton, (Ratty)
    Liz Kendall, Leicester West, (Izzetafox)
    Kerry McCarthy, Bristol East, (chrism4444)
    Hugo Swire, East Devon, (bhofmann)
    Edward Vaizey, Wantage, (AllenCanoe)
    Iain Wright, Hartlepool, (MickyFinn)
    Owen Paterson, North Shropshire, (ChasDWarren)
    Bernard Jenkins, North Essex, (Zoe123)
    Tony Cunningham, Workington, (The Cumbrian)
    David Nuttall, Bury North, (JT531)
    Geoffery Robinson, Coventry North West, (no1 photographer)
    Harriet Baldwin, West Worcestershire, SimonMW
    Nick Gibb, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, Wayne


    Let me know if I've missed anyone.

    Thanks for your efforts, guys!
    Last edited by KeithD; 26th-April-2011 at 07:35 PM. Reason: updated
    Keith

  2. #2

    Default Reply from Mr Djanogly (Huntingdon)

    Thank you for contacting me about freedom of access for canoeists in England.
    I understand this is an issue in which my colleague Richard Benyon, Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries is very interested. He assures me he is keen to achieve far greater levels of access to waterways for canoeists, as part of the Government’s commitment to improving access and public benefits associated with our natural environment.
    The previous Government implemented a voluntary access scheme where it is for the canoeist to negotiate with the land owner for access to a particular stretch of water. The policy was last reviewed in 2007.
    The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is currently looking at how this is working, but at this stage believes decisions of this sort are best taken locally by landowners and interested groups who understand the implications of granting access for canoeists far better than would be the case in Whitehall.
    Please be assured, however, that the Government will be monitoring how effectively the policy continues to operate and will review it when necessary.
    Thank you for contacting me on this issue.
    Yours sincerely,
    Jonathan Djanogly

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    London
    Posts
    884

    Default

    at least my MP ,tongue in cheek, tolf me it was a copy and paste response!

    keep chipping away at them, Benyon's blanket response it flawed so be sure to point that out

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    North Shropshire
    Posts
    96

    Default Email sent to Owen Paterson 1.4.11

    Quote Originally Posted by ChasDWarren View Post
    Do we have a recommended format / bullet points for an email to our local MPs ?
    Email sent to my local MP :

    Friday 1 April 2011

    Dear Owen Paterson,

    I write to you to bring to your attention the fact that only 4% of
    English inland waterways have undisputed access for canoeists. Apart
    from England and Wales, other countries (including Scotland)provide for
    shared responsible use of rivers by both canoeists and anglers, In my
    personal experience such arrangements work well. I understand this
    issue affects more than 2,000,000 canoeists in the UK.

    Recent work by the Rev Douglas Caffyn
    (www.caffynonrivers.co.uk) indicates that the right to paddle exists on
    many rivers hereto thought by many to be private.

    There have been many attempts over the years to negotiate voluntary
    access agreements between canoeists, anglers and land owners. This
    strategy has met with very little success. I believe this is because
    there is no benefit to land owners to give up their assumed, though
    legally suspect, right to control access to the water itself.

    Canoeing and kayaking is a sport or activity that does no damage and
    leaves no trace of its passing. Yet many anglers and riparians wish to
    exclude us at all times.

    Here is a link to an Environment Agency report on the effects of
    canoeing to fish stocks (which you may find is the most common reason
    cited by land owners to denying public access)

    http://publications.environment-agen...TRW266-e-p.pdf

    In short, the report concludes that there is no detrimental effect to
    fish stocks as a consequence of canoeing on a river.

    The right to navigate a river in an unpowered craft is an ancient right
    and no law has been passed to remove this right.

    The suggestion by some MP's that voluntary agreements is unfortunately
    in practice unworkable.

    We need clarity in the law on our side and our rights to be included in
    CROW Act.

    Responsible access to our wonderful rivers and lakes would bring an
    immediate and direct benefit to the health, wellbeing and enjoyment of
    our fellow citizens, particularly young people.

    There are large parts of the River Severn that enjoy legal navigation
    rights. However the beautiful stretches above Pool Quay are disputed.
    It would be my pleasure to take you on a canoe trip there, so you could
    appreciate the joy of our wonderful river landscape, if you care to try
    it?

    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 and Hugh Robertsson,
    Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Sport and the Olympics) and Sir
    Peter Bottomley MP.

    Please help

    Yours sincerely,

    Chas Warren.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Blinky View Post
    Thank you for contacting me about freedom of access for canoeists in England.
    I understand this is an issue in which my colleague Richard Benyon, Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries is very interested. He assures me he is keen to achieve far greater levels of access to waterways for canoeists, as part of the Government’s commitment to improving access and public benefits associated with our natural environment.
    The previous Government implemented a voluntary access scheme where it is for the canoeist to negotiate with the land owner for access to a particular stretch of water. The policy was last reviewed in 2007.
    The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is currently looking at how this is working, but at this stage believes decisions of this sort are best taken locally by landowners and interested groups who understand the implications of granting access for canoeists far better than would be the case in Whitehall.
    Please be assured, however, that the Government will be monitoring how effectively the policy continues to operate and will review it when necessary.
    Thank you for contacting me on this issue.
    Yours sincerely,
    Jonathan Djanogly

    and will review it when necessary. I wonder when it becomes nessary.? Also whom knows when it is nessary.?

    I am still awaiting a reply from my Area MP. another letter sent off today.
    Last edited by Sonar; 4th-April-2011 at 02:59 PM. Reason: Again spelling errors letter N missing from keyboard

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Keynsham near Bristol
    Posts
    3,748

    Default I've been given the standard Voluntary Access Agreement Line - What now?

    If you are simply given the standard DEFRA line that Voluntary Access agreements are the way forward and they believe they work, it's time to challenge that view.

    This is a sample of what you might want to say:-
    Thank you for your e-mail/letter of ???? advising that DEFRA currently feel the best way forward is through Voluntary Access Agreements. Voluntary Access Agreements have some inherent failings which mean they inevitably fail in the stated objectives. The Red Card to Red Tape report (see page 199) identifies that :-

    Over the last 40 years only 504 miles of additional access has been added through voluntary agreements and many of the agreements are for only one day per year. Because rivers are linear and a canoe or other vessel can cover many miles in a day, separate access agreements must be made with every landowner.

    This is how the process works (or doesn’t) at the moment:-

    1. Firstly, as “the only game in town”, as a result of the DEFRA stance, the paddler currently has two choices:-
    1.1 Volunteer for an agreement or
    1.2 Decline such an agreement and be presented as obstinate and obstructive (Go to 4.3)
    2. If you decide to “volunteer”, a pre-requisite of entering into discussions on such an agreement (once you have located all relevant owners and others that claim ownership of the navigation rights for the stretch of water you wish to paddle) is to accept that the riparian landowners (or those they have sold the fishing rights to) indeed have the total right to control navigation (but no corresponding responsibilities). You have two options:-
    2.1 Decline to accept this and want to debate this point in which case the discussions are over! (Go to 4.3)
    2.2 Accept you have no rights and the landowners have all of them - in effect, accept the role of a supplicant.
    3. If you accept the role of a supplicant, there is no need for substantive discussions since the landowner(s) will choose to make whatever concession they choose to “give” you based solely on their views of the situation and their own interests. At this point you have two options:-
    3.1 Accept the largess of the riparian landowner gratefully (after all they didn’t have to give you anything!) or
    3.2 Decline to agree to what has been offered and be presented as obstinate, obstructive and ungrateful. (Go to 4.3)
    4. If you accept the largess of the landowner this will be called a Voluntary Access Agreement at which point you have three options:-
    4.1 Go away and paddle within the agreement having made no substantial improvement in your Access to Inland Waterways. This situation continued throughout the twentieth century during which a negligible amount of available waterways were added to those open for paddling, often on the basis of one day a year access! or
    4.2 Go away and paddle outside the agreement and be branded obstinate, obstructive, ungrateful, untrustworthy (you made an agreement and are now breaking it), and a criminal with no respect for the rights of others! or
    4.3 Write to your MP pointing out the inequities of the current situation and asking for help in changing the law to confer a basic right to shared use of inland waterways and a responsibility to do so in a way that recognises the rights of other users and the protection of our shared environment.
    5. If you write to your MP there are two possibilities:-
    5.1 He/She will consult with DEFRA and advise you that the preferred way forward is through Voluntary Access Agreements and send you back to 1. or
    5.2 He/She will consult with DEFRA, objectively appraise the workings of the current situation, having regard for the recommendations of the Red Card to Red Tape Report published by the Department of Culture Media & Sport, which recognises that future progress can only be achieved through a change in the law to recognise the rights and responsibilities of all river users as exists in every other civilised country in the world (many- e.g. USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada quoting a basis in English Common Law) and most recently Scotland through the Land Reform Act 2003.

    Please look at the evidence of the current situation and then :-
    • contact the Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson giving your support to the recommendation regarding access to inland water in the Red Card to Red Tape report (see page 199) and highlighting this issue as important to your constituents.
    • contact Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State, DEFRA and Richard Benyon, Secretary of State for the Environment , indicating your belief that their current stance regarding Voluntary Access Agreements does not represent an effective solution to the agreed objective of extending access to our rivers and asking them to meet with Hugh Robertson and the Sport and Recreation Alliance to discuss their recommendation for improving access to inland water as recommended in 'Red Card to Red Tape'



    Thanks for your help with this.
    Last edited by KeithD; 8th-April-2011 at 03:56 PM.
    Keith

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    Write back Sonar and ask...

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quicky View Post
    Write back Sonar and ask...
    Two send already.

  9. #9

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    I replied to Mr Djanogly along the lines of that stated above and got the following response from his PA:

    Thank you for your response. Parliament went into recess yesterday and Jonathan has not yet seen your email.
    However, you make a valid point about Defra’s Voluntary Access Agreements which I have taken up, on your behalf, with the Minister responsible, Richard Benyon.
    Jonathan Djanogly will respond when he has this information.
    Kind regards,
    Yours sincerely,

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    Email sent yesterday to David Nuttall MP Bury North

    Cheers

    Jon
    Novacraft Prospector 15

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonar View Post
    Two send already.

    Reply as he is busy at this time your email will be answered in due course.

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    When I wrote to my MP (Geoffrey Cox,) I specifically asked not to be Given/palmed off with the standard DEFRA response, explaining how it didn't work and so on. I wanted his opinion not just the standard answer. I've contacted him now three times and finally have received a reply 'Thank you, your points have been noted' signed by one of his assistants. Is that it? It seems that if you put them (MP) in a position where they have to think for themselves and not just pass the buck. They just ignore you.

    Paul

    Geoffrey Cox, Conservative (other MPs are available)

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    Email sent today to Tony Cunningham, Labour, Workington.
    Cheers, Michael.


    Brute Force and Ignorance is Vastly Underrated.

    "There is magic in the feel of a paddle and the movement of a canoe, a magic compounded of distance, adventure, solitude, and peace."
    -Sigurd Olson

  15. #15

    Default new reply

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonar View Post
    Reply as he is busy at this time your email will be answered in due course.
    Dear Lord Helcoop

    Thank you for taking the time to write to me concerning lack of public access to inland waterways in England and Wales. I was not fully aware of the problems this is causing canoeists however, I will look into this issue and will write to Richard Benyon MP the Minister with responsibilities for Inland Waterways on your behalf to raise the matter with him.

    I will contact you again when I receive a response and in the meantime please do not hesitate to get in touch with me should you have any other issues of concern to you.


    Regards

    Phil Wilson MP
    Sedgefield



    tel: 0207 219 4966 London
    tel: 01325 321603 Constituency
    e-mail: phil.wilson.mp@parliament.uk

  16. #16
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    When I wrote to my MP (Geoffrey Cox,) I specifically asked not to be Given/palmed off with the standard DEFRA response, explaining how it didn't work and so on. I wanted his opinion not just the standard answer. I've contacted him now three times and finally have received a reply 'Thank you, your points have been noted' signed by one of his assistants. Is that it? It seems that if you put them (MP) in a position where they have to think for themselves and not just pass the buck. They just ignore you.

    Paul
    If you feel like doing it make an appointment with his local office to see them in person. Take along all your facts and ask them what thye are going to do about it.

  17. #17
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    Default Response from Owen Paterson

    Quote Originally Posted by ChasDWarren View Post
    Email sent to my local MP :

    Friday 1 April 2011

    Dear Owen Paterson,

    I write to you to bring to your attention the fact that only 4% of
    English inland waterways have undisputed access for canoeists. Apart
    from England and Wales, other countries (including Scotland)provide for
    shared responsible use of rivers by both canoeists and anglers, In my
    personal experience such arrangements work well. I understand this
    issue affects more than 2,000,000 canoeists in the UK.

    Recent work by the Rev Douglas Caffyn
    (www.caffynonrivers.co.uk) indicates that the right to paddle exists on
    many rivers hereto thought by many to be private.

    There have been many attempts over the years to negotiate voluntary
    access agreements between canoeists, anglers and land owners. This
    strategy has met with very little success. I believe this is because
    there is no benefit to land owners to give up their assumed, though
    legally suspect, right to control access to the water itself.

    Canoeing and kayaking is a sport or activity that does no damage and
    leaves no trace of its passing. Yet many anglers and riparians wish to
    exclude us at all times.

    Here is a link to an Environment Agency report on the effects of
    canoeing to fish stocks (which you may find is the most common reason
    cited by land owners to denying public access)

    http://publications.environment-agen...TRW266-e-p.pdf

    In short, the report concludes that there is no detrimental effect to
    fish stocks as a consequence of canoeing on a river.

    The right to navigate a river in an unpowered craft is an ancient right
    and no law has been passed to remove this right.

    The suggestion by some MP's that voluntary agreements is unfortunately
    in practice unworkable.

    We need clarity in the law on our side and our rights to be included in
    CROW Act.

    Responsible access to our wonderful rivers and lakes would bring an
    immediate and direct benefit to the health, wellbeing and enjoyment of
    our fellow citizens, particularly young people.

    There are large parts of the River Severn that enjoy legal navigation
    rights. However the beautiful stretches above Pool Quay are disputed.
    It would be my pleasure to take you on a canoe trip there, so you could
    appreciate the joy of our wonderful river landscape, if you care to try
    it?

    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 and Hugh Robertsson,
    Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Sport and the Olympics) and Sir
    Peter Bottomley MP.

    Please help

    Yours sincerely,

    Chas Warren.

    Had a written reply yesterday, but don't know how to place a pdf file into this thread having scanned it.

    Can anyone advise please ?

    Chas

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    As with other images it will have to be loaded onto the internet somewhere and then you effectively link to it from your post. I'm not sure it's worth the trouble. Why not just tell us what he said?
    Keith

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChasDWarren View Post
    Had a written reply yesterday, but don't know how to place a pdf file into this thread having scanned it.

    Can anyone advise please ?

    Chas

    Why bother, it will only be another brush off. They have more important things to deal with.

  20. #20

    Default

    If you have scanned version, as a jpg, you can load here in the same way as a photograph, via photobucket or something similar
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fario. View Post
    Why bother, it will only be another brush off.
    Persistence and convincing reasoning will pay off! It did in the case of Scotland and in England and Wales for the Ramblers. Both achieved their access rights in the face of determined oposition from people that shared many of Fario's views.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fario. View Post
    They have more important things to deal with.
    I knew you'd get there Fario! We agree on something! Yes they do have more important things to deal with.......... but it's not an either /or situation and there is time to deal with Access. There is not yet the motivation but we're working on that!
    Keith

  22. #22
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    Sometimes it's nice to push at an open door!

    These are the MPs who voted in favour of improved access in the Early Day motion in 2008. I've listed them in constituency order. If you live in one of these constituencies it should be an "easy win" writing to them and asking them to raise the issue with the two relevant Departments.

    Aberavon , Hywel Francis
    Berwick-Upon-Tweed , Alan Beith
    Blaydon , David Anderson
    Bolsover , Dennis Skinner
    Bradford West , Marsha Singh
    Bristol West , Stephen Williams
    Cardiff Central , Jenny Willott
    Carshalton and Wallington , Tom Brake
    Cheadle , Mark Hunter
    Cheltenham , Martin Horwood
    City of Durham , Roberta Blackman-Woods
    Colchester , Bob Russell
    Cynon Valley , Ann Clwyd
    East Antrim , Sammy Wilson
    East Dunbartonshire , Jo Swinson
    Eccles , Ian Stewart
    Glasgow South West , Ian Davidson
    Great Grimsby , Austin Mitchell
    Halifax , Linda Riordan
    Hayes and Harlington , John McDonnell
    Hazel Grove , Andrew Stunell
    Heywood and Middleton , Jim Dobbin
    Inverness Nairn Badenoch and Strathspey , Danny Alexander
    Islington South and Finsbury , Emily Thornberry
    Kingston and Surbiton , Edward Davey
    Lagan Valley Donaldson, Jeffrey Donaldson
    Lewes , Norman Baker
    Linlithgow and East Falkirk , Michael Connarty
    Luton North , Kelvin Hopkins
    Manchester Withington , John Leech
    Mansfield , Alan Meale
    Mid Bedfordshire , Nadine Dorries
    Milton Keynes North East , Mark Lancaster
    North Ayrshire and Arran , Katy Clark
    North Devon , Nick Harvey
    North Dorset , Robert Walter
    North West Leicestershire , David Taylor
    Northampton South , Brian Binley
    Portsmouth South , Mike Hancock
    Ross Skye and Lochaber , Charles Kennedy
    Shrewsbury and Atcham , Daniel Kawczynski
    Somerton and Frome , David Heath
    South Antrim , Dr William McCrea
    Southport , John Pugh
    St Ives , Andrew George
    Stoke-on-Trent North , Joan Walley
    Taunton , Jeremy Browne
    West Chelmsford , Simon Burns
    Wirral West , Stephen Hesford
    Worthing West , Peter Bottomley

    You can expect them to be familiar with the issue, supportive and much more likely to take you up on the offer of a paddle.

    I suggest you start by thanking them for their support for EDM 1331 from the 2007/08 parliamentary session - “ River Access for non-powered craft"

    Sample letters are in the first post of this thread.
    Keith

  23. #23

    Default Richard Benyon MP the Minister with responsibilities for Inland Waterways

    Richard Benyon MP the Minister with responsibilities for Inland Waterways

    Would it be worth me writing direct to the above.

    My MP said he would pass the letter onto him.
    as per the reply From Phil Wilson his reply above.

    What about an MEP Fiona Hall MEP .any point me talking to her about it to see what she can do.

  24. #24
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    There is no point in writing to your MEP - they have no role in the decission making process for any UK law.

    I think that it is worth writing to Richard Benyon but it's worth waiting until your MP tells you his views (standard letter) because you can then write to Richard Benyon but copy it to your MP and keep asking him for action.
    Last edited by KeithD; 14th-April-2011 at 04:49 PM.
    Keith

  25. #25

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KeithD View Post
    There is no point in writing to your MEP - they have no role in the decission making process for any UK law.

    I think that it is worth writing to Richard Benyon but it's worth waiting until your MP tells you his views (standard letter) because you can they write to Richard Benyon but copy it to your MP and keep asking him for action.

    My mp has replied not aware of any canoest problems.

    Think I will write to R.Benyon and as you said .

  26. #26
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    My reply arrived yesterday from Geoffry Cox Torridge and West Devon.


    Thank you for contacting me about freedom of access for canoeists in England.
    I understand this is an issue which my colleague Richard Benyon Minister of natural environment and fisheries is very interested. He assures me he is keen to achieve far greater levels of access to waterways for canoeists, as part of the governments commitment to improving access and public benefits associated with our natural environment.
    The previous government implemented a voluntary access scheme where it is for the canoeist to negotiate with the landowner for access to a particular stretch of water.The policy was last reviewed in 2007.
    DEFRA is currently looking at how this is working, but at this stage believes decisions of this sort are best taken locally by landowners and interested groups who understand the implications of granting access for canoeists far better than would be the case in Whitehall.
    Please be assured however, that the government will be monitoring how effectively the policy continues to operate and will review it when necessary. In the meantime if there is anything further you would like me to do in connection witha specific local access issue please do give me further details thank you for taking the time to contact me.

    G Cox

    So there you go just the standard answer.
    Paul

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    it's ok, this is to be expected, no you ave to write back saying why VAA's dont work, Keith has listed the points in which you should cover above

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by nakedfiremaker View Post
    it's ok, this is to be expected, no you ave to write back saying why VAA's dont work, Keith has listed the points in which you should cover above
    I'm on it
    Paul.

  29. #29
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    Default Further to Keith's list of EDM supporters

    Put this together yesterday (yes, I should get a life), and came across this thread today, so...


    A bit dated, but out of the 648 sitting MPs, there are only 57 who were both an MP at the time and felt strongly enough to sign the pro-paddling EDMs nos. 1331 and 1557 (in 2008 and 2009 respectively; there are 21 remaining MPs who fall into the same category of continued tenure, and who signed the anti-paddling amendment to EDM 1331).


    Might be considered…


    PRO-PADDLING:

    i.e. signed up to EDM 1331, EDM 1577, or both


    Conservative

    Binley, Brian (Northampton South)
    Bottomley, Peter (Worthing West)
    Burns, Simon (Chelmsford)
    Dorries, Nadine (Mid Bedfordshire)
    Kawczynski, Daniel (Shrewsbury & Atcham)
    Lancaster, Mark (Milton Keynes North)
    Walter, Robert (North Dorset)

    Democratic Unionist

    Donaldson, Jeffrey (Lagan Valley)
    McCrea, Dr William (South Antrim)
    Simpson, David (Upper Bann)
    Wilson, Sammy (East Antrim)


    Labour

    Anderson, David (Blaydon)
    Blackman-Woods, Roberta (Durham, City of)
    Caton, Martin (Gower)
    Clark, Katy (North Ayrshire & Arran)
    Clwyd, Ann (Cynon Valley)
    Connarty, Michael (Linlithgow & East Falkirk)
    Corbyn, Jeremy (Islington North)
    Crausby, David (Bolton North East)
    Davidson, Ian (Glasgow South West)
    Dobbin, Jim (Heywood & Middleton)
    Francis, Hywel (Aberavon)
    Heyes, David (Ashton under Lyne)
    Hopkins, Kelvin (Luton North)
    McDonnell, John (Hayes and Harlington)
    Meale, Alan (Mansfield)
    Mitchell, Austin (Great Grimsby)
    Riordan, Linda (Halifax)
    Singh, Marsha (Bradford West)
    Skinner, Dennis (Bolsover)
    Smith, Angela (Penistone and Stockbridge)
    Thornberry, Emily (Islington South & Finsbury)
    Walley, Joan (Stoke-on-Trent North)

    Liberal Democrat

    Alexander, Danny (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey)
    Baker, Norman (Lewes)
    Beith, Alan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
    Brake, Tom (Carshalton & Wallington)
    Breed, Colin (South East Cornwall)
    Browne, Jeremy (Taunton Deane)
    Davey, Edward (Kingston & Surbiton)
    George, Andrew (St Ives)
    Gidley, Sandra (Romsey)
    Hancock, Mike (Portsmouth South)
    Harvey, Nick (North Devon)
    Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
    Hemming, John (Birmingham, Yardley)
    Horwood, Martin (Cheltenham)
    Huhne, Chris (Eastleigh) - it's fun to imagine him standing up to the Test and Itchen Association in the coffee break of the next Bank of England meeting
    Hunter, Mark (Cheadle)
    Kennedy, Charles (Ross Skye and Lochaber)
    Leech, John (Manchester, Withington)
    Pugh, John (Southport) - strange that he seemed so apathetic in response to the earlier reported contact (or maybe not; just my opinion but don't expect too much from Lib Dems).
    Stunell, Andrew (Hazel Grove)
    Swinson, Jo (East Dunbartonshire)
    Williams, Stephen (Bristol West)
    Willott, Jenny (Cardiff Central)


    Social Democrat and Labour Party

    McDonnell, Alisdair (Belfast South)

    ANTI-PADDLING i.e.signed Martin Salter's amendment to EDM 1331 :


    Conservative

    Benyon, Richard (Newbury) - probably worthy of a separate post
    Bercow, John (Buckingham) - SPEAKER
    Burt, Alistair (NE Bedfordshire)
    Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)
    Gove, Michael (Surrey Heath)
    McIntosh, Anne (Thirsk and Malton)
    Neill, Robert (Bromley and Chislehurst)
    Penning, Mike (Hemel Hempstead)
    Prisk, Mark (Hertford and Stortford)
    Pritchard, Mark (The Wrekin)
    Swire, Hugo (East Devon)
    Walker, Charles (Broxbourne)

    Labour

    Betts, Clive (Sheffield Attercliffe)
    Cruddas, Jon (Dagenham and Rainham)
    Farrelly, Paul (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
    Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney)
    Howarth, George (Knowsley North and Sefton East)
    Hoyle, Lindsay (Chorley)
    Miller, Andrew (Ellesmere Port and Neston)

    Liberal Democrats

    Williams, Mark (Ceredigion)
    Williams, Roger (Brecon and Radnorshire)


    Please feel free to make corrections as I had been intending to send this to the BCU who claim to have written to all MPs but haven't, so far as I'm aware, published any statistical or interpretive results of responses.

  30. #30

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by John Saunders View Post
    Put this together yesterday (yes, I should get a life), and came across this thread today, so...


    A bit dated, but out of the 648 sitting MPs, there are only 57 who were both an MP at the time and felt strongly enough to sign the pro-paddling EDMs nos. 1331 and 1557 (in 2008 and 2009 respectively; there are 21 remaining MPs who fall into the same category of continued tenure, and who signed the anti-paddling amendment to EDM 1331).



    Might be considered…


    PRO-PADDLING:

    i.e. signed up to EDM 1331, EDM 1577, or both


    Conservative

    Binley, Brian (Northampton South)
    Bottomley, Peter (Worthing West)
    Burns, Simon (Chelmsford)
    Dorries, Nadine (Mid Bedfordshire)
    Kawczynski, Daniel (Shrewsbury & Atcham)
    Lancaster, Mark (Milton Keynes North)
    Walter, Robert (North Dorset)

    Democratic Unionist

    Donaldson, Jeffrey (Lagan Valley)
    McCrea, Dr William (South Antrim)
    Simpson, David (Upper Bann)
    Wilson, Sammy (East Antrim)


    Labour

    Anderson, David (Blaydon)
    Blackman-Woods, Roberta (Durham, City of)
    Caton, Martin (Gower)
    Clark, Katy (North Ayrshire & Arran)
    Clwyd, Ann (Cynon Valley)
    Connarty, Michael (Linlithgow & East Falkirk)
    Corbyn, Jeremy (Islington North)
    Crausby, David (Bolton North East)
    Davidson, Ian (Glasgow South West)
    Dobbin, Jim (Heywood & Middleton)
    Francis, Hywel (Aberavon)
    Heyes, David (Ashton under Lyne)
    Hopkins, Kelvin (Luton North)
    McDonnell, John (Hayes and Harlington)
    Meale, Alan (Mansfield)
    Mitchell, Austin (Great Grimsby)
    Riordan, Linda (Halifax)
    Singh, Marsha (Bradford West)
    Skinner, Dennis (Bolsover)
    Smith, Angela (Penistone and Stockbridge)
    Thornberry, Emily (Islington South & Finsbury)
    Walley, Joan (Stoke-on-Trent North)

    Liberal Democrat

    Alexander, Danny (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey)
    Baker, Norman (Lewes)
    Beith, Alan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
    Brake, Tom (Carshalton & Wallington)
    Breed, Colin (South East Cornwall)
    Browne, Jeremy (Taunton Deane)
    Davey, Edward (Kingston & Surbiton)
    George, Andrew (St Ives)
    Gidley, Sandra (Romsey)
    Hancock, Mike (Portsmouth South)
    Harvey, Nick (North Devon)
    Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
    Hemming, John (Birmingham, Yardley)
    Horwood, Martin (Cheltenham)
    Huhne, Chris (Eastleigh) - it's fun to imagine him standing up to the Test and Itchen Association in the coffee break of the next Bank of England meeting
    Hunter, Mark (Cheadle)
    Kennedy, Charles (Ross Skye and Lochaber)
    Leech, John (Manchester, Withington)
    Pugh, John (Southport) - strange that he seemed so apathetic in response to the earlier reported contact (or maybe not; just my opinion but don't expect too much from Lib Dems).
    Stunell, Andrew (Hazel Grove)
    Swinson, Jo (East Dunbartonshire)
    Williams, Stephen (Bristol West)
    Willott, Jenny (Cardiff Central)


    Social Democrat and Labour Party

    McDonnell, Alisdair (Belfast South)

    ANTI-PADDLING i.e.signed Martin Salter's amendment to EDM 1331 :


    Conservative

    Benyon, Richard (Newbury) - probably worthy of a separate post
    Bercow, John (Buckingham) - SPEAKER
    Burt, Alistair (NE Bedfordshire)
    Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)
    Gove, Michael (Surrey Heath)
    McIntosh, Anne (Thirsk and Malton)
    Neill, Robert (Bromley and Chislehurst)
    Penning, Mike (Hemel Hempstead)
    Prisk, Mark (Hertford and Stortford)
    Pritchard, Mark (The Wrekin)
    Swire, Hugo (East Devon)
    Walker, Charles (Broxbourne)

    Labour

    Betts, Clive (Sheffield Attercliffe)
    Cruddas, Jon (Dagenham and Rainham)
    Farrelly, Paul (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
    Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney)
    Howarth, George (Knowsley North and Sefton East)
    Hoyle, Lindsay (Chorley)
    Miller, Andrew (Ellesmere Port and Neston)

    Liberal Democrats

    Williams, Mark (Ceredigion)
    Williams, Roger (Brecon and Radnorshire)


    Please feel free to make corrections as I had been intending to send this to the BCU who claim to have written to all MPs but haven't, so far as I'm aware, published any statistical or interpretive results of responses.
    You may all as well go pxxs into the wind. Lip service is what it is. Why should they care about a few canoeists. You are way down on the agenda. Get real guys -why waste your breath.

    You do need a life. You may as well go pxxs into the wind. You are so low down on their list of priorities as to be invisible.
    Last edited by KeithD; 18th-April-2011 at 09:55 AM. Reason: Fario had made changes within his quote of John Saunders

  31. #31

    Default

    John
    Many thanks for assembling this information. Keith will no doubt be updating our MP data base with this info, although, knowing Keith, he may have already done so.

    It is very encouraging to see active participation like this.

    We are looking to develop our web strategies to be able to take direct advantage of this kind of information. This is one reason why we need for people to write to their MP so we can get feedback from them and know who are are friends and who are enemies.

    The more we campaign, the more we will become known to MPs, and the higher priority will we get. If the Ramblers can do it, so can we.

    To everyone, please do your bit. Write to your MP, see here and vote on 38 Degrees, see here
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  32. #32
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    Default

    Thanks John. I had the bulk of that information but I missed out EDM 1577 which I have updated. The summary I have from all sources is that there are 81 supportive MPs v 22 opposed. There are many without clear views including most of those that have been written to.

    Of those that are opposed, the most important is Richard Benyon who is Under-Secretary of State for the Environment. Like all members of the government, following the "Pauses for consultation" on the sell off of the forests and the NHS reorganisation, he is likely to be keen to demonstrate that he is able to listen. The more "opportunities to listen" (via members letters to MPs) the better.

    As Doug says write to your MP, register your support for the campaign on 38 Degrees and slowly we will build momentum.
    Last edited by KeithD; 18th-April-2011 at 03:31 PM.
    Keith

  33. #33
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    Default 3rd attempt to get through to him!!



    Dear Jim Paice

    Thank you for the reply to my second letter regarding river access for canoeists. I appreciate that you represent DEFRA and have to promote their policies, but I still wonder if you understand the problem from a canoeists perspective. Your constant use of “we” in your letters, rather than “I” suggests they are departmental replies rather than your personal considered opinion. I know that the evaluation on VAAs appears positive but I wonder if you are aware of the studies shortcomings:

    The pilot studies attempted to improve access on four rivers – the Wear, Teme, Mersey, and Waveney.
    During the study72kms (45 miles) was negotiated for paddlers, but in reality there was already agreement and acceptance for canoeing to take place on much of the area of study. (the EA had even sponsored a Canoeists Guide to one of the rivers!). So, in two years, very little access had been gained with some of that being highly restrictive and complicated -
    · The River Teme is over 60 miles in length and only 1 mile of access had been negotiated on certain days, and for only 9 months of the year.
    · From over 50 miles of the River Wear, 7 miles of access was agreed and at the end of the study period, this was not definite.

    Possibly because of such poor results on the Teme and Wear studies, the evaluation of the pilot studies only considered the agreements on the Mersey and Waveney.

    Looking next at the Mersey - this was in fact, a realisation of an earlier scheme put forward by the British Canoe Union in 1994/5 and supported by the Environment Agency NW Region. It was brought about by Local Authorities, who have a statutory remit to promote recreation. Access was uncontested by other interests, so the voluntary agreement could be considered a formality – in other words it gained no extra water for me.

    On the Waveney, the agreement was a duplication of the work undertaken by the British Canoe Union, Environment Agency, Local Authorities and the East of England Development Agency in 1999. This previous work was not identified by the EA and Brighton Team and as canoeing had taken place for many years access was not contested, merely formalised – again - no gained water for me!

    As can be seen from the number of large organisations involved in the study areas, these are not the sort of agreements that could be organised by an individual.

    Your comments on the Big Society show that you have not really understood what canoeists want, or the effect that VAAs have had: The agreements on the river Teme were so unsuccessful because the parts of the river that canoeists were really keen on, were also those where the anglers want to be. The final agreement was only 1 mile or 1.6km of whitewater around Ludlow – including four weirs: The rest of the river which is more suited to novice paddlers is unavailable, so the agreement in fact, could raise serious safety issues for a large number of paddlers. The agreement is also highly restrictive with no access in June, July and August and considerably reduces access the rest of the year with a potentially unmanageable booking system. The previous arrangement was for all year round paddling based on suitable water levels. The intervention of the Brighton Team in fact gave the opportunity for locals to close down the paddling opportunities:- If canoeists approach from a position of perceived weakness (Can I use your river please?), that gives power to the landowner, and what incentive is there for a landowner to agree?

    David Cameron says
    The big society is about changing the way our country is run. No more of a government treating everyone like children who are incapable of taking their own decisions. Instead, let's treat adults like adults and give them more responsibility over their lives. That's why, in reality, this is quite different from what politicians have offered in the past. This is not another government initiative – it's about giving you the initiative to take control of your life and work with those around you to improve things. It has the power to transform our country. That's why the big society is here to stay.” The Guardian 12 Feb 2011

    Without legislation to change the access situation, other people control where I paddle in England. I am at the mercy of whoever owns the river bank for access, and could be told yes or no on a whim. Legislation would empower me to be responsible for myself and surroundings. It would give all river users the responsibility to respect the countryside and the rights of other river users. I want to be held responsible for my actions. Legislation could only improve things. Once again, I ask “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?” – or perhaps I should re-word this “Do you think that English people who want to use the countryside for recreation are not as responsible as those who live north of the border?”

    Can I finally bring your attention to Red Card to Red Tape – How sports clubs want to break free from bureaucracy, a report into the regulatory burden on sport and recreation clubs. The Review was commission by the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP, and will feed into the Government’s wider review of regulation being conducted by the Cabinet Office.
    http://www.sportandrecreation.org.uk/sites/default/files/web/documents/pdf/Sport%20and%20Recreation%20Alliance-%20Red%20Card%20to%20Red%20Tape%20%28Summary%20rep ort%2C%20low%20res%29.pdf
    (and highlight to you page 34, referring to recommendations for river access)
    I hope you will give your support to this report.

    Yours sincerely ..................



    I wonder if they actually read all these letters we send, or whether some assistant deals with it all, just handing replies over for signatures?

    Sam

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    Good reply Sam! Exactly the right issue. VAAs don't work unless they start with equity of rights and responsibilities as in Scotland and as recommended in Red Card to Red Tape.
    Keith

  35. #35

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    Sam
    This is a well thought reply... brilliant...
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithD View Post
    The summary I have from all sources is that there are 81 supportive MPs v 22 opposed. There are many without clear views including most of those that have been written to.
    Keith

    Maria Miller MP (Con., Basingstoke) is [in my opinion thoughlessly] opposed. You (or any other Basingstoke constituents who are paddlers) can have the details of comms with her if you're interested, but they're too boringly predictable to reproduce in detail here.

    Cheers, John

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fario. View Post
    You may all as well go pxxs into the wind. Lip service is what it is. Why should they care about a few canoeists. You are way down on the agenda. Get real guys -why waste your breath.

    You do need a life. You may as well go pxxs into the wind. You are so low down on their list of priorities as to be invisible.
    If you can work this one out, I'd be happy to engage in a further debate with you (as you raise a number of highly relevant points) or take you on a paddle where I guarantee you won't feel invisible:



    P.S. It was this one or Conflict!

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithD;
    [B
    Progress to date[/B]

    These are the MPs that have already been written to (the more letters an MP receives, the better):-

    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, (Sonar)
    Jonathan Lord, Woking (Mal Grey)
    Megg Munn, Sheffield Heeley (pocketdave)
    Stephen Dorrell MP, Charnwood, (highland spring)
    David Cameron, West Oxfordshire (Bootstrap Bob)
    Harriett Baldwin, West Worcestershire (SimonMW)
    Jonathan Djanogly, Huntingdon, (Blinky)
    Helen Grant, Maidstone and The Weald, (elvys)
    Mark Hoban, Fareham, (markpfc)
    Marcus Jones, Nuneaton, (Ratty)
    Liz Kendall, Leicester West, (Izzetafox)
    Kerry McCarthy, Bristol East, (chrism4444)
    Hugo Swire, East Devon, (bhofmann)
    Edward Vaizey, Wantage, (AllenCanoe)
    Iain Wright, Hartlepool, (MickyFinn)
    Owen Paterson, North Shropshire, (ChasDWarren)
    Bernard Jenkins, North Essex, (Zoe123)
    Tony Cunningham, Workington, (The Cumbrian)
    David Nuttall, Bury North, (JT531)
    Geoffery Robinson, Coventry North West, (no1 photographer)

    Let me know if I've missed anyone.

    Thanks for your efforts, guys!

    As the forum has 8878 members, I can’t help feeling that the fact that we have only managed to write to 34 MPs is a bit pathetic. What are the other 8844 forum members doing? Is there no better way of encouraging them to do something?
    Could the forum front page be changed to highlight the issue more?
    Would it be possible to use forum data and email members directly to ask them to write? - There are sample letters in the access thread that they could copy and paste so it wouldn’t need much effort on their part. – I know we’re not supposed to talk politics, but encouraging others to become more political by writing to MPs on this issue is surely ok?
    I understand that some might feel they don’t want to be bothered or would rather leave things alone rather than risk losing what they already have, but even if only10% bother to write it would be a massive boost.
    .....Just an idea – rant over (for now)

    Sam

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    I've had my brief reply from my MP attaching the familiar policy from DEFRA and here is my reply.
    Dear Dr Lee

    Thank you for your letter of 7th April with the attachment from Richard Benyon.

    I think it would be helpful if I indicated the substantial areas of agreement before focusing on the areas of disagreement which I believe are preventing overall progress. I agree that agreements are helpful to resolve local conflicts between apparently competing activities local residents and businesses, protect the environment and aid installation of signs and structures etc. as necessary. I understand and agree completely that some of the issues arising will be very local and specific and can not be resolved without constructive local engagement and discussion.

    The equivalent of these issues arise and are resolved everywhere across the broad spectrum of countryside covered in England and Wales by the Countryside Right of Way Act 2000 (which unfortunately does not extend to inland waterways) and in Scotland by the Land Reform Act 2003 which includes inland waterways. All these areas have issues that require local agreement and report no widespread problems in arriving at them.

    There is no suggestion that the recognition of clear and equitable rights within the Land Reform Act 2003 or the Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000 has done anything to reduce the effectiveness of such agreements. Indeed, the provision of such clear and equitable rights and responsibilities means that no time and effort needs to be wasted agreeing rights and responsibilities and the parties can progress immediately to questions of how such rights can be exercised responsibly and with due consideration to the corresponding rights of other users and the needs of the environment.

    Contrast this with the experience of those attempting to progress agreements in the absence of clear and equitable rights beforehand. In 2005/6 The University of Brighton, working with the Environment Agency sought to implement four Voluntary Access Agreements as a means of investigating the problems experienced and developing models and advise for the future implementation of VAAs as recommended by DEFRA. Their final report is here http://www.brighton.ac.uk/chelsea/ne...anoereport.pdf .

    By accepting the supremacy of the property rights of riparian owners, the canoeist is put in the position of a simple supplicant. If you look at Section 5 of the report (page 43 onwards) you will see that despite the assumption that any failure to respond from a landowner meant agreement, any further discussions on agreements can be, and in several instances was, completely terminated on the basis of an objection by a single landowner acting alone. In such cases it was impossible to progress to the benefits referred to in Richard Benyon’s letter to you. In several cases VAAs were held to be successfully achieved but these are best illustrated by the Mersey Canoe Trail agreement where there was no involvement by any angling interest claiming a monopoly of rights and which was led by a local authority already committed to the recognition of canoeing aspirations. These are not conditions that are easily replicated.

    Even with total goodwill and positive engagement from all parties (the report indicates the unlikelihood of this being achieved) there is an inherent asymmetry of rights (see Section 4.4 page 39)

    “The asymmetry of rights

    While it is often possible to negotiate access, it remains the case that riparian owners

    have more freedom to determine whether an agreement is reached, and what the

    agreement covers. The actions of the users may be influential in reaching this

    decision, but it is the riparian owner that makes it. Even on the Waveney, where there

    has been considerable co-operation between anglers, landowners and canoeists, the

    agreement is still bounded at both ends by riparian interests (not necessarily owners)

    unwilling to allow the passage of canoes. A similar position exists on the Teme and

    the Wear."

    This situation has also been investigated and reported on by The Sport and Recreation Alliance who were commissioned by the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP. Their report Red Card to Red Tape (see page 199) identifies


    “Over the last 40 years only 504 miles of additional access has been added through voluntary agreements and many of the agreements are for only one day per year. Because rivers are linear and a canoe or other vessel can cover many miles in a day, separate access agreements must be made with every landowner”

    and recommends the effective abandonment of the past policy of DEFRA


    “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.”

    Please consult with Hugh Robertson on why this recommendation is at such odds with the past and current stance of DEFRA. Please also ask his opinion of the work done by the Rev. Douglas Caffyn in his thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Sussex ‘River Transport 1189-1600’. This thesis is a powerful analysis of rights of navigation in the past which, never having been extinguished by Parliament, has profound implications for the assumptions regarding current rights of navigation which forms the basis of DEFRAs current policy.

    When you have had the opportunity for such discussions I would like to meet with you at your Constituency Surgery to discuss how you feel the current impasse can be resolved.
    I'm not disheartened by the fact that my MP is not yet an avid supporter of Access rights. He is now aware of the issue and I have the opportunity to engage him further. This is how I believe the access issue will advance -one small step followed by another.

    The more of us that are taking those small steps the greater the cumulative distance travelled!
    Keith

  40. #40

    Default Another Response

    "Dear Mr Dew,
    Thank you for e-mailing me your concerns regarding waterways access for
    canoeists. I admire your interest in this area that not many people choose
    to address. I do agree that canoeing is a wonderful sport that not only
    enhances one's adventurous side, but also provides an opportunity to
    discover and appreciate the surrounding environment to a greater extent.
    Unfortunately, this issue does not constitute a field in European Union
    legislation, and thus my knowledge in this field is quite limited. However,
    I am able to provide you with some guidelines as to who you should be able
    to contact in order to receive the answers you are searching for.
    To my understanding, the banks of the majority, if not all of the canals and
    rivers are privately owned; therefore you would legally be able to access
    rivers and canals that are still navigable, provided that you hold a valid
    licence. The legal position on trespassing can be found on the Canoe England
    official website:
    http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/medi...onTrespass.pdf
    In addition, in what costal access for canoeists is concerned, you might be
    interested to read The Marine and Costal Access Act, implemented by the UK
    government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in
    2009. Besides dealing with providing a better protection for the marine
    environment, this legislation will offer a much clearer understanding of the
    areas of access to the land and shore from the sea for canoeists. Should you
    request more information on The Marine and Costal Access Act 2009, please
    access the DEFRA website below:
    http://ww2.defra.gov.uk/environment/marine/mca/
    Furthermore, you can find the full content of the Marine and Costal Access
    Act here:
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/...0090023_en.pdf
    Alternatively, you can always contact your local council for more
    in
    formation concerning canoeing, the steps in obtaining licensed permits and
    navigable waterways. If you have trouble finding your local council, please
    use the UK government website:
    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Dl1/Dire...cils/index.htm
    I anticipate that this may not be the response you were expecting, however I
    do trust the information provided here will assist you in finding answers to
    all your enquiries.
    Regards,
    Nirj Deva, MEP"
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  41. #41

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by samB View Post
    As the forum has 8878 members, I can’t help feeling that the fact that we have only managed to write to 34 MPs is a bit pathetic. What are the other 8844 forum members doing? Is there no better way of encouraging them to do something?
    Could the forum front page be changed to highlight the issue more?
    Would it be possible to use forum data and email members directly to ask them to write? - There are sample letters in the access thread that they could copy and paste so it wouldn’t need much effort on their part. – I know we’re not supposed to talk politics, but encouraging others to become more political by writing to MPs on this issue is surely ok?
    I understand that some might feel they don’t want to be bothered or would rather leave things alone rather than risk losing what they already have, but even if only10% bother to write it would be a massive boost.
    .....Just an idea – rant over (for now)

    Sam

    It may well be the case that many canoests are happy the way things are As I expected a very great response but as mentioned above that not many have taken the time to write to their MP.

  42. #42
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    Its the British condition people like to moan over a pint but when it comes to actually doing something about it, its the same few people that get involved.

    Also the membership figures are not an accurate reflection of active posters. If you checked the number of posts over the last 6 months by members you would probably come up with a figure of 300 -400 individuals max. People ebb and flow with their interests.

    Some people may just think that writing to their MP is a complete waste of time. Look at how many people turn out for general elections.

    We get the politicians we deserve and it seems we have the NGB we deserve as well.

    No one holds the BCU to account for its policies. 30000 members and still we are no closer to gaining access to inland water.

    We bicker amongst ourselves whilst those who want to keep us off the water smile contently, that we are incapable of acting as a cohesive body.

    The angling lobby has a firm agenda and works tirelessly to protect its interests.

    Bushcraft Survival and First Aid Training.

  43. #43

    Default My second letter to my MP

    Dear Sam Gyimah,

    You were kind enough recently to respond to my letter to you regarding canoe access to the River Mole. I would like to bring you up to date on recent developments and ask for further assistance.

    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, the beautiful Surrey river, yet I am unable to enjoy it as a canoeist without fear of being taken to court for trespass.

    I ask you to support this campaign to give access to the River Mole and other rivers.

    Will you please:

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

    2. 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’.

    I look forward to the day when I can invite you for a celebratory paddle on the River Mole. The tea and cakes are on me!

    Your sincerely

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


  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by wayne View Post
    Its the British condition people like to moan over a pint but when it comes to actually doing something about it, its the same few people that get involved.

    Also the membership figures are not an accurate reflection of active posters. If you checked the number of posts over the last 6 months by members you would probably come up with a figure of 300 -400 individuals max. People ebb and flow with their interests.

    Some people may just think that writing to their MP is a complete waste of time. Look at how many people turn out for general elections.

    We get the politicians we deserve and it seems we have the NGB we deserve as well.

    No one holds the BCU to account for its policies. 30000 members and still we are no closer to gaining access to inland water.

    We bicker amongst ourselves whilst those who want to keep us off the water smile contently, that we are incapable of acting as a cohesive body.

    The angling lobby has a firm agenda and works tirelessly to protect its interests.
    I agree that it's usually the same people who get involved - but because we are involved, we must not give up on all the other people - we should be continually encouraging them to get involved. Until we are successful at this, people will get the politicians they deserve. I wonder if a large number of forum members just ignore the Access Campaign section because it sounds boring to them or they feel helpless to make a difference?

    Do you think I should start writing comments about access in replies to blogg postings? - along the lines of:
    "that looks like a great days paddle, - have you thought about writing to your MP to explain that this paddle was only possible because it is a public navigation, and that 98% of rivers are not?"

    The figures of up to 400 are probably more accurate as active members, but if we only convince 10% of those to write to their MPs, then that would be double the number of writers we have now.

    I do think we need to bring attention to our problem in other ways, but the final reckoning will either be in the courts or through legislation and I think that personally, I would rather try to convince a politician than risk the expense of the possibility of not convincing a judge!

    As far as holding the NGB to account, access is just one aspect of their work. They have been asking us for years to write to our MPs to highlight the problems of access and I bet only a tiny percentage of the membership has done so - which brings me back full circle. We need to convince more people to take an interest, that interest would lead to more letters to MPs, which would get more MPs on side, which would eventually lead to changes in the law.

    Enough for now ....

    Sam

  45. #45
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    Sam you are correct that we need to engage as many people as possible to write to their MPs and Defra.

    Its only through continued pressure for change that we will succeed. I think that those within the BCU and beyond feel that the task is almost insurmountable.

    There are too few members willing to write letters attend stakeholder meetings. Organise protests on and off the water.

    It would be great if only a small percentage of the paddling community got out and surveyed their local river and reported back to their Parish council demanding something be done about access restrictions and litter etc.

    There are as you point out 8000 odd members on here yet how many people have organised clean up paddles.

    Not much to ask that we carry a pair of gloves and few bin liners on you next paddle.
    if you contact the local council they will probably arrange to collect the rubbish bags for you. I know Arun District Council will.

    It is up to everyone to take a little personal responsibility for their area and make something happen.

    Bushcraft Survival and First Aid Training.

  46. #46

    Default

    Wayne

    These are very good comments... I hope momentum will build here, as SOTP members see the commitment shown by you and others.... I know the BCU have been watching what we are doing with great interest...
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  47. #47
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    Default 38 Degrees say ..... Write to your MP!

    38 Degrees, probably the most effective campaigning organisation in the UK today, has just emailed all it's members to encourage them to act on the Campaign to save the NHS. What have they asked people to do?

    Write to your MP!
    Keith

  48. #48
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    Default A reply!

    I just received a reply by letter from my MP, Harriett Baldwin, Conservative. I had thought that I wouldn't receive one, but today I was surprised.

    It reads as follows;
    "Thank you for your email of 6 March about recreational river access. I have heard of others who have had abuse shouted at them while kayaking and can understand how upsetting this is.

    In the first instance, I have taken up your points with the Minister at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and I will let you know when I receive his reply.

    Your sincerely
    Harriet Baldwin MP"

    Quite a positive letter I thought.

  49. #49
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    Well done Simon. One more step towards informing all MPs of the issues.
    Keith

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimonMW View Post
    I just received a reply by letter from my MP, Harriett Baldwin, Conservative. I had thought that I wouldn't receive one, but today I was surprised.

    It reads as follows;
    "Thank you for your email of 6 March about recreational river access. I have heard of others who have had abuse shouted at them while kayaking and can understand how upsetting this is.

    In the first instance, I have taken up your points with the Minister at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and I will let you know when I receive his reply.

    Your sincerely
    Harriet Baldwin MP"

    Quite a positive letter I thought.
    Yes that's more positive than many - the negative bit starts when she gets the standard photocopy from DEFRA!

    BUT YOU MUSTN'T GIVE UP!

    When you recieve it, just write back to explain that VAAs don't work and why and hopefully she'll understand your point of view and follow things up again.

    I know it doesn't sound it, but I'm trying to be really positive here - yours is a much more positive reply than many have had!

    Sam

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    I'm glad she pulled through for me. She was the only MP in the last general election who took the time to speak to each person around here individually about the issues people were concerned about rather than just the usual "will you consider voting for me" spiel.

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    Just a quick reminder that those writing to their MP need to include their postal address as most MPs will only respond to their local constituents.

    I am waiting for a reply from Nick Gibb MP for Arundel and Bognor Regis.

    Bushcraft Survival and First Aid Training.

  53. #53

    Default

    Dear Lord Helcoop,

    Thank you for your email. I am aware of the BCU's long-running campaign to open up inland waterways in England and Wales to members of the public.

    The current law in England and Wales is that whoever owns the the land along the water's edge also owns the property rights to the river bed.
    Therefore anyone on that water without permission from the owner is trespassing, despite the fact, as you have mentioned, that the water itself is not owned. Inland waterways were excluded from Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 which granted public rights of way over non-agricultural land. I sympathise with your situation - it does appear that England and Wales are two of the most restrictive countries in the world when it comes to access to waterways! Even the Scottish Parliament has granted almost limitless access to rivers in its Land Reform Act 2003.

    Unfortunately this issue is one for the UK government, and outside of my jurisdiction as a Member of the European Parliament. As you will no doubt be aware, laws across the EU Member States vary on this, with some granting limitless access, whilst others still have some 'private'
    waterways.

    I wish you the best of luck with your campaign. Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,

    Martin Callanan MEP


    Yes I know that the meps have very little to do with this but this is another way of raising the issue that I am sure will filter again to the right desks.

    I have now sent a second letter to him asking that he forward my letter and his reply to Richard benyon and again to My local mp.

  54. #54

    Default

    Alright Sonar... what's with the "Lord Helcoop"... I googled "Helcoop" and "peerage" and got nothing! Do tell!
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  55. #55

    Default

    because thats my name..

    As recorded in the dept of nomenciature on the 13.11 2003

    The second name changes every generation or so
    Lord of the manor of Coatham.

    In short it means No money No estates And no pot to *** in.
    A long story

    Oh and I never bought it. and Means nothing to me.
    Last edited by Sonar; 27th-April-2011 at 06:19 PM.

  56. #56
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    Having already received a copy of the DEFRA generated response throught my MP, Guy Opperman, I was surprised to find another letter in the post today in which he apologises for the "standard" DEFRA letter and assures me that he will "make a personal representation with the Minister" in question and then let me know the outcome!!!!!

    The negative bit is basically saying that I shouldn't hold my breath as we have already received a reply and that it is very unlikely that his representation would change the outcome!!#
    See what happens next, I might make an appointment to see him and let him know that he actually appears to do something and then thank him for that! Who knows, he might just come out for a paddle

    "I'm very good at hearing badly but very good with my bad eyesight"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sundowner View Post
    The negative bit is basically saying that I shouldn't hold my breath as we have already received a reply and that it is very unlikely that his representation would change the outcome!!
    Not on it's own, it wont but its up to the reat of us to make sure he's not on his own!
    Keith

  58. #58
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    coventry
    Posts
    1,716

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    Quote Originally Posted by no1 photographer View Post
    email sent to geoffery robinson mp coventry north west
    No reply to date

    so another email, and letter is on it's way

    Andy

  59. #59
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    West Sussex.
    Posts
    3,230

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    Reply from Nick Gibb MP (Conservative Schools Minister).

    "Thank you for your email regarding your concerns about access to inland waterways for canoeists and anglers, which I read with interest.

    I have written to the Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs about this matter, outlining your concerns and enclosing a copy of your email. As soon as I receive a response from the Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, I will write to you again.

    With Best wishes
    Yours sincerely

    Nick Gibb

    i will add more as i receive it

    Bushcraft Survival and First Aid Training.

  60. #60

    Default

    I am well aware of the duties of the meps.
    However another letter has gone off asking that he himself could send a letter for me including his response.
    Just to back up other letters that I have written and many others have also written...



    Dear Sir

    I am in favour of the increased right of public access to inland waterways but as the European Parliament has no jurisdiction in this area, I would suggest that you contact your local MP who may be able to assist you in amending the law at Westminster.

    Yours sincerely
    Stephen S Hughes MEP

    North East European Constituency Office
    Room 4/38
    County Hall
    Durham
    DH1 5UR

    Tel: 0191 3849371
    Fax: 0191 3846100

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