Access Rights

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pritch1
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Access Rights

Post by pritch1 » Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:39 am

Great work from Phillip Thomas!

Please join this campaign: http://www.change.org/p/natural-resourc ... e_petition

"Since their first application for funding in 2012 under the name 'Welsh Dee Fishing Ltd' the Welsh Government have stated that the Law is 'unclear' regarding navigation of our rivers as a blanket statement. In this light, it can not be considered appropriate to award public funding to an organisation made up of angling interests whom independently have made it very clear they wish to reduce and heavily restrict the main water users (canoes and kayaks) without the legislation to support them.

By providing SPLASH funding to a group with published interest in reducing access as recently explored in the media - including the BBC One show, you are effectively providing a government seal of approval to their viewpoint, which may in due course be proven incorrect in law. We would ask that you take a neutral stance in this matter and seek another method of encouraging fair usage of our rivers until the law is clarified.

All members of public, including those who take their children to the river to feed the ducks, paddle in the water, canoe, swim or kayak in/on the river anywhere in Wales should take interest in this petition.

Welsh Dee Partnership Ltd rules (which are not supported in law) prohibit all non angling users from the water for the majority of daylight hours, and have been given government support in order to publicise and police their rules.

If we do not stand against such elitist schemes whose aim is to restrict our rivers for exclusive use by a minority there is chance for them to pop up all over the country - paid for with public funds."

flipt
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Re: Access Rights

Post by flipt » Tue Sep 23, 2014 1:02 pm

Thanks!
I grant this petition is cornering just one small area of one specific issue, but i felt it was important to start somewhere.
I had a one hour meeting with Tony Gaskin last week (which i will be writing an open reply to shortly) in which he expressed a feeling that only a small core of 35ish paddlers were non supporting of what WDP were doing?! As such, i think its very important to show him that the true number is much much higher, and that the general public are not in support of his angling bodies work!

On a very related topic, i am also trying to obtain all historic information that i can to demonstrate that the welsh Dee has been used for centuries as a method of navigation and recreational use by boats and swimmers. I feel that this is probably the easiest way of heavily supporting the view that PRN exists here!

If anyone has seen or knows where to find such info - please email me gradientfood@gmail.com

Cheers.
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Wildswimmer Pete
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Re: Access Rights

Post by Wildswimmer Pete » Tue Sep 23, 2014 1:45 pm

It's the encroachment of the Corporate State - private corporate interests misappropriating the law of the land in England and Wales. Of course Scotland has the right to roam (including access to water) enshrined in Scottish law.

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ChrisE
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Re: Access Rights

Post by ChrisE » Tue Sep 23, 2014 2:34 pm

flipt wrote:a feeling that only a small core of 35ish paddlers were non supporting of what WDP were doing?!
An interesting position given the 297 that have already signed your petition...

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Re: Access Rights

Post by Wildswimmer Pete » Tue Sep 23, 2014 4:49 pm

ChrisE wrote:
flipt wrote:a feeling that only a small core of 35ish paddlers were non supporting of what WDP were doing?!
An interesting position given the 297 that have already signed your petition...
It's now 345 - the wild swimmers are piling in ;-)

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John K
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Re: Access Rights

Post by John K » Tue Sep 23, 2014 4:53 pm

Signed :)

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Re: Access Rights

Post by Wildswimmer Pete » Tue Sep 23, 2014 5:22 pm

Now up to 373!!

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Re: Access Rights

Post by Wildswimmer Pete » Tue Sep 23, 2014 5:53 pm

Wahey - 402!!

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Re: Access Rights

Post by Wildswimmer Pete » Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:38 pm

Now 472, c'mon lads, only 28 needed.

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Re: Access Rights

Post by Wildswimmer Pete » Tue Sep 23, 2014 8:33 pm

We've made 510 and still rising!!

This isn't just a local concern - should WDP get away with this then other vested corporate interests around the country will climb onto the bandwagon. Best to nip it in the bud before the corporate wedge is driven further in.

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justsaying
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Re: Access Rights

Post by justsaying » Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:27 pm

http://www.assembly*wales*.org/cr-ld8089-e.pdf

surely this has all been done before and WDP is the result??

Maybe some clarity enclosed for some people?

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Re: Access Rights

Post by twopigs » Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:53 am

662 signed up so far
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Re: Access Rights

Post by Poke » Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:54 am

justsaying wrote:Maybe some clarity enclosed for some people?
Might be more useful if the link worked?
Any chance of reposting it please?
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justsaying
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Re: Access Rights

Post by justsaying » Wed Sep 24, 2014 9:03 am

www.assemblywales.org/cr-ld8089-e.pdf

(If not google "Phillip Thomas petition Welsh Dee" and it is the third link down)

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Re: Access Rights

Post by dpround » Wed Sep 24, 2014 11:00 am

Good grief, has anyone read the "Inquiry into Access to Inland Water in Wales"! The conclusion is a definite statement that access without agreement is a crime and they intend to leave it that way. RIP river based kayak and canoe activities.

I can't believe that anyone could be so stupid as to believe that it is practical to negotiate separate agreements with every single riparian owner and arrive at any usable cohesive solution. How thick are these people!

Time to sell the river boat I think :(

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Re: Access Rights

Post by Poke » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:26 pm

They also say that:
Recommendation 2: That the Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing targets Splash funding at these pilot projects. The effects of the pilot projects should be closely monitored and the outcomes widely disseminated.
Hopefully the fact that they have a petition signed by ~500 people in 24 hrs in protest to (the first of?) these pilot projects will be "monitored and the outcomes widely disseminated".
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pritch1
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Re: Access Rights

Post by pritch1 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:54 pm

Poke wrote:They also say that:
Recommendation 2: That the Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing targets Splash funding at these pilot projects. The effects of the pilot projects should be closely monitored and the outcomes widely disseminated.
Hopefully the fact that they have a petition signed by ~500 people in 24 hrs in protest to (the first of?) these pilot projects will be "monitored and the outcomes widely disseminated".
Agree completely with the above, the funding was given to improve access and it has done anything but. The organisation has also closed off lines of communication where the general public can get feedback and ask questions which is ridiculous!

This does however show why we all need to get behind this petition!

justsaying
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Re: Access Rights

Post by justsaying » Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:29 pm

I might be missing the point of what the petition is trying to achieve?

Is it to get SPLASH funding back?
Is it to "get back at" Welsh Dee partnership?
Is it a collective means of voicing opinion about access??

I am not trying to create an argument, just wanting some clarity.

The document I linked earlier seems to counter a lot of arguments that we are seeing on Facebook and arguments that WDP have not responded to. The information is all accessible online and open for people to search - that is how I cam across that document and several others relating to legal access and PRN.

The point I was making is, by signing a petition are we not going around in circles? That Investigation by the Welsh Assembly was prompted by a mass petition from Canoe Wales. Many of the names that were included in the investigation are those who are still fighting the corner and using the same arguments. As it states "we can't please everyone" and "some may feel we should have done more"

From what I can see (agree or disagree with WDP) What they are doing is completely in line with the recommendations from the Welsh Assembly - allowing boaters at certain times of the day depending on the time of the year is the what the WA have requested among other things. Again from my understanding those who are operating WDP are a collection of the riparian owners? And despite if we agree with it or not - they have the legal right to make these decisions.


I am not saying I agree with any of this or that it is morally right, just pointing out some facts that I have come across (please don't bite my head off)

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Chas C
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Re: Access Rights

Post by Chas C » Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:56 pm

justsaying wrote: despite if we agree with it or not - they have the legal right to make these decisions.
Where did you get the idea that land owners have a legal right to manage access on the river water, to and from the river I'd agree but not on it.

You have only posted on this issue under this name - why not come out in the open and let everyone know who you are ?

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Re: Access Rights

Post by ChrisE » Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:14 pm

justsaying wrote:From what I can see (agree or disagree with WDP) What they are doing is completely in line with the recommendations from the Welsh Assembly
Items not met in my understanding:
94.Many people pointed to access agreements as the way forward. We
were, however, concerned that, in the type of access agreements that
currently exist, not all interests come to the table as equals and the
agreements can be seen as putting the needs of fishermen first whilst
controlling and limiting access to other water users.
Directors etc are directly involved in fishing interests, and have not consulted any form of river user other than the commercial operators on the river, such as rafters etc.
105. The agreements should be drawn up after consultation with all
those parties who have an interest in the stretch of water. As well as
the land owner and any recreational users or potential users, this may
include local authorities and businesses and community and
conservation interests groups.
Recreational users not given the opportunity to join the discussions before hand, and neither is local community with swimming in the town etc.
Recommendation 12: That any code of conduct should make
explicit the rights and responsibilities of users and access owners
and should be promoted and advertised by all organisations
involved in giving or using access to inland water as well as
national organisations such as the Welsh Government, CCW,
Environment Agency Wales, Visit Wales and the Sports Council for
Wales.
National governing bodies not included, ie. WCA or any wild swimming representatives etc.

Furthermore there is this point:
Recommendation 2: That the Minister for Environment,
Sustainability and Housing targets Splash funding at these pilot
projects. The effects of the pilot projects should be closely
monitored and the outcomes widely disseminated.
The petition will help to show the displeasure and disagreement with this dictatorship run by fishing interests.

Further specific to the Dee as far as I'm aware, apart from the mile end mill site, the access and egress points are off public land, and there is no need for an access agreement to paddle on water over land. As such the "Welsh Dee Partnership" is dictating restrictions on the access from public location which they have no right to do, and also trying to control the use of flowing water, that just happens to flow above some private land which they also have no right to do.

There may also be many many other points which are not listed here.

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: Access Rights

Post by Adrian Cooper » Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:19 pm

I tried earlier to sign this petition on my phone via a feacebook link but it didn't seem to work. Done it now.

flipt
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Re: Access Rights

Post by flipt » Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:36 pm

Justsaying,

There are a combination of reasons for the petition, and i do understand why you question - i will try to answer without biting your head off - its a very complex confusing subject and its right that people such as yourself should ask questions.

I feel we seem to differ in opinion in our view of the Welsh Government standing. The Welsh Government in their avoidance of making commitment on the subject of navigation law said they wished to promote Voluntary Access Arrangements. I understand this to mean exactly that - Access, and voluntary.

What WDP are doing does not in any sense meet this criteria as they are dictating navigation rather than access and at no point indicate anything voluntary.
What WG indicated as their wish was that ALL stakeholders would come to the table where there was conflict and agree a way forward. This has not happened here. The WDP 'arrangement' carries the same weight as if we paddlers made an 'arrangement' between ourselves for 24hr 365 day access.... Its a terrible waste of public money intended to benefit the public and not an old boys club.

Its ONE stakeholder dictating their law, and suggesting consequences for those that don't follow - it shares much with a protection racket. This would be fine and ignorable if it wasnt for the fact they are publicly funded, and worse still by a fund set up to INCREASE access.

Much of what you asked has been covered in the petition write up, Natural Resource Wales supporting this single stakeholders interests is far from in the public interest and gives weighting to one side of the coin. Its far from neutral.

In my opinion, raising the issues time and time again whilst boring for some actually serves to publicise our cause, and increase public awareness. Work prior to the petition led to a news story in the north wales post which raises awareness and more nationally continual voicing from paddlers has helped get high level publicity such as the national topic raised on the BBC One show last week. Do you think it better that we stand up to the Bully once and then hide, or refuse to be bullied and make those with the power to help hear our plight?

I very firmly believe that Public Rights of Navigation exist on the Welsh Dee, and my historical research is increasingly digging up much information to support that the river has ALWAYS been used for navigation and by boats. Unrealistic policies by self serving organisations as WDP seek to erode those rights and we should not support it.

I am not saying that we as paddlers couldnt give a little to the anglers in the form of some exclusive time for them to enjoy without the horrible unmanageable disturbance of a couple of boats floating past but that would be for US to decide, not for them (with no rights) to aggressively dictate - it also needs to be fair to ALL users equally. Anglers choosing to pay to access land that we do not use to fish from does not give them more rights.

In reply to your question over motivation behind the petition;
I had a long and relatively unproductive chat with Tony Gaskin of Welsh Dee Partnership last week. He commented during this meeting that as it was only about 35 people who have raised issue with what they were doing, their views didnt matter. This petition now means over 700 people have raised issue - This carries weight.

Many of the people signing have made comments for NRW to read - and invariably that can be included in future meetings with WDP. These carry weight.

Regards to SPLASH funding - yes i would like to think that the money that has been paid to WDP but not yet spent can be claimed back. I understand £10,000 was given for signage which effectively means nothing. This petition will at least encourage NRW to review the application and hopefully prevent any further wastage of public money. IF the media got on board with the petition that too could carry weight, particularly if they look into the background of WDP - an organisation previously called welsh dee angling.

To conclude, WDP nor the landowners between the public egress points have ANY written rights to 'allow' or 'dis-allow' navigation - they only have say on access over their land, which is not in question here.
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Re: Access Rights

Post by flipt » Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:38 pm

Chris - you nailed it. taa.
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Re: Access Rights

Post by justsaying » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:10 pm

Thanks for the clarifications RE: The petition.

Like I say not arguing just interested in the details - I like to know the bigger picture and am interested to know both sides of an argument before making my mind up.

My facebook and Forums are clogging up with discussion but it can be hard to follow facts, when most things you read about are a combination of "hearsay", bias opinion, aggression or wishful thinking. Personally I was unaware of much of the background and legal factors until I read some recent documents.

When I started coaching we were always told "most rivers have access arrangements and it is up to you to find out what they are and follow them" plus whenever I have paddled the Dee. It is usually in winter (for water levels) plus daylight hours are limited, so 10-3 access for me isn't that big of a deal.

The amount of negativity towards this whole situation did take me somewhat by surprise.

I would rather not say my name - to be honest although most people I am sure are civil - I don't want to risk the negativity that is bound to stir from my questions as I do understand they may be seen as controversial to some.
I would rather ask questions without risk of backlash- hence not asking or commenting on Facebook.

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Re: Access Rights

Post by flipt » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:49 pm

the various facebook conversations really arent witch hunting non believers, nor quite positively have i seen any militant types - and i am confident i have read EVERY comment made on the subject in the paddler fraternity and most in the angling circle - many of whom are equally non supportive of WDP.

I confess that i struggle to believe that anyone who can remember a day of local access officers and access 'agreements' of old would be surprised by the ill feeling WDP are causing - particularly when you consider we have passed year 6 of completely open access and conflict is at its lowest recorded level because of this. Paddlers are becoming the norm and most anglers are not remotely bothered by them.

The legal factors you mention really are quite simple;
The law is unclear surrounding navigation ON the water.
- Riparian owners see that they have the right to regulate who passes over their land and expect river users to negotiate with them all on an individual basis.
- Paddlers believe the law be that they have PRN to use all navigable natural waterways and need not ask permission once on the water. Its believed that where a river becomes non navigable at a feature such as a weir then the navigator has right to pass over land to avoid the non navigable feature.

The Welsh government has announced it does not know what the law is - describing it as 'unclear'

Considering that Trespass is an 'on land' offence, and the almost limitless recordings of historic usage of our rivers for navigation ,i feel inclined to believe in the PRN view. If you don't, please try and mention a law you think could be broken by navigation?

Please consider that whilst you may only paddle in the winter, a vast number of paddlers are in a boat all year round - many using the dee. I find it sad that so many paddlers are happy to only be interested in protecting their own interest and will not support the bigger picture. If the UK were under threat from invaders, would you only care when they got to your front door and not before?
Our natural resources should be enjoyed by all, and not held for enjoyment by a self serving elite.
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Wildswimmer Pete
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Re: Access Rights

Post by Wildswimmer Pete » Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:53 pm

justsaying wrote:Is it to get SPLASH funding back?
It's what it says on the tin - get our money back and make Welsh Dee Partnership finance their own (pointless) pogrom.

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Re: Access Rights

Post by Wildswimmer Pete » Fri Sep 26, 2014 7:21 pm

Just checked, we're up to 828 - let's make the 1,000 :-)

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Re: Access Rights

Post by Angut » Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:22 pm

Let us get the law clear. The Welsh Dee is a river and was so subject to the provisions in the 1472 Act for Wears and Fishgarths which affirmed the common law to be that ships and boats have their large and free passage on all rivers. This became the law in Wales by section 6 of the 1536 Laws in Wales Act. The 1472 Act remained in force until 1861 when it was repealed along with all the medieval laws concerning weirs by the Salmon Fisheries Act. There was no provision in this repeal for changing the common law public right of navigation so this common law still exists in England and Wales. There are hundreds of years of case law in the Patent Rolls to show that this common law was enforced on all classes of flowing water during the medieval period.

http://andybiddulph.co.uk/ESW/Files/Med ... _Laws.pdfl

In 2003 the High Court ruled that a PRN can only be extinguished by legislation or the exercise of statutory powers. It is out of the hands of the courts and in the hands of the Parliament at Westminster since there is a common jurisdiction in England and Wales and a PRN in Wales belongs to all residents in England as well. WAG has no powers to alter the common law rights of persons living in England.

I have asserted the PRN on all river catchments in Wales and no one has been able to show that is has been extinguished.

http://andybiddulph.co.uk/Asseted_PRNs.html

The legal basis for voluntary access agreements (VAAs) is iffy to say the least. At best they are a contract between consenting parties and as such have no powers over third parties who are not parties to the agreement. They are certainly not byelaws enforcable on the general public. Anyone who claims to have powers to tell you what to do should be challenged to show their stautory authority. NRW water bailiffs will have an ID card ( Note their number and complain if they appear to be exceeding their powers. They have no powers to control navigation except in the case of places where salmon are actually spawning.) Tony Gaskin is claiming to have powers to control navigation. HE HAS NONE. Tell him where to stick it without using bad language since the rivers are a public place by virtue of the PRN, foul language would be a breach of the peace as would anything else that would not be lawful in the street.

I have been watching the situation on the Dee before starting the process that will lead to a complaint to the Ombudsman about WAG and their rejection of the rule of law in favour of arbitrary government by decree. I have seen enough and will now proceed. So far my campaign has cost me £12000 that I can ill afford but I will not stop until the rights of the British people have been secured.

More information on my website
http://www.andybiddulph.co.uk

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Re: Access Rights

Post by Wildswimmer Pete » Fri Oct 10, 2014 10:51 am

The One Show piece covering the concern is now immortalised on YouTube here:



also please "like" and join this FB campaign page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Welsh-De ... 5543645048

To see the petition again:
http://www.change.org/p/natural-resourc ... artnership

Current support now 1538

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flipt
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Re: Access Rights

Post by flipt » Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:26 pm

I love how awkward Mark Lloyd looks as he is berated for being such a selfish tit.

In other news, I'm about to close the petition because we have now made it as far as a director of natural resource Wales. Fingers crossed our comments will be listened to.
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