Legalities of altering water flow

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PolecatApollo
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Legalities of altering water flow

Post by PolecatApollo » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:20 pm

Just wondering if anyone knows how much trouble we could get in for moving rocks to alter a rapid flow? On our summer low water run rapids are few and far between but there's a pair of surfing waves where we spend a lot of time. If it spits you out or if someone swims we need to carry back up but I believe we could create an eddy on one side to paddle back up and it may also funnel more water into the wave. I've dreamed up other modifications on our Autum higer water runs if we can move bigger stones as required, now would be the time to do it when the waters low. I guess fishing gillies may have something to say and the land owners depending on where we aquire our additional rocks.

Alec
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Re: Legalities of altering water flow

Post by Alec » Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:09 pm

Have a look for the thread on here about someone moving rocks around on the Lyn (I think) to see how much of a kerfuffle you may cause. As for the legalities - no idea.

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Jim
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Re: Legalities of altering water flow

Post by Jim » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:32 pm

If in doubt consult someone who knows what they are doing, SEPA or EA for example, or maybe EPD.

Some possible challenges I can think of:
- landowner permission
- altering habitat of protected species if present
- altering flood characteristics of the river
- compatibility of any additional material you want to add

I'm sure in most cases all of these (and any others that I haven't thought of) can be addressed, but you might need to pay for surveys or obtaining planning consent or something.

There are plenty of sites where clubs and organizations (including angling ones) have modified the riverbed to create eddies etc. so it clearly isn't impossible to do.

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Re: Legalities of altering water flow

Post by jmmoxon » Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:06 am

& chances are, unless you are very careful/lucky, the eddies may affect the performance of the waves - do they still form at higher flows now?

Also, depending on the size of the river, any boulders you can move by hand will probably be washed away by winter floods.

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Simon
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Re: Legalities of altering water flow

Post by Simon » Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:03 am

This could be a question to refer to the National Governing Body - Canoe England or equivalent.

In a recent post on a different thread this appeared:
For future reference too, you can contact any of the Waterways & Environment team at any time. We cover specific regions, but in general we get mucked in where needed too, and we'll always get your email's to the right person. We are:
Northern England, and Manager of the function: richard.atkinson@britishcanoeing.org.uk
Central England: chris.page@britishcanoeing.org.uk
Southern England: kevin.east@britishcanoeing.or.uk
Access queries; access@brtishcanoeing.org.uk
When I was involved a few years ago the access team had contacts with a few helpful civil engineers who would be happy to visit a site and offer advice in this sort of area - so give them a call.

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Re: Legalities of altering water flow

Post by stonercanoe » Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:22 am

You could contact the group that now own Symonds Yat. They had the groins (stone walls) rebuilt and must have information on the legal implications.
Just as an aside I make a bet all the fishing groins on our rivers have no planning permission, no wildlife impact survey, and no hydrology/flooding survey.
Sneaky idea, contact your local fishing club, get them on board, and put in a multiple sport bid to the lottery commission /sport England to raise money to improve facilities!
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Re: Legalities of altering water flow

Post by BC Waterways Env » Mon Jul 20, 2015 3:06 pm

PolecatApollo wrote:I guess fishing gillies may have something to say and the land owners depending on where we aquire our additional rocks.
Just seeing this post, so thought I'd offer an initial opinion.

You would definitely need permissions to do any such works - even if you owned the land yourself. Even small changes in river morphology can have big impacts on erosion - and creating/adjusting eddies to the extent proposed would be likely to have an impact. Any such changes (even if small) would probably need 'works in rivers' permits from the Environment Agency. The rules for obtaining these have been relaxed somewhat in recent years, but works would still need to be reported to them - and would definitely need landowner permission.

There could be potential for damaging spawning grounds and other habitats if shifting rocks and trampling around in rivers - for certain species this can be a criminal offence, if the damage is done intentionally.

Is the landowner happy to have paddling through his land? If so, there maybe ways to get them on board and work with the EA to see what could be allowed and how. If the landowner isn't happy with it, you would be going much further than any right of navigation, and I'd strongly caution against it.

If you like us to see if we can point you in the right direction for advice on permissions and design please do give us a shout!
Simon wrote:
For future reference too, you can contact any of the Waterways & Environment team at any time. We cover specific regions, but in general we get mucked in where needed too, and we'll always get your email's to the right person. We are:
Northern England, and Manager of the function: richard.atkinson@britishcanoeing.org.uk
Central England: chris.page@britishcanoeing.org.uk
Southern England: kevin.east@britishcanoeing.org.uk
Access queries; access@brtishcanoeing.org.uk
When I was involved a few years ago the access team had contacts with a few helpful civil engineers who would be happy to visit a site and offer advice in this sort of area - so give them a call.

Simon
Chris, W&E Manager - Central, chris.page@BritishCanoeing.org.uk

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Re: Legalities of altering water flow

Post by Mark R » Tue Jul 21, 2015 8:44 am

stonercanoe wrote:the group that now own Symonds Yat.
Who specifically is this?

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Re: Legalities of altering water flow

Post by SimonMW » Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:03 pm

You could contact the group that now own Symonds Yat. They had the groins (stone walls) rebuilt
AFAIK it was the BCU who purchased them (good thing too as I believe an angling club wanted them and didn't want the boaters anywhere near them any more). The walls were rebuilt, but promptly collapsed in the ensuing winter floods because (AFAIK) the EA wouldn't let the rapids designers (EPD?) lock down the rocks with decently deep foundations. So they just had to rest there and got swept away. As it is the rapids are now rather non existent, although I think Wyedean club have been doing some work to rebuild them recently.

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Re: Legalities of altering water flow

Post by ali » Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:45 pm

Symonds Yat Rapids are owned by the BCU and managed by a sub committee which includes local business owners and representatives from local clubs (currently Wyedean and Cheltenham though any local clubs or individuals are welcome to get involved).

As Simon said the biggest problem with moving rocks is they don't stay where you put them and there is a lot of legal work involved.

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