BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

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quicky
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BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by quicky »

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British Canoe Union Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the Law
29.07.13



The CEO of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal has written to the British Canoe Union (BCU) demanding that it publicly accepts the established legal position that there is no universal right to paddle on most rivers in England & Wales, and to support the government policy of local voluntary access agreements. The BCU has in recent months suggested on its web site and elsewhere that ancient laws might give people the right to paddle or row boats wherever and whenever they like.

Confusingly, the BCU is at the same time campaigning for a change in the law to allow unlimited and unregulated access to all rivers at all times, free of charge. The Angling Trust has also been reliably informed that the BCU has ordered its local staff and volunteers not to sign voluntary access agreements with angling clubs and landowners unless they allow access at all times.

This conduct by the BCU has coincided with a spate of widespread unlawful canoeing, increased conflict on riverbanks and threatening behaviour towards law-abiding anglers and their clubs over the past year. Anglers pay rent and a rod licence to go fishing, and are subject to close seasons and a wide range of bye laws.

The issue has been highlighted in a recent article published by the BBC, in which the BCU's suggestion of general public rights of navigation dating back to medieval times was explained as a "misunderstanding" of the law by highly respected and independent barrister Jonathon Karas QC, an expert in this area of law. The BCU has responded to the article, hinting that it has conflicting legal advice. Lawyers at Fish Legal, which acts as the legal arm of the Angling Trust in England, have previously confronted the BCU with the established legal position, but have never been shown the BCU's advice.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal, has now written to his counterpart at the BCU demanding that they reveal the conflicting advice, accept the law and work with anglers to promote voluntary access agreements so that paddlers and others can enjoy greater lawful access to rivers.

Mark Lloyd said: "The BCU's position has now been independently referred to as a misunderstanding of the law, and I believe it would be irresponsible for them to risk greater confusion and conflict by denying that the law is anything other than clear: there are no general public rights of navigation above the tidal limit unless specifically acquired (usually by statute). They may not like the law, or the government's policy, but as a national governing body they must accept both. The Angling Trust and its members are keen to increase access to waters for boats and swimmers where appropriate, but on a small island it makes sense to have agreements drawn up between local people to share access and to avoid conflict between users and potential damage to the environment."

ENDS

Notes to editors:
1. The letter from the Angling Trust and Fish Legal can be downloaded HERE

2. The BBC Article referred to was written by David Bailey entitled "The fight for England's Rivers: Canoeists call for greater access" and published online on 12 July 2013: viewable HERE

3. The British Canoe Union's response is available both on the River Access campaign's website and the Canoe England website HERE and HERE

4. The Angling Trust's position statement on navigation is available HERE

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quicky
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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by quicky »

Then you get comments like this on FB from Ashe Hurst, Former Fishery Manager, Pro Coach & Guide at Oxnead Fishery Manager River Bure Norfolk.

The last few lines are very telling. The more they right the more evidence they give....
Ashe Hurst - When BCU member clubs & canoe guides disrespect trespass on to Fishery land & other private property, when they disrespect private parking, when they disrespect residential parking, when they disrespect parking across farm field gates. Also BCU member canoe guides advertising fishery land as thier canoe hire centre, turn up with paddle boards, wild swimmers and ignore polite signs to keep off restored active spawning gravels, when sight meetings with BCU reps fall on death ears with an attitude that stinks and a policy that shows no regaurd for the law, rights and environmental impact and causing such a nusence it jeaopdises a Fisheries income, when they refuse voluntary agreements or eforts to contribute towards access and portage, when they can cut reeds and banks out and build DIY decks on a private fishery yet EA & Police take no action. When Canoes come under the EAs Fisheries & Recreation, yet thier blatent breach of the law, anglers rights and the environment evidence and EA/Plice witnessing this yet not enforced by the EA or Police. Now im not anti canoe, i canoe, but my experience in Norfolk recieved no backing of the law or legal system and the ignorance of the public and some land owners only gave these groups greater freedom to go and do what they liked to a point BCU clubs protest paddled my Fishery and the police did nothing to stop them. They done pay, they are not licenced, they do not contribute and the only canoes i had no trouble with were kayak anglers. So my question is this, whos going to enforce this Law on the rivers? or do we String Barbed Wire across our fishing rights & tow Canoeists cars off our fisheries now!
This is the AT letter

http://www.anglingtrust.net/core/cor...ad.asp?id=4395

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by Strad »

Well lets hope the bcu give a suitably robust response
Old School?? I miss my AQII..
Graham Stradling

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quicky
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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by quicky »

Your stuffed if your a poor defenseless cormorant as well....
http://anglingtrust.net/news.asp?itemid ... Trust+News

It will be the seals and otters next....

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by clarky999 »

LOL, writing to the BCU... Hope they're not expecting a response anytime this year!

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by dougdew99 »

I note that the Angling Trust (AT) is only prepared to meet with BCU, if the BCU accepts in advance that the AT's view of the law is correct. This makes any such meeting unlikely. The ball is in AT's court to propose a meeting free of such conditions, if they are serious about making progress.

The Angling trust has a simple remedy. It can sue any canoeist who is breaking the law. Why has it not done so?

Meanwhile more and more canoeists are realising that our rivers are there to be paddled and to be shared with the 99% of anglers who apply common sense to this issue. There is no practical difficulty in sharing rivers, apart from the behavior of the 1% of obnoxious idiots on both sides. These are the people who park illegally, trespass on private land to get access, shout and threaten abuse, throw missiles, commit criminal acts and so on.

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by ajm »

Imagine if the courts convened and found that paddlers have no right to paddle rivers in the UK? This scares me!

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by SimonMW »

Imagine if the courts convened and found that paddlers have no right to paddle rivers in the UK? This scares me!
It doesn't scare me at all. It would clarify the law. It would also show up the UK and it's attitude to countryside access to the whole world as being totally backward and repressive, as well as f***ing up a whole manufacturing, retail, and leisure industry. In a recession that would be a rather interesting thing for them to do...

It would be extremely interesting to see how things would pan out if the courts decided this and then the subsequent public reaction.

A morally wrong law is impossible to enforce, and would quite quickly be repealed AFAWI.

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by ajm »

SimonMW wrote: A morally wrong law is impossible to enforce, and would quite quickly be repealed AFAWI.
That's one way to think about it, certainly. I agree clarification would be an improvement on the current situation. I just think that clubs are hesitant enough to paddle "out of season" as it is (at least the ones I know of), anything further and their activities may be non-existent.

How do people paddle now? Do you ignore access agreements, do you believe there is a public right of navigation?

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by Yew »

We do paddle within the law. Anglers dont when they insist that the right of navigation is not there, and are violent or cause criminal damage towards paddlers.

icklepaddler
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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by icklepaddler »

I love the irony that, after decades of declining paddlers requestz for voluntary access arrangements, they are now decrying the BCU for its new position re access arrangements.

If the fisheries had given a bit, we would probably have ended up with a situation whereby paddlers generally followed their requirements. But some fisheries wanted it all for themselves, they reached too far and will end up with a shared resource.

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by Seedy Paddler »

ajm wrote:Imagine if the courts convened and found that paddlers have no right to paddle rivers in the UK? This scares me!
The situation is clearly stated in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act so the only debate is on opinion on law in England. No reason for the BCU to kowtow to the bluster of the Angling Trust. Continue to press for realistic and reasonable access for all.
The Angling Trust and its members are keen to increase access to waters for boats and swimmers where appropriate, but on a small island it makes sense to have agreements drawn up between local people to share access and to avoid conflict between users and potential damage to the environment."
With Wales to the West and Scotland to the North - England is not an Island (i.e. surrounded by Sea), surely it would be sensible to adopt the most progressive and inclusive of legal understandings for the whole of the UK.

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by ian the badger »

My slant is this, nothing has changed in the fifty odd years I have been paddling. The AT has successfully set itself up, in a very short space of time, as the voice of angling in England. Meanwhile the BCU have been bouncing around in the cobwebbed microcosm they have they have always existed in.
If any progress is to be made regarding access then it must be countered by a representative body such as the AT. Not the woolley tweed suited image that currently prevails.

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by morsey »

Sorry who are the BCU?

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by Glyn B »

A license to drive does not mean you own the road.

A license to fish does not mean you own the river.

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by morsey »

More importantly with licences:

Car tax doesn't cover the costs for roads. Government pays for roads through National and local taxation. Everybody pays for and has a right to use roads.

Fishing licences don't cover the costs for fishing or rivers. Government pays for fishing and rivers through the EA via taxation. Everybody pays for rivers. Nobody, except anglers, claim exclusive rights!

AT can just be ignored, until 'they' take legal action, 'their' legal interpretation carries no more or less weight than paddlers interpretation. The fact they continue to threatened legal action and never carry out any legal action, demonstrates just how secure they believe their position to be. And as it is AT who are trying to assert 'their' belief on others, it is them who should indeed put up.

There is no change, carry on, business as usual.

Rivers are for life, not just for winter!

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by Adrian Cooper »

ian the badger wrote:The AT has successfully set itself up, in a very short space of time, as the voice of angling in England.
Is that true?

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by Jim Pullen »

Surprisingly good response from Paul Owen:

http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/media/p ... g%2013.pdf
Done any NE/NW rivers not on the site? PM me!

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by Glyn B »

Indeed! If Mr. Owen continues in this vein, I may have to revise my opinion of the BCU!

ian the badger
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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by ian the badger »

Adrian Cooper wrote:
ian the badger wrote:The AT has successfully set itself up, in a very short space of time, as the voice of angling in England.
Is that true?
It was formed in 2009 as the merger of six angling groups. Since then they have galvanised themselves into a truly representative body, and aggressive lobbyists. Their voice being heard and opinions sought in the National media and the corridors of power.

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by Big Henry »

Jim Pullen wrote:Surprisingly good response from Paul Owen:

http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/media/p ... g%2013.pdf
And it was made in less than a fortnight!
Adrian Cooper wrote:
ian the badger wrote:The AT has successfully set itself up, in a very short space of time, as the voice of angling in England.
Is that true?
Possibly, if you are only including the militant section of anglers!
Paul Owens wrote:May I remind you that ownership of riparian land is the bank and bed only and not the water that passes over it
So can we sue them for damage to our boats when we hit 'hidden' rocks on the river bed? (That was a rhetorical question!)

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by quicky »

Some nice points on the AT FB page. (Funny they have not removed them yet)...
Scroll down a bit....
https://www.facebook.com/AnglingTrust?fref=ts

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by ajm »

Jim Pullen wrote:Surprisingly good response from Paul Owen:

http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/media/p ... g%2013.pdf
Very reasonable.

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by Glyn B »

Quicky, facebook page

Are you referring to the "dangerous" seal they want to remove on environmental grounds?

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quicky
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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by quicky »

The shut up rant from Ashe where he says that their rivers shoulfd be barbed wired off..... There are some nice reply from paddlers as well.

They are just boasting about getting permission to kill cormorants again attacking there fish. It will be otters next. although they seem to be for putting ells back into the levern area. Always thought eels ate fish as well.....

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by Alex Shiell »

Jim Pullen wrote:Surprisingly good response from Paul Owen:

http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/media/p ... g%2013.pdf
A measured and reasoned response. Makes me hope that the BCU can build a reputation for advocating on our behalf.

I look forward to a response from the Angling Trust.

On a side note, I have noticed far quicker response times from BCU/CE of late...

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by SimonMW »

I look forward to a response from the Angling Trust.
The Angling Truss won't reply. Their letter to the BCU was pretty much just a publicity stunt to stir things up. The AT has no powers over anything. Not land, nor laws. So I do not know why anyone needs to talk to them.

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by Alex Shiell »

SimonMW wrote:
I look forward to a response from the Angling Trust.
The Angling Truss won't reply. Their letter to the BCU was pretty much just a publicity stunt to stir things up. The AT has no powers over anything. Not land, nor laws. So I do not know why anyone needs to talk to them.
They have a fair bit of lobbying power thanks to Martin Salter (one of my local MPs sadly). They are invited to a meeting with Ministers that is alluded to in both letters, whilst the BCU aren't. I would say that results in a fair bit of influence to combat.

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by quicky »

Martin Salter (one of my local MPs sadly)
EX MP, They have a lot of power through Richard Benyon as well but he knows as well as has been proved people have a right to paddle rivers.

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Re: BCU Told to Put up or Shut up and Respect the law

Post by Alex Shiell »

quicky wrote:
Martin Salter (one of my local MPs sadly)
EX MP, They have a lot of power through Richard Benyon as well but he knows as well as has been proved people have a right to paddle rivers.
I stand corrected. A small victory for the River Access Campaign...

Richard Benyon is a landowner around these parts too and supports this charity (http://www.uftoncourt.co.uk/), which has just opened an Adventure section that includes canoeing. One wonders when the two aspects will collide... :P

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