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Thread: The AT and DEFRA now disagree on the right of navigation!

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    Default The AT and DEFRA now disagree on the right of navigation!

    The AT had quite a difficult time last month when they found themselves and DEFRA diametrically opposed over Keith the Seal. It looks like another difficult period for the AT is in store as they & DEFRA now find themselves saying mutually contradictory things about the right of navigation.

    ∑ The AT say the law is clear - there is no public right of navigation on unregulated rivers.
    ∑ DEFRA have told River Access For All that the law is unclear and said they have neither sought nor received any legal opinion, or formed their own opinion on Revd. Dr Caffyns claim that there is a public right of navigation on all rivers physically capable of navigation. (See the news item at River Access For All)
    ∑ River Access for All says the evidence is clear (none has ever been identified by either DEFRA or the Angling Trust to challenge Douglas Caffyns work) but DEFRA and the AT canít be expected to appreciate that until they engage with the evidence which they have steadfastly refused to do.

    While millions in public funds are spent researching and promoting access agreements between those that donít need to ask permission to navigate and those that donít have the authority to interfere with public rights, DEFRA says it canít justify expenditure of public funds to resolve what the law is. That makes no sense!

    Sign up as a supporter of River Access For All and add your voice to those calling for recognition that there is, and has always been, a public right of navigation on all rivers subject only to the physical constraints of the river and the size/nature of the craft using them.
    Keith

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    This is a serious development. Well done to River Access for All for engaging with the Environment Authority and clarifying this important difference in opinion. Another reason for everyone to join up and help the campaign. Read what DEFRA actually said here:

    http://www.riveraccessforall.co.uk/news.php#Lets

    I can't wait to hear what Mr Salter has to say...
    Last edited by dougdew99; 12th-February-2013 at 09:02 PM.
    Doug Dew
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    Default Just thinking aloud really...

    Are DEFRA and Fish Legal (the legal arm of the Angling Trust) subject to the FOI?
    If they are and using the freedom of information act, is it possible to request from DEFRA and the AT the supporting evidence for their opinion on river access?
    They would either have to provide the evidence or state that there is no supporting evidence. If DEFRA are unable to substantiate their published opinion, then surely it becomes prejudicial in nature as it discriminates against one side of the debate whilst supporting the other. At that point DEFRA would have to publicly retract any statements made relating to the debate and withdraw from any agreements made under their authority that were related to the debate or stand accused of unlawful discrimination.
    ----------------------



    I suspect I may be a figment of my own imagination.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarvimus View Post
    Are DEFRA and Fish Legal (the legal arm of the Angling Trust) subject to the FOI?
    DEFRA are subject to the Freedom of Information Act but the Angling Trust is not a public body, representing as they do a very narrow section of the public, and therefore not covered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarvimus View Post
    is it possible to request from DEFRA ....... the supporting evidence for their opinion on river access?
    Doug Dew has made a FOI request to DEFRA asking for any legal opinion they have on the work of Douglas Caffyn (not quite the same question). They said

    "We are aware of the work of the Revd. Dr Douglas Caffyn but have not sought or received advice on it nor formed a legal opinion on the validity of his research."

    Further in answer to an email forwarded to them via the Attorney Generals Office they have said

    "There is no clear case law on whether a 'common law right of navigation' exists on unregulated rivers. This is widely accepted to be an unclear and unresolved issue."

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarvimus View Post
    At that point DEFRA would have to publicly retract any statements made relating to the debate and withdraw from any agreements made under their authority that were related to the debate or stand accused of unlawful discrimination.
    You might think that but I couldn't possibly comment.
    Last edited by KeithD; 13th-February-2013 at 04:48 PM. Reason: spelling
    Keith

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    I have said on another thread, DEFRA is now in retreat.

    Yipee! or am I too soon.

    Thanks Keith for your work and River Access for All.
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


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    Doug,
    Whoa! They are not in retreat yet... In any case we want to work with them... There are two ways forward for us:

    1. A court case brought against a canoeist for trespass which is thrown out by the judge on the grounds that a public right of way does exist on the river. This could be painful and expensive; the canoeist will get no support whatsoever from our so-called Governing Body, Canoe England, who will be hiding under their desks at HQ, dreaming of the next Olympics and first class trips to Rio, whereas the land owner will have the support of the Angling Trust, Fish Legal and the panoply of landed gentry who still own massive tracts of our English heritage of natural beauty.

    2. A realization by the politicians that the cat is out of the bag; that we are not going away; that the general population has an instinctive feeling that it is unfair that families and young people cannot enjoy our river heritage; that a court case that reinforces the rights of rich landowners might be bad publicity for them; that the majority of anglers are quite happy to share; that access agreements are a joke. When they do this, they might say that the canoeists and swimmers should be allowed access to our rivers, just like every other country in the world, and put the laws in place which guarantee this.

    Option 1. might be thrust upon us by Angling Trust hubris.

    Option 2. will not happen until we paddlers get off our arses and start campaigning, enthusiastically supporting River Access for All.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


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    And lets be honest we don’t want option 1 it would be too expensive and far to risky.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nantcoly View Post
    And lets be honest we donít want option 1 it would be too expensive and far to risky.
    Fortunately I don't think the landowner/anglers want this either. It would be just as expensive and even more risky. Whether it's option 1 or option 2 (or anything else) it will be decided on the basis of the evidence. Douglas Caffyn has presented it, DEFRA are aware of it but haven't sought legal opinion on it and the anglers/landowners have produced nothing to contest it.
    Keith

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    I have just written to my MP via www.writetothem.com as follows. It took all of two minutes.

    Dear Nick Hurd,
    I wrote to you some time ago asking about the situation with regard to access to the River Colne in your electorate by canoeists. Your response was along the lines that agreement from local landowners need to be obtained by way of an access agreement; this being the 'standard' DEFRA response to questions of this nature.


    I write to advise that DEFRA's position on this issue is now inconsistent with their newly stated view that: "There is no clear case law on whether a 'common law right of navigation' exists on unregulated rivers. This is widely accepted to be an unclear and unresolved issue."


    We now have the situation where canoeists are being asked to obtain permission from riperian landowners for access to rivers where it is by no means certain that riperian landowners have any right to deny them access.


    Will you please ask DEFRA to clarify their position in the light of this inconsistency?
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


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    Quote Originally Posted by nantcoly View Post
    And lets be honest we don’t want option 1 it would be too expensive and far to risky.
    Option 1 would be a great way forward if Canoe England had the fortitude to stand behind their members, in what is the most important issue preventing recreational canoeing in this country. They should be absolutely single minded in pursuit of natural justice for canoeists. They have spent thirty years achieving nothing. When I attended their AGM a couple of years ago, they told me they couldn't find £500,000 for this issue; meanwhile they have found tens of millions for elite sport. They are as big a part of this problem as the Angling Trust. There was a time when the BCU published guides to all rivers, whether disputed or not. Those days are long gone.
    Last edited by dougdew99; 13th-February-2013 at 08:11 PM.
    Doug Dew
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    The BCU asked for the Ribble Canoe Rally (in 2005 I think) to be stopped, an event that had been held for the previous umpteen years. It was a regular and well attended event.

    The Club decided that without the support of the BCU they had to cancel the event.

    The BCU succumbed to the threats from a fishery.

    Doug
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    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


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    Well said Doug !

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    Has there been any fishing forum action on this yet?
    Doug Dew
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    Has there been any fishing forum action on this yet?
    Probably not. Like the paddlers they know they are in the right.

    Am reminded of the inscription on the buckle of the German belt my grandfather brought back from France in 1918 - Gott Mit Uns. Grandma thought it dreadful that the nasty Germans thought God was with them............

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    What they say on fishing forums is not relevant to the existence of the public right of navigation unless they have evidence to either support it or contest it.

    In the case of Rawson v Peters, Lord Denning MR said that there are many cases in which a canoeist has a right to navigate ........ and if the canoeist has the right, the owners of the fishing rights must allow the navigation and put up with the disturbance of the fishing. (see Halsburyís Laws of England, 4th Edition, Reissue, Volume 49(2) (London: Butterworths, 1997), para 743)

    Of course any disturbance to fishing can be minimised by developing better understanding between the various users and the sooner we and the fishing forums can concentrate on this aspect the better for us all.
    Keith

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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithD View Post
    What they say on fishing forums is not relevant to the existence of the public right of navigation unless they have evidence to either support it or contest it.

    In the case of Rawson v Peters, Lord Denning MR said that there are many cases in which a canoeist has a right to navigate ........ and if the canoeist has the right, the owners of the fishing rights must allow the navigation and put up with the disturbance of the fishing. (see Halsbury’s Laws of England, 4th Edition, Reissue, Volume 49(2) (London: Butterworths, 1997), para 743)

    Of course any disturbance to fishing can be minimised by developing better understanding between the various users and the sooner we and the fishing forums can concentrate on this aspect the better for us all.
    Probably what I meant to say.........

    Your last sentence is so true.

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    The point of DEFRA statement is that is an accurate description of the current confusion. Nobody, up to and including Dr Caffyn, knows what the law is. Dr Caffyn has acknowledged this.


    We do know that no one has produced a coherent refutation of his thesis in the six or more years since it was published. We know that DEFRA has not obtained a legal opinion of Dr Caffyn's work, considering that it would be waste of public money to do so. We know that DEFRA's policy of advocating access agreements is open to criticism.., as they admit to not knowing whether or not Riparian Landowners have any right to control navigation on Our rivers, and therefore do not know whether agreement from Landowners is a legal requirement.


    I understand that the law will only be known when a judge or judges make a ruling in a case or cases, but I am no lawyer.


    The Angling Trust claims to know what the law is. They are misguided in making this assertion. This is shortly going to make them look stupid yet again, unless they adopt a more rational approach.


    The BCU does not intend to support any paddler who is sued by a land owner, thus placing a huge risk on the shoulders of one individual, when this risk should be born by the paddling community as a whole, through their Governing Body, the BCU.
    Last edited by dougdew99; 14th-February-2013 at 03:32 PM.
    Doug Dew
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    Can't help but think 'Voluntary No-Access Agreements' would be a much better way forward. I.e. a recognition of the current fact that there is no general prohibition on the recreational use (incl paddling) of inland waterways in UK and Wales, but that for certain places at certain times we agree not to paddle/use.

    Then if AT, CLA, land owners etc want to go to the time and expense and have the appropriate justification to get an agreed 'VNAA' (with the BCU?) then those agreements should be respected.

    Has to be much cheaper all round and more stable that a metre by metre agreement!

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    What have the BCU got to do with Access to river or AT for that matter..... Why should I do what two organisations I do not agree with their policies on access.
    We have a PRN it is up to the others to prove we have not.

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    Like the paddlers they know they are in the right
    There is a big difference, David. While we are producing researched evidence to back up our position, our opponents are only producing personal opinion and a refutation of our evidence without producing any counter evidence, despite being requested to do so. They have every opportunity to do so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimonMW View Post
    There is a big difference, David. While we are producing researched evidence to back up our position, our opponents are only producing personal opinion and a refutation of our evidence without producing any counter evidence, despite being requested to do so. They have every opportunity to do so.
    I believe your researched "evidence" consists of a PhD theisis by Dr Caffryn. I'm not knocking that, but would point out that in the better Universities in the UK it is generally accepted that a higher degree such as a PhD, MSc, or MPhil shows that the student has mastered the research process - that is all. His or her research may or may not have merit, but it is not a given that it has.

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    I believe your researched "evidence" consists of a PhD theisis by Dr Caffryn. I'm not knocking that, but would point out that in the better Universities in the UK it is generally accepted that a higher degree such as a PhD, MSc, or MPhil shows that the student has mastered the research process - that is all. His or her research may or may not have merit, but it is not a given that it has.

    On the contrary, Caffyn's is only one piece of researched evidence. There is a whole raft more as shown on the RAFA site, including acts of Parliament.

    Regardless of what you have just said about Caffyn, nobody has stepped up to the plate to offer any contradictory evidence!

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    I believe your researched "evidence" consists of a PhD theisis by Dr Caffryn. I'm not knocking that, but would point out that in the better Universities in the UK it is generally accepted that a higher degree such as a PhD, MSc, or MPhil shows that the student has mastered the research process - that is all. His or her research may or may not have merit, but it is not a given that it has.
    The evidence does not consist of a PhD thesis, the thesis quotes the evidence and explains Caffyn's case, but the evidence exists without the PhD thesis.
    Caffyn's case may not have merit, but it has been available for several years and no one has come up with a convincing argument to show that Caffyn is wrong, and at least some qualified people have tried. Until it is tested in court we can't be certain, but on balance it seems likely that Caffyn is right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    His or her research may or may not have merit, but it is not a given that it has.
    If it had no merit or was flawed in any significant respect it would be easy (and constructive) for those who dissagree to show why and end the conflicting opinions on the rights of navigation. I have seen attacks on his credentials, moral arguements about the ownership rights pertaining to gardens (and even trousers) but I have seen no serious challenge to the evidence he has collected or the basis of his interpretation of it. It's just the conclusion that some find unpaletable!

    If there is evidence that there never was a public right of navigation or that it was extinguished by legislation or exercise of statutary powers, why, in the many thousands of words devoted to the subject on many different forums, has this evidence never been produced?

    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    I believe your researched "evidence" consists of a PhD theisis by Dr Caffryn.
    No. The evidence is the statutes, charters, documents etc. referred to in his theses. They have a credibility totally indepenant of the views of any one man.

    And in view of your support for River Access For All it ought to be "I believe OUR researched "evidence" consists of a PhD theisis by Dr Caffryn."
    Keith

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    Davidh, It seems that you, the AT and fisheries can snipe at Caffryn's efforts but the facts he raised were about our country's statute. So as had been said before put up or shut up! The others present nothing to support their claims. If you have evidence that we should not canoe rivers, show it.

    Trying to discredit the work of the opponents when evidence is present is a foolish game and lowers your credibility.

    From my observations it appears that you are a "fence sitter" and drop to one or the other side according to effect. From various of your postings it is clear to me that you are in the other camp. Just occasionally the cover drops. Here is an example - "When I did the one-day casting course at Letton last year (midweek) we watched six or seven boats come through in the afternoon - that was before 4.00pm." Your wording implies that they should not have been there. Why?

    So, stop throwing in your little fireworks and use real evidence.

    Doug
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    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


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    The Carpow boat is a Bronze age canoe found in the Tay....does is suggest or imply an ancient right to Navigate ( I think the right to navigate rivers also exists in Common Law in Scotland)

    I don,t know of any bronze age fishing rods/reels....!

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    I believe your researched "evidence" consists of a PhD theisis by Dr Caffryn. I'm not knocking that, but would point out that in the better Universities in the UK it is generally accepted that a higher degree such as a PhD, MSc, or MPhil shows that the student has mastered the research process - that is all. His or her research may or may not have merit, but it is not a given that it has.
    I haven't followed this thread too closely but can't help but react to this rather sweeping statement that does not appear to have any evidence to support it which rather throws doubt on what you are inferring in respect of Dr Caffyn's work.

    Have you per chance done a postgraduate degree that lacks any merit?
    Last edited by Quercus; 20th-February-2013 at 08:54 PM.

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    The only way that truth of Dr Caffyn's thesis can be established is by it being tested in court. Any other discussion of its merit is futile. As DEFRA now agrees, no one knows what the law actually is, neither canoeist, nor angler nor landowner.

    His thesis been around for several years now. No land owner has been game to sue a canoeist in that time, and until one does, we will continue with the endless discussion and no resolution.

    If you have any desire to change things, get behind RAFA, contact Keith and say "what can I do to help?", don't waste your time by impotent discussion here. There about ten people who are actually doing anything to change things. There should be ten times that number, just as a start.
    Doug Dew
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithD View Post
    If it had no merit or was flawed in any significant respect it would be easy (and constructive) for those who dissagree to show why and end the conflicting opinions on the rights of navigation. I have seen attacks on his credentials, moral arguements about the ownership rights pertaining to gardens (and even trousers) but I have seen no serious challenge to the evidence he has collected or the basis of his interpretation of it. It's just the conclusion that some find unpaletable!

    If there is evidence that there never was a public right of navigation or that it was extinguished by legislation or exercise of statutary powers, why, in the many thousands of words devoted to the subject on many different forums, has this evidence never been produced?

    No. The evidence is the statutes, charters, documents etc. referred to in his theses. They have a credibility totally indepenant of the views of any one man.

    And in view of your support for River Access For All it ought to be "I believe OUR researched "evidence" consists of a PhD theisis by Dr Caffryn."
    It is not "my" evidence, simply because I have not taken the time to read the thesis, nor the documents contained in the thesis fully. Neither have most people. I do not blindly follow Diktat without having some sort of informed opinion myself. My opinion is that we need to test Caffyn in a Court of Law. Meanwhile of course I support access for all, and my posts reflect that.

    I think part of the reason people who could make decisions are not falling over themselves to look at Caffyns work is that it was done, references and all, as part of a higher degree. There must be some people on here who have done a higher degree at a decentish Uni and agree with me?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dougoutcanoe View Post
    Davidh, It seems that you, the AT and fisheries can snipe at Caffryn's efforts but the facts he raised were about our country's statute. So as had been said before put up or shut up! The others present nothing to support their claims. If you have evidence that we should not canoe rivers, show it.

    Trying to discredit the work of the opponents when evidence is present is a foolish game and lowers your credibility.

    From my observations it appears that you are a "fence sitter" and drop to one or the other side according to effect. From various of your postings it is clear to me that you are in the other camp. Just occasionally the cover drops. Here is an example - "When I did the one-day casting course at Letton last year (midweek) we watched six or seven boats come through in the afternoon - that was before 4.00pm." Your wording implies that they should not have been there. Why?

    So, stop throwing in your little fireworks and use real evidence.

    Doug
    Doug,

    I'm not sniping at Caffyn. On balance I think he's probably right.
    However, and this is a big however, the "evidence" is part of a higher degree. If he has published his evidence in a peer-reviewed Law Journal then our case would be strong, but as part of a PhD thesis it is not.
    Why?
    Because only he and two examiners know what the arguments are, for and against, his published thesis.

    Don't believe that I don't want access for all just because I point out something which should be fairly obvious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
    I haven't followed this thread too closely but can't help but react to this rather sweeping statement that does not appear to have any evidence to support it which rather throws doubt on what you are inferring in respect of Dr Caffyn's work.

    Have you per chance done a postgraduate degree that lacks any merit?
    No mate, but I did do a rather good Research MSc at Durham.
    Normal Coronal Plane Range of Motion at the Ankle Joint Complex. It's available to view at Durham Uni library. You'll need my permission but that shouldn't be too hard to organise.

    Talking with colleagues at both Leicester and Warwick (3 Professors) they all agreed with me at the time (it was an unrelated topic to the access question) that a higher degree showed that you could carry out the research. To make your work known and valid you then have to publish, preferably in well-regarded peer-reviewed Journals. At Durham this is a given, and just accepted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    ...................If you have any desire to change things, get behind RAFA, contact Keith and say "what can I do to help?", don't waste your time by impotent discussion here. There about ten people who are actually doing anything to change things. There should be ten times that number, just as a start.
    With respect Doug, I think you greatly underestimate the number of people working towards the goal of free access. Not everyone has a detailed knowledge of law and the workings of Parliament. Posting something on here or writing to the AT, an MP, DEFRA etc with just one small legal inaccuracy that can be 'pounced on' by the 'opposition' can be very counterproductive. Instead we are out there every weekend, paddling the disputed rivers, taking the flack, if it's there, talking to landowners, dog walkers, anglers, and other water users. We, your ground troops are doing our bit, and there's considerably more than ten of us.
    Paul
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    The only way that truth of Dr Caffyn's thesis can be established is by it being tested in court. Any other discussion of its merit is futile. As DEFRA now agrees, no one knows what the law actually is, neither canoeist, nor angler nor landowner.

    His thesis been around for several years now. No land owner has been game to sue a canoeist in that time, and until one does, we will continue with the endless discussion and no resolution.

    If you have any desire to change things, get behind RAFA, contact Keith and say "what can I do to help?", don't waste your time by impotent discussion here. There about ten people who are actually doing anything to change things. There should be ten times that number, just as a start.
    Doug,

    I don't know if this was aimed at me, but if it was you are targetting the wrong person.
    Last year we (several paddlers from here and a couple of anglers) redesigned the "careful about the salmon eggs" posters on the upper Wye.
    A result of which a few regular anglers on the upper river now realise that they may be causing more damage inadvertently, by wading, than paddlers do. Its how to improve relationships. I really don't want any more of the "I'd like to fix a harpoon gun on the bridge for the canoes"- type nonsense on the Wye.

    This year I want to tackle the hire boat situation on the Wye. I'm doing this through the auspices of the Wye Salmon Association, which had to be persuaded last year of the merits of access for all. That took some work.

    I'm also going to visit Lyn Cobley (hole in the wall ghillie) to see what the situation is, and if we can control or stop any unpleasantness this year.

    To be honest, I'm starting to get fairly sick of the sniping on here if I say anything remotely out of line with current Access for All thought.

    I was PM'd by Keith recently about the upper Wye litter clean-up due to take place in the Spring to see if I thought paddlers could get involved, and whether it could be useful to the campaign. Unfortunately I only knew as much as he did, and I said so.
    I purposely did not mention Keith when I posted a request for possible volunteers for this on the River Wye thread.
    I had one definite - I think it was you Doug - and a maybe. From the whole forum.

    If any others have a change of heart and want to do something to help the upper Wye you could contact Keith direct (hope that is ok Keith?).

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    Quote Originally Posted by dougoutcanoe View Post
    (some cut....)


    From my observations it appears that you are a "fence sitter" and drop to one or the other side according to effect. From various of your postings it is clear to me that you are in the other camp. Just occasionally the cover drops. Here is an example - "When I did the one-day casting course at Letton last year (midweek) we watched six or seven boats come through in the afternoon - that was before 4.00pm." Your wording implies that they should not have been there. Why?

    So, stop throwing in your little fireworks and use real evidence.

    I just read the rest of this post. Where do you get off telling me that I am a fence-sitter?
    That I am "in the other camp"?
    That my "cover drops"?

    And why, since we're getting personal, do you seem reluctant for me to meet with Lyn Cobley (your PM to me last night)?

    I did notice that although generally fairly voluble on here you were one of the forum members not volunteering to help with the upper Wye cleanup, even though you use the Wye to coach..........
    Last edited by davidh; 21st-February-2013 at 08:32 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barney View Post
    The evidence does not consist of a PhD thesis, the thesis quotes the evidence and explains Caffyn's case, but the evidence exists without the PhD thesis.
    Caffyn's case may not have merit, but it has been available for several years and no one has come up with a convincing argument to show that Caffyn is wrong, and at least some qualified people have tried. Until it is tested in court we can't be certain, but on balance it seems likely that Caffyn is right.
    Hi Barney,

    It seems rude not to respond to you - I have to everyone else!
    I think that Caffyn is probably right. I believe that the few documents referenced from here that I looked at last year show that we do have right of access and that navigation rights were never rescinded.
    The problem, as I see it, is that old legislation needs to be revisited on a regular basis for people to realise it is law. As an example of laws which I believe are still on the statute books (someone please correct me if I'm wrong):
    I can shoot a Welshman with my bow and arrow from Chester City Walls.
    I have to keep some straw in the back of my hansom cab in London.
    As a freeman of London (I'm not one actually) I can make my water in the City of London streets without hinderance. My bro-in law is, and it would be fun to test this one.

    I have said all along that we need a Court case to test the evidence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    As an example of laws which I believe are still on the statute books (someone please correct me if I'm wrong):
    I can shoot a Welshman with my bow and arrow from Chester City Walls.
    I have to keep some straw in the back of my hansom cab in London.
    As a freeman of London (I'm not one actually) I can make my water in the City of London streets without hinderance.
    This comes up from time to time as an attempt to discredit Douglas Caffyns reasearch. Of course it is nonsence. Subsequent statutes have made clear that these things are no longer authorised by parliament. There is no statute that recinds the public right of navigation on unregulated rivers.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    And why, since we're getting personal, ......
    Lets not get personal. It's against the spirit of the forum and it will not help advance the arguement for the PRN. I accept davidh's point. It is clearly part of the strategy of those that oppose recognition of the PRN not to engage with the evidence. They don't seem to have anything of substance to challenge it so from their point of view it's a sensible strategy.

    There are obviously many that support recognition of the PRN that have not yet registered as supporters of River Access For All, and many registered supporters who have either not yet writen to their MP or have not kept RAFA advised of their letters/email. Both of those are "fixable".

    We have an advantage over those that oppose navigation. We can ask MPs and parliamentary groups to look at the evidence and make their own minds up while those that oppose us have no evidence and have to support not looking at the evidence. That's not a sustainable position. Doug is right in that we do need to have more supporters engaging more MPs. If you haven't started yet you can do so here.
    Keith

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    Keith, out of all this it seems to me that our position could be made more tenable by providing a reference or two with letters to MPs to any peer-reviewed article which Dr Caffyn subsequently wrote since his Doctorate was granted.

    I have some free time this morning to do a small search - I'll post back if I come across anything worthwhile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    I think that Caffyn is probably right. .
    So his research has merit then

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
    So his research has merit then
    As far as I know, no-one said it didn't.

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    I haven't read Dr Caffyn's work but I did get a PhD from a top UK University and the requirement was that the research was:

    a) original.
    b) of suitable quality - basically that I published research papers in peer reviewed journals of reasonable impact.

    I imagine that the goalposts haven't changed much so I would not expect Caffyn's work to be rubbish - if it were he would have been shredded at his viva, made a laughing stock of ever since and wished that the work disappeared from view pretty fast - I don't hear about this having happened. His work has probably been effectively peer reviewed more than most and I don't hear too many criticisms. This alone suggests that it was well researched and the arguments valid.

    There is nothing to stop his work being reviewed and criticised by someone else, it would make a nice piece of high profile research - unless the evidence does not exist to support a counter argument?

    Graham

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    I just read the rest of this post. Where do you get off telling me that I am a fence-sitter?
    That I am "in the other camp"?
    That my "cover drops"?

    And why, since we're getting personal, do you seem reluctant for me to meet with Lyn Cobley (your PM to me last night)?

    I did notice that although generally fairly voluble on here you were one of the forum members not volunteering to help with the upper Wye cleanup, even though you use the Wye to coach..........
    My PM to you did not show any reluctance for you to talk to the ghilly. I was aware that you did not read my email fully from your reply. I am prepared to allow any negotiations with Cobley if it can ensure pleasant and peaceful navigation of the river under the conditions of the Act.

    The volunteering to join a clean up comment is rather below the belt. As you must be aware, I live a substantial distance from the Wye, my current state of health (recovering from pneumonia) and my other personal matters, do not fit with a day out on the river so far from home.

    You may publish my PM to you if you wish, to let it be seen what I wrote.

    Digusted,

    Doug
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    Alan Sullivan


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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    Hi Barney,

    It seems rude not to respond to you - I have to everyone else!
    I think that Caffyn is probably right. I believe that the few documents referenced from here that I looked at last year show that we do have right of access and that navigation rights were never rescinded.
    The problem, as I see it, is that old legislation needs to be revisited on a regular basis for people to realise it is law. As an example of laws which I believe are still on the statute books (someone please correct me if I'm wrong):
    I can shoot a Welshman with my bow and arrow from Chester City Walls.
    I have to keep some straw in the back of my hansom cab in London.
    As a freeman of London (I'm not one actually) I can make my water in the City of London streets without hinderance. My bro-in law is, and it would be fun to test this one.

    I have said all along that we need a Court case to test the evidence.
    There maybe be obsolete laws still in force, but without a statement of which law introduced a certain right or requirement it is very hard to disprove them. The myth about a law permitting the shooting of Welshmen with a long bow is often repeated in different forms eg it has to be done from the walls of Chester, or across the Severn etc. In reality no such law ever existed, parliament still does not and has never introduced laws to enable individual wars to happen or to say how they should be fought. The only way this could have existed is as an order given to local people and soldiers during a period of conflict, and as such it would have been cancelled when the conflict finished, even if the original order was written and the resolution to the conflict was verbal.

    Caffyn's work is not comparable to this kind of thing, he quotes specific laws that can be verified from other sources.

    The legal case for navigation is complicated, and a Phd thesis is not the law it is just someone's research into the law. Caffyn could have missed out something that would totally undermine his case. But as others have said, if he has missed something out why has no one pointed out what he has missed. This to me indicates that Caffyn is probably right.

    A court case or possibly some kind of judicial review is the only way to get the evidence tested and a definite statement of what the law says. As there are 2 sides to this argument and both believe they are right and have a lot to lose if the court rules against them, there are likely to be appeals taking any case all the way to the Supreme Court. This would cost both sides a large amount of money, which could be better spent on canoeing or angling. Presumably this is why neither side has taken the risk of going to court, maybe the RAFA campaign will force the government to address the issue.

    The work you are doing on the Wye should hopefully reduce the problems there, but I don't see that it could be rolled out to other rivers that don't have some kind of accepted right to navigate without a change or clarification of the law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamC View Post
    I haven't read Dr Caffyn's work but I did get a PhD from a top UK University and the requirement was that the research was:

    a) original.
    b) of suitable quality - basically that I published research papers in peer reviewed journals of reasonable impact.

    I imagine that the goalposts haven't changed much so I would not expect Caffyn's work to be rubbish - if it were he would have been shredded at his viva, made a laughing stock of ever since and wished that the work disappeared from view pretty fast - I don't hear about this having happened. His work has probably been effectively peer reviewed more than most and I don't hear too many criticisms. This alone suggests that it was well researched and the arguments valid.

    There is nothing to stop his work being reviewed and criticised by someone else, it would make a nice piece of high profile research - unless the evidence does not exist to support a counter argument?

    Graham
    Thanks for that Graham.

    The problem with getting the work peer-reviewed is that the opposition do not really want to look at the work or acknowledge it's existence.
    My point was that to strengthen our case we really need publication in a peer-reviewed journal which cannot then be ignored.

    Anyway - I found one piece of work from 2005, but none since. This was from before the doctorate but I believe after the Masters, so it's still valid. Have pm'd you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barney View Post
    (much cut.......)
    The work you are doing on the Wye should hopefully reduce the problems there, but I don't see that it could be rolled out to other rivers that don't have some kind of accepted right to navigate without a change or clarification of the law.
    Take your point - a big problem is getting people to take a research thesis seriously so that it is read and the refs followed up.
    Particularly if they have a reluctance to look at the data.

    Published work which has been subject to scrutiny by others in the same line of work, and the publisher obviously, will tend to carry more weight. If it has been published in an International Journal - even more so. Lawyers in particular, tend to take this kind of thing quite seriously.

    I'm doing some work on this at the moment, and no doubt it will appear somewhere on the access forum before too long.

    The Wye is a separate issue which is more concerned with grass-roots cordiality on the water.
    Last edited by davidh; 22nd-February-2013 at 07:34 AM.

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    Surely, the thesis is not in question, since, to simplify things, it has shown that there is a Public Right of Navigation in statute. Not a single anti-access organisation has managed to show a counter argument let alone a law or statute. This is our point and until this is accepted by those that do not want it, we will continue to shout about it.

    The bullying tactics of those that think they can own a river and control (stop) navigation, remain just that. I do not want access to return to the whim of the aforementioned organisations, riparian owners, estates and angling clubs.
    .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ................................

    Please accept my apologies for publishing the information and comments below.
    .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ................................
    Further to my post #41; I feel that davidh's lack of response leaves me no alternative but to present the information below.

    Copy of my PM to Davidh. I fail to see any reluctance to find a solution. It is certainly not the NONSENSE davidh calls it.

    David, 20/02/2013, 07.55pm

    I have no tolerance for this fellow. He is rude and arrogant. He has his own interpretation of the law which has no basis in truth. He fraudulently tried to present himself as a water bailiff and showed false documents in support of this.

    On the first serious attack by him, I was suffering from a potentially serious hypoglycaemic attack and my friend tried to explain this to him. He was unrelenting in his rudeness even calling in a colleague gamekeeper to shift us. He threatened us with confiscation of our gear. (a hypo. may have left me unconscious within minutes unless treated quickly)

    This added detrimentally to my physical state and by the time we were able to move on I was a wreck. It took me a few hours to get over the problem he created and then during the night I had a more serious attack which required the help of my friend. All this because your friend is so unpleasant and aggressive. (without the intervention of my friend, I may not be here now)

    The police believed my friend and I were in the wrong because they accepted Cobley's version of the law.

    I had come across this idiot on a previous occasion when he tried to move my group on because we had stopped for a break. Then last year in high water conditions, I was taking due care of my group and gathered them in an eddy immediately after the rapid at Hole in the Wall, where there was a potential for a capsize. He started his attack even though we had not landed, merely stopped in an eddy. He scared some of my students with his manner, shouting and demanding. The police again took no action, I wonder why? I have my suspicions.

    From his record with many other people, not just canoeists, I cannot understand why someone has not sorted him out. He appears quite often in internet searches mostly related to his bad attitude.(1)

    Your comment in an earlier posting, where you implied we were wrong in raising the issue of his bad behaviour, I did not respond to because you at times try to raise issues unrelated to the threads. I think if you had to bare the brunt of Cobley in full steam, it might, I hope, change your opinion.

    All of the facts I have raised about the incidents I have had with Cobley are true records of the events.

    So I am not pleased when unknowing people suggest I am wrong, you were not there. I will not accept bullying from anybody especially when they tell lies as Cobley has done. His boss is no better.

    Doug

    Davidh's reply; 21/02/2013, 06.20am

    Not a question of not believing you.
    I want to see the guy to sort things out if I can. Do you think you are the only person he is rude to?(1)

    What I want to avoid, if I can, is an escalation of the nonsense which was posted on here following your encounter last year.
    It may mean that I see his employer and fellow keeper too. I'm quite prepared to give up my time to do that.(2)

    My reply to that;

    Davidh, 21/02/2013, 10.17am

    The tone that comes across in your comments about the incidents with Cobley are inappropriate and annoying. It is certainly not NONSENSE. I and countless others have suffered at the whim of this idiot. The canoe hire companies mention Cobley in their briefing to clients, to make them aware of his aggressiveness. Many of their clients have complained to the hirers about him.

    As explained in my email, I am aware that he is rude to many people, walkers, anglers and canoeists, much of it is on record and complaints about him. He needs the facts spelling out to him that he has no rights to control people navigating the river or stopping on the banks (See the Act) He cannot accept the rights that water users have by law.

    If I have any further problems with him I am prepared to take it to court, his behaviour is criminal, Public Order Offence. I now know much more about getting the police to take the matter seriously, instead of the "nod and a wink" they have used so far.

    I'm guessing but you seem to think that his behaviour is insignificant, it is criminal, it is distressing. I will be making a video recording as I pass through the stretch in July, I will not be involved in any provocation(he doesn't need any) but if he attacks he will be recorded. I will be in charge of 24 youths training for their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award expedition. They will be split into 2 groups myself leading one group and a colleague with the other. Because of the nature of the rapid at Hole in the Wall, I may need to take action for the safety of my groups. This may involve stopping the group in the large eddy down stream of the rapid. In the event of a capsize or simply group control, I do not want his interference.

    I am pleased that you are prepared to give your time to this matter but don't continue playing it down as insignificant.(2)

    Doug

    I am sorry that I been compelled to resort to this in the forum but the accusations against me were made without discussion with me. I have been open about my situation. My illness of pneumonia, complicated by the diabetes I suffer from, is taking a long time to recover from. I managed a short tandem paddle with a friend on Monday (my first paddle in 3 months), my fitness has a long way to go. This and the distance involved makes helping out on the Wye cleanup difficult, I am not unwilling to help.
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    Afloat in the White Canoe.
    Alan Sullivan


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    I can't understand why the footpaths next to the Wye Navigation aren't classified as tow paths? Anybody fancy towing a boat up the Wye?

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    Of course navigation goes both ways, up and down stream.

    Poling, towing (lining or tracking), sailing and paddling are all legitimate techniques.

    Doug
    When there's trouble on shore, there's peace on the wave,
    Afloat in the White Canoe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulsmith View Post
    With respect Doug, I think you greatly underestimate the number of people working towards the goal of free access. Not everyone has a detailed knowledge of law and the workings of Parliament. Posting something on here or writing to the AT, an MP, DEFRA etc with just one small legal inaccuracy that can be 'pounced on' by the 'opposition' can be very counterproductive. Instead we are out there every weekend, paddling the disputed rivers, taking the flack, if it's there, talking to landowners, dog walkers, anglers, and other water users. We, your ground troops are doing our bit, and there's considerably more than ten of us.
    Paul
    Paul

    Very good point. Of course, you are right. Although I think you need not fear that writing to your MP, DEFRA could be counterproductive. These people are our servants... We pay their salaries. We have the right to ask them any question we like and to tell them what we want.

    Keith and his colleagues have established the River Access For All campaign on their own initiative. The more people that join up, the more credible they will be as representatives of the paddling community. They need to people to write to their MPs. They have made a significant breakthrough by discovering that DEFRA admit they don't know what the law is. They will need help from the 'ground troops' to use this information effectively.
    Last edited by dougdew99; 24th-February-2013 at 08:00 AM.
    Doug Dew
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    Well Doug, we've been out, on that 'front line' again today, in the snow, and as expected we were confronted by an angry landowner (from the other side of the river). He clearly wasn't happy, stating firmly that we had no right to paddle the river, unlike some he was at least polite. We were paddling a 'new river' to us, The River Mole Nr South Molton in Devon. I can't find any mention of anyone paddling this very nice albeit small river, but it was a real treat with a superb stepped weir and lots of riffles and small drops. It was difficult to have a serious discussion across the water, and despite stating the situation from our point of view there was clearly no way he was going to change his mind. He even offered to have us physically removed by himself and chums who were to be gathering further down river. Apparently he was going to phone down stream for reinforcements. It seems we were doing untold damage to the ecosystem of the river though I'm not sure how. and he wasn't too sure himself, but we definitely were. The one thing we had on our side was a reasonable knowledge of the legal situation, gleaned from the many posts on the access campaign, and were able to offer a sensible response to the points he raised. He had a clear knowledge of BCU access 'agreements' and and was annoyed that we hadn't asked for permission to paddle, though if we had, the answer would have been no. So thanks to all the folks who contribute to the access threads, RAFA etc we're now able to stand our ground when a confrontation occurs. keep up the good work.
    Paul
    PS. the reinforcements didn't show up
    Just goin with the flow

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    Well done Paul and I hope the landowner didn't spoil your day? Although threats of a gang eviction would cause me concern but like you it wouldn't stop me paddling.

    I'll be out on my local rivers as soon as I am fit enough. The Ribble is the main one where troublesome landowners and fishery folk may be lurking. The Ribble anglers vary from the course anglers who just politely wave to the salmon anglers that tell us we are not allowed to canoe because it is illegal, while making urgent calls on their mobiles, probably to the fishery folk.

    I really do hate confrontation but sometimes it is necessary.

    Doug (not sure which Doug you refer to?) But....
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulsmith View Post
    Well Doug, we've been out, on that 'front line' again today, in the snow, and as expected we were confronted by an angry landowner ....
    We need to record all incidents like this. Please use the access map for the River Mole. Just click on "Report an incident"
    Keith

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    Well done Paul. Full marks on handling a difficult situation so well.

    My guess is that the land owner is committing a crime when he threatens violence. A call to the police from the river in his presence would be interesting. I wonder if he would give his name if they asked for it, and what would happen if he wouldn't. Depends on you having mobile coverage of course. It might be helpful to advise him of his criminality anyway so he doesn't make further trouble for himself.
    Doug Dew
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    Letter from R Benyon MP ref. Petition to Parliament - Navigation on unregulated watercourses.

    DEFRA have failed to answer the petition again.

    Benyon has sent the following letter to my MP.

    Thank you for your letter of 6 February to the Secretary of State enclosing a copy of a petition submitted by your constituent, Mr Douglas Malpus, about rights of navigation on unregulated watercourses.


    Our unregulated water courses serve many users and I believe that the needs of canoeists need to be balanced with those of anglers, industry and conservation as well as the property rights of landowners. The law in this area has, as far as I am aware, not been tested in the courts. I am aware of the research in this area which has been undertaken by Mr Malpus and others but I am not in a position to offer an opinion as to its validity or otherwise. I am unable to justify using public funds to undertake the research necessary to offer such an opinion and it would remain just that - an opinion - until considered and ruled upon by the courts.


    I am also not at all convinced that a voluntary approach does not work. During the department's study of pilot agreements, we were able to demonstrate the successful conclusion of agreements which managed the site specific issues and tensions which arose Moreover. 99% of 400 landowners contacted said they were willing to consider voluntary agreements. Many, however, are put off from pursuing agreements because the governing bodies of canoeing in England and Wales do not support the use of agreements. I also receive some correspondence from angling organisations frustrated that the canoeing bodies do not engage with the process. Clarifying the law in this area by legislating in the terms you suggest is not a priority for the Government and is not reflected in the coalition agreement. Departmental resource is therefore currently focused on other priorities.

    Signed personally by,
    RICHARD BENYON MP

    As usual it is full of holes and absolutely useless.

    It is purely his personal opinion.
    Funding - is this the same funding he was to use to study the predation of pheasants by buzzards?
    The Voluntary Agreements bit does not need repeating we all know its dismal history.
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