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Thread: BC Access & Environment Consultation in Castleford (Yorkshire)

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    Default BC Access & Environment Consultation in Castleford (Yorkshire)



    Open invitation - please come an have your say!

    Quote Originally Posted by British Canoeing - Yorkshire & Humberside
    British Canoeing is consulting on plans for a new Access & Environment campaign... and on 31st January Yorkshire's enthusiasts are invited to have a say and put questions directly to senior staff and Board members...

    The Regional Development Team in Yorkshire & Humberside has arranged for the first British Canoeing roadshow on Access & Environment to be hosted at The New Wheatsheaf in Castleford from 7pm on Wednesday 31st January, 2018.

    Refreshments will be available from 6.30pm - and delegates arriving early will be eligible for a 10% discount on a meal at The Wheatsheaf.
    Event link: https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/r...s-environment/

    British Canoeing news story: https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/n...bers-roadshow/

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    Well this should spice up the forthcoming Access & Environment Consultations 🤣

    We have a motion to the AGM requiring the Board of British Canoeing to "make an unequivocal commitment to campaign for legislation to secure open access for all recreational users of water and waterside" - and there's more!


    Quote Originally Posted by Pam Bell View Post
    Many of us are frustrated at the lack of progress on access, or maybe have been vocal in our criticism of the NGB’s from failing to grasp the nettle in the past; now, we have a real chance to change things! BC have shown that they are committing to a change in direction. As members we can put some momentum and confidence into this change of direction.
    To help demonstrate support, a motion has been put forward to the BC AGM. If you support the aim, register your support where it counts – at the AGM! If you can’t get there in person, consider giving your proxy vote to either Ivan or me. Voting forms will be published by BC in due course, with the agenda for the AGM.

    Motion to British Canoeing AGM 24 March 2018
    Ivan Lawler
    Pam Bell

    We submit the following item for discussion at the annual general meeting of British Canoeing on 24 March 2018.

    After many years of believing that our only option was to try to negotiate access permission, we have moved to a situation where we consider a right of navigation to exist on all rivers. We now know that, while landowners may be entitled to control access to the water across their land, and to charge for this, they do not control navigation and are not entitled to charge for ‘linear access’ or passage along the water on the basis of ownership of the land.

    The access effort has evolved as our understanding of the legal situation has developed, but has failed to keep pace with the changing situation. A lack of clarity and consistency has led to misunderstandings and frustration between British Canoeing, its membership, strategic partners and the wider public, and created a barrier to taking a robust and consistent campaigning position.

    British Canoeing has stated that where there is no statutory navigation authority, payment should not be made for passage or linear access along inland water, and have withdrawn from many past arrangements which involved payment for use of water. However, confusion remains over some arrangements, including sites operated by the NGB’s. This compromises the BC federal agreement and weakens the campaigning position; to the detriment of British Canoeing’s membership and the wider public.

    Building on the success of Scotland, and following Welsh devolution, WCA (now Canoe Wales) began campaigning for legislation to enshrine existing rights into comprehensive legislation with a code of conduct, and this is now on the Welsh Government Agenda. British Canoeing has put on record its belief that this solution would work for England, but its commitment to campaigning for comprehensive legislation for open access with a code of conduct, in England, is unclear.

    The experience of Scotland suggests that a successful navigation case will provide impetus to the move for legislation, as with the Spey ruling prior to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act.
    British Canoeing has stated that the cost of mounting or defending a case would be prohibitive, and as such, not a viable option. This has constrained the access campaign; however, the necessary funds could be raised.

    Our access effort is currently spread very thinly across negotiating for ‘agreements / arrangements’, developing canoe trails and lobbying for improved access.

    With no clear vision of our end-goal, the access effort lacks direction and focus.

    Without a clear strategy there is no way to measure progress, or to ensure that funds are directed where they are most needed.

    We call upon the board and members of British Canoeing to:

    (i) Make an unequivocal commitment to campaign for legislation to secure open access for all recreational users of water and waterside, accompanied by a code of conduct, by:

    · Setting out on or before 30th August 2018, and implementing, a costed strategy to secure legislation;

    · Setting out the vision for the role of BC in monitoring and protecting access, following legislation.

    (ii) Address constraints on pro-active campaigning by:

    · Investigating mechanisms to make available a portion of membership fees for targeted pro-active access campaigning.

    · Establishing clear criteria for determining whether an access-related case should be pursued and/or defended.

    · Carrying out a review of existing information to identify suitable rivers for a navigation case.

    (iii) Carry out a comprehensive review of British Canoeing Activities in England and Wales; identify and resolve any contradictions and/or conflicts between BC’s current activities and:

    · British Canoeing’s stated access policy and aspirations;

    · The home nations and the BC Federal Agreement

    · British Canoeing’s aspiration to represent the public in terms of canoeing and kayaking in the UK;

    (iv) Review and report progress against the above annually at the British Canoeing AGM

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    Ok folks - who's up for meeting at the Wheatsheaf for a meal beforehand? Make an evening of it

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    I've put the Quorn one (Tue 6th March) in my diary, so interested to hear general feedback from attendees present at any of the earlier events.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    Ok folks - who's up for meeting at the Wheatsheaf for a meal beforehand? Make an evening of it
    As the debate seems to be getting interesting I think I'll make the effort to come along. Wouldn't mind a meal beforehand either.

    I'll be coming straight from Harrogate after finishing work as there is not much point in detouring home through Leeds.

    What time will you thinking of for a meal meal beforehand?

    I'm not currently a BCU member I have been in the past but didn't think I got an enormous amount for it, is that an issue?

    Ewan

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    If British Canoeing only talked to existing members the aspiration to attract more wouldn't stand a chance!

    We will certainly welcome you, and I guess eating ought to happen soon after 6pm...

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    On my way but a little confused about where it's been held

    The picture at the top of this thread says the Wheatsheaf but the email I got from British canoeing says greywood Hall?

    Any clarification would be appreciated

    Ewan

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    Quote Originally Posted by E_McNeill View Post
    On my way but a little confused about where it's been held

    The picture at the top of this thread says the Wheatsheaf but the email I got from British canoeing says greywood Hall?

    Any clarification would be appreciated

    Ewan

    Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk
    Ah - I believe they are one and the same place - or near enough - should all make sense on arrival!

    My afternoon didn't go to plan so I will miss the meal - just had lunch and departing asap!

    Sent from my D6603 using Tapatalk

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    Did anyone go and would they recommend others attending the later events. If it takes four hours out of my day to tell me something I could read in 20 minutes, I'm not that keen on making the effort. Did the audience participation serve them well?

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    Well - that was one of the most encouraging encounters I suspect any of us have ever had with Head Office!

    Nottingham was getting twitchy over the turnout as comparatively few bothered to pre-register... and I knew a few key folk (keen to go) were unable to make it... but we had 22 folk from around the region... including the usual suspects (club volunteers)... but also folk with no attachment to any club and who I have never met before.

    Guin Batten (Head of Strategy and Devlopment) pitched things well in setting the stage and stuck to key highlights which were (mostly) relevant / interesting for those in the room... but then handed over to Ben Seal (Places to Paddle Manager) who did the rest. Ben also struck a good tone, introducing himself as a canoeist and showing good awareness of his audience's understandable scepticism.

    What came across most clearly was a depth of commitment to winning people around by listening and by delivering on what was wanted!

    Key argument: whilst we believe we have a PRN... the ways in which this is contested means the actual situation on the ground presents unacceptable barriers... and now is THE time (because of what's happening in Wales, because Brexit gives us opportunities, because of drive from enthusiasts) to get to a point where all concerned recognise that we should all (canoeists, wild swimmers, whoever) have access to water.

    The core of the consultation was about the "Charter" that's to sit at the core of everything else that's done. The broad thrust of this was discussed around tables, as was the wording... and the 5-6 key focus areas were gone into in some depth. This was all in early-draft form... but a lot of thought had clearly gone into it (not least through the volunteers who advise on this front) and as a starting point it was well received.

    Of course, subsequent consultations may be slightly different... but on the basis of what we saw, engagement would appear to be very much worthwhile!

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    6th March: Quorn Leicestershire.

    Got home after work yesterday 6:20pm to a reminder that at 6:30 the Roadshow was starting at Quorn, hummed and haa'd abit about giving it a miss after all, but grabbed a bite to eat and headed on up to Quorn.

    The actual start was 7, so made it to a seat with a minute to spare.

    Event was pretty well represented by 5/6 BC peeps and 30(ish) in the audience.

    Evening was kinda split into three main areas a) stuff around BC, what they've been doing/planning on doing [charter], b) stuff around access, c) stuff around membership/affiliate membership, GDPR. So this last section was not overly exciting from an Independent Paddler perspective.

    The presentations themselves were good. Not overly long, and with opportunities for group huddles/discussions. Some interesting challenges from the floor - most notably around the "would BC support militant action/mass trespass in support of access (or at least the threat thereof)" - obviously its not trespass anyway as we have the right :-), but unsurprisingly the answer was not an unequivocal yes - or indeed any form of 'yes'. Not really a surprise though as the BC 'Better Together' (PDF download) approach of joining up with as many other organisations and present a united "free and fair shared access for all" agenda could, in the BC mind, be a harder sell if they are also seen to support action that others might see as counter productive/illegal.

    The BC approach to Trails was also questioned - i.e. BC Trails are only on non-contested water "as they would not want to knowingly put paddlers at risk of verbal abuse or worse" - again the view is understandable, but it was highlighted that this could also feed the misunderstanding that these were the only places people were permitted to paddle (in the eyes if new paddlers, anglers, landowners etc) - and the suggestion that more Trails should still be recognised, but maybe with a note to advise of "contested water", and instructions of what to do if confronted.

    Similarly
    Develop and promote new digital resources which promote the public rights to rivers in England with 50% of rivers included by 2021
    Could promote the inference we have the public right to less than 50% now, which is promotely 100% incorrect. (Never did like synonyms)

    Overall the words sounded "ok to good" - maybe too many adjectives/adverbs ('more', 'better', 'soon') than actual numeric targets/dates. Quite a few things BC 'will be doing' in the next 12 months or so, so kinda hoping the actions will prove insightful (or not).

    First time I've attended such a thing, and kinda went with an open mind - left with mind still open and a general willingness to help as and when.

    With a bit of a raised eyebrow, one wonders whether the BC vision is a bit blurry though:
    The vision for British Canoeing is;
    “A united British Canoeing, focused on our people and ambitions and excellent in delivery”
    BC promised to provide some feedback on the feedback etc at some point via an email to all participants - so I'll add that too (if not already done by someone else).

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    Thanks Jon & Greg, interesting to hear your thoughts.

    As always seems to happen, I've been miles away whenever one of these things comes up, so have yet to make one. Thanks to those who have.

    On the "Trails" thought by Jon, I do tend to agree. There is a danger these trails will be considered by the lay person as the only canoeing nearby. In theory, they're great at helping folk get on the water, but I also wonder if folk could think they have to wait for BC to "open" a new trail before they can paddle it, the reality being BC are pretty much just laying out regularly paddled routes described many times on this site, Paddle Points, Cankay, Canoe Days Out and many others. I'd also like to see the time and effort spent on trails that aren't simply a "launch on the canal and go left" trip, as many are - all that's needed there is a put in point (or a link to Paddle Points/cankay!) Not against it at all, but the message needs to be that these are just a fraction of the places we can paddle, and it would also be nice if they engaged with the resources already out there, which they have absolutely not done, despite some attempts from the other side.

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    "be nice if they engaged with the resources already out there,"
    I thought the same a number of times during the meeting (and left in feedback)- would be great to see the Access Map formally endorsed - that and the Strava heat map thingy (as well as SOTP, PP, UKRGB etc) seem like excellent 'resources' that should be utilised/supported by BC.

    That said there was some limited insight/inference at the meeting that could lead one to believe something along these lines is, in part, on the BC to do/doing list..... no details though, but "not reinventing the wheel" is a direct quote.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cankay.org.uk View Post
    I thought the same a number of times during the meeting (and left in feedback)- would be great to see the Access Map formally endorsed - that and the Strava heat map thingy (as well as SOTP, PP, UKRGB etc) seem like excellent 'resources' that should be utilised/supported by BC.

    That said there was some limited insight/inference at the meeting that could lead one to believe something along these lines is, in part, on the BC to do/doing list..... no details though, but "not reinventing the wheel" is a direct quote.
    Nice one.

    So far the only times BC (or BCU I should say) has engaged with me as a potential "resource provider" is in deleting any references to Paddle Points/SOTP in an article for Canoe Focus, and taking images off my Facebook page for their own use without asking (removed very quickly on my pointing this out, at the same time as offering more if needed). So whilst I do see positive changes recently, the starting point was one where I, as a very active and fairly visible paddler, had zero respect for the national body's competence.

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    At the North West roadshow in Preston, David Joy specifically said that they wanted to co-operate with other resources, and mentioned UKRGB. After the meeting I passed contact details for URRGB to BC.

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    Members of the UKRGB Forum provided most of the material for 'English Whitewater' a publication with the British Canoe Union's name on the front cover. Cooperation with this august body of people should not be an aspiration, it should be historic. I know Chris Page posted on their fairly regularly against matters of interest.

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    Hi All,

    BC promised to provide some feedback on the feedback etc at some point via an email to all participants - so I'll add that too (if not already done by someone else).
    Email has now been received:

    Good Morning

    Thank you for attending the Roadshow on 6th March

    We really enjoyed speaking with you and hearing your views on membership, access and the environment. These will really help to inform our work over the next 6 months. Thank you.

    Please find attached the notes taken during the session. We'll produce a summary of all 12 Road Shows and make these available to all attendees after the last session.

    There will be a further opportunity to provide feedback through an online consultation after the 12 Roadshows, and we will email you the details of this.

    If you have any further comments please do let us know.

    Once again, thank you for taking the time to attend.

    Kind Regards
    Craig Duff
    The following is a verbatim C&P from the PDF documentl

    ACCESS & MEMBERSHIP CONSULTATION EAST MIDLANDS 6TH MARCH


    Access:
    Feedback on core principles:
    - Clubs should work with BC for all canoeists rather than their own self-interest with local
    agreements.
    - Issues with negotiating hazards on rivers such as weirs need to be addressed.
    - There should be a mechanism for logging and sharing incidents and issues regarding access.
    - Canoe Trails could be published but categorized regarding their access status.
    - We need to engage the majority of people paddling who are not BC members and therefore
    could be unwittingly causing problems.
    - BC should work with swimmers and other groups outside of canoeing to lobby together.
    Feedback on Ultimate Aim:
    - Historically we have not broken the law but we should be prepared to be more militant. Even
    just the threat of doing so would help.
    - Clubs and individuals should engage with the public whilst on the water in order to portray a
    positive image.
    - A certain amount of militancy and positive action may be needed to maintain a record of rivers
    being paddled.
    Feedback on how we can work together:
    - Each club should have a media officer to promote their good work and show canoeing in a good
    light. Training for role should be available centrally. Help on this is also available regionally.
    - A BC branded river clean up scheme would help
    - How can we work closer with PaddlePoints and should share useful information.
    - Have a code of conduct





    Membership
    General questions
    - Will there be a cost difference?
    - How will junior clubs be affected?
    - Will this route affect coaches within clubs?
    - Will it comply with new data rules
    Feedback on route 2:
    - Every club has to be GDPR data compliant and this is a means that can help clubs with this.
    - Large clubs with rolling membership dates will struggle to keep the information up to date.
    - Sea Cadets would like to look at how they can work with BC membership.
    - What timeline are we working to?
    Open questions
    - Membership fees differ across the home nations. Why is this?
    - Will there be an option to contribute towards an access fund?
    - Club affiliation membership - is this being reviewed?
    - How we talk to the many people paddling independently as these could be impacting negatively
    on the water.
    - Can we create partnerships with local history societies to research ‘historic rights of way e.g.
    former industrial/commercial use of rivers.
    - More clarity on insurance relation to trespass.

    Not actual answers, but does seem to be a fair recollection of what was raised.

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