River ure access problem - update!

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das bump
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River ure access problem - update!

Post by das bump »

River Ure Access Agreement - Hack Falls to Sleningford Suspended

 

Will all clubs / paddlers please note that due to various breaches of the Access Agreement by one party, the landowners have cancelled the access agreement and are in discussion with me.

 

 In this case the landowners have been massively helpful to paddlers over very many years and I ask all paddlers to now strictly respect the fact the access agreement has been withdrawn, and not to paddle this stretch of the river until further notice.

 

Thank you for your cooperation.

 

Ken Harrap 

BCU River adviser - River Ure

 

Kenharrap@btinternet.com

mobile 07831 800561

 

 

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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Poke »

Out of interest, what was the access agreement, and what did the alleged breaches involve?
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by davidmann »

This system of access is ridiculous! You can pretty much walk all of the river bank from Sleningford upto Masham why should paddling a river be any different? Think of all the money paddling the River Ure brings to the area (Sleningford Campsite, Local Pubs and Shops, Kayak and Outdoor Centre at campsite, B&Bs) - what kind of a system is this?

Does anyone have more details on what happened to spur this decision?

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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Mark R »

Hang on a moment - I thought our National Governing Body policy has been that Access Agreements are null and void, for over a year.

How come this one was still being endorsed???
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davidmann
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by davidmann »

Mark R wrote:Hang on a moment - I thought our National Governing Body policy has been that Access Agreements are null and void, for over a year.

How come this one was still being endorsed???
Exactly!

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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Adrian Cooper »

das bump wrote:I ask all paddlers to now strictly respect the fact the access agreement has been withdrawn, and not to paddle this stretch of the river until further notice. 
You are kidding, right?

Let us know when there is enough water and I will make a special trip up there to paddle it. I need to add it to my list.

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Martyn Hartley
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Martyn Hartley »

I recall the Yorkshire Region recently purchased land lower down the Ure for an Access/Egress point?

Kinda pointless if they were to ask you not to get on higher up....

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Jim Pullen
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Jim Pullen »

Martyn Hartley wrote:I recall the Yorkshire Region recently purchased land lower down the Ure for an Access/Egress point?

Kinda pointless if they were to ask you not to get on higher up....
Looks like they've spent £12k on it so far. Although this is much further downstream than this section.

This whole thing just further exemplifies my previous comment about CE local access policy being totally different to its national one.

Andy Green asked me to make him aware of any situations where national policy is not being followed with respect to access agreements. I'll compose an email now.
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Jonny Briggs
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Jonny Briggs »

Just get on at the road bridge (A6108) just outside of Masham, and paddle through Hack Falls section.

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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Adrian Cooper »

Jim Pullen wrote:Andy Green asked me to make him aware of any situations where national policy is not being followed with respect to access agreements.
Does he know what the national policy is?

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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by jmmoxon »

Out of interest, what was the access agreement
http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/neengland/ure.htm
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Poke »

jmmoxon wrote:
Out of interest, what was the access agreement
http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/neengland/ure.htm
haha.. so, not so much an agreement, as such?

Worth noting that "das bump" is only the messenger in this case... (unless he just sells his kit under the name of George) http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... 1&sr=posts

Would you be able to direct Mr Harrap to this thread?
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once young
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Re: River Ure access problem - update!

Post by once young »

Whilst I acknowledge this agreement does not comply with the CE current thoughts on access (i.e 365 day agreements), but it has been in place & working for 25 + years

For all of that time the landowners have been very supportive in the use of this section of river by paddlers; providing open use for 6 months of the year and other dates during the rest of the year plus a spate agreement. All of this on a river that is bone dry for most the summer in any event.

The land purchased provides a egress in Ripon for a trip from Slenninford down, or access from Ripon onto the navigation, a good bloody idea before someone cocked up the agreement... but still very usable via the campsite or the rights of way

I would be interested to know if the problem/s that have been experienced recently are the result of a commercial operator using /mis-using the river

If we are asked to keep off, perhaps we should respect the request, particularly as it comes from one of own, while the situation is in flux and the river is empty
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Re: River Ure access problem - update!

Post by Poke »

once young wrote:For all of that time the landowners have been very supportive in the use of this section of river by paddlers... a spate agreement.
That would almost be a fair case, depending heavily upon the definition of spate.
However there's no mention of a spate agreement here...
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Jim Pullen
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Jim Pullen »

Poke wrote: Worth noting that "das bump" is only the messenger in this case... (unless he just sells his kit under the name of George) http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... 1&sr=posts

Would you be able to direct Mr Harrap to this thread?
If my memory serves me correctly from previous threads, isn't das bump Ken's son?

I've sent an email to Andy Green, it would seem to make sense for him to know about this and provide help and input in his role as head of access...
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Jim Pullen »

Just found this topic, from last year. Looks like I didn't get around to fixing the link in the guide, but the details of the former agreement are here.
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Mark R »

Jim Pullen wrote:I've sent an email to Andy Green, it would seem to make sense for him to know about this and provide help and input in his role as head of access...
The fact that this thread exists, already tells you all you need to know about Andy Green's role.
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quicky
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by quicky »

Andy Green asked me to make him aware of any situations where national policy is not being followed with respect to access agreements. I'll compose an email now.
Good luck in getting through... I won't be holding my breath...

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Re: River Ure access problem - update!

Post by Dave McCraw »

once young wrote:Whilst I acknowledge this agreement does not comply with the CE current thoughts on access (i.e 365 day agreements), but it has been in place & working for 25 + years

For all of that time the landowners have been very supportive in the use of this section of river by paddlers; providing open use for 6 months of the year and other dates during the rest of the year plus a spate agreement. All of this on a river that is bone dry for most the summer in any event.

...

If we are asked to keep off, perhaps we should respect the request, particularly as it comes from one of own, while the situation is in flux and the river is empty
Here's the thing... as this situation illustrates, for 25+ years it has only taken the whim of any one party to an "agreement" to change their mind, and the whole thing collapses. That it hasn't done so is, I'm sure, to the credit of all concerned, but nevertheless.

The main plank of the argument against statutory access is that voluntary agreements can provide a working substitute, but as we're seeing here this is not the case (they can be unilaterally revoked at any time). Trying to patch this up is not going to help our underlying position that voluntary agreements don't work and in any case, that floating between two public access points does not require landowner's consent.

Wouldn't it be a better solution simply to accept that the landowner has stopped the agreement and to advise paddlers of ways to enjoy the river by accessing it using public land / rights of way? If you ask me, the collapse of all "official" access after 25 years without problems is precisely why we *shouldn't* be striving to enter such agreements in the first place.

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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Jim Pullen »

Interesting automated reply, anyone know the story behind this?
automated email response wrote:Please NOTE: I no longer work for Canoe England, please send any queries to: kevin.east@canoe-england.org.uk

Many Thanks
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by quicky »

Had heard a rumour but I knew as much as you got.

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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Jim Pullen »

I've forwarded my email to Kevin East, lets see whether I get a reply or not!

Apparently Kevin was the "Access and Environment Development Officer" on the Access Policy Group. I'm not really clear whether he's now acting or permanent head of access.
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by quicky »

I thought it was they would only support access agreements which were 365 days ?

From the original VAA statement

Government research for canoe access to the Rivers Mersey and Waveney has produced principles and benchmark provisions for Voluntary Access Arrangements (VAA’s); forming the basis of government policy for access to inland waters to be achieved by the voluntary route.

For consistency, Canoe England believes the research outcomes should be adopted as the national standard for VAA’s. The research has demonstrated that it is possible to achieve:

• 365 day access supported by an Access Code outlining responsibilities of all water users.

• environmental protection as appropriate eg. setting a mutually agreed minimum river level.

• respect of flora, fauna, other uses and users.

• identified sites for launching and landing.

• publicity and information dissemination.

Government policy is to make more provisions for public access to the outdoor environment. The research provides the evidence and foundation for wider access and public rights to inland waters. As an initial step Canoe England would seek to harmonize all existing and additional VAA’s to the principles established on the Rivers Mersey, Waveney, Greta and Mole.

A VAA shall not invalidate or erode public rights should it be subsequently established such rights exist.

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Adrian Cooper »

I know a little about property and contract law from my work although a proper lawyer will give you more authoritative advice. I have said before that these 'agreements' are not agreements and apply only to those making the agreement, they cannot apply to the whole of the paddling community.

What we have here is effectively a 'licence' whereby the landowner 'allows' access. Such licences can be withdrawn at will at any time. If one party can revoke an 'agreement' without penalty, it is not an agreement.

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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Bod »

22 years since I last paddled that section of the Ure when I was a student. We did the trip in the winter with Leeds 'town' Canoe Club. Getting on was a military exercise in speed and subterfuge so I am sure that all has not been good for 25+ years. Masham of course has history/form as being one of the locations that CRACK visited but I never knew the full story.

Good to see that another restictive old 'agreement' has finally been removed.
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Grumpy Fisherman »

Access / Egress on this section is all on public rights of way so there are no problems. Carry on!

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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Jim Pullen »

The plot thickens:
Chris Hawkesworth wrote:Dear Kevin and Jim,

Thanks for this.

Can you note that I have for the time being stepped up into the vacant
Yorkshire and Humber RAA role and I am helping out with NW, Cumbria and NE.
As you can see I am also a Canoe-England staffer.

I am sure that Kevin will be replying to you shortly but please will you
copy me in as well with whatever you feel applicable.

On the Ure. I am in direct contact with our LAA Ken Harrap and with the NYCC
about ********'s activities.

Speaking as the RAA. We regard the Ure agreement with Richard Bourne-Arton
as a sustainable access agreement of long standing and do not want to lose
it.


Chris.

PS Can I ask you to note that I am on holiday from effectively the 28th of
June to July 15th and will not be answering Emails during this period..

Chris. Hawkesworth.
Planning and Facilities Manager,
Canoe England-The British Canoe Union.

chris.hawkesworth@canoe-england.org.uk
So what exactly is CE's access policy regarding agreements?! Email on its way...
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Jim Pullen »

Fair does to Chris Hawkesworth, he's by far the most responsive BCU bod I've ever dealt with! I questioned what CE's policy was, whether they were indeed going for 365 day arrangements for new agreements and whether old agreements were void. Here's the key points from his latest email:
Chris Hawkesworth wrote:The Brighton University/Environment Agency factored agreements on the Mersey
are both 365 and is to these kind of agreements that we all aspire. However,
as a region we feel that the Mickley Ure agreement whilst not ideal was
better than most and should be continued.

Everywhere else in Yorkshire the 365 is being applied.
So we now have CE policy as "365 day arrangements, unless proven environmental concerns dictate otherwise or if there's a long-standing agreement that's not perfect but will probably do."

So what do people think? Will you be staying off the Ure if there's water while an agreement is renegotiated?

Edit: I should mention here that Chris said he was speaking as an LAA rather than as a CE staffer.
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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by Dr Robin »

Jim Pullen wrote: So we now have CE policy as "365 day arrangements, unless proven environmental concerns dictate otherwise or if there's a long-standing agreement that's not perfect but will probably do."
This is poor. We need a clear, unified stradegy, not some wishy-washy ramblings which confuse everybody. Personally, I'd be happy with agreements which fall short of 365 day unrestricted access (i.e. fishing only nights, exclusive use for fishing matches, etc), but it's got to be a well-defined policy.
Jim Pullen wrote: So what do people think? Will you be staying off the Ure if there's water while an agreement is renegotiated?
I'd say no. Because I don't agree with the CE approach as defined above.

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Re: River ure access problem - update!

Post by banzer »

das bump wrote:Will all clubs / paddlers please note that due to various breaches of the Access Agreement by one party, the landowners have cancelled the access agreement and are in discussion with me.
This is ridiculous / looking for a scapegoat / both. You don't ban everyone from a pub because one person is drunk. I'm sure for every one fisherman (for instance) that leaves snagged lines and lures in trees, theres plenty that don't. If that one person has broken the law then fine, prosecute them.

Personally I'd be happy to paddle the Ure with enough water regardless of any agreement, unless someone can show me a proven law that says I can't.
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