It would nice to know how much the EA spends on enabling fishing compared with what it gets from Rod licenses
2010/11 accounts Page 48
fishing licence income £24.2 M
fishing expenditure £39.3 M
(a £15.1 M public subsidy)
1.432 million rod licences were sold
Probably the most common issue Anglers have with access to rivers by canoeists, is their perception that Anglers pay for licenses and for river use and canoeists do not. This perception is a barrier to acceptance by Anglers of access to rivers by canoeists and other recreational river users.
The facts appear to be that Angling is subsidized by the Environmental Authority to the amount of £15,000,000, and therefore by the tax payer. and therefore by canoeists. I don't begrudge the Anglers this subsidy, but, I don't understand why EA doesn't spend an equivalent amount in facilitating other recreational use of the rivers, by, say, canoeists or wild swimmers. Especially given that canoeing and swimming are very healthy, non-invasive, environmentally neutral, and low cost activities that bring great benefits to the young people of our nation. The EA could spend money on establishing safe entry and exit spots on every canoeable river in the land, publish canoeing guides to these rivers and generally endorse and support canoeing in the same way as they do angling. A very low cost way of establishing a huge network of open air recreational facilities that would be the envy of the world and attract tourists from other countries. The true beauty of the English countryside is seen from the river. I would have thought this would be a vote winner too!
Here here Doug....couldn't have put it any better!
Before making such a big point of public subsidy for fishing it should be noted that "navigation" received a subsidy of £13 million.
Have a look at the section "Analysis of Fees and Charges" in the 2010/11 report.
The key factor is that all rod licence money (£24.2 million) was spent on fishing and all boat licence money (£6.5 million) was spent on navigation.
So in terms of payments and subsidy there isn't much to argue about except perhaps value for money.
It would seem fishing is good value for money as all the fee gets used exclusively to enhance fishing.
However very little of the canoe licence fee gets to enhance things for the canoeists or so it would seem.
But considering the small amount of income the EA get from canoeists the costs of a few portage platforms would be far more than the fees paid by canoeists.
Last edited by Quercus; 16th-April-2012 at 09:02 AM.
From the same report I cited above, Navigation generated £6.5 M income, and spent £19.6 M.
However I have not found any breakdown between motorised and non-powered boat licensing or provision of facilities (there are 32,000 registered boats).
And Canoe England declines to comment on how much of our membership fees are allocated to navigation licence fees.
The Environment Agency is supposed to be an honest broker, dealing even-handedly with all recreational user groups. With angling, they are able to produce detailed reports, forecasting and targets for user numbers. The Agency does not appear to be able to produce anything like the same information with boaters or swimmers, or publish definitive goals.
Obviously money is spent on our behalf, hence the inclusion in reports of a photo of a Medway fish pass/canoe slide or an improved portage path.
Last edited by Jon Wood; 16th-April-2012 at 08:58 AM. Reason: (Echoing some of Quercus' comments as we posted at the same time)
I think you are over simplifying the issue, and misrepresenting some of the facts, firstly not all the money spent on fish and fisheries is for the direct benefit of anglers. A certain amount of fish restocking and associated work is to support eco systems, provide a source of food for birds and mammals and generally improve the overall wildlife, which benefits all river users.The EA can not do a lot about the access issue it is not their fault and as a government agency there is not a lot they can do about it. It is not in their remit to change policy just to enact it. Despite Caffyn’s work there is no clear legal statement/ruling saying the right of navigation exists on all rivers so they cannot just start “establishing safe entry and exit spots on every canoeable river in the land, publish canoeing guides to these rivers and generally endorse and support canoeing in the same way as they do angling.”Secondly the EA annual accounts for 2010-11 show a £14.5million subsidy for fish and fisheries and a £12.6million subsidy for navigation. Admittedly a large part of the money spent on navigation is aimed at larger craft, but on my local rivers (e.g. Suffolk Stour) money is spent providing portage platforms at weirs and clearing the channel etc. Given the respective sizes of the angling and boating communities I don't think the differences in the subsidies is unrealistic.
Actually EA do seem to be quite supportive to canoeists and the access situation, on the Suffolk Stour and the River Chelmer (and other rivers) above the limit of the official navigation several of the weirs have warning signs for canoes/boats and portage platforms etc. There needs to be a change in Goverment policy to enable EA to do any more than this, especially where access is strongly disputed.
To answer your point about anglers accepting access to rivers, in my experience most anglers do, it is only a minority who strongly oppose it, and to be honest they are probably too entrenched in their views to change however well reasoned the arguements. Therefore surely any efforts to change the access situation would be better focused on the policy/law makers i.e. Goverment.
I have no desire to 'misrepresent' anything. In my experience, innocent or deliberate misrepresention is extremely counter-productive. I want to know the facts. Your contribution is helping me do this. You make some very good points.
Just as there is a perception amongst some anglers that canoeists are free loaders, there is a perception amongst some canoeists that the EA is not sympathetic to canoeists and has an unfair bias towards anglers. I would like to find out the actual facts of the matter; no more and no less. I do know that the EA pubishes documents reassuring anglers of the work they carry out on behalf of anglers... see here. Is there a similar publication promoting canoeing? I would be very happy if there were.
I understand that the EA is responsible to a politician, Caroline Spelman, who is also responsible for overall policy on the environment and sustainable development within which the Agency undertakes its work. Therefore EA is therefore part of government and responsible to all of us.
Last edited by dougdew99; 16th-April-2012 at 10:46 AM.
The EA have published a document here called "Fishing for the Future". On page 5 they set out their plan. I have reproduced it below... I have done two things to it:
1. I removed a couple of references which don't directly translate...to do with some legislation and the financials
2. I substituted the word "canoeing" for "angling"
It makes interesting reading about how close angling and canoeing really are... wouldn't it be great if the EA added canoeing to their objectives... they immediately get a double hit on all their objectives for the community.
“Our (EA's) vision for Canoeing”
Everyone will have the opportunity to enjoy a high quality environment, now and for future generations. More people will care for, use, appreciate and enjoy their environment.
While our overall canoeing strategy – Better canoeing for our nations – and recreation strategy set out how we are contributing to that vision, this document looks specifically at making more people aware of canoeing and getting more people from different backgrounds to take up the sport.
We want to make canoeing more valuable within England and Wales. One of the ways we will do this is by increasing the contribution canoeing makes to society, the economy and the environment. To do this, we need more chances for more people to canoe and we need our canoeing rivers to perform better.
Specific results we want to see
By 2015, we want to make significant progress towards achieving the following three
1. There are more canoeing opportunities on rivers, lakes and canals and more information is available about them.
2. More people, from a wider range of backgrounds, go canoeing
3. Our canoeing rivers perform better and Canoeing keeps growing.
Our role in Canoeing
To get the results we want, we need to make sure people understand our role better.
The Environment Act also states that we must promote recreation on or near inland and coastal waters and its associated land. Canoeing is proving to be good for self-esteem and well-being. We have supported several projects that have shown that an interest in canoeing can also be a powerful and cost-effective way of tackling anti-social behaviour, educational under-achievement and youth crime.
As well as bringing important environmental benefits, our work in developing Canoeing creates significant contributions to the Governments’ social and economic priorities. This also leads to great opportunities for the countryside and tourism.
Last edited by dougdew99; 17th-April-2012 at 11:06 AM.
The EA are responsible to all of us, but only to carry out the policys set by goverment. In effect they are given a set of policys/objectives/targets/goals/aims etc and we can rightly complain to EA if these are not met, however if we don't agree with the policys/objectives/targets/goals/aims etc then that is not the fault of the EA but of their political masters, the UK goverment and the Welsh assembly.
As far as I see it there are probably several reasons why such a document doesn't exist to promote canoeing, including:
Pressure from external sources to provide the information. i.e. the anglers are very good at lobbying the EA, I don't think canoeists are anywhere near as good at this either via the national bodies or via local clubs etc.
Only a small proportion of the waterways managed by EA have a recognised right of navigation (and they do produce free navigation guides for all or most of these), I don't think EA are in a position to activly encourage canoeing on the rivers which have disputed navigation rights as this would not be in line with goverment policy.
If we want the EA to do more to facilitate canoeing I think the most effective way to do this is to pressure the goverment to change their policy/laws or to seek a legal ruling on Caffyn's work.
In the short term it may be possible to engage with EA to improve the situation on certain rivers, but due to the way in which EA is organised this may well be more effective at a local level.
For me, it is interesting to have the 'true' story of rod licence money verse public funding set out as clearly as possible,
since this point is very important to those fishing people who oppose open access to our rivers,and is trotted out by them
at every opportunity in order to justify their stance that we have 'no right of navigation', it is good to have something
to counteract with.
Doug, I think if you want a clear answer then you need to put a Freedom of Information request in.
In my experience the EA is very heavily biased towards angling interests over navigation interests. And that's basically because the EA have recruited many keen anglers into their ranks, who then actively lobby on behalf of angling interests.
As a taxpayer, this makes me very angry. I guess all I can do is bring it up again, and again, and again.
Very interesting reading! However as someone who both fishes and canoes, as I suspect do many other members of this forum, I think that an important point is being overlooked. In the main, if you disregard poachers, anglers buy permits or pay syndication fees to fish a stretch of water. I am not aware that canoeists pay to paddle a stretch of water but I freely admit to ignorance on this! The basic problem as far as I can see in my own myopic fashion is that unlike Scotland there is no right to paddle or right to roam in England, merely a half baked access programme to land. It is less an issue of how the Environment Agency carry out their delegated function on behalf of government, rather how best to convince politicians to view the countryside and access. I do find it interesting that Scotand manages to provide excellent canoeing and fishing without major dramas! Equally, this shows a maturity by both forms of river users based on common sense and manners. It would be informative to know how much canoeists 'bring in' in money to the local community in comparison to anglers. Money always attracts local support so I suspect we would be on a loser.
There is also all the kit I have already bought to use.
It should be possible to work out an estimate of the value of paddling to the economy and how much it could be improved with a clearer position on use of water (As they have in Scotland). The Government is trying to promote economic growth and this would be a relatively low cost way oif doing so.
1664 - a great year for river access
Follow my blog at http://riveraccessrights.blogspot.com/
One of the consequences of the poor access situation might be my recent trip to France where I spent in the region of £750 abroad rather than travelling to local rivers. I agree I might have done this anyway but no-one is trying to make me stay.
The permits and syndication fees are levied by the landowners or those that hold the fishing rights.
Those fees buy the right to be on the landowners property and to take fish from the water that is on or passes through that land. The charge is only for the use of the river in respect of what the owner of the riparian land has rights over. It does not buy exclusion of the use of the river by others who may have rights to it.
If anglers don't like the charge their argument should be with those that charge them not the canoeists or others who may have a right to use the river.
The canoeist paddling an EA/BW waterway is required to have a licence and therefore pays to be on the water.
I would imagine that canoeists and kayakers tend to bring more to the local economies than angling, unless anglers are merely adding up their contribution via the basic fee they pay for their local club. Angers tend to stay fairly local, and it isn't as if it is a social activity where they do their fishing and all head off to the pub together afterwards. Maybe in their local, but not like canoeists and kayakers do in Bala etc.my friends and I will be on trips around the country accessing whitewater rivers and making very good use of local services, accommodation, dining establishments, etc. I dare not add up all of the money I spend on canoeing trips.
There was a hilarious argument from an angler on the Red Tape comments bit where he said that canoeists do not bring in as much to the local economies as anglers. He had no proof of this, but as well as that it seemed odd to me that a group should be banned outright because they may not bring in as much money. Surely the local businesses would like to have the canoeists money *IN ADDITION* to the anglers money rather than not have anything?!
Besides, how can canoeing and kayaking expect to flourish and bring in more money with the current access situation? I'll also say again that there was a B&B that I stayed in next to the Dee who has both anglers and canoeists/kayakers staying there. He said that the B&B used to be full almost continuously, especially over winter with kayakers. Not any more, and it is mainly due to anglers attitudes.
Is it the case that while many Anglers do travel to fish in different waters, there is a strong pattern of use whereby Anglers pay for access to a particular set of waters, close to where they live, and habitually fish there?
And is this in contrast to many recreational canoeists, who do not paddle the same waters week after week, and habitually travel to different locations?
This could imply that canoeists spend money in many different locations, whereas anglers take comparatively small local trips, with less expenditure, to enjoy their pastime.
This is all guess work, of course.
I am convinced that the most vocal extreme voices here do not truely represent the majority here. Thank God.
I fish and paddle, sometimes both at the same time. I pay a rod licence fee and a day or season ticket to fish. If I am caught without a rod licence I will get prosecuted and fined.I have had to produce my licence. The majority of anglers have a rod licence.
I am a BCU member and so have a permit for navigation on most navigable waters. I have never been checked and I cannot recal hearing of a paddler being prosecuted for unlicenced paddling on a navigable water. I have heard/read of many paddlers who openly boast that they do not have a licence. Great advert!
I have NEVER come into conflict with anglers, I like to think my attitude has helped. I am amazed how often some people do have conflict and then come on here with extreme views and plans to give anglers a metaphorical bloody nose. Hmm !!! That really puts paddlers in a good light when an angler ventures into the forum.
People shout loudly that they want the same rights as anglers, ok stand side by side with them, ask them how much they pay for their rod licence and day/season ticket and then offer to pay the same.
If an impartial viewer was to read some of the comments in threads here they would not be surprised that many waterways do not want paddlers.
Happily I know that the majority here paddle considerately often in dubious circumstances and pass anglers in an amiable manner and are great ambassadors for our hobby. To those people I say thank you, the the militants I say do what you feel you must but please do not deliberately antagonize an angler today who I may pass tomorrow.
Oh and if you want to compare which sector puts the most into the economy just look how many fishing shops and on line tackle sellers there are compared to paddling, I wonder how much VAT that generates. Most fishing matches have the draw and results in a pub. Anglers travel miles to fish top venues, their annual spend on tackle and bait would probably exceed the average paddler by threefold. Believe me....I have the credit card statements to prove it.
You will never win your battle by slagging off your fellow water users it just makes you look bitter and jealous. Your argument will be more respected if presented with dignity. I know my views will attract criticism from the militants but I am happy in the knowledge that many will just read this, nod their head gently and maintain their quiet reserve and say nothing.
Rant over. Mr Mild Mannered leaves the room to join the silent majority.
Day/season ticket money is paid to land owners and has nothing to do with upkeep of rivers etc,some landowners also make money from charging canoeists for parking, slipways, changing facilities. But just because either anglers or canoeists have paid for facilities etc it should not prevent those anglers or canoeists who have paid for the legal minimum requirement of either rod licence or navigation licence (where neccesary) from using a waterway that they have accessed from public/common ground.
No matter how much money angling generates for the economy local or national, this is not a reason to prevent canoeing, the 2 activities can exist side by side quite easily which would maximise revenues for all concerned.
It is goverment policy that is the main obstacle to them doing more to encourage canoeing rather than any internal bias.
I agree Barney. Share the water but share costs and responsibilies where appropriate.
The revenue generated question was raised elsewhere.
Just trying to say that yes, we the majority. want more access but slagging off anglers, criticising the EA for spending money the way they do or deliberately causing antagonism is not the route we would choose.
I love many parts of this forum and respect most of the members but just feel some do more to hinder the cause than to further it.
the private estates also maintain their stretches of river. they have a vested interest in doing so, as clients are often paying something in the region of £500 a day!
the spey user group is a great example of the benefits obtained by working together, rather than looking to score points off each other
Last edited by Corsican Dave; 17th-April-2012 at 09:34 PM.
Rod Licences are part of the tax system, and the amount is set by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when the need
for more revenue from that quarter arises, when a budget is set.
Why can't we buy a rod licence and use the rivers between public access points ie road bridges and footpaths etc or just include it in the waterways licence, sure beats me ?
Hind sight is always 20/20
I also live locally to the Chelmer and Suffolk Stour. Before getting too excited about the EA it's worth bearing a couple of things in mind. The Chelmer is a privately owned navigation and is run by Essex Waterways Ltd which is part of the Inland Waterways Association, a charity. It is the navigation authority and it also controls fishing rights...the EA has very little to do with the Chelmer especially below Chelmsford. The EA IS the navigation authority for the Suffolk Stour but in all honesty would probably rather not have to do the work. They were very happy to allow the navigation to rot until the River Stour Trust became well established and forced through regeneration of the navigation and it is they who still do much of the work keeping the navigation operational and promoting it's recreational use. There are several other examples where the EA has discouraged the restoration of other navigations and the recreational use of rivers for boaters but they are seem far more positive about rivers being used for angling.
I myself have never (so far) had any confrontations with anglers and I am always considerate when passing them. I have heard many stories from others though about abusive or violent behaviour from anglers which is totally unacceptable although I'm sure it's a small minority of "bad eggs". If you visit some of the angling forums you'll find some quite extreme and vile language being used about boaters!
I agree with you however that as users of the rivers we should all be pooling our resources to get better/cheaper? access to our waterways. There also needs to be more information out there to inform anglers exactly what they are paying FOR so they don't come up with misconceptions about paddlers being "Freeloaders". Perhaps then some of this antagonism would be directed to greedy landowners? Also, more pressure needs putting on the government to sort this mess out, as has been done in Scotland.
The EA can, in general, only operate within the government's policy/laws but the EA need to be seen to be treating all users equally.
Corsican Dave....By paying the angling association you are defacto paying the Landowners. And you are not renting the water..you are merely renting access to the river bank next to the water. Water is nominally the property of the crown until it flows into the sea and in reality isn't "owned" by anyone so you can't rent it. Perhaps it's be better if everybody remembered that all the water was created in the centre of a long dead star millions if not billions of years ago. The idea that any of us "own" any of it is ridiculous! lol
Last edited by Mike_D; 17th-April-2012 at 10:09 PM.
Firstly can some one tell me how to quote multiple posts in one post of my own.
Secondly to answer the above points.
Share of costs: the cost of maintaing rivers for canoeing is very little, most of the money spent on navigation is for things like locks etc for big boats, therefore a canoeists fair share of costs would presuambly be less than an anglers. Not sure if that is what you meant, but I agree with most of what you say.
A fishing association may pay £60k for the rights to fish part of a river but that money goes to the land owner, who is making a profit, not all of this money will be invested in the rivers up keep. Therefore just because you have paid for exclusive fishing rights it doesn't mean you are paying anymore to the up keep of the river than any other river user.
There are many places where you can fish with just a rod licence, without paying exhorbitant fees.
I was refering to both of these rivers upstream of the official navigations.
Essex waterways only manage the Chelmer below Springfield Basin, the portage platforms I refered to were a long way upstream of this and were there to get round EA managed weirs, maybe someone other than EA paid for them but it would have been difficult without EA's help/agreemnet.
Not sure about your comments with regard to the Stour, EA was only created in 1995, the RST had already re-opened the navigation by this time. As I understand it EA's objection to restoring this and other navigations to full use by large craft, is that it conflicts with their duty to protect the enviroment, the construction of new locks and dredging of a river to allow large craft to use it would inevitably have negative effects on the wildlife. This is in no way anti canoe as we can use these Rivers without dredging/locks etc, and I personally prefer them for this reason.
There are signs directing boats around the weirs at Liston, several miles upstream of the official Navigation, and there seems to be some provision made for portaging of canoes at some of the other weirs above this.
My view is that EA are carrying out goverment policy, so it is the goverment and not EA who should be criticised.
i mentioned the figures so you could see in real terms how anglers might get the feeling they were contributing more than canoeists. whether or not they (anglers) get value for money, or even should pay, is a much bigger subject! there's a few hundred years of land ownership and statute bound up in all this. even if you don't like the idea of land owners, you have to accept that most of us own some property. even if it's just a canoe and some kit!! i own a house with a bit of a garden too (well, the bank does to be honest. and that's another subject again!!)
much better to work with than against!
The star argument was a joke...hence the lol. I agree it's a tired argument that doesn't have any bearing on the practcalities of life. You are however assuming that land owners do actually maintain the rivers their lands border. I'm sure many of them do, but I believe the many do not and use their bank ownership to squeeze as much cash as possible out of anglers who wish to enjoy their hobby. Most of these riparian land owners only do the bare minimum needed in order to facilitate the use of their land by anglers and therefore increase their profits. Most are certainly not interested in maintaining rivers in trust for us all. Although not an authority, I suspect that it is the associations and societies that do most of the work on the watercourses, much of which is done voluntarily without cash help from the landowner. I assume then that you agree that there needs to be more effort made in making sure the most antagonistic anglers are aware of how their fees are being spent, and that only their rod licence is directly used by the EA for waterway maintenance on their behalf? Any fees they pay to associations/land owners is to allow them access to the riverbank and does not mean they are entitled to exclusive or privileged use of the water.
Canoeists/kayakers have just as much right to enjoy their hobby as anglers do and vice versa. Even in the U.S.A. (which is probably the most capitalist and litigious country in the world) rivers are deemed to be in trust for the people and are not/cannot be owned (even by the state). If they can get themselves organised then we should be able to do so also.
i think there's a huge difference between what happens up here (regardless of access legislation) in land management terms and south of the border. being brought up in the home counties and doing most of my fishing on canals and gravel pits, i'm aware that land owners often don't put in any effort to maintain waterways. up in the highlands the landowners have a vested interest in maintaining them, even to the level of excess (some estates you can get your horse-drawn rolls-royce and picnic hamper to the waterside without getting your feet muddy. i would argue that's just as bad as neglect, but hey ho...). the income stream is significant and there's a large workforce of local employees dependent upon it.
my point is purely that it is relatively easy to see why a non-canoeing angler could perceive he's paying far more than other water users and therefore feel he is entitled to somewhat more influence over the administration of river matters. whether or not this has any basis is irrelevant: the perception is there!
it is only by talking and working together that both groups can get the best result in terms of access, water quality and overall quality of experience. what's good for canoeists is generally good for anglers too! i would suggest that taking some local anglers out canoeing would be a great start: some may even convert, as it's a damned fine way of catching fish!!
then both anglers and canoeists can lobby the EA for value for money, which is a far more effective approach than back-biting and fragmentation
mike, i should point out that this isn't aimed at you personally. i got the gist of your post and enjoyed and generally agreed with it
This is what I have gathered from this thread. I have absolutely no desire to misrepresent reality and look forward to being corrected.
1. The Environment Authority publish figures which show they directly subsidise Angling to the tune of about £15,000,000 per year.
2. The amount spent by the Environment Authority directly on Canoeing is unknown and not published by the Environment Authority.
3. The Environment Authority has a duty to encourage and sponsor recreational use of the waterways. They fulfill this duty by sponsoring and encouraging Angling and have published plans to do this. The Environment Authority has no published plan to encourage and sponsor canoeing or other recreational use of the waterways.
4. The social and community benefits of angling and canoeing are very similar.
5. The Environment Authority is an arm of government paid for by tax payers.
My opinion is that the Environment Authority is not taking advantage of a great opportunity to enhance the recreational use of the waterways, by sponsoring and encouraging canoeing; especially as the social benefits of the two pastimes are almost identical. Based on the experience in every other country in the Western World, and the clear fact that 99% of both anglers and canoeists are willing to share, the two pastimes can co-exist without any detriment to the other. It is absolutely a win/win situation.
The first thing the EA should do is lobby its political masters to get the access situation sorted out so it can take advantage of this great opportunity to make a real change for the better.
There are of course many details to be worked out... deciding who pays for what is one of them. If they can work this out in every other country in the Western world, they can work it out here.
I have great respect for you and many here believe your every word as fact, but sometimes, inadvertently I hope, you can mislead people.
"The Environment Authority has no published plan to encourage and sponsor canoeing or other recreational use of the waterways."
Have you actually spent any time on the EA site before stating this?
Take a look at the canoeing booklets.
Also look at Boating and the river guide maps, lots of very useful information for canoeing with slipways currents and locks.
There is lots of information positively encouraging canoeing on their waterways,
Also...... just MY opinion.
Do you have a great respect for Doug ?
On what do you base your assumption that 'many believe your every word as fact'?
How do do you know that he is not deliberately feeding misleading information into the forum, as an agent provocteur,
for his own unfathomable reasons ?
No bother, I'm certainly not taking anything personally, I'm enjoying the discussion here. It clearly shows that it's about time the government sorted out the situation with waterways and promptly. Perhaps we should all have our heads banged together eh?
With all the talk of the Environment Agency I thought I'd post this description of what they are supposed to do and how they are run. I lifted this from Wikipedia.org:
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has the lead sponsorship responsibility for the Environment Agency as a whole and is responsible for the appointment of the Chairman and the Environment Agency Board (with the exception of one member appointed by the National Assembly for Wales).
In addition the Secretary of State is responsible for overall policy on the environment and sustainable development within which the Agency undertakes its work; the setting of objectives for the Agency's functions and its contribution to sustainable development; the approval of its budget and payment of Government grant to the Agency for its activities in England and approval of its regulatory and charging regimes. For policy, objectives, approval and activities in Wales, the Agency is accountable to the Minister for Sustainability and Rural Development in Wales (currently Jane Davidson). The Agency's current chairman is Chris Smith and its Chief Executive is Paul Leinster.
The Environment Agency's stated purpose is, "to protect or enhance the environment, taken as a whole" so as to promote "the objective of achieving sustainable development" (taken from the Environment Act 1995, section 4). Protection of the environment relates to threats such as flood and pollution. The vision of the Agency is of "a rich, healthy and diverse environment for present and future generations".
This shows that the EA takes it's lead from the Secretary Of State (ie Government) and that the Secretary Of State IS responsible for policy. Therefore it seems that the Secretary Of State is the one who needs lobbying.
Also, the situation may soon change as the navigation responsiblities of the EA will be soon transferred to a new charity the government is setting up to run our waterways/navigations. I think I'm right in saying that this will start by converting British Waterways to a new charity and then transferring the EA's navigation responsibilties to it shortly afterwards. This will hopefully create a larger more powerful body that will be able to better lobby for and achieve access rights and hopefully pull all water users together a bit better. I'm forever the optomist!
Just had a look at the EA website as well....it's quite poor and in fairness doesn't seem to promote anything very well other than it's own existence lol.
"Also, the situation may soon change as the navigation responsiblities of the EA will be soon transferred to a new charity the government is setting up to run our waterways/navigations. I think I'm right in saying that this will start by converting British Waterways to a new charity and then transferring the EA's navigation responsibilties to it shortly afterwards. This will hopefully create a larger more powerful body that will be able to better lobby for and achieve access rights and hopefully pull all water users together a bit better. I'm forever the optomist!
That really is an optimistic view. The new organisation " Canal & Rivers Trust" will indeed be a charitable trust and in time will take over a lot of the EA's navigation responsibilities.
As things stand the CRT are having their budget cut by about 60% I believe the extra revenue must be raised via the charitable means. It is being compared to the National Trust only for waterways. So I would guess that the cost of paddling may well go up before you see significant investment in our interests. You will find that many of the previously 'salaried' positions are now being offered to volunteers. See here........
I was thinking of this published plan... EA’s plan to foster the growth and quality of Angling over the next few years. I very much approve of EA’s Angling plan, because I know that Angling provides many benefits to the community, especially when it gets young people involved.
I hope to be proved wrong, but I can’t see any mention of similar published plan by the EA to promote recreational use of the waterways by canoeists. Can you see a similar program for canoeing?
One of the reasons why I am passionate about this because I had the good fortune to grow up in a family which valued the outdoors. I remember many adventures both with the family and with the Scouts. I think kids should have the opportunity to use local rivers for boating, adventuring, exploring. It is such a shame that they cannot do this, unlike every other country in the Western world.
Canoeing provides many identical benefits to Angling. The EA could achieve great things for our community. Both should be fostered by the EA.
If I understand the present plans correctly the EA is to cease responsibility for management of navigations in 2015/16 so it would not make sense(in their minds) at the present time and in the current economic climate to spend a large amount of money providing for and promoting canoeing or any other "navigation" aspect for that matter. In effect a cost with no future income benefits to EA.
However it does make sense for them to promote angling and hence increase their income from rod licences.
I really think the answer is simple. Much like why can you find loads of angling programs on the satelite channels every week and little or nothing about paddling.??
Millions of customers versus 10's of thousands. Whether we like it or not paddlers will always attract the proportion of funding, publicity, facilities that our numbers dictate in comparison to other pastimes. That is why we see very little brass rubbing and metal detecting on TV.
This indicates about 1.3 million adults participated in canoeing in 2011. Given that only 2% of the rivers are available, these are amazing numbers.
This is my maths... it says 5.9% of the population = 3.2 million adults. It says 2.4% of the population participated in canoeing... 2.4/5.9 x 3.2 = 1.3 ... please correct me if I am wrong, I don't want to misrepresent anything. Apparently this doesn't include kids.
Clearly the market for angling equipment is huge and this probably influences media exposure more than actual numbers of participants.
It is rare that a survey like this returns results that do not favour the paymasters.
I would say though that if the potential audience was so great then Sky/Discovery etc would be seeking to tap into it. You can bet they have done their homework.
I think our case will never carry any weight whilst we use figures in this way.
3.2 million adult participants? Yet there are only 404,000 canoes/kayaks owned.....strange, I own 3, how many do you own? I know many people who own two or more.
So in reality there are probably about 250,000 owners at best. That means that the other 3 million 'participants must have hired their boats. Many will have had just an hours fun at the beach or at Center Parcs. These are NOT paddlers but your figures seek to use them for leverage.
I wonder where they paddled? I rarely see another paddler when I am on the water but it is reassuring to note that someone is making a fortune. There must also be one hell of a big hire fleet out there so I bet canoe/kayak sales must reflect that too.
I am not a cynic Doug, I am a realist. This is one of the biggest recreational paddling sites and it has only 11000 members of which I bet lest than 1000 visit more than once a week. Take a look at petitions and see how many paddlers participate.
I want the same as you....unlimited access to suitable water. But when I discuss it with friends and colleagues I try and use facts like the 2% access figure, no one would believe me if I quoted 3.2 million my argument would lose credibility.
Sorry but I feel you do misrepresent the facts a little.
1. The EA does not subsidise Angling - it support fisheries. The two are subtly and importantly different.
2. Why should it? It is under no duty to do so. The primary functions of the EA (and its predecessor the NRA) are related to water resources and environmental protection. Promotion of recreation is a secondary duty that it may do if it has the time and money to do so. It is not under an obligation to promote recreation (see the Water Resources Act, 1991).
3. As for 2.
5. Actually it is a quango (a quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation), and not an arm of government.
The EA are not the culprits. The anglers are not the culprits (although some individuals, and I expect the same goes for paddlers, get rather heated and rude). The culprit is the law, which at best is unclear or more likely just not reflective or today's society and reality.
We will have to agree to differ. People can read the vast amount of information on the EA web site which supports and promotes angling and make their own judgement. Here is an example. As I have said, I applaud the EA's support of angling as it has many benefits to the community. I want this support extended to canoeing which has the same benefits. This is a positive suggestion... in the spirit of co-operation with both the EA and the angling community.
Last edited by dougdew99; 21st-April-2012 at 07:49 AM.
The report shows 1.3 million people participated in canoeing in 2011, not 3.2 million people. the 3.2 million is the number who participate in all forms of recreational boating.
I am no statistician, but I think this means that if you asked 100 people at random if they got in a canoe or kayak in 2011, two people would say they did.
Whether you believe the report or not, is your choice.
The full RYA watersports participation report can be found here. It is 91 pages and contains a lot of interesting things.
The RYA website does warn readers not to attempt to manipulate the figures provided as they are derived from a complex set of data.
One section deals with participation rates/frequency and indicates that a third of those who canoed only paddled once and the majority (82%) less that 5 times in the year. Only 7% paddled more than once a month.
Anglers proportionally indulged more frequently.
Of course this brings us back to the question, is this a result of easier access to water for fishing than for canoeing?
Why will it be redundant?
The EA say "The Environment Act also states that we must promote recreation on or near inland and coastal waters and its associated land."
Is the Environment Act being changed? Will the EA no longer have this responsibility?
"It shall be the duty of the Agency, to such extent as it considers desirable, generally to promote—(a)the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty and amenity of inland and coastal waters and of land associated with such waters;
(b)the conservation of flora and fauna which are dependent on an aquatic environment; and
(c)the use of such waters and land for recreational purposes;"
Doug, you quote from the Environment Act 1995 thatOriginally Posted by dougdew99It shall be the duty of the Agency to maintain, improve and develop salmon fisheries, trout fisheries, freshwater fisheries and eel fisheries.". You will note that the wording regarding fisheries is somewhat stronger. i.e. their is an absolute duty on the EA regarding fisheries and an optional duty regarding recreation.
This should be contrasted with the wording further on in the same section "
However, both of these are a little bit of a red herring with respect to access, as the EA does not control access and it is only the navigation authority for 10 rivers (where as far as I am aware there are no access issues).
You make some very good points. Thanks for clarifying these matters. I beg to differ on the question of 'red herrings'
"It shall be the duty of the Agency, to such extent as it considers desirable, generally to promote— (c) use of such waters and land for recreational purposes"
It is clear from this that EA has a general duty to promote recreation to the extent it considers reasonable. Right now, it considers it is reasonable to specifically promote angling and has it has specific plans and targets to promote it. No one has be able to show that the EA has specific plans or targets for any other recreational use.
The EA could do many things to promote canoeing as a recreational use of waterways. Just imagine some of them...
1. It could report its political masters that it wants to promote canoeing but is hampered by the current confusion regarding the law.
2. It has superb contacts among land owners and anglers and could act as an honest broker to establish access under the current confused legal situation. It could back up by promoting the non invasive nature of canoeing and the the fact that anglers and canoeists can live together amicably. It could make it clear to all stakeholders that it has the objective of promoting canoeing as well as angling.
3. It could have published targets for increasing the numbers of canoeists and the quality of the canoeing experience.
It does all these things now, or their equivalent, for anglers. Why not canoeists? We are just as entitled to their support as are Anglers. Besides the social benefits of both angling and canoeing, the EA could then claim to be acting generally rather than specifically.
I want to see a much greater sense of entitlement among the canoeing fraternity. As I will say, ad nauseum, I have nothing against Anglers or the EA. I can see how the EA can meet its objectives in a new way, by supporting us. It is a very exciting positive idea with direct benefits to society, and especially our kids.
Just out of interest what was the EA's response when you detailed your grievances directly to them?
I don't have any grievances with EA... see above "As I will say, ad nauseum, I have nothing against Anglers or the EA". For me, the way forward is, where possible, to establish mutually beneficial outcomes... if and when I get to exchange views with the EA, I'll let you know...
Last edited by dougdew99; 22nd-April-2012 at 05:08 PM.
That suprises me.
You have told us that you wish the EA would actively promote canoeing yet you have not told the EA themselves. They being the only people who can tell you if they have any such plans or to tell you why they don't.
Not meant as a criticism but just thought that in the interests of fairness they should have been offered a chance to comment.
Excellent suggestion... but this access campaign depends on effort by many. Why don't you ask them?, You have a good grasp of the issues and are no doubt in favour of the proposal. You need to do a bit of research... find out the best person to ask, and so on. I, like you would be very interested in their response...
Last edited by dougdew99; 23rd-April-2012 at 05:50 AM.