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Thread: BCU Response to UKRBG on Facebook

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Default BCU Response to UKRBG on Facebook

    Response to Mark Rainsley's Questions
    by Canoe England on Friday, May 20, 2011 at 1:19pm
    Dear Mark,

    Our position remains as issued on 14th March:-

    A Statement by the BCU Chief Executive, Paul Owen.

    I have read various threads on Facebook and various other web sites. I set out below answers to Mark Rainsley’s questions with regard to where “current “policy rests.

    Dealing with a few other issues that have arisen – Firstly the BCU does not fund high level competition or club development at the expense of other matters such as access. Our investment in these areas as well as others is ring fenced by our funders for the specific purpose. Secondly, there is no financial arrangement between the BCU and Douglas Caffyn. The BCU paid for “counsels” review of Doug’s initial work in this area.

    Turning back to the current situation: Whilst I have given answers to Mark’s questions reflecting the current position. We have also stated that we are pursuing some further actions following the publication of Caffyn’s work. We are giving consideration to independent review but as stated elsewhere this is a great deal more difficult to achieve than would first appear to be the case. The work we completed reviewing Doug’s initial work identified a real gap within the legal profession of those able to offer a competent service in this area. There are of course many people who are prepared to collect a fee.

    Access is for the public and should not be simply focused on angling and canoeing. I do not think it is the role of the BCU or any of the Home Nations is to dictate where or where not canoeing can take place and the decision rests with the individual. Voluntary Access Agreements – a government term not the BCU’s or Canoe England’s - should be replaced by a presumption in favour of a right of access to inland waters; supported by a voluntary code of use as a management mechanism, laying down the basis for sharing by water based recreations and any local conditions that may be applicable – environment etc.

    I believe that new policies will evolve over coming months and I acknowledge that we owe our members the courtesy of keeping them informed, although, I would stress that this is not always possible. I also feel that whilst Facebook is a great communications medium it really isn’t the best place to conduct a complicated “debate”

    Mark’s Questions

    Can you please point me to a weblink or document which clearly and succinctly outlines Canoe England's policy on access to our rivers?
    http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/acce...-arrangements/

    There is huge confusion about this at the moment. I am interested to know:
    Does Canoe England consider paddling rivers to be legal or not?
    We believe that the law in this area is not clear. Canoe England does not subscribe to the present assumption of the law that unregulated rivers (where there is no active navigation authority) and usable by boats are private. Magna Carta and the strength of the latest historical research on the law by the Rev’d Dr Douglas Caffyn are further grounds for a presumption in favour of access and public rights to inland waters that are physically useable. We fundamentally believe there should be a right to use all rivers with local management measures for environmental conditions and the rights to other user interests to be respected

    What is Canoe England's stance on Access 'Agreements'?Your previous Head of Access (Andy Green) declared Access 'Agreements' to be 'dead', is this still the position or not?
    Whilst we share the frustration with access agreements it has never been our policy to declare access agreements dead. We accept that in order to get out there paddling it may be better to enter into an agreement within certain parameters than not.

    Who is in charge of formulating Access policy now Andy Green has gone?
    Andy served the Access Policy Group who continue to advise the English Council on Access policy.

    What is their plan to secure a legally enshrined right of responsible Access to
    our rivers, as with Scotland?
    The Rivers Access Campaign policy is to continue:
    • to investigate the existence of, and seek the restoration of, historic rights of navigation where they exist
    • the campaign for a statutory right of access to inland waters in England, if required
    • to advise all canoeists that the decision whether or not to paddle a water, rests with the individual and not Canoe England
    • advise all canoeists to take into account the environmental conditions and paddle only when these are suitable as laid out in the Canoe England leaflet You, Your Canoe and the Environment

    Does Canoe England consider paddling rivers to be legal or not?
    We don’t have a policy on whether paddling rivers is legal or not. Whilst Canoe England is not an authority on the law and believe it is far from clear in this area, we will continue to seek clarity and challenges to the use of waters where appropriate.

    What is Canoe England's stance on Access 'Agreements'? - your previous Head of Access (Andy Green) declared Access 'Agreements' to be 'dead', is this still the position or not?
    We don’t have a policy on whether or not paddlers should be pursuing or indeed adhering to Access Agreements/ Arrangements. Where a VAA is in place Canoe England will encourage its members to abide by the arrangement

    Who is in charge of formulating Access policy now Andy Green has gone?
    Nobody specific is salaried and tasked with the specific role of formulating and directing Access policy, as has always been the case it is the role of Access Policy Group

    What is their plan to secure a legally enshrined right of responsible Access to our rivers, as with Scotland?
    We will continue to campaign for and seek legally enshrined responsible access to our rivers, as exemplified in Scotland
    Interested in your views

    Bushcraft Survival and First Aid Training.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Exmouth, Devon, England
    Posts
    2,797

    Thumbs down Not impressed

    So many words to say so little; typical of politicians and other authorities that are trying to say what we don't want to hear.

    The general message I took from that was "We don't have a policy on" and "We're continuing to seek/work on". Lovely on the fence stuff there. Somebody make him a minister!

    I'd prefer a canoe body that's not on the fence about these issues, is clear and bold in their strategy and goals; even if they fail. I appreciate it's easy for me to say because I live on the coast with an estuary to paddle. I pity the people who live near/on contentious inland rivers.

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