Access Motion to BC AGM

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Pam Bell
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Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Pam Bell » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:14 pm

Many of us are frustrated at the lack of progress on access, or maybe have been vocal in our criticism of the NGB’s from failing to grasp the nettle in the past; now, we have a real chance to change things!
BC have shown that they are committing to a change in direction. As members we can put some momentum and confidence into this change of direction. To help demonstrate support, a motion has been put forward to the BC AGM. If you support the aim, register your support where it counts – at the AGM! If you can’t get there in person, consider giving your proxy vote to either Ivan or me. Voting forms will be published by BC in due course, with the agenda for the AGM.

Motion to British Canoeing AGM 24 March 2018

Ivan Lawler
Pam Bell


We submit the following item for discussion at the annual general meeting of British Canoeing on 24 March 2018.

After many years of believing that our only option was to try to negotiate access permission, we have moved to a situation where we consider a right of navigation to exist on all rivers. We now know that, while landowners may be entitled to control access to the water across their land, and to charge for this, they do not control navigation and are not entitled to charge for ‘linear access’ or passage along the water on the basis of ownership of the land.

The access effort has evolved as our understanding of the legal situation has developed, but has failed to keep pace with the changing situation. A lack of clarity and consistency has led to misunderstandings and frustration between British Canoeing, its membership, strategic partners and the wider public, and created a barrier to taking a robust and consistent campaigning position.

British Canoeing has stated that where there is no statutory navigation authority, payment should not be made for passage or linear access along inland water, and have withdrawn from many past arrangements which involved payment for use of water. However, confusion remains over some arrangements, including sites operated by the NGB’s. This compromises the BC federal agreement and weakens the campaigning position; to the detriment of British Canoeing’s membership and the wider public.

Building on the success of Scotland, and following Welsh devolution, WCA (now Canoe Wales) began campaigning for legislation to enshrine existing rights into comprehensive legislation with a code of conduct, and this is now on the Welsh Government Agenda. British Canoeing has put on record its belief that this solution would work for England, but its commitment to campaigning for comprehensive legislation for open access with a code of conduct, in England, is unclear.

The experience of Scotland suggests that a successful navigation case will provide impetus to the move for legislation, as with the Spey ruling prior to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act.
British Canoeing has stated that the cost of mounting or defending a case would be prohibitive, and as such, not a viable option. This has constrained the access campaign; however, the necessary funds could be raised.

Our access effort is currently spread very thinly across negotiating for ‘agreements / arrangements’, developing canoe trails and lobbying for improved access.

With no clear vision of our end-goal, the access effort lacks direction and focus.

Without a clear strategy there is no way to measure progress, or to ensure that funds are directed where they are most needed.
We call upon the board and members of British Canoeing to:

(i) Make an unequivocal commitment to campaign for legislation to secure open access for all recreational users of water and waterside, accompanied by a code of conduct, by:

• Setting out on or before 30th August 2018, and implementing, a costed strategy to secure legislation;

• Setting out the vision for the role of BC in monitoring and protecting access, following legislation.

(ii) Address constraints on pro-active campaigning by:


• Investigating mechanisms to make available a portion of membership fees for targeted pro-active access campaigning.

• Establishing clear criteria for determining whether an access-related case should be pursued and/or defended.

• Carrying out a review of existing information to identify suitable rivers for a navigation case.

(iii) Carry out a comprehensive review of British Canoeing Activities in England and Wales; identify and resolve any contradictions and/or conflicts between BC’s current activities and:

• British Canoeing’s stated access policy and aspirations;

• The home nations and the BC Federal Agreement

• British Canoeing’s aspiration to represent the public in terms of canoeing and kayaking in the UK;

(iv) Review and report progress against the above annually at the British Canoeing AGM

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Mike A » Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:12 pm

Looks good - great to see the BC President on board with this.

Is this a members motion, or is this from the board? If this is having to be a members motion, that is a shame. But, with the Presidents support this should have a good shout at being passed.

Re charging to cross land, should a comment re access land etc be added?

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Pam Bell » Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:53 pm

It's a members' motion Mike. BC have shown that they want to change things, and we want to show support for these aspirations. The motion has already been submitted to BC, so nothing can be added or deleted now.

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by cp » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:10 am

Shame you did not add the tryweryn situation as this undermines anything they wish to do. However how do we give you our proxy vote?

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Pam Bell » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:32 am

cp wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:10 am
Shame you did not add the tryweryn situation as this undermines anything they wish to do.
Canolfan Tryweryn is not mentioned individually but it is covered under item (iii)
...However how do we give you our proxy vote?
Thank you! When the agenda of the AGM is published on 2 March, it will include voting instructions.

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by GregS » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:11 pm

Image

Open invitation - please come an have your say!

Event link: https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/regi ... vironment/

British Canoeing news story: https://www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/news ... -roadshow/

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Pam Bell » Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:31 pm

Joint statement with Ivan Lawler:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many thanks

Ivan Lawler

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by cp » Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:15 pm

Apparently this motion has been withdrawn, It appears Ivan Lawler has toed the line to keep his position on the board.

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Pam Bell » Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:31 pm

cp wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:15 pm
It appears Ivan Lawler has toed the line to keep his position on the board.
Chris
From what I know of Ivan, toeing the line is not his style...

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Chris Bolton » Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:19 pm

It appears Ivan Lawler has toed the line to keep his position on the board.
Having been to the Roadshow event in Preston and listened to what David Joy et al said about access, I think Ivan's statement is correct; there is a large degree of convergence. At the Roadshow, I also raised the issues under part (iii) of the motion (independently, I'd forgotten they were on the motion) and was reassured that they are being looked at.

As I understand it, the President is appointed for 4 years, so his position was not in danger.

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Ivan Lawler » Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:39 pm

Thanks for the vote of confidence Chris P. I am going to assume you don't know me so I won't take the comment too personally. I am also guessing you don't know Pam too well either....if you think she would have sat by and let me sell her and her ideals short you are very much mistaken!!

Get onboard, and if you care about the topic which you clearly do to be reading the thread, do something positive when the joint BC statement is released and help us keep the pressure on and he momentum building.

My term is actually only two years so if I prove to be ineffective I would be glad to see someone else step forward to take over.

Cheers Ivan.

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by SPL » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:26 am

BCU AGM = Access debate.....every year nothing changes.

I genuinely feel sorry for thse who miss out on great days on the river due to their need too be part of the BCU and the lack of agreed access.

Sincere good luck, thankfully i dont need the BCU and enjoy full access paddling respectfully and politelty wherever and whenever.

Sorry if my actions make your talks more difficult.

Simon

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Chris Bolton » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:04 am

I genuinely feel sorry for thse who miss out on great days on the river due to their need too be part of the BCU and the lack of agreed access.
That's not what it's about. Things have moved on from access agreements. Yes, you can go and paddle wherever, but there are people out there who believe there is no public right of navigation and that they're entitled to be aggressive in defending their rights. It spoils my day out, when I'm being polite and respectful, to be on the receiving end of abuse and threats, worry about whether my car will be damaged and not feel happy to take young people on the river. Or have to go to Scotland or Scandinavia to avoid that. That's what the current BC proposal and the withdrawn motion are aimed at addressing.

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by SPL » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:32 am

Sorry misinterpreted it...in that case i wish you a lot more luck.

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Pam Bell » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:51 pm

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

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Mark R » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:20 am

Can anyone point out something anything specific in the statement which will be different from before? Anything at all?

It also affirms their right to muddle on doing what they were doing before...access agreements, canoe trail etc.

Disappointed. To put it mildly.
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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Chris Bolton » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:10 am

The following are all, so far as I know, changes from the previous
Clearly, British Canoeing is unable to accept this position but our intention to invite Parliament to legislate
British Canoeing will not endorse any arrangement that fails to meet our criteria for ‘fair, shared sustainable open access
The Board of British Canoeing will ensure that the Charter and campaigning work is properly funded and resourced
I agree that I don't see canoe trails as much of a step forward, but I'm not in the group they're aimed at.
What else were you hoping to see?

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Adrian Cooper » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:02 pm

I see the canoe trails as a potential detrimental move. The opposition cannot help but look at the list which covers almost entirely waterways where there is no access debate. If these trails are going to be of any worth at all in the access campaign, they need to include, for example, rivers where there is a clear legal navigation like the Hampshire Avon; why on earth is this river not included? Then it needs to include rivers where the BC interpretation of the law makes navigation permissible albeit disputed by others. If rivers are not being regularly used, the campaign will lack teeth.
The Draft Motion proposed that; “British Canoeing should carry out a review of existing information to identify suitable rivers for a navigation case.”
In 2018, we have committed British Canoeing resources to delivering a digital solution to provide information on where to go canoeing; where to park, launch and portage. This has been much requested and will be a positive step forward in providing paddlers with the information they need to go canoeing.
Have they not seen the website Paddle Points?
The Draft Motion requested that the Board of British Canoeing should “Make an unequivocal commitment to campaign for legislation to secure open access for all recreational users of water and waterside, accompanied by a code of conduct.”
Acting for the membership of British Canoeing, the Board is pleased to confirm that it intends to be proactive in establishing clarity and to play its part in bringing about changes to legislation which recognises fair, shared, sustainable open access to water.
This is the politician's response!

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Pam Bell » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:34 pm

Adrian Cooper wrote:The Draft Motion requested that the Board of British Canoeing should “Make an unequivocal commitment to campaign for legislation to secure open access for all recreational users of water and waterside, accompanied by a code of conduct.”
Acting for the membership of British Canoeing, the Board is pleased to confirm that it intends to be proactive in establishing clarity and to play its part in bringing about changes to legislation which recognises fair, shared, sustainable open access to water.

This is the politician's response!
On its own, the above statement would not have been enough for me to sign, however, the consultation taking place in the roadshows, which started at abut the same time Ivan and I submitted the motion, introduced the BC Charter, which includes the following points (these are also set out in the Joint Statement).
BC wrote: We are clear that our Aim is to bring about ‘fair, shared, sustainable open access to water’.
 We will campaign for universal clarity through new legislation to give definitive, open access
to water.
 We will lobby ministers and DEFRA for further support to confirm a consistent general right
of access to water in Britain and develop opportunities for canoeing.
 We will campaign for a positive change in the current status quo. The lack of clarity over the
law creates a barrier to progress.

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Adrian Cooper » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:01 pm

Thanks Pam, much better. :-)

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Pam Bell » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:26 pm

Adrian Cooper wrote:I see the canoe trails as a potential detrimental move. The opposition cannot help but look at the list which covers almost entirely waterways where there is no access debate. If these trails are going to be of any worth at all in the access campaign, they need to include, for example, rivers where there is a clear legal navigation like the Hampshire Avon; why on earth is this river not included? Then it needs to include rivers where the BC interpretation of the law makes navigation permissible albeit disputed by others. If rivers are not being regularly used, the campaign will lack teeth.
Adrian Cooper wrote:The Draft Motion proposed that; “British Canoeing should carry out a review of existing information to identify suitable rivers for a navigation case.”
In 2018, we have committed British Canoeing resources to delivering a digital solution to provide information on where to go canoeing; where to park, launch and portage. This has been much requested and will be a positive step forward in providing paddlers with the information they need to go canoeing.
The joint statement goes on from the second paragraph quoted above:
BC wrote: Another positive development this year will be to launch a digital ‘Rivers Database’ for cataloguing historical records evidencing public rights of navigation. As a part of this development, more volunteers will be recruited to play their full part in researching ‘Historical Rights of Way’ and helping to populate the definitive map before 2026. We will then be in a better position to use the growing body of evidence on historic navigation to develop our understanding of the strength of our case for the general rights of navigation and the PRN on specific rivers.
This has a bearing on the question of canoe trails, in that the information regarding historic rights of navigation already rapidly accruing, can be used to inform future advice to paddlers, and also potential choices of waters for canoe trails.

The question of canoe trails is often raised in the context of campaigning for access, but if viewed from the perspective of outlining where people can go paddling with the expectation of finding places to get on and off the water, at convenient intervals, possibly with parking and facilities nearby, they have a part to play in the bigger picture. There are parallels here with long-distance paths over 'access land' under CRoW legislation. In Scotland, under open access, the importance of this type of provision is outlined in the evidence given to the Welsh Assembly Inquiry into the first (WCA) petition for open access legislation for Wales:
Scottish Natural Heritage wrote:It is interesting to note that most Core Paths Plans - which are moving to their finalised stages across Scotland - include water access provision. Core path status is established or proposed on stretches of many rivers and canals, together with core path access paths and launch-points on many loch shores, and river and canal banks.

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Adrian Cooper » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:27 pm

Thanks Pam but you must excuse my caution. Governments are all about 'stakeholders' and 'compromise'. Let's say they are framing their legislation and taking evidence from all 'stakeholders' how about an argument which goes something like 'well BC have identified over 200 canoe trails where their members are perfectly entitled to paddle; why would they need anything else, they've managed with these for several years now. How about we recognise these as OK for canoeing in an amended law and we let the other interests seek agreements on any further stretches they might be interested in. And while we are at it, we will remove this rather unsatisfactory suggestion that canoeists have a PRN on all rivers, that must be daft!'

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Pam Bell » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:28 pm

Adrian Cooper wrote:...Let's say they are framing their legislation and taking evidence from all 'stakeholders' how about an argument which goes something like 'well BC have identified over 200 canoe trails where their members are perfectly entitled to paddle; why would they need anything else, they've managed with these for several years now. How about we recognise these as OK for canoeing in an amended law and we let the other interests seek agreements on any further stretches they might be interested in. And while we are at it, we will remove this rather unsatisfactory suggestion that canoeists have a PRN on all rivers, that must be daft!'
They have always been able to do that, Adrian, and there is already pressure for further restriction! That is why, IMO and many others', it is essential to get public rights of access enshrined in modern legislation.
The argument "why do you want more?" is not a new one. I've been asked in Wales "You already have Tryweryn, why do you want more?" in England "You already have four rivers, why do you want more?" in Scotland "You are allowed to paddle on Sundays, why do you want more?"...
In spite of that, we have advanced the argument.
The position is more robust now than it has been for a very long time; Land Reform legislation is successful in Scotland, similar legislation has been identified by the 2007/8 petitions committee as the solution for Wales, and British Canoeing has made a commitment to campaign for open access legislation for England.
With a clear goal of open access, and a commitment from BC to protect existing rights, proven or otherwise, we have a benchmark against which to measure any future offers of legislation. It's up to us all to be vigilant!

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by cp » Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:03 pm

I went to the North East Roadshow and David Joy did not even turn up. They have stated that they will not engage with Canoe Wales other than to change the wording on charges for the Tryweryn. No matter what you call it when only people passing down the river are charged it is a charge for passage. With their intention not to take this up with Canoe Wales I see no reason the government will take any notice either as they do not practice what they preach. As such I do not see any change in the policy for British canoeing.

Chris

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Pam Bell » Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:36 pm

cp wrote:No matter what you call it when only people passing down the river are charged it is a charge for passage.
I fully agree.

cp wrote:With their intention not to take this up with Canoe Wales I see no reason the government will take any notice either as they do not practice what they preach.

BC is accountable to UK Sport and the Westminster Government. Even if BC took this up with Canoe Wales now, there would be nothing to stop CW doing whatever they want after the new Federal Agreement comes into force. Canoe Wales will need to be held accountable by its members, and to Welsh Government through Sport Wales.

cp wrote:As such I do not see any change in the policy for British canoeing.
British Canoeing has agreed to review practice against their access policy, on sites in England, which is where they will have jurisdiction over access and faclity policy.

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by cp » Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:51 pm

And the government can change their mind too, just ignoring the problem is not the answer they need to at least condemn not promote restricted passage just because it is canoe Wales and creating income, this is double standards
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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Chris Bolton » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:01 pm

ignoring the problem is not the answer they need to at least condemn not promote restricted passage just because it is canoe Wales and creating income, this is double standards
I don't think it's double standards. It's BC trying to respect the non-intuitive position they've got themselves into by being both the UK wide body for competition and coaching and the English body for membership, recreation and facilities (apologies if that's not quite accurate, I do struggle to understand it!). The management of Tryweryn is 100% CW's patch, and BC have no overarching role there, therefore BC don't get involved as they would be treading on CW's patch.
after the new Federal Agreement comes into force
Can you tell us anything about that, Pam? I wasn't aware there was a new one.

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Pam Bell » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:26 pm

Can you tell us anything about that, Pam? I wasn't aware there was a new one.
You know about as much as I do now, Chris! It came out of the discussions around withdrawing the motion to the AGM, where I was told by BC that the new Federal Agreement between the four nations will soon be completed, and that access and facility policy is expected to be devolved. This is not altogether surprising as access to the outdoors is already devolved at government level. This is the reason I was prepared to sign the joint statement on the basis of the agreement to review of sites against policy applying only to sites in England.

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by Chris Bolton » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:05 pm

Thanks, Pam.
access and facility policy is expected to be devolved
I thought it already was! The mirroring of government level devolution was mentioned by David Joy at the NW roadshow in response to my question about the federal structure.

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Re: Access Motion to BC AGM

Post by cp » Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:40 am

The Draft Motion requested that British Canoeing should “Carry out a comprehensive review of its activities in England and Wales and identify and resolve any contradictions and/or conflicts between its current activities and its policy and aspirations in access, the new UK Agreement and in representing the public in regards to paddlesport.”

Ths was the motion put forward but in the reply it has been downgraded to England not UK. Why?

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