Voluntarily Agreed Fairy Tale Nonsense

Inland paddling
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Mark R
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Post by Mark R »

Here's the culprit - same fellow who spoke at the Birmingham Show.

http://www.brighton.ac.uk/chelsea/conta ... scroft.htm

I think as many of us as possible should email him direct to make it clear that not a single paddler in the land accepts the vast majority of this document.

Don't send the guy abuse (obviously), but he should be told exactly the extent to which he has completely failed to understand the sport and the access situation.

By all means refer him to here.
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James F
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Post by James F »

The basic failing in convincing paddlers that access agreements might work if carried out in a more sophisticated manner, is that none of us would recognise that the independent, concerted and 'sophisticated' methods used by the study succeeded.

As a result, there is no new buy-in from canoeists to co-operate with landowners and that, according to the study, is a pre-requisite for the success of their negotiation methods.

This is a not a cycle of 'well we won't stick to agreements so no one will offer one'. It's a clear recognition of the not particularly cleverly disguised failings of the negotitations in the study's four rivers.
Last edited by James F on Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R »

Professor Ravenscroft…I have just finished reading through this document;

http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/cano ... ry2006.pdf

It contains substantial untruths and misrepresentations in practically every paragraph.

If it does indeed accurately represent the conclusions of your team about the state of access to rivers for canoeists, and the viability of Access Agreements as the way forward in securing fair and equitable access, then I am afraid to tell you that you and your team have woefully, pitifully, embarrassingly failed to understand the reality of the English and Welsh Access situation for canoeists. There is no canoeist in the UK who would agree with or accept these conclusions. Strangely, a great many anglers and landowners will wholeheartedly embrace them, despite the obvious untruths. Furthermore, in removing ‘contentious’ areas of river (e.g. almost all of the Wear) from your study, you have taken the highly unacademic and unprofessional step of choosing the sections of river which would most likely fit the conclusions you needed to reach.

I do not accept or support your conclusions as outlined in the abovementioned document, and again, I challenge you to show me a single paddler in the UK who does.

I would happily expand on anything I have written here, if required.

Mark Rainsley
The UK Rivers Guidebook
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waverley610
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Post by waverley610 »

MarkR wrote:Here's the culprit - same fellow who spoke at the Birmingham Show.

http://www.brighton.ac.uk/chelsea/conta ... scroft.htm
Selected Recent Publications

'A Critical Incident Study of Barriers to Participation on the Cuckoo Trail, East Sussex '


A fellow who enjoys time in Cuckoo land.

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Tim S
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People with power...

Post by Tim S »

I will be e-mailing my thoughts to this chap, but there are some people who should be involved, namely the companies in the Canoe Trade.

I know many of the Directors of canoe and kayak companies are passionate about this subject, but we need them to start talking from a commercial stand point to these muppets at the EA ( to counteract the 'fishing raises this much..blah blah blah' arguement ).

Now i would suggest approaching the ACT ( association of canoe traders ) to get a joint statement...however it is pretty much a puppet organisation with little impact with the trade and no direction whatsoever.

I wouldnt suggest i am the best person to take this on-board ( past affiliations and all that ), but some choice words from these gentlemen would be very useful.

Tim S

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James F
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Post by James F »

MarkR wrote:There is no canoeist in the UK who would agree with or accept these conclusions.
Apparently, there is:

"I am delighted with the access agreement on the Mersey. It’s an opportunity for people like myself to paddle locally. I was introduced to the sport
through scouts. The natural progression from flat-water is to rivers, access to which until now has been sadly lacking in this area. This important
artery of the region has now been opened up to us and will encourage youth groups and adults alike to safely enjoy the river environment.

Roy Briscoe
Local paddler"

From a media perspective, it would be great to find Roy and ask him whether he does inded support the findings. If he does, then he has already said so, no loss. If he doesn't, he might be persuaded to comment publicly about what a crock the whole thing is.

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James F
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Post by James F »

That didn't take long...

http://www.manchestercanoeclub.org.uk/n ... aug06.html

I'm emailing him now.

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Tim S
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brookbank?

Post by Tim S »

As this new stretch seems to be a mile from my house, he must be a customer of Brookbank?

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Re: People with power...

Post by Yakingmad »

Tim S wrote:Now I would suggest approaching the ACT ( association of canoe traders ) to get a joint statement...however it is pretty much a puppet organisation with little impact with the trade and no direction whatsoever.

I wouldnt suggest I am the best person to take this on-board ( past affiliations and all that ), but some choice words from these gentlemen would be very useful.

Tim S
There was an ACT meeting yesterday and access was one of the items on the agenda, unfortunately I could not make it as I had other commitments, but good point Tim it is something that the ACT should have a more direct say in.
Swimming the way forward?

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Tim S
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avoid ACT

Post by Tim S »

I would strongely suggest that the members of ACT ( and the non-members ) be contacted directly rather than going through this body.

Trust me a letter from just one of the directors of one of the members is worth more than anything with ACT on the letterhead.

Though i stand to be corrected i have never seen anything useful come directly from ACT...

Anway this is off-topic, we need unified response and these gentlemen carry some very important weight.

Tim S

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Alice F
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Post by Alice F »

I just had a look at the conclusion of the original report from 2004, it starts -

"Negotiated access agreements alone are unlikely to fully meet the demand and need for canoeable waters. Indeed, while demonstrating that it is feasible to negotiate agreements, this project has equally demonstrated the shortcomings in the negotiating process: particularly in terms of the way in which canoeists are disadvantaged by the prevailing patterns of landownership and property rights."

Seems like they were being realistic at some point... it might be interesting to contact the guy who wrote this to see what he thinks of the latest report???

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Post by Adrian Cooper »

Can I operate a process of extrapolation? If 99% of land owners do not object then if I just get on and paddle, presumably I can assume that I will encounter little or no objection.

Comments from Brighton University please.

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Post by Dave Thomas »

Obviously our friend in mid-Wales was one of the 1%, Adrian!

Dave Thomas

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Post by Adrian Cooper »

He was no friend of mine Dave!

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Unstabler
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Post by Unstabler »

This makes my blood boil. I've e-mailed the following.

"Professor Ravenscroft,

I have just read, with disgust, your summary report entitled "A Better Place to Play - Putting Pilot voluntary Canoe Access Agreements in place".

I am amazed that an educated man could draw the conclusions you have from such flawed data. Do you really believe that your ability to secure a few stretches of pretty insignificant water gives you adequate confidence that this is a scheme that is workable for all rivers in England and Wales?

The original 2004 report on this matter concluded "Negotiated access agreements alone are unlikely to fully meet the demand and need for canoeable waters. Indeed, while demonstrating that it is feasible to negotiate agreements, this project has equally demonstrated the shortcomings in the negotiating process: particularly in terms of the way in which canoeists are disadvantaged by the prevailing patterns of landownership and property rights."

Are you saying that, having "proved" it is possible to negotiate agreements, the second part of the original conclusion requires no more thought?

Also, I am saddened that there is such little depth to this report. Why have you chosen not to explore the means in which mutual agreement to share the water is obtained in Scotland, and compared the 2 systems to see which is more workable?

Finally, as a keen white water kayaker, I would be really interested to hear how you think I, and people like me, should now proceed? It is clear you feel any further paddling on my part on rivers not covered by an agreement (effectivly all of them) would ruin chances for negotiated access, so are you suggesting I just give up my sport while I wait for the money and will to be present to provide me with the access I require?

I hope you take the time to read this mail, and would appreciate it if you would take the time to respond to my questions.

Regards,

Paul Stabler."
Paul (Un)Stabler

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Post by tape34 »

Unstabler wrote
Finally, as a keen white water kayaker, I would be really interested to hear how you think I, and people like me, should now proceed? It is clear you feel any further paddling on my part on rivers not covered by an agreement (effectivly all of them) would ruin chances for negotiated access, so are you suggesting I just give up my sport while I wait for the money and will to be present to provide me with the access I require?
Having read through the Environment Agency report I too have been in the blood boiling department all day and Unstabler has raised a very important point here.... trying to be reasonable and negotiate has put the BCU and paddlers in England and Wales in a much worse position than we were before.
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Post by morsey »

I think the best choice of recourse would be to get the BCU to call a vote of members and then revoke all access agreements forthwith!

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Science

Post by AlexC »

First, I think the report is utter bilge.
However, I think anyone who reads it from an uninformed unbiased background is going to believe what it says and take what everyone here says as uninformed ranting.
If we want to fight this then we need to unemotively pick on the specific bits which are wrong and prove them wrong. They claim to have done a scientific experiment. Yet from what someone here says they specifically selected the sample to prove what they want to hear. We should take facts like this and calmly expose this report for the sham it is. At present we have a nice shiny pdf document professionaly produced by some 'respetcable polyversity' versus a load of internet rantings.

Having said which, I am unable to do anything about it becuase it makes me so angry that some morons have been paid to produce such complete muck.

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Post by Steve B »

Alex is right, it's in print, with a nice professional layout, the EA logo and the cachet of an 'academic' study. It will be believed without question.

It's a good example of what the BCU has historically been very bad at - communication. Spin, if you prefer, but either way it's all about presenting your case - misrepresenting it in this case of course. Of course, if the BCU were given the £100,000 budget that the Brighton study had, plus the thousands that it will have cost to print the EA's document, maybe they could do more.
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Post by Jim Pullen »

I think the press release the BCU made in response to the report was generally very good. It debunked most of the points in the study in a logical and coherent manner, which hopefully the lay reader could appreciate.

The question is - did they government or press take any notice of it? None of the publicity over the report that I've seen so far has included any of the statement from the BCU.

Has anyone had any response from our Professor of Leisure (or Leisurely Prof) yet?

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Post by James F »

The problem with the BCU's strategy is that they have all their access eggs in one basket and the basket belongs to the Government. They need to use all available tools, not just committee room politics, or they will always be at the mercy of someone else's agenda.

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Post by Lewis D »

The question is - did they government or press take any notice of it? None of the publicity over the report that I've seen so far has included any of the statement from the BCU.
There was a small article in the Times, (on Wednesday I think) but it was no more than 200 words. It did however mention that the BCU weren't happy with the agreement but not much more than that

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Post by Uisce »

MarkR wrote:Here's the culprit - same fellow who spoke at the Birmingham Show.

http://www.brighton.ac.uk/chelsea/conta ... scroft.htm

I think as many of us as possible should email him direct to make it clear that not a single paddler in the land accepts the vast majority of this document.

Don't send the guy abuse (obviously), but he should be told exactly the extent to which he has completely failed to understand the sport and the access situation.

By all means refer him to here.
OK after a day or two of allowing my blood to cool, I finally got around to writing my letter to Prof Ravencroft. Unfortunately the link above no longer appears to work and Mr Ravencroft's details no longer appear to be listed under the academic staff listings page at:

http://www.brighton.ac.uk/chelsea/conta ... emicstaff/

I can think of 3 reasons:

1: A simple computer error and I can't access the page.

2: The University have come to realise the level of this mans incompetence and quickly sent him on his way.

3: He's been bombarded with e-mails questioning his conclusions and has removed his details to avoid any chance of an intelligent debate knowing he cannot defend his own work adequately.

I would like to think it's reason 1 or 2 but suspicious that it may indeed be no 3. In any case could somebody who has already e-mailed Prof Ravenscroft PM me his address. Actually why Pm it, post it up here for all to see. I can't be the only one looking to e-mail my questions and constructive criticisms. As Mark said though, keep them polite but say your piece.

Uisce

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Patrick
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Post by Patrick »

Thank google,

cached

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Post by cp »

Thanks for the info I have e-mailed him regarding this. Does anyone out there know who this guys boss is? maybe they do not understand that he does not know what he is talking about and I would ilke to tell them. Thanks

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Post by forestknights »

I think he will only be opening emails from people he knows for a while.

I emailed a few questions today.

Doubt i will get an answer.
Know the wisdom of patience during times of inactivity.

www.forestknights.co.uk

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Mark R
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Post by Mark R »

James F wrote:Roy Briscoe
Local paddler"

From a media perspective, it would be great to find Roy and ask him whether he does inded support the findings. If he does, then he has already said so, no loss. If he doesn't, he might be persuaded to comment publicly about what a crock the whole thing is.
Heard anything back from Roy, yet?
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Mark R
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Post by Mark R »

Mark Rainsley
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Post by James F »

MarkR wrote:Heard anything back from Roy, yet?
No.

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Post by Mark R »

I have just updated the front page regarding the report.


Is anyone here in Roy's club or know him? It would be helpful to gauge whether he specifically agrees that 'In the vast majority of cases, approaches to securing canoe access by voluntary agreement are successful'.
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