New signs on the Wye

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quicky
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New signs on the Wye

Post by quicky »

http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/forum/ ... gly-denied.
by Dougoutcanoe

Access to the riverbanks of the River Wye, is being restricted by official looking signs. They are being posted along the river at frequent intervals. I am not talking about access to the river at locations other than the approved official access and egress points. I am simply talking about stopping during ones journey for rest, food, drinks and emergencies. This seems to be permitted in the wording about the use of this public navigation.

I feel the poster's have taken official access and egress points as being the only place where a canoeist can stop!

Of course there are no notices that I have seen indicating that a canoeist is permitted to land here.

Image

On the signs the Environment Agency, Natural England and Advantage West Midlands logos are displayed. I assume the logos have been added in an attempt to give the signs an appearance of authority. Nobody has come forward to say the use of their logo is with or without permission.

But the River Wye has a Public Right of Navigation upon it. When the river was used by commercial traffic, the banks and riverbed would have been used to haul and guide boats, both up and down stream.

The EA sent this extract from:

A relevant briefing paper that was prepared for the Wye Navigation Advisory Committee:
Rights of navigation over the principal rivers
7. - (1) All public rights of navigation and use over or along the principal rivers that exist immediately before the coming into force of this Order, however arising, shall be extinguished and replaced by the public right referred to in paragraph (2).

(2) Members of the public shall have the right to navigate and use the principal rivers.
· "the principal rivers" means -

1. that part of the river Wye from the downstream face of Bigsweir Bridge (reference point SO 538051) to Hay Town Bridge (reference point SO 228426); and

(b) that part of the river Lugg from its confluence with the river Wye to Presteigne Town Bridge (reference point SO 316646),and includes their beds and banks;

· "bank" means so much of any bank, wall, embankment, fence, wharf, quay or other feature (whether natural or artificial) as confines the waters of the rivers up to the level and the point of their overspill into the flood plain of the rivers;

* (2) References in this Order to the use of the principal rivers shall be construed as meaning such use as is, according to the principles of common law, reasonably incidental to their navigation.

It is clear from the above that a navigator has the right to use the principal rivers, including the bed and the bank (as defined) as long as such use is reasonably incidental to their navigation.
However, to remain within the provisions of Article 8 (General Rules for navigation) of the Order, such use must be reasonable and considerate.
What constitutes incidental use which might be regarded as reasonable and considerate, will need to be considered on a case by case basis. The courts might consider the launching and landing of canoes as a use reasonably incidental to navigation, it is unlikely that the courts will hold that using private land to access a launch point is such reasonably incidental use.
 
This extract suggests that it is reasonably incidental to stop for rest, food, drink and emergencies and is clearly within the Rights of the Navigator.

Further extract supplied by the EA:

The rights outlined are not absolute, they are qualified by the requirements that anyone who seeks to exercise them must do so in a reasonable and considerate way. Failure to do so would be a breach of Article 8 1 (c) of the Wye Navigation Order which is a criminal offence, relevant Article below:
General rules for navigation
8. - (1) A master who navigates or uses the principal rivers -
(a) without due care and attention;

(b) in a manner liable to injure or endanger persons, other vessels, the bed or banks of the principal rivers or any structure or installation in or beside the principal rivers; or

(c) in a manner which does not show reasonable consideration for persons and property in, upon or about the principal rivers and their banks,

shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

(2) In any proceedings under paragraph (1)(b), it shall be a defence for the person charged to prove that the action complained of was done in an emergency and that in all the circumstances the course of action taken was reasonable.

These general rules of navigation may cloud the issue.

My concern is that these official looking signs are intended to intimidate many and make canoeists unwilling to stop when necessary.

I believe they are contrary to the Law in that they are trying to stop reasonable incidental use of the river, its banks and bed.

I have taken action by informing the local authorities, my enquiry asked about planning permission for the erection of such signs. The answer received suggested they were small enough to not require PP.

I asked the EA, Natural England and Advantage West Midlands, about the use of their logos on these signs.

The EA have answered and they are investigating the signs. The EA also provided the extracts above.

I will send a reminder to Natural England, who normally jealously guard the use of their logo.

I will do the same to Advantage West Midlands but their website does not provide any information as to their function.

Many other less official notices are posted along the river pointing out "Private No Landing"
The trend towards these increasing numbers of notices is worrying and appears to be another method of clamping down on water users whether that be canoeists or swimmers.

The Environment Agency does require more information about the signs pictured above. If you can give, details about the signs and a description of their location, with a grid reference.

Please send an email to:
dane.broomfield@environment-agency.wales.gov.uk
paul.senior@environment-agency.wales.gov.uk
lynn.bulbeck@environment-agency.wales.gov.uk
Of course PM me too.

If anyone can suggest other parties to contact please let me know. Or use your contacts to push this matter further.

The more people that raise the issue with EA, BCU, MP’s etc the better.

This must be sorted before the landowners and fisheries get a strangle hold on the River Wye.

Doug

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by shanclan »

1. What the faff has this got to do with Advantage West Midlands? http://www.advantagewm.co.uk/about-awm/ ... fault.aspx. They can be contacted here, I am sure they will be confused:

Advantage West Midlands
3 Priestley Wharf
Holt Street
Birmingham Science Park Aston
Birmingham B7 4BN
Tel: +44 (0) 121 380 3500
Fax: +44 (0) 121 380 3501

2 The EA are making the same untrue statements on their website http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/ho ... 38117.aspx . How can they discharge their legal duty if they don't even understand the law they are supposed to be enforcing?
The public right of navigation downstream of Hay Bridge does not give a right of access to the riverbank and other than at accepted public sites, permission should be sought before canoes are launched or landed.
(Also, why does the page on navigation have a picture of someone fishing rather than a boat? They seem to have quite a small picture library ;-).


It's just embarassing.

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by buck197 »

Surely these signs should be put up by the landowners and not organisations that I am paying tax for!!! The EA taking sides again.
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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by jmmoxon »

As far as I'm aware, navigation rights don't include stopping for lunch - it's certainly not included in public rights of way legislation (footpaths)...

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by clarky999 »

I think it's completely fair enough that landowners don't want people to stop on their land, at least without permission. And they're completely within their rights to enforce this too.

I don't understand why publicly funded organisations are paying for the signs though, that should come down to the landowner.

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by chilealan »

Lets not get uptight about some pointless signs.
It alters nothing. If we land on anywhere we are not welcome it is still a civil trespass and not a criminal matter. So long as we do no damage then there is little that can be done except that someone with evidenced authority over the land can ask us to leave in the most direct way, which clearly is the way we get there. This I am sure we will politly do this as reasonable people.
As to the signs themselves, given the current economic climate I hope if any public money has been used in any way to create and position the signs then someone within the public bodies heads (jobs) are placed on the block. Clearly I do not know how many signs have appeared but would estimate £300 to £ 500, a sign a lot of money has been wasted on something that means nothing. Oh I forgot the ongoing costs of ensuring they are safe at all times. Maybe if there is a contact on the signs and a danger is percieved then the contact should be informed and requested to take action.
If the bodies who's logos appear claim no knowledge then they must bring pressure to ensure the false logo's are removed.
May be if public money has been spent then it should be addressed to the Political masters at the highest level to see if they agree with this blatent money wasting.
In the mean time lets continue to paddle and land as appropriate as we do at the moment.

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by Chris Bolton »

chilealan wrote:If we land on anywhere we are not welcome it is still a civil trespass
It's not a trespass if the right of navigation entitles us to be there. From the quotes in the original post (from info sent by the EA) it seems that the statutory right of navigation on the Wye includes use of the banks as far as is incidental to navigation. That won't include crossing private land to get to the river, but it may well include stopping for lunch and would certainly include rescues. This situation is probably unique to the Wye and the named tributaries and won't necessarily apply to rivers with a common law right of navigation.[/quote]

The current access debate is at least partly the result of a statement in a book in 1830 which was probably incorrect but became accepted as fact. We need to challenge notices like this, or the same will happen - it will become accepted as fact.

Chris

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by Chalky723 »

Chris Bolton wrote: It's not a trespass if the right of navigation entitles us to be there.
I understood the right of navigation to be just that - the right to navigate down the river. Not the right to get out and land on private land.

Quite willing to be corrected, but I can't see what the fuss is about.

C
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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by Chris Bolton »

Chalky723 wrote:Quite willing to be corrected
In the specific case of this river system, for the reasons given in the original post (and as I said in my post) there seems to be a right to use the banks where incidental to navigation.

Chris

PS - I'd be grateful to any Mods reading this who could put the missing '=' in my quote in the post two above this one - thanks.

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by dougoutcanoe »

There still seems to be confusion amongst some posters on this thread.

The EA sent this extract.

....and includes their beds and banks;

"bank" means so much of any bank, wall, embankment, fence, wharf, quay or other feature (whether natural or artificial) as confines the waters of the rivers up to the level and the point of their overspill into the flood plain of the rivers;

(2) References in this Order to the use of the principal rivers shall be construed as meaning such use as is, according to the principles of common law, reasonably incidental to their navigation.

I and many others, I am sure will deduce from this that the private keep off land cannot extend down to the water but starts from the point of overspill onto the floodplain. The normally accepted riparian rights are altered by the Act. Therefore we have reasonable access to the banks.

The confusion used by land owners is that Access to and Egress from the river is to be by officially recognised sites. But once on the river the banks are part of the navigation and therefore should remain accessible to canoeist and other river users.

Doug

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by Dave Thomas »

Whereabouts on the river have these signs been seen so far?
Dave Thomas

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by Mark R »

Trying something out. Check out the EA's Facebook page.
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by dougoutcanoe »

Dave Thomas wrote:Whereabouts on the river have these signs been seen so far?
I saw them between Byecross and Hereford. Downstream of Hereford to Holme Lacy Bridge they were particularly thick on the ground and I saw a workman erecting one as I passed.
I did find them elsewhere along the river. I think but am not certain I saw them at Herne Bridge.

I was out for a four day paddle and not particularly looking for the signs.

If anyone else can add to this information the EA would be interested to know. Give details about the location and Grid Reference.
Email them on:
dane.broomfield@environment-agency.wales.gov.uk
paul.senior@environment-agency.wales.gov.uk
lynn.bulbeck@environment-agency.wales.gov.uk

I have received this email from Paul Senior :

Thank you for your latest communique regarding the "No canoe landing" signs and for the detailed reference of where one of them can be found by road.

As one of the two navigation officers working in Dane Broomfield's team I am following up the reports you have sent to him.

Myself and Lynn Bulbeck will be patrolling the river in a canoe next week (river conditions permitting) and will note the location of as many signs as we can.

Once we have confirmed who has been erecting the signs we will let you know how we intend to proceed with the matter.

regards Paul

Paul Senior

Wye Navigation Officer

02920582750

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by quicky »

Trying something out. Check out the EA's Facebook page.
Got a link mark

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by Mark R »

quicky wrote:
Trying something out. Check out the EA's Facebook page.
Got a link mark
http://www.facebook.com/#!/environmenta ... l&filter=1
Mark Rainsley
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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by Adrian Cooper »

Members of the public shall have the right to navigate and use the principal rivers
Not sure what this means.

Subject the the courts clarifying, I am going to suggest it includes me having a picnic on the shingle beaches.

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by dougoutcanoe »

Adrian Cooper wrote:
Members of the public shall have the right to navigate and use the principal rivers
Not sure what this means.

Subject to the courts clarifying, I am going to suggest it includes me having a picnic on the shingle beaches.
I would add to that "and the riverbank up to the top".

I don't think the landowners will go through court for fear of losing but they will continue to harass and bully those they see as wrong do'ers.

Doug

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by twopigs »

Adrian Cooper wrote:
Members of the public shall have the right to navigate and use the principal rivers
Not sure what this means.

Subject the the courts clarifying, I am going to suggest it includes me having a picnic on the shingle beaches.
I guess the old boat haulers did exactly that in time gone by .... and maybe even walked along the tops of the river banks as well. If only they had left written records of their unchallenged walking ... it might have created a public right of way - unless they had to pay tolls to cross the land???
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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by dougoutcanoe »

twopigs wrote:
Adrian Cooper wrote:
Members of the public shall have the right to navigate and use the principal rivers
twopigs stated.... unless they had to pay tolls to cross the land???
Hi twopigs, I don't like the addition of extra ammo for the negative. If there were tolls they would be recorded. The current act is all we need without the, "what if's?"

The extracts shown earlier give all the information we need without the "What if's?"

Doug

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by twopigs »

dougoutcanoe wrote: twopigs stated.... unless they had to pay tolls to cross the land???

Hi twopigs, I don't like the addition of extra ammo for the negative. If there were tolls they would be recorded. The current act is all we need without the, "what if's?"

The extracts shown earlier give all the information we need without the "What if's?"

Doug
Dumb of me ..... A public right of navigation with tolls? ........ You're right the words "public right" give it away.
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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by brevan »

twopigs wrote:I guess the old boat haulers did exactly that in time gone by .... and maybe even walked along the tops of the river banks as well. If only they had left written records of their unchallenged walking ... it might have created a public right of way - unless they had to pay tolls to cross the land???
They had a statutory right to use of the banks...
In 1662 Sir William Sandys of Ombersley Court, together with Henry and Windsor Sandys, obtained powers to make navigable the Wye and Lugg, as well as their tributaries in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire. Power was granted to make a path four feet wide on either side of the river for hauling boats
Brevan

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by clarky999 »

The BCU could learn a few lessons in communication from the EA. From their facebook page:
Hi again. Mark, thanks for raising this. In the last week a number of signs like this one have been brought to our attention. Despite the wording and the logo, the signs have been produced without consultation or permission from us. We are currently investigating this matter further, and hope to be able to provide you with an update in due course.

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by dougoutcanoe »

clarky999 wrote:The BCU could learn a few lessons in communication from the EA. From their facebook page:
Hi again. Mark, thanks for raising this. In the last week a number of signs like this one have been brought to our attention. Despite the wording and the logo, the signs have been produced without consultation or permission from us. We are currently investigating this matter further, and hope to be able to provide you with an update in due course.

Hi Mark, The EA quote,"without consultation or permission from us" answers the question I originally asked but you have got a clearer answer there. Well done.

We need people to use more avenues than individuals know about, Facebook may be another useful tool.

Thanks

Doug

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by clarky999 »

I'm not Mark btw, just quoted their answer to his question.

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by dougoutcanoe »

clarky999 wrote:I'm not Mark btw, just quoted their answer to his question.
Ooops! Sorry clarky999.

I have found a facebook page for Natural England, http://www.facebook.com/#!/naturalengland

Where I have posted my question about the signs and did they give permission for the use of their logo.

Doug

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by quicky »

http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwor ... ities.aspx

Another one to ask some questions to...
In England there is no legal right of access to rivers, but there are plenty of places where you can get access to the water in a canoe or kayak through clubs or permissive access. The British Canoe Unionexternal link supports the development of canoeing and the Amateur Rowing Associationexternal link supports rowing and rowers; both websites have details of clubs near you. Or, for a high-adrenaline version of being on the water, you could have a go at kite-surfing. The British Kite-Surfing Associationexternal link has details about BKSA registered schools where you can find qualified instructors. Recreational anglersexternal link can find out where to go fishing and other useful information on the Environment Agency's website.
http://www.bobw.co.uk/conflict-on-water

http://www.bobw.co.uk/Default.aspx?page=canoeing
Canoeing

The extent of watercourses in England and Wales is large relative to the total length of watercourse that can be legally canoed.

A number of agreements have been reached to extend the amount of water that can be paddled as of right or with express permission, but a lot still remains canoeable on a de facto basis only or not at all. As a result, canoeists are sometimes tempted to canoe without permission. This can give rise to conflict in a few cases.

What can be done to resolve this conflict?
http://www.bobw.co.uk/Default.aspx?page ... Waters5515

Interesting looking at the backers to these various sites that seem to be springing up

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by RichA »

Where's this BoBW site come from? Anyone know?
The extent of watercourses in England and Wales is large relative to the total length of watercourse that can be legally canoed.
Because lines like that are not helpful to us in the slightest.

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by Jim Pullen »

dougoutcanoe wrote:I have found a facebook page for Natural England, http://www.facebook.com/#!/naturalengland

Where I have posted my question about the signs and did they give permission for the use of their logo.

Doug
That doesn't look like an official group Doug, so I wouldn't hold your breath for a response!
Done any NE/NW rivers not on the site? PM me!

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by dougoutcanoe »

Jim Pullen wrote:
dougoutcanoe wrote:I have found a facebook page for Natural England, http://www.facebook.com/#!/naturalengland

Where I have posted my question about the signs and did they give permission for the use of their logo.

Doug
That doesn't look like an official group Doug, so I wouldn't hold your breath for a response!
I was a bit concerned about it but the Natural England (with logo) Facebook page offers no means of communication!!!!

No, I will not be holding my breath. I've been waiting over 4 weeks for an answer from their "contact us" on their website.

Doug

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Re: New signs on the Wye

Post by Strad »

Mail sent to Natural England asking them to remove the inaccuracy from their website stating that navigation is illegal unless they can quote case law / legislation, also quoting the letter from the welsh police stating that there is no identified common law. I await their response :)
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