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Thread: Access Motion to BC AGM

  1. #1

    Default Access Motion to BC AGM

    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no statutory navigation authority, payment should not be made for passage or linear access along inland water, and have withdrawn from many past arrangements which involved payment for use of water.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

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pam Bell View Post
    BC have shown that they are committing to a change in direction.
    Which could, of course, mean anything - though with a bit of luck we should all get a clearer sense of this direction when the Access & Environment Consultations begin next week!

    Alas, even as a host of the first of next week's BC Access & Environment Consultation in Castleford (Yorkshire) and Chair of a Region I have heard nothing. We've had no prior consultation in English Council, and equally little through the English Coaching Management Committee. Given that Nottingham is almost entirely bereft of staff with any grasp of canoeing / canoeists... I await the revelations with great interest!

    If the new direction is everything we seek, the motion to the AGM might be superfluous... but if it's a damp squib, we might feel a rather more strongly worded submission is needed. Time to wait and see how the next stage unfolds!

  3. #3

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    If the new direction is everything we seek, the motion to the AGM might be superfluous...
    That would be an excellent outcome
    ...if it's a damp squib, we might feel a rather more strongly worded submission is needed. !
    We feel the wording is strong enough to provide the support needed for a proactive campaign, and submissions have closed for this AGM!
    Time to wait and see how the next stage unfolds!
    We live in exciting times!
    Last edited by KeithD; 29th-January-2018 at 09:58 AM. Reason: fix quotes

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    If the new direction is everything we seek, the motion to the AGM might be superfluous...
    That would be an excellent outcome :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    ...if it's a damp squib, we might feel a rather more strongly worded submission is needed.
    We feel that the wording is strong enough to support a proactive campaign for open access.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregandGinaS View Post
    Time to wait and see how the next stage unfolds!.
    We live in exciting times!

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the update, both.

  6. #6

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    Hi Pam,
    Please could you provide a link to show how to transfer a vote to you, I will not be able to attend the AGM, but would like to do whatever I can to improve the current access situation.
    Ken

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_t View Post
    Hi Pam,
    Please could you provide a link to show how to transfer a vote to you, I will not be able to attend the AGM, but would like to do whatever I can to improve the current access situation.
    Ken
    Thank you Ken. The agenda for the AGM will be published on 3 March, and that will include voting instructions. The link to the AGM notice currently displayed is:
    https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/a...ance/agm-2018/
    Last edited by KeithD; 29th-January-2018 at 03:56 PM. Reason: Correcting date

  8. #8

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    Thanks Pam

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pam Bell View Post
    Thank you Ken. The agenda for the AGM will be published on 3 April, and that will include voting instructions. The link to the AGM notice currently displayed is:
    https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/a...ance/agm-2018/
    Just to note that I assume you meant to say 3rd March, not April, as the AGM is 24/3? I'll also be watching and quite likely use a proxy.

  10. #10

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    Oops! You are right Mal, The agenda comes out on 3rd March. I can't edit the post now, presumably because there is a later one.

  11. #11
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    As a moderator I'm still able to edit so I've changed the date for you.
    Keith

  12. #12

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    Thanks Keith :-)

  13. #13

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    Another string to your bow regarding access; CNCC the Council for Northern Caving Clubs has recently withdrawn from access agreements at 2 major pothole systems in Yorkshire saying that they ( the access agreements with the estates) are redundant because CNCC have discovered that the land under which the cave systems lie has been classified as Tax Exempt for Heritage purposes, one of the conditions imposed by HMRC for land to have this status is open access, the estates concerned obviously applied for this Tax Status to save money ! but didnt read the small print. HMRC lists all land and property which has this status , if such land is a river bank or lakeside or coast then you have right of access to the water . Maybe BCs Access Officer should contact CNCC and BCA (British Caving Association) to clarify. In addition why arent the National bodies for all Outdoor sports joining forces on all access problems it would be a much more powerful lobby !

  14. #14

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    Thanks Colin, I will pass this on

  15. #15

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    A list and maps of Heritage land is here. http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/gds/heritage/lbsearch.htm . This may not be as helpful as we wish. I think the legislation grants 'reasonable access' not 'open access'. The heritage land weblink states "The website indicates in each case WHEN you may visit land". Looking at details of individual areas many landowners seem also to be imposing (legally or not under the legislation I do not know) sweeping restrictions on WHERE on estates they permit access, at times simply to pre-existing footpaths, bridleways and permissive paths, and in the case of one estate near me just to one access route 'from April to May'.

  16. #16

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    Joint statement with Ivan Lawler:




    Pam Bell and I have requested that our AGM Motion relating to Access be removed from the agenda.




    Having put the motion out there before the recent series of roadshows it was becoming apparent that the distance between the BC stance and the stance we were asking to adopt had closed significantly.




    Following the recent Access Advisory Group meeting it was suggested that the motion may no longer be required. At that stage Pam and I felt that it remained necessary but agreed to discuss options with BC. BC agreed to write a statement relating to our motion and how they thought they were addressing our issues. Pam and I saw this statement and the gap had closed to a point where we thought an agreement was possible. A meeting with BC was arranged and the differences in wording and intent of the BC policy were discussed at length. BC were very willing to adapt and change their message to accommodate the proposals and we reached a point where both Pam and I were satisfied that BC, within its new access campaign, were fully committed to everything that we had previously raised as possible sticking points.




    BC were still very happy to have the motion presented and discussed at the AGM so that the debate could be had but both Pam and I were satisfied that the two approaches were now united and it was better to move forward with a single access agenda.




    BC have agreed that Pam and I can and should monitor progress in the areas we had highlighted so that the people who shared our concerns are happy that they remain on track.




    The BC stance is now the most robust it has ever been and the time is right to unite all of the people who have access as a concern. To move forward we need to be united and confident in the path we are taking and Pam and myself are satisfied that BC are starting out on the right path.




    We apologise for the confusion caused by the late removal of the AGM motion but assure you its removal is a sign that we are making real progress on Access.




    Pam and I will be at the AGM and will be happy to answer any questions.




    Many thanks




    Ivan Lawler




  17. #17
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    Thanks Ivan (and Pam). I also went to the Roadshow and also thought there was convergence.

    But it's an odd situation when the President of any organisation has to resort to an AGM motion to get his point across; I am glad to hear that you and the management are going the same way now.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_B View Post
    it's an odd situation when the President of any organisation has to resort to an AGM motion to get his point across
    In fairness, BC very much "got" the message that members wanted "action" from the very first round of consultations conducted by the new CEO... but this is where the whole thing became a bit like Brexit... as the survey didn't lead to any clear sense of what action was wanted!

    Some people wanted BC funding to be set aside to support a plan which didn't exist... and when asked what the plan should be, none could agree!

    A year or two later we're in the middle of a round of consultations which will finalise a plan.... but the deadline for submissions for the AGM was just before the first consultation... so Ivan and Pam submitted without knowing where BC was going.

    What we'll never know is the counterfactual: what the plan would have been if Ivan and Pam hadn't submitted their motion... but as I see it, the only thing holding BC back has been the very real challenge of coming up with a viable plan which stands a chance of {a} being supported; and {b} actually making a difference.

  19. #19
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    the only thing holding BC back has been the very real challenge of coming up with a viable plan which stands a chance of {a} being supported; and {b} actually making a difference.
    Thanks Greg. That's a fair point, but I think paddlers will be much more ready to support BC and join if they know that what BC is trying to do is what they would like. Then it's chicken and egg - the more support BC has, the more influence it will have.

  20. #20
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    I agree with Chris B's sentiment, it's not as if the membership have only just come up with access being an issue.

  21. #21

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    Here is the joint statement on access arising from Ivan and me withdrawing our motion to the BC AGM. I, Ivan, and all those from BC that we have worked with on this, are equally determined to make this work! BC are making time available at the AGM for a discussion on access, so any member can have their say, and Ivan and I will be there to answer questions.

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