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Thread: Putting Caffy's research to the test in court (finding the money)

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    Default Putting Caffy's research to the test in court (finding the money)

    Perhaps someone can help me out here guys. I'm a bit confused about this.

    Rev. Caffyn's research has indicated that a Public Right of Navigation still exists in law on inland waterways for which physical navigation is possible (i.e. it has never been definitavely repealed).

    Have I got that right?

    Assuming I have, I notice that many times on this forum folks have mentioned that putting his theory to the test in the courts would cost a lot of money.

    Is this what's needed (assuming the money could be found) ?

    It sounds too simple that a pile of canoeists go paddling one day down a highly contested stretch of river knowing full well that they'll be challenged, video the "unprovoked aggrevation" they get from the riverbank, bridges whatever then take there grievance to a coutroom and (given enough money by somone) use Caffyn and others to prove in law, recorded once and for all, that they are right to be there and the folks giving them grief were wrong and mustn't do it again.

    Is "all" that's needed to put this to the test , say 1 million pounds or whatever for court fees ?


    If I've got this all wrong can someone please explain what it is that "would be proven if someone had the money to follow it up in the courts" and how it could be done if the money was actually available.

    I'm no mathematician but BCU membership is around 35/year. Remember them, the organisation that is committed to increasing our access. How many members do they have in the UK

    Is it 1,000,000 members at 35 each = 35,000,000 every year
    Is it 500,000 members at 35 each = 17,500,000 every year
    Is it 100,000 member at 35 each = 3,500,000 every year

    ....every year!!

    whatever the figures their annual "income" should be fairly large (probably many millions annually at least). Surely no one is suggesting that in their "commitment to getting more access" they can't afford to take this through the courts using Caffyn's research?

    How many millions does it take to hire a team of top lawyers and present a case?

    That's a rhetorical question obvously but either way I can't understand why this hasn't happened years ago.

    Can anyone help me out here please. I don't have a legal background as you can probably tell. However, I don't see how funding a legal case could ever be a problem for the BCU

    We appear to have...

    1 - a case (Caffyn's evidence)
    2 - money from our BCU subscriptions

    what else is needed? just an incident presumably to get it into a courtroom in the first place..so we just paddle up a river recordning whatever trouble we find.

    Job done, surely.


    Thanks
    Last edited by springer5; 14th-March-2012 at 01:38 PM.
    and there I was thinking I was clever for learning how to paddle...my dog's been paddling for years, and without a canoe !!

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    The BCU budget is more than 8,000,000 pounds. Some of this money comes from the Government to finance the winning of Olympic medals and other similar activities. Some of the money comes from members.

    I have asked BCU to explain the source of these funds in more detail. They have declined to do this. Perhaps someone here knows more or how to find out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    The BCU budget is more than 8,000,000 pounds. Some of this money comes from the Government to finance the winning of Olympic medals and other similar activities. Some of the money comes from members.

    I have asked BCU to explain the source of these funds in more detail. They have declined to do this. Perhaps someone here knows more or how to find out.
    Sounds like a FOI (Freedom of Information) request is required - legally, they will have to disclose the source of their funding unless "its release would prejudice national security or commercial interests"

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    If you ask them for a copy of the detailed accounts, they will provide them. I have had them for previous years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxiP View Post
    Sounds like a FOI (Freedom of Information) request is required - legally, they will have to disclose the source of their funding unless "its release would prejudice national security or commercial interests"
    Unfortunately they don't count as a "Public Body" under the FOI Act, so they don't have to repy.

    The Sports Council on the other hand, who part funds them, does come under the Act.

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    I have checked, the last set I have are for the period to October 2010, presumably presented to the AGM in March 2011. If anyone wants to see a copy, I can email them. They are company accounts and do not show much useful information. They do report, however, that the membership was a little under 31,000 so receipts from subcriptions would be approximately 1,150,000. I think you will find the sports quangos provide something like 6,000,000 which is hypothecated on specific support for training.

    What I have gleened, however, is that they appear to have substantial reserves but it is unclear if any of this is reserved for creditors.

    Back to the original question, to get a court hearing, I think you usually need a dispute. Either you sue someone, or they sue you. Both parties need to be prepared to commit to a substantial potential loss if they lose.

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    To me the greatest problem with this approach, is what happens if we lost, all the defacto access would be shut down very quickly.
    membership and participation would fall, and finally ten years later when perhaps we finally won in the European court of human rights, BCU would be bankrupt.

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    Here's the bill for another free access legal challenge.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...egal-fees.html

    Sobering reading on the cost of legal action.

    I think that will be comparatively cheap compared to the fight over access to rivers in England and Wales. With the fishermen and landowners feeling they have a lot to lose it would go all the way.

    Canoe Wales have long been minded that it will take a change in the law.

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    Proving Dr Caffyn right would be great, but would only provide access to water, not to the river bank. This can only be provided by legislation similar to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. This requires a campaign using all the democratic processes available to citizens, including lobbying MPs and Government Departments, petitions, use of social media, and protest.

    Our Governing Body, Canoe England, has a policy of appeasement which means that their only objective is to 'clarify' access, which is code for doing only what anglers and land owners permit. This policy is making the access situation worse, not better. They have no intention of trying to gain access to the 96% of English rivers under dispute. This is part of their deal with Sports England to get more money for competitive canoe sport and is well documented.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    I have checked, the last set I have are for the period to October 2010, presumably presented to the AGM in March 2011. If anyone wants to see a copy, I can email them. They are company accounts and do not show much useful information. They do report, however, that the membership was a little under 31,000 so receipts from subcriptions would be approximately 1,150,000. I think you will find the sports quangos provide something like 6,000,000 which is hypothecated on specific support for training.

    What I have gleened, however, is that they appear to have substantial reserves but it is unclear if any of this is reserved for creditors.

    Back to the original question, to get a court hearing, I think you usually need a dispute. Either you sue someone, or they sue you. Both parties need to be prepared to commit to a substantial potential loss if they lose.
    With membership receipts being 31,000 you have presumed they get 35 each member....but isn't a large portion of this going back to BW/EA, other authorities and they have to cover costs in producing membership material (magazine, membership cards etc. Then surely some of this money goes towards the 3rd party liability insurance that comes with membership...

    I would have thought that only a few pound would be left. 31,000 members times a few pound doesn't give much money to save up for a legal battle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by andylincs View Post
    With membership receipts being 31,000 you have presumed they get 35 each member....but isn't a large portion of this going back to BW/EA, other authorities and they have to cover costs in producing membership material (magazine, membership cards etc. Then surely some of this money goes towards the 3rd party liability insurance that comes with membership...

    I would have thought that only a few pound would be left. 31,000 members times a few pound doesn't give much money to save up for a legal battle.
    Less wages and wages.
    Maybe they have nothing left at the end of the year and can't afford to go for a paddle.
    So I guess access would not be a problem...

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    Another thing to bare in mind about the BCU / CE and their funding is that most of the money will only be given for sport / training which means it isn't allowed to be spent on other things. It'll be ring fenced. With most organisations you will spend 90% of your revenue doing 90% of your aims.

    To fund a legal challenge you would effectively be asking BCU / CE to spend a disproportionate amount of their money on a minority interest. As much as we all want to see better access the BCU / CE main objectives are not regarding access, they are focused on sport.

    Also I don't think that access is seen as a big issue to the "sport" because the sport already has its funding, has it's access to places to train and compete, and is therefore able to carry out its main objectives day to day without increased access.

    Access is mainly an issue for recreational paddling. I think looking towards a sporting body to fund such a big thing for a recreational group is just a case of looking for a solution in the wrong direction.

    For BCU to fund or part fund a legal challenge that would benefit recreational paddlers more then sporting paddlers would also kick off an angry debate with the sportsman not wanting money set aside for them being spent on part time hobbyists.

    Sure a BCU / CE can have a stated aim of better access, who doesn't want that but why expect them to fund it. They have money for sport, admin, staff etc ring fenced. I don't see there being much money left over anyway.
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    I have a memory of seeing the costs of the licenses that CE pay for, somewhere, and being surprised how little it was... has anyone else seen this?
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    Funding a legal challenge would need to come from someone with something to gain. Finding a rich benefactor is like waiting your lottery ticket to come up, we all hope it'll happen but we all know it is unlikely.

    Perhaps funding can come from the industry, canoe makers, boat makers etc but for them to form a group to invest in something like this would need them to see a financial reward. A reward of opening up waterways for for paddlers and boaters which would produce more sales and be a boost for the industry. For that to happen research would need doing to show what benefits would be gained and an idea of the increase of numbers of users of the water.

    Research to show, on a high academic level, all the benefits that could be achieved. This would have to be funded like any other research, via the student route, PHDs etc. Not just one piece of research but a concerted effort of a fair few specialists in various disciplines.

    There may be the legal historic research in place, although more should be done to support Rev. Caffyn's research, but that is only part of it. Research of the end benefits needs doing along with a fully thought out plan of how these benefits could be realised (planning for shops and new marinas, new access points from roads to the water). To realise the benefits of more paddlers/boaters you'd need to be able to put in more infrastructure and make many more areas akin to the broads so money can be extracted from paddlers/tourists/boaters/new users so that the industry could benefit.

    Funding isn't just about who should pay for this legal challenge but "why" would they.
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    One main benefit of BCU/CE membership is the rivers access campaign as stated on their website. It is therefore reasonable to expect that a portion of the membership fees go towards the funding of the campaign.

    Perhaps asking the membership if they would consider a levy on their membership subs of 5 to fund a legal campaign in the courts would prove beneficial.

    1. they would get extra funds towards the costs.
    2. They know how many members feel passionately enough about access to pay a small amount extra towards the campaign.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    Proving Dr Caffyn right would be great, but would only provide access to water, not to the river bank. This can only be provided by legislation similar to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.
    If you take a look at "Managing Recreation on Inland Waters in Wales: a review of approaches, you'll find a review of quite a few different solutions, including statutory right of access and legislation similar to that in Scotland. The text is worth a close reading as it shows how this whole debate is likely to play out IF the issue gets as far as wider public debate / going through committee stages in Westminster.

    The idea of statutory access gets short shrift: it's seen as most practicable on land in public ownership (e.g. Forestry Commission), and on a time limited bases on certain waterways (e.g. during the closed fishing season). Assorted concerns are raised. For example, "a high level of concern that primary legislation might actually reduce the tolerated use of many rivers". Your own concern about access-points gets a mention... as does the likelihood of the legislation would "create" conflict conlfict with "existing interests" (with fishing and landowning interests identified), and the possibility of massive compensation being needed for "to recover the reduced value of investments and reduced future income streams".

    The review of the approach taken in Scotland suggests this "would not solve the problems that exist in Wales" as (re-iterating your point) "Access to water would still have to be negotiated" and as w'd still need "management agreements created to deal with conflicts between different activities".

    Note: I'm not suggesting the debates couldn't be won... but I suspect the tone of this document, and the sense of "what would be reasonable" in the way it reviews options would be the starting point for the debate, and would pretty much dominate any wider public / parliamentary discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    Our Governing Body, Canoe England, has [...] no intention of trying to gain access to the 96% of English rivers under dispute. This is part of their deal with Sports England to get more money for competitive canoe sport and is well documented.
    We should drop the notion that we need to "gain access to the 96% of English rivers under dispute": that's just going to get turned against canoeists the moment journalists and parliamentarians look into it, as it's completely overlooking the vast extent of "tolerated" access - which includes large stretches of a lot of rivers within that 96%. On a huge number of rivers (especially lowland rivers) canoeists are accepted by the vast majority of anglers and landowners: these are not rivers where access is meaningfully "disputed" by any other than a few militants anglers - folk so militant they're unlikely to concede that we have moral entitlement to paddle (or should be on the river) even if the legislation grants us a legal right to be there.

    As I see it, we should also avoid suggesting that the funding from Sport England is for "competitive canoeing". Again, that's going to be shown up to be nonsense (as only a portion of the funding is for competition, with the clear focus of the Sport England money being on more broadly "growing" and "sustaining" the sport). When the claim about the Sport England funding being sought for "competition" is rubbished (as it will be), the credibility of whoever made the claim is going to be much reduced - which will surely lead to scepticism over any other (more valid) claims.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andylincs View Post
    With membership receipts being 31,000 you have presumed they get 35 each member....but isn't a large portion of this going back to BW/EA, other authorities and they have to cover costs in producing membership material (magazine, membership cards etc. Then surely some of this money goes towards the 3rd party liability insurance that comes with membership...
    I wasn't presuming any such thing. I was suggesting what the gross income from subscriptions might be. I expect that the cost of the waterways licence is in the region of 7 per member and you have already listed a number of other expenses. It would be reasonable to expect that the 'surplus' from operating the membership organisation would be approximately zero; they do not have a reason to make a profit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wayne View Post
    One main benefit of BCU/CE membership is the rivers access campaign as stated on their website. It is therefore reasonable to expect that a portion of the membership fees go towards the funding of the campaign.

    Perhaps asking the membership if they would consider a levy on their membership subs of 5 to fund a legal campaign in the courts would prove beneficial.

    1. they would get extra funds towards the costs.
    2. They know how many members feel passionately enough about access to pay a small amount extra towards the campaign.

    Sorry for all these long posts....I'll stop now

    Yes, they are funding a rivers access campaign...it's there. Job done in their eyes I would have thought. It is also reasonable to expect some membership fees to go towards funding a campaign, and they are, the website and what ever else they do is proof of it. But there isn't enough money to fund a legal battle.

    My main point is that you are asking a body to fund a legal campaign, which isn't cheap, and would have an open ended financial commitment - the cost is the same as a length of string. From 1million to 10 million plus. If you can't afford to guarantee all the cost of a legal challenge (ie, hope it costs 1m but be prepared for 10m upwards) then you would be pouring money down the drain if you only get part way. You are also asking an organisation BCU /CE which already has 90% of what it wants to achieve - ie, sport. Its a minor aim compared to such a huge investment.

    But, I see the most important thing as being the question of "why" fund it, and "what" is the benefit, and "who" to. The "why" bit maybe because it is a "right" for the people but that doesn't justify someone coughing up money. The "why", "how", "what" question needs fully answering and not just by saying there will be many benefits to many people. We know that. Numbers need to be put in place and real advantages that can be demonstrated in the normal organisation/governmental/health/economic way.

    It's a huge investment for an unquantifiable return at present with legal risks of losing thrown in.

    Academic research as to how many more people would take to the water, how much spare money these people have to spend, how this money can be captured and recycled into the sport and industry / countries coffers, how obstacles could be overcome, what are those obstacles. Research into the health benefits of canoeing recreationally needs to be done as well if not already done so it can be expressed as a saving to the NHS and as a benefit to the workforce in having this extra fitness and well being. Things have to be financially accounted for.

    31000 members all paying an extra 5 only produces 150,000 and not all those people want to pay.....no a big big plan with big big ideas is needed in order for any one / any group to write an open ended cheque from 1million to 10million.

    Even if a legal battle were won, like many government bills they need actioning. They need policies putting into place. More battles there.

    Money needs to be found, research into the legal chances of winning needs doing and on top of that enthusiasm for getting the job done. Things need to be done in an order. Right now enthusiasm is coming from a few individuals like yourself, well done by the way, but not a lot from sporting / governmental bodies or anyone with financial clout.

    I feel some proper research into the benefits would go a long way to raising the stakes and making more influential bodies / people sit up and listen.

    You may have already won the "access should be a right" argument but not enough has been done in giving a reason to implement access. After many decades I think attention needs to be turned into showing the benefits of opening up access and not just from a canoeists point of view but from many other view points.

    I've come to my own personal conclusion that wanting increased access / right of access via a legal route is not worth the energy because of the financial implications. I feel that the theoretically argument has probably been won, most people can see that rivers ought to be open for all to use. I think the whole access campaign needs to be fought from the other end, not fight for a right but demonstrating that it is so very beneficial to have waterways opened up that everyone else will want this access. Attacking the problem from the other end,

    ...show how much wonderful scenery there is hidden out there.
    ...show how good exercise is with canoeing / being on the water
    ...show how much we are prepared to spend on being on the water
    ...show how this will improve the environment that everyone shares
    ...show the economic benefits as a country we would have
    ...show how many jobs could be created
    ...show how the environment would be easier to look after if there was more of us doing it
    ...show how increased access would mean more tourism
    ...show how it wouldn't mean huge numbers of people descending into small areas

    Make the government want to invest in the waterways more which in turn opens them up.
    Make industry want to be on the side of more access.
    Make the EA want have more access

    I think it would less take funding and be able to generate that funding easier if the problem was attacked from the other end of the issue, demonstrate the benefits rather than fighting for a right. If you "fight" for a right you have opposition to overcome but if you "demonstrate" a benefit you may be given the "right" - same outcome just not fighting with the government / establishment, but more helping them to achieve their aims which are health, financial, environment, tourism etc etc to achieve our aim. They have the money and the power after all to achieve anything they want. Let them fund it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    I wasn't presuming any such thing. I was suggesting what the gross income from subscriptions might be. I expect that the cost of the waterways licence is in the region of 7 per member and you have already listed a number of other expenses. It would be reasonable to expect that the 'surplus' from operating the membership organisation would be approximately zero; they do not have a reason to make a profit.
    Apologies

    Poor wording on my part. Yes, there isnt a need to make a profit and therefore you are correct there will not be much money if any within this budget area.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    If you take a look at "Managing Recreation on Inland Waters in Wales: a review of approaches, you'll find a review of quite a few different solutions, including statutory right of access and legislation similar to that in Scotland. The text is worth a close reading as it shows how this whole debate is likely to play out IF the issue gets as far as wider public debate / going through committee stages in Westminster.
    ...am reading.

    We should drop the notion that we need to "gain access to the 96% of English rivers under dispute": that's just going to get turned against canoeists the moment journalists and parliamentarians look into it, as it's completely overlooking the vast extent of "tolerated" access - which includes large stretches of a lot of rivers within that 96%. On a huge number of rivers (especially lowland rivers) canoeists are accepted by the vast majority of anglers and landowners: these are not rivers where access is meaningfully "disputed" by any other than a few militants anglers - folk so militant they're unlikely to concede that we have moral entitlement to paddle (or should be on the river) even if the legislation grants us a legal right to be there.
    I think you are spot on here.

    As I see it, we should also avoid suggesting that the funding from Sport England is for "competitive canoeing". Again, that's going to be shown up to be nonsense (as only a portion of the funding is for competition, with the clear focus of the Sport England money being on more broadly "growing" and "sustaining" the sport). When the claim about the Sport England funding being sought for "competition" is rubbished (as it will be), the credibility of whoever made the claim is going to be much reduced - which will surely lead to scepticism over any other (more valid) claims.
    Not sure about this but I see the word "sport" and take it to mean competition....but perhaps you are correct, more needs to be read into the words "growing" and "sustaining" and less about sport.
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    ok, it was just a thought. Frankly I give up on this now.

    Perhaps there is no solution at all (it certainly looks that way). I've run out of ideas anyway.

    Is it the old story about the British being their own worst enemy when it comes to campaigning for anything?

    It seems there's no actual campaigning going on as far as I can see, just lots of reasions why there's no point in trying anything....

    - mass protest paddles? - will just give a negative image and annoy "opponents" even more to no effect
    - record the next conflict on the water and try to get backing to take it to court? - no one has the money and our representative organisation wouldn't actually represent us on this issue anyway.
    - JFDI ? - no need for a campaign forum at all for that. Just a case of waiting for someone to get hurt one day when something turns a bit nastier than insulits (law of averages eventually)
    - write to your MP? - he's just part of the establishment nad probsably owns some of the river we want access to anyway, so he's unlikely to help. And even if he does (like that MP who's name I can't remember with his failed private member's bill in 2007) he can't do much as a minority.

    Perhaps that's a little harsh and I'm just feeling a bit flat about it at the moment. If it is I apologise but that's how I feel right now.

    It will only ever be..

    - paddle contested areas and live with the risk of persecution/prosecution
    - paddle in the little "herding pen" areas we're officially allowed to
    - move abroad
    - take up another hobby.

    ...maybe the sooner we all accept that the sooner we can stop wasting our energy trying to find solutions to talk ourselves out of ,whilst going round in circles, and spend more energy doing something more productive with our time.


    Thanks for your thoughts though all the same. I'm not having a go at anyone here. Just realising that we live in a country and that it's not going to change so there's no point in wasting any more energy bashing our heads against a brick wall

    Cheers
    Last edited by springer5; 15th-March-2012 at 12:11 PM.
    and there I was thinking I was clever for learning how to paddle...my dog's been paddling for years, and without a canoe !!

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    Quote Originally Posted by springer5 View Post
    Perhaps there is no solution at all (it certainly looks that way). I've run out of ideas anyway.
    Possibly a common viewpoint: I'd not be surprised.

    As a kid, I was of the view that nothing nothing we could even conceivably do in my lifetime was likely to lead to a sudden, wonderful resolution of access issues in a favourable manner. Some ~25 years later, the prospects look way, WAY better: I still don't expect a grand resolution in the next 10 years, and maybe not in the next 20... but with canoeing now booming as as sport, the tide appears to be turning.

    Not starting from where we are now strikes me as the key to dramatic change: if we can move things on in assorted ways (not least by "growing the sport" rather more) then maybe in 10 years time, major change will look a lot more likely: perhaps means digging in for a long haul rather than screaming for a quick fix - but that, to me, is what campaigning for improved access looks like right now.

    IN the mean time, I suggest we all keep on paddling, and keep showing that if reasonable access isn't offered on reasonable terms, we'll just be coming anyway, but on OUR terms!

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    "What do we want? - Gradual change!
    When do we want it? - In due course!"

    Might as well close the Access Section.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    "What do we want? - Gradual change!
    When do we want it? - In due course!"

    Might as well close the Access Section.

    Me, I'm moving to a more civilised country (not too far away).
    Also possibly not helped by too many folks from that other civilised country still holding sway over what is and isn't allowed in somone else's country, since SEMI-devolution.

    Home rule for England (the only country in Europe without it's own government) would be a start. A lot stems from a lack of that, whatever David "Mc" Cameron says, but that's another story.

    You're right about closing the access section though in my opinion, what exactly is it here for? certainly not to campaign, just to repeat "JFDI" and "here's a list of things that won't make any difference" over and over again. Don't need a forum for that to be honest.
    Last edited by springer5; 15th-March-2012 at 03:10 PM.
    and there I was thinking I was clever for learning how to paddle...my dog's been paddling for years, and without a canoe !!

  25. #25
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    Crow is offline こんにちは。私はカラスと私はスコットラ ンドの出身で す。
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    I apologise for holding sway.

    Go for it!

    Here comes the future and you can't run from it
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    yeah, perhaps JFDI is the solution...

    This weekend in my season start anyway, now all I need is a JFDI T-shirt.
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    Quote Originally Posted by andylincs View Post
    yeah, perhaps JFDI is the solution...
    Where no-one's offering a decent alternative, just going "on our own terms" (based on Caffyn's research suggesting we're entitled to paddle any river we can get down, any time we like) strikes me as essential: that's what puts pressure on contrary sods to offer a reasonable agreements so that everyone gets a decent deal!

    The flip side is recognising the merits of agreements where they DO make sense: showing a bit of respect for the agreements that ARE reasonable is just as important as the "JFDI" bit - otherwise there's no incentive for anyone to take a reasonable stance at the negotiating table.

    In short... be bloody minded where others are being bloody minded (to show two can play that game) and be conciliatory where others have been reasonable, to show that we aren't obsessed with being bloody minded!

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    In other words accept the status quo and do nothing.

    It's too difficult to fight so don't bother and hope in 10 years or so we might be thrown a few scraps. In the meantime a generation must face abuse and intimidation.

    Should I start waving a piece of paper.

    Piece in our time.

    Bushcraft Survival and First Aid Training.

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    I'm all in favour of more access to waterways, but I would like to kill one myth about mass protest that is often used (especially by the media) when it comes to access campaigns.

    The mass trespass on Kinder scout is frequently stated as the major factor in the access to the countryside and the formation of National Parks. This is completely untrue. The National Park act was being debated in Parliament at the time of the Kinder Mass Trespass and nearly killed the bill altogether.

    We have a similar situation with access to rivers as there was to open country, MONEY. Those that own the land are generally moneyed people and have powerful friends in high places. This is the real block to getting access to the waterways.

    Come the revolution!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by wayne View Post
    It's too difficult to fight so don't bother and hope in 10 years or so we might be thrown a few scraps.
    If all anyone does is hope, then in 10 years the situation will look no more promising than it does today.

    In the intervening 10 years, the priority could be making the situation a LOT more promising: getting more people trying the sport, getting more of those who try canoeing to go beyond occasional forays, making headway on access where we find reasonable partners, showing that we will follow Caffyn where we can't get co-operation...

    Whilst all that's going on, keep taking advantage of the Sport England money to get into an ever stronger position... and take any other opportunities that arise to shift the thinking of everyone involved in the direction of a presumed entitlement to paddle.

    As I see it, working for access means just that: sustained effort - a very different thing from throwing in the towel.

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    The National Park act was being debated in Parliament at the time of the Kinder Mass Trespass and nearly killed the bill altogether.
    It was 40 years after the kinder Mass Tresspass that the limited right of access to certain areas was given....

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    I think the only way to get a legal resolution (without spending several fortunes) would be if a paddler was prosecuted and used Caffyn's work as a defence, although as this would take place in a magistrates court it would not create a precedent, perhaps they would have to contrive to lose the initial case and then appeal it to the crown court and win there to create the precedent.

    Obviously those opposed to the right of navigation are aware of this which is why they don't use the courts to enforce their views, they have far more to lose than we do.

    Barney

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    Obviously those opposed to the right of navigation are aware of this which is why they don't use the courts to enforce their views
    I think a greater reason is because they know full well that if the wider public was aware of the issue they would undoubtedly, and rightly, be seen to be morally ambiguous in their claims to own the rivers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by springer5 View Post
    It makes me wonder if any kind of campaign for better access is best done independently of one particular activity [...] We almost need a sort of "Public Access for the People of Britain" organisation [...] for "access for the british people to their own countryide", just that in its own right.
    Nice idea... but we kinda had that in the build up to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act... and sufficient grounds were found to exclude waterways: we didn't even get statutory access to land in public ownership (e.g. Forestry Commission) and access on a time limited bases on other sought-after waterways (e.g. during the closed fishing season).

    What's perhaps needed is a close look on why England and Wales were deemed so different from Scotland, and at the reasons given why the arrangements in Scotland would be inappropriate... which brings us back to "Managing Recreation on Inland Waters in Wales: a review of approaches"!

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    All the discussion about whether canoeing is a sport, a pastime or a way of life is well off topic and obliterating the origin of this thread so I've moved it to the "General" section here.
    Keith

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