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Thread: Brexit and how it may help access

  1. #1
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    Default Brexit and how it may help access

    Listening to some of the debates about life post Brexit the subject of the farming subsidies keeps popping up, the general feeling is that a new way of applying the subsidies will emerge. The current system is based on the amount of land owned which is not very efficient, one of the suggestions is that payments should be based on conservation work and giving more access to the public. My discussions with my neighbours in the farming community indicate that they think this is the most likely format, if that is so this could be a golden opportunity for us to put our case for better river access. The Riparian rights belong to the landowners, most of these are farmers, if they want taxpayers cash that money should also benefit the taxpayers including walkers, paddlers & swimmers.

    Interesting times ahead.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
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    I believe you are mistaken - the influence of the fishing lobby will simply translate into pressure to protect their interests then, as now. There is also the possibility that in the farming world outside the EU environmental standards will have to be lowered to compete.

    Interesting times though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lavrentyuk View Post
    I believe you are mistaken - the influence of the fishing lobby will simply translate into pressure to protect their interests then, as now. There is also the possibility that in the farming world outside the EU environmental standards will have to be lowered to compete.

    Interesting times though.
    You may be right but they didn't stop the Grouse Moors being included in the Open Access and I suspect lots of MP's and Lord's shoot those moors. Time will tell.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
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    I think the main effect Brexit will have on any access debate in parliament (which I think was unlikely to happen) will be to delay it until at least after Brexit is complete.
    Ken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_t View Post
    I think the main effect Brexit will have on any access debate in parliament (which I think was unlikely to happen) will be to delay it until at least after Brexit is complete.
    Ken
    I was thinking of better access to the rivers rather than navigation, both are equally important. I don't think we stand a chance of a debate in parliament regarding navigation for at least 10 years, it will take that long to sort out the Brexit problems. The farm subsidies will need to be sorted ASAP to stop many of them going bankrupt so they will be in no position to reject a reasonable package that included more public access to the countryside.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
    Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader CBE,DSO,DFC,FRAeS.

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    Hi Cloudman,
    Apologies, I misunderstood, I hope your optimism is well founded even though I am not so optimistic.
    Ken

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    This is wandering dangerously close to politics. Let's try and keep it on the fun side of the line.
    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Matto View Post
    This is wandering dangerously close to politics. Let's try and keep it on the fun side of the line.
    Think we wandered over a wee bit.... Did some deleting, I'm afraid you don't get to share your political opinions on here.
    Cheers,

    Alan


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    I'm happy with the benign dictatorship but mine was supposed to be a joke, however unfunny. :-)

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    Wasn't particularly aimed at you Adrian, but as you know some people can take offence at the smallest perceived slight. I prefer my junior, acting, temporary, sub-assistant dictatorship style to be grumpy rather than benign.
    Cheers,

    Alan


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    Brexit is of course a deeply political subject, so I had best bow out before I say something that may be frowned upon.

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    Sorry if this is becoming political, that was not my intention, I am neutral on Brexit. I just think we should be prepared to make the best of any opportunity that arises from it..
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
    Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader CBE,DSO,DFC,FRAeS.

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    http://www.ramblers.org.uk/get-invol...g-britain.aspx

    This is what British Canoeing should be doing for river access, there are going to be opportunities to improve access using the agriculture subsidies. We should be in there with the Ramblers, the case would be much stronger if all outdoor organisations worked together.

    The Ramblers Manifesto is worth reading.

    http://www.ramblers.org.uk/policy/vo...manifesto.aspx

    As individuals it is worth us supporting their "Write to your MP campaign" as their success will help us also.

    https://e-activist.com/page/9053/act...racking.id=web
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
    Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader CBE,DSO,DFC,FRAeS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudman View Post
    http://www.ramblers.org.uk/get-invol...g-britain.aspx

    This is what British Canoeing should be doing for river access, there are going to be opportunities to improve access using the agriculture subsidies. We should be in there with the Ramblers, the case would be much stronger if all outdoor organisations worked together.
    There certainly should be opportunities for access through subsidies, keeping rights of way open is included in the cross compliance of single farm payments in England, Wales decided not to adopt that approach. It is different however for farms that are in Glas Tir, they have a duty to keep the rights of way open.
    There was talk some time ago in wales about including access to water in the Agri environment schemes, but that got nowhere sadly.
    Phil

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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudman View Post
    http://www.ramblers.org.uk/get-invol...g-britain.aspx

    This is what British Canoeing should be doing for river access, there are going to be opportunities to improve access using the agriculture subsidies. We should be in there with the Ramblers, the case would be much stronger if all outdoor organisations worked together.

    The Ramblers Manifesto is worth reading.

    http://www.ramblers.org.uk/policy/vo...manifesto.aspx

    As individuals it is worth us supporting their "Write to your MP campaign" as their success will help us also.

    https://e-activist.com/page/9053/act...racking.id=web
    This is something we are looking at. With regards to Brexit directly we are putting together a short piece for the new section of our site, looking at what we might want to initially call for regarding changes to countryside subsidies. The second aspect (and opportunity) for that is in trying to build something of a coalition with other organisations. Ramblers, OSS and others have already put forward their own ideas on countryside access - and National Trust, WWF, Wildlife Trusts and others have done similarly for conservation. We'd like to see those two threads tied together into a wide coalition. Nothing within either the access/conservation is damaging to the other - and in fact there are ways the two could strengthen each other. And combined voices are always heard more loudly and clearly by government. There are initial indications some farming organisations are preparing for a lower subsidy future - and therefore to gear up campaigning for reductions in protections for the environment. The stronger the alternative voice the better - especially if that can engage the farming community by showing an alternative pathway rather than cut cut cut.

    We are also looking at communications to help us (centrally and through paddlers) get in touch with all the new MPs and ministers once the merrygoround starts to settle after the election. More to come in due course! If anyone does contact any candidates in the meantime it would be interesting to hear their responses.

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    Good to here there are plans to form a coalition if possible, it's the only way forward and much better than individual groups fighting their own battles. I suspect it will prove difficult to achieve but well worth the effort in the long run.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
    Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader CBE,DSO,DFC,FRAeS.

  17. Default

    It's taken a little while, but our position on the potential for reform of rural policy post Brexit is now up and online - https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/n...access-action/, published as a joint document between British Canoeing and Canoe Wales.

    This has already had a positive reaction when shared in draft with Sport & Recreation Alliance, and we'll be engaging with various partners to try and develop more collaboration between access, conservation and land management groups.

    Thoughts / feedback / ideas always welcome!

    Thanks, Chris (chris.page@britishcanoeing.org.uk)

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    Ensure canoeists can, wherever possible, pass along rivers which flow through land in receipt of public subsidies.
    Please stop using language like this. It looks like it is suggesting that you can only use a river if the government gives the land owner a subsidy.

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    Canoeists currently enjoy uncontested access to only 4% of rivers in England & Wales
    It is not helpful to continue this mantra without immediately following it with a counter argument that you, and we, do not agree with the hypothesis.

    While change is needed at a statutory level (


    This does little to reinforce the position and looks like a capitulation to the arguments against the new position post Caffyn which is embraced by the paddling community which BC should see themselves as part of (please excuse grammar)

  20. #20

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    I think that any changes to rules and access arrangements will need to be set very early on in the process; once new systems are in place it will be nigh on impossible to make changes.

    I suspect there will be something of a power struggle between different river users; in an ideal world recreational users would make more progress were they to sort out a common set of proposals as different activities struggling against each other will probably end-up with no improvements for anybody.

    (Without getting party political) I do worry about the very very close relationship between the NFU and DEFRA.

    Ian

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    Please stop using language like this. It looks like it is suggesting that you can only use a river if the government gives the land owner a subsidy.
    This was initially worded more strongly, but on feedback from other NGB's was changed as it maybe this document/policy becomes adopted by more than just BC/CW - and so the issue of access will vary slightly.

    The point mentioned is not to say that access along rivers should only be allowed where there is a subsidy, it's almost the opposite. That people are currently actively blocked (whether by signage, angry interaction with landowners/representatives or more solid means like fencing) from excercising their right to navigate along rivers. The point therefore is that, as an absolute minimum, land managers in receipt of public money should not be restricting public rights.

    Open Spaces Society are making a similar point. Current subsidies carry a requirement for a land manager to maintain land-based Rights of Way. Although that's a legal requirement for all Public Rights of Way anyway, the subsidy conditions are supposed to reinforce this. In practice this is rarely actually enforced and walkers / horse riders / cyclists often find blocked or maintained Rights of Way.

    We will be pushing to ensure that this is recognised in any changes to subsidies - that access along a river should not be barred, and that public money should not be given where this right is challenged.

    We had a space issue in the document for that point - but we'll review it and see how we make that clearer. But this is the starting point for us to be working on this too, not the end or only document.

    Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    It is not helpful to continue this mantra without immediately following it with a counter argument that you, and we, do not agree with the hypothesis.



    This does little to reinforce the position and looks like a capitulation to the arguments against the new position post Caffyn which is embraced by the paddling community which BC should see themselves as part of (please excuse grammar)[/COLOR][/FONT]
    Space in the A5 document was again the most pressing thing here. There was more text in there on exactly that point.

    We have started making it clearer we believe in the post-Caffyn view of the law (see https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/n...-consultation/), and we are currently rewritting a lot of the info on our website to make this clearer. It will come across more in much more of what we put out. I understand your view on the document - but with space constraint we needed to focus on what we wanted from post-Brexit reform.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC Waterways&Environment View Post
    This was initially worded more strongly, but on feedback from other NGB's was changed as it maybe this document/policy becomes adopted by more than just BC/CW - and so the issue of access will vary slightly.

    The point mentioned is not to say that access along rivers should only be allowed where there is a subsidy, it's almost the opposite.
    I'm disappointed that you bow to other NGBs on a position statement.

    If you meant it to say that, why didn't you say so? It would have been easy to state that those receiving public subsidy should be obliged not to create obstacles to passage on rivers through their land. Is that so hard?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC Waterways&Environment View Post
    Space in the A5 document was again the most pressing thing here. There was more text in there on exactly that point.

    We have started making it clearer we believe in the post-Caffyn view of the law (see https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/n...-consultation/), and we are currently rewritting a lot of the info on our website to make this clearer. It will come across more in much more of what we put out. I understand your view on the document - but with space constraint we needed to focus on what we wanted from post-Brexit reform.
    If space is limited then leave out those two offending phrases. Don't encourage people believe there is a restriction which needs statute to correct if we don't believe there is one. Blue pencils are there for a reason.

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    I agree with Adrian on the

    Ensure canoeists can, wherever possible, pass along rivers which flow through land in receipt of public subsidies.
    point. As it stands, you may not mean to say canoeists cannot pass through lands in receipt etc., but that is certainly how it reads.

    those receiving public subsidy should be obliged not to create obstacles to passage on rivers through their land
    is far clearer and to the point.

    Sam

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    Obviously there are two components to navigation, one the right to navigate a river, the other is access to the river. Subsidies to farmers and landowner will only have limited effect on the overall right to navigate as not all landowners along a river will receive a subsidy, however if those receiving public funds do so on condition that they allow public access this will set a president. The Ramblers see rivers as a natural asset that all should enjoy, they are aiming for access paths along our rivers similar to the coastal path so if we push for the right to access the water from these paths that will be of considerable benefit to us. It is a natural progression that if the riparian owners feel they are losing the PRN battle they will try to block access to the water instead.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudman View Post
    Obviously there are two components to navigation, one the right to navigate a river, the other is access to the river. Subsidies to farmers and landowner will only have limited effect on the overall right to navigate as not all landowners along a river will receive a subsidy, however if those receiving public funds do so on condition that they allow public access this will set a president. The Ramblers see rivers as a natural asset that all should enjoy, they are aiming for access paths along our rivers similar to the coastal path so if we push for the right to access the water from these paths that will be of considerable benefit to us. It is a natural progression that if the riparian owners feel they are losing the PRN battle they will try to block access to the water instead.
    With a conjoined push with the other organisations working on rural subsidies we'd hope to get towards a system that helps support landowners to facilitate access to the water. Firstly by potentially increasing the money they can receive in return for actively facilitating access (over land), and even by looking to fund improvements like car parks or similar that could add to income creation for a landowner.

    There are already some incentives in place - for example to encourage landowners to install Permissive Paths. We'd like to see access being treated more holistically, rather than just considering access for walking.

    Where a path actually touches the river we believe it is permitted to launch a boat from it. However, you do get various answers to that question. It's a point with very little case law it would seem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC Waterways&Environment View Post
    There are already some incentives in place - for example to encourage landowners to install Permissive Paths. We'd like to see access being treated more holistically, rather than just considering access for walking.

    Where a path actually touches the river we believe it is permitted to launch a boat from it. However, you do get various answers to that question. It's a point with very little case law it would seem.
    I hope "Permissive Paths" are only used as a last resort in very special circumstances, they can be used to subdue a call for better access only to be closed at a later date when the momentum of a campaign has passed. I have seen this happen a couple of times on footpaths, it is an easy option for those in power to fob off a public demand until those actively calling for better access in an area move on.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudman View Post
    I hope "Permissive Paths" are only used as a last resort in very special circumstances, they can be used to subdue a call for better access only to be closed at a later date when the momentum of a campaign has passed. I have seen this happen a couple of times on footpaths, it is an easy option for those in power to fob off a public demand until those actively calling for better access in an area move on.
    Yes, I think OSS especially are pushing for full Public Rights of Way to be the standard. I can see why Permissive Paths have been used in the past, as they can be a way of at least creating some access where a landowner is not wanting to have a full Public ROW (after all, once it's there it's forever). There are some areas where Access Land would be stranded island of land if Permissive Paths hadn't been available as a tool (Chrome Hill in the Peak District is an example). There needs to be a balance between the amount of public money being put in, and the potential for that to come to nothing if a Permissive route is then lost. But 'proper' ROW are definitely better!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudman View Post
    ......Subsidies to farmers and landowner will only have limited effect on the overall right to navigate as not all landowners along a river will receive a subsidy, however if those receiving public funds do so on condition that they allow public access this will set a president......
    I would agree and I think it does need to be addressed in any proposals. If one farmer provides access for launching and navigating taking the financial subsidy it will be useless if upstream and downstream farmers don't (and block navigation). And it does make me wonder if the access through subsidies can work.

    A separate consideration is who is receiving the subsidy and who is farming the land. As I understand it (maybe incorrectly), currently a lot of the subsidies go to the landowner, resulting in large amounts subsidy money going e.g. direct to the middle east, to wealthy individuals who would never recognise a "farm" despite owning many. Subsidy going to owner (often an "investor") and then access and any (minor) impacts being born by the farmer would result in poor inadequate minimum access provided begrudgingly.

    Another consideration is policing the subsidy for access; who would know which farms are taking subsidy to provide access yet then don't provide any access. Even if we all knew the farms and which were failing, what would we do to enforce access? I've no idea how widespread it is but I've read reports about farmers taking subsidy and then failing to meet the obligations and nothing is done about it.

    I do wonder if access through subsidy would provide long term access. One farmer takes the subsidy, takes grants to build a cafe whilst his/her upstream and downstream farmers block navigation; then after a few years the farmer gives up their subsidy and blocks navigation whilst the downstream farmer starts taking the subsidy, gets grants to build a cafe, etc..

    It does make a clear statement to farmers that Canoes/Kayaks do not have navigation rights so the government will pay the farmer to allow those rights (affirming the farmer has rights to block navigation). But maybe I've missed the point somewhere (and I'm no expert 'cos in Norfolk we are fortunate in the miles of water we have access to).

    Ian

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    And it does make me wonder if the access through subsidies can work.
    I certainly wouldn't think it can or would be the answer to all of the issues faced. But it could make some positive contributions - at the very least it could help create new and/or better facilities where there is no dispute on PRN. It could also help those in rural locations see the value in facilitating rather than objecting to access. If/where a farmer does wish to add new facilities but finds problems with upstream or downstream land owners this could be an ally won to the fact that change (whether recognition of the existing law or new legislation like Scotland's/Wales proposed change) in needed. This is the start of the process with this though - but we feel following up on any opportunity to both flag the access issues and work towards solutions would be a positive step forward.

    Another consideration is policing the subsidy for access; who would know which farms are taking subsidy to provide access yet then don't provide any access.
    This is a big issue. Currently the policing of subsidy rules are so poor that even where legal obligations to maintain Public Footpaths are not being met (current subsidies are supposed to strengthen and reinforce these obligations) there is little to no impact on the land owner / manager. OSS have been particularly strong in raising this. Hopefully if a way of building partnerships with farmers to find policies that we all can get behind better ways of regulating this could be found.

    It does make a clear statement to farmers that Canoes/Kayaks do not have navigation rights so the government will pay the farmer to allow those rights (affirming the farmer has rights to block navigation).
    These ideas are based on the fact that canoeists do have such access - and that blocking should therefore not be seen as compatible with public funding.

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