Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

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Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Mark R » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:34 pm

A few points recently gleaned from Andy Green (Canoe England Head of Access and Environment) regarding their Access policy of the past year or so ...

* CE are not pursuing VAAs – Voluntary Access ‘Agreements’ – “Agreements are dead as far as Canoe England is concerned.”

* Instead they are pursuing more formal Access ‘Arrangements’, although in practice they accept there is little difference.

* The ‘Arrangements’ approach is currently under review.

* Since they decided this in January last year, only four VAA’s have been passed to them; they did not endorse them as they were not to the 365 days access ‘subject to environmental standard’ set by the Environment Agency on the Mersey and Waveney.

* CE are aware that there are Access volunteers not yet following this policy and would like to be informed, in such cases.

* Paddlers are advised by CE to make their own decision as to when and how to enjoy their English river heritage appropriately, based on environmental considerations.

* No solid legal evidence denying access to rivers has yet been presented, despite CE’s willingness to consider it.

* Landowners/fisheries currently seem to be retreating from the legal debate and instead seem to be looking for ways to deny access based around ‘conservation’.
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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Jim Pullen » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:43 pm

Good. Any idea if they have the emailed/posted/phoned/carrier-pidgeoned this advice through to their network of volunteers yet?
Mark R wrote:* CE are aware that there are Access volunteers not yet following this policy and would like to be informed, in such cases.
Surely they can work this out for themselves - there's plenty of access advice against this policy on their own regional websites for starters! Did Andy give you a suggested contact point to send this info on to Mark?
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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Mark R » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:50 pm

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:51 pm

And this neatly packaged policy is ..... where?

If clarification is needed, presumably Mr Green will be taking it upon himself to write/email each of the LRAs to let them know. Not had my email yet.

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Mark R » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:56 pm

Adrian Cooper wrote:And this neatly packaged policy is ..... where?
I did point this out.
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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by morsey » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:52 am

I used that source point previously, it seemed to have issues responding to messages.

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Mark R » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:10 pm

morsey wrote:I used that source point previously, it seemed to have issues responding to messages.
?? Explain ??
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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by morsey » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:13 am

Still waiting for reply from six months ago.

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Mark R » Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:51 pm

I never got a response from him to this wonderful plan ...
http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... 7&p=371709
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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Jim Pullen » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:50 pm

Jim Pullen wrote:Good. Any idea if they have the emailed/posted/phoned/carrier-pidgeoned this advice through to their network of volunteers yet?
Mark R wrote:* CE are aware that there are Access volunteers not yet following this policy and would like to be informed, in such cases.
Surely they can work this out for themselves - there's plenty of access advice against this policy on their own regional websites for starters! Did Andy give you a suggested contact point to send this info on to Mark?
I sent a polite email pointing out some of the rivers in Northern England where the LRAs or people speaking for them have contacted me with outdated policy advice to mention in the online guides and also provided links to the pages of Canoe England's regional websites which are still promoting old-style agreements.

I'm perfectly willing to give Mr Green a chance to do his job, but over a week on and I have received no acknowledgement of my email and no action appears to have been taken.
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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Mark R » Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:49 pm

Only today, we've received another request to promote an access 'agreement' from a LRA! It's not exactly the first such request received since NGB policy changed.

Is this ignorance of the new policy among access volunteers, or wilful resistance?
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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Jim Pullen » Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:04 am

Success!

I received an email from Andy this morning informing me of his intention to meet with the various LRAs for the rivers I mentioned. Let's see what comes of it!
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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Adrian Cooper » Fri Mar 19, 2010 12:02 pm

Jim Pullen wrote: meet with the various LRAs for the rivers I mentioned.
Does that sound the most efficient way of doing things?

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Jim Pullen » Fri Mar 19, 2010 12:09 pm

Adrian Cooper wrote:
Jim Pullen wrote: meet with the various LRAs for the rivers I mentioned.
Does that sound the most efficient way of doing things?
To clarify - he already has a meeting set up with the Tyne reps and has said he'll speak to the Eden and Lune reps about the situation. I think speaking to LRAs directly is probably the best way to go about things.
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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by morsey » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:52 pm

Page 108 of the year book.

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Mark R » Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:27 pm

I've had communication with a LRA in NW England who believes that Access 'Agreements' are still BCU policy for certain 'playsites'.

Anyone heard of this before?
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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Martyn Read » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:01 pm

I too have emailed Andy Green requesting some clarification on the access policy. Two weeks and still no reply. I did mention I was a BCU member on the mail. No reply as yet. Not impressed.

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Dug » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:02 pm

Martyn Read wrote:I too have emailed Andy Green requesting some clarification on the access policy. Two weeks and still no reply. I did mention I was a BCU member on the mail. No reply as yet. Not impressed.
Every time I get annoyed at the SCA for somthing thinking about the BCU makes me a little less annoyed....

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by jmmoxon » Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:10 am

I've had communication with a LRA in NW England who believes that Access Agreeements are still BCU policy for certain 'playsites'.
I know they consider passing down a river to be a different situation to spending time at a single spot - much as walking along a footpath is different from stopping on that footpath to do something else.

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Bod » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:20 pm

This thread was very useful when I was challenged by someone at the Dart. Being able to say that Canoe England has withdrawn from access agreements that are not 365 days is very helpful as an opening gambit.
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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Mark R » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:56 pm

Mark R wrote:I've had communication with a LRA in NW England who believes that Access 'Agreements' are still BCU policy for certain 'playsites'.

Anyone heard of this before?
My take on this is that there is no such thing as a separate policy allowing 'agreements' for 'playsites' ... but we shall see.
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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by jmmoxon » Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:09 pm

This is what the BCU consider they have achieved in 2009 (from Annual Report):
Access and Environment
Throughout 2009 the Access and Environment Team has continued to be involved with various consultations and workshops, the Water Framework Directive, the Environment Agency’s Strategic Water Recreation workshops, and DEFRA’s Marine Conservation Zone projects as well as our submission to the Welsh Assembly Government’s inquiry into Access to Inland Water.
We have been very successful at getting Canoe England representation on six of the seven Environment Agency “Regional Fisheries Ecology and Recreation Advisory Committees.” These committees have a strategic role within the English regions and we are now well positioned to ensure that canoeing interests are not overlooked when decisions are being made about water recreation.
The Access and Environment Team has been spending more time during 2009 becoming involved with
environmental issues; this is partly as a result of external pressure, and partly through a desire to enhance our environmental credentials. To help us with this process we have recently revised our environmental publication, “You, Your Canoe and the Environment.” We have carried this work out in conjunction with partner organisations that have provided their endorsement to this publication. The revised “You, Your Canoe and the Environment” will be available in the early part of 2010.
During 2009 we have also been involved in defending rights of access on rivers where our rights have been
challenged. While we may not have converted our antagonists, we have managed to reassure local paddlers that their interests were being represented, and we have raised Natural England’s and the Environment Agency’s awareness of the extent of the problem. These are the Government’s agencies with responsibility for access, recreation and inland water.

Government and Public Affairs
During 2009 the Rivers Access Campaign was never far from the news. In July 09 Griff Rhys Jones’s television documentary “Rivers” was aired on BBC1 and the four programmes lead to a lot of debate on air and in print. The Campaign had been instrumental in providing the producers with facts about the access issue in England and Wales.
The headlines it caused including, the quote from Griff Rhys Jones about the lack of access to our rivers is a “ major national scandal!” He also asserted that “It’s time to reclaim our rivers, from secret bends to urban meanders; our waterways are a national treasure. They need to be opened up for everyone … But after a year spent canoeing, swimming and surfing along our waterways for my new television series about Britain’s rivers, I have discovered that, in England and Wales at least, they no longer belong to the people. They belong to stockbrokers, to anglers and to farmers.”
The Campaign was afforded the opportunity to present their case against the Angling Trust on ‘You and Yours’ BBC Radio 4 in July 09. The piece was well received and efforts by the anglers and somewhat mischievous journalists to depict the debate as being about canoeing versus fishing have back-fired leading to greater public support.
Several press releases were issued on behalf of the Campaign during the summer months, some to highlight the Access issue and others to refute the myths put out from the angling fraternity.
Further meetings have been held with the Minister Huw Irraccana Davies where the BCU were supported by John Grogan MP and Peter Bottomley MP.
During 2009 the work of the campaign was assisted by John Grogan MP and Peter Bottomley MP. They not only facilitated meetings with the Minister but regularly spoke on our behalf. John Grogan MP also put up:
EDM 1577 - INCREASED ACCESS TO WATERWAYS IN ENGLAND AND WALES - 02.06.2009
The BCU has been very involved in cross party working groups, stakeholder meetings and Government initiatives including the rewriting of the policy document ‘Waterways for Tomorrow’ now called “Waterways for Everyone” due out for consultation in November 2009 and then consolidation and final publication in Spring 2010.
The BCU attended both the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences as part of the Boating Alliance.
Support from MPs and other organisations continue to grow and now many organizations contact us with concerns and issues they have regarding access.
It is important to keep the profile of canoeing in Parliament as it helps MPs to realise that the access to inland waters is a real issue. The lack of access prevents so many people getting active on the waterways which are part of the Government’s health targets to make us a healthier and more active nation.
“A river is, for all of us, a great spiritual resource. We are healed by rivers: they are wondrous natural corridors through the countryside or the town. That is their value, and if we allow ourselves to be pushed off them, we lose access to a great natural British marvel.” Griff Rhys Jones July 2009
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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Mark R » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:09 pm

Access and Environment
...
During 2009 we have also been involved in defending rights of access on rivers where our rights have been challenged. While we may not have converted our antagonists,
Interesting statement.
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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Adrian Cooper » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:21 pm

Maybe the BCU/CE are the wrong organisation to take forward the challenge of access to rivers. It is difficult to know how the 'national governing body' for an olympic sport is viewed by people such as ministers. Perhaps ministers see them as simply representing canoeists who race across short flat lakes or chase stick down concrete ditches. Maybe they do not see the connection with recreational canoeing and maybe the BCU are not able to represent this side of the sport when the competition is so prominently presented at every turn during the seemingly endless drive to the stadia.

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by shanclan » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:43 pm

Adrian Cooper wrote:Maybe the BCU/CE are the wrong organisation to take forward the challenge of access to rivers....
How about Canoe Wales then?

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Dug » Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:01 am

Adrian Cooper wrote:Maybe the BCU/CE are the wrong organisation to take forward the challenge of access to rivers. It is difficult to know how the 'national governing body' for an olympic sport is viewed by people such as ministers. Perhaps ministers see them as simply representing canoeists who race across short flat lakes or chase stick down concrete ditches. Maybe they do not see the connection with recreational canoeing and maybe the BCU are not able to represent this side of the sport when the competition is so prominently presented at every turn during the seemingly endless drive to the stadia.
I think you've probably got it in one there.

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by jmmoxon » Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:16 am

Hell, it only took the Ramblers 70 years to get open access...

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Martyn Read » Sun May 16, 2010 10:44 pm

I did receive a reply from Andy Green last month. See below.


----
Hi Andy

I have been browsing the Canoe England website looking for a definitive statement re access and have been unable to find one.

I would like a document that outlines the Canoe England position on access backed up by relevant legal opinion. I intend on paddling rivers if conditions allow regardless of landowners opinion as I understand that there is a legal opinion that a right of access exists probably exists on all inland rivers? However a document clarifying this would be useful when replying to a challenge. The WCA seem to have gone some way to achieving this. http://www.canoewales.com/access-the-le ... ation.aspx

Please can you advise me if such a document exists and if not if Canoe England intend on producing one. ....


-----------
Hi Martyn

Sorry not to have replied to you sooner, as you probably appreciate during the course of a week I receive many emails and I have to try to prioritise them as well as carrying out my other responsibilities.
I had your email flagged up to respond to, albeit tomorrow.

It is hard to produce a definitive statement, we are “fairly” confident that there is a right of access to most natural inland water, but we currently lack definitive evidence of this, likewise we have made our thoughts known to our traditional opponents and while they deny what we say, to date they have not been able to show us evidence that we shouldn’t be on the water.
I have attached links to the relevant sections of our website, however it is probable that much of this will change between now and June of this year.
If you read through the Voluntary Access Arrangement page you will see on the guidance notes that we this section has an 18 month review period which is June 2010. We are already in the process of carrying out this review, and while as an officer of a membership organisation it would be wrong of me to pre-empt which way the Access Committee will vote, I am confident that there will be substantial progress made and that this will inevitably have an impact on other areas of our business.


http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/access- ... /policies/

http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/access- ... greements/

http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/access- ... -position/


http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/access- ... vironment/

http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/access- ... d-angling/

I must make clear that we are a membership organisation, and as such we cannot nor will not act as a policing organisation, we try to give the best advice possible within the limits of our knowledge, but ultimately the decision whether or not to paddle rests with the individual. All we would ask is that when out paddling that canoeists have regard for the environment and the right of others to enjoy the outdoors, even if they sometimes don’t respect ours.

I hope this is of help, if you have any further quiries please get back to me either by email or phone and I will try my best to get back to you as soon as possible.

Andy Green
Head of Access and Environment

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Adrian Cooper » Sun May 16, 2010 11:24 pm

Andy Green wrote: I hope this is of help,
Ha ha!

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Re: Some clarification of Canoe England's access policy...

Post by Mark R » Sun May 16, 2010 11:46 pm

Depressingly, it seems pretty fair to clarify current BCU policy as...

ACCESS AGREEMENTS ARE TOTALLY FINISHED!*

*Except where they aren't
**Or the local access officials want to keep them
***Or where they haven't yet heard the new policy
****Or whenever it's felt that having a policy might upset someone in BCU House
*****Etc etc.


I've tried to give Andy Green the benefit of the doubt so far this year, but what more can you say? He represents a state of affairs that is a joke. He seems to appreciate that it's a joke, but after several years in the post, that isn't enough to stop him being part of the joke himself.
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