Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Inland paddling
Post Reply
ash74
Posts: 238
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2005 4:48 pm
Location: N. Wales

Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by ash74 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:15 am

A number of Canoe Wales members have asked me to put a statement up here about our current position on access. If someone could link it to the thread(s) where it’s appropriate I’d really appreciate it.

If anyone would like to discuss this with Canoe Wales, please feel free to get in touch with me directly. Most angling clubs seem to have my contact details as I get more correspondence from them than paddlers! To save you searching ashley.charlwood@canoewales.com or 01678522030.

My understanding is that there is confusion over what our current policy is. Our current position on this has not changed since October 2005, there is a thread here about this position.

Understandably, Canoe Wales opinions have developed as more information has been uncovered, our members requests have changed and the results from various strategies come out, but this has not modified our core policy position.

The area of access to inland water is massively complex, at the highest level it sits across three Ministerial portfolios, is a devolved issue in Wales and is politically affected by money, devolution, Single Environment Body formation and current agency work programmes. At the lowest level it can destroy the enjoyment in a days paddle. Whether I’ve got the high and low the right way round is up for discussion!

We recognise that Paddlesport participants don’t want politics or conflict on the ground as part of their sport or recreation. Our main aim is to promote Paddlesport that can be enjoyed responsibly and sustainably on all waters that holds an attraction for their chosen activity.

In all cases, whether for safety, access or other reasons the decision to go afloat lies with the individual, and whilst we can give definitive advice in many areas, access is one that has shades of grey.

I’ll bullet point some key points that might be useful.
• Canoe Wales have not seen any evidence to support the position that Navigation is statutorily restricted
• Canoe Wales accept that the current perception in common law supports the position that where rights are not explicit Navigation may constitute a trespass
• Canoe Wales holds the opinion that the current common law position with regard to trespass on waterways is not utilised, understood or accurate with regard to the statutory position. We would reference Rev Douglas Caffyn’s work as the most current and accurate commentary that, to our knowledge, has yet to be disputed
• Canoe Wales recognise that most Paddlesport in Wales takes place on a de facto basis without objection and that the lack of a clearly understandable legal position can lead to localised conflict
• Canoe Wales recognises that the localised conflict is minimal compared to the volume of activity taking place
• Canoe Wales is very concerned that Environmental Protection is being confused with placing restrictions on access. This lack of clarity is leading to an inability for agencies to communicate credibly
• Welsh Government holds a different view to Canoe Wales with regard to the delivery of Public access post the Sustainability Committee report in June 2010, see here for details.
• Canoe Wales and Welsh Government have agreed to disagree about the policy/strategy/delivery of access to inland water. Welsh Government still recognises Canoe Wales as the appropriate technical expert to represent Paddlesport in Wales. Canoe Wales continue to engage fully and constructively on Paddlesport matters with all areas of Government


Other opinions that Canoe Wales hold that may be useful for paddlers to understand:
• There are two distinctly different areas relating to access to non tidal water- the securing of access and the management of access
• The discussion about access is currently focussed on canoeing vs angling, when in fact the issues are much greater than this. Polarisation of this issue is creating a real issue for the public and the environment they wish to enjoy
• There are times and locations where Paddlesport requires management to prevent damage to the Environment, these times and locations are few due to the natural mechanisms (water level or physical navigability)outlined in W266 “The impact of canoeing on fish stocks and angling”
• Irrespective of the current legislative framework (its interpretation or differing opinions of the actual position held by different stakeholders) there is not a mechanism that can effectively promote and protect the inland waters or Wales i.e. Rights and Responsibilities
• Canoe Wales can only support arrangements that meet the Governments tests for access – clarity, security, certainty and permanence
• We accept that private access arrangements may work well for individuals, or small organisations but that these often do not meet the tests above for Public access
• Access agreements or arrangements are tools that can be used for managing recreation; however they cannot be used for securing public access. Without securing access first any voluntary regulation is unlikely to be successful
• Canoe Wales is fundamentally here to represent its members; we note that recreational participation is the basis on which all other participation is based. Whilst our membership is the most important user we represent, we, as paid officers all feel passionate about all Paddlesport in Wales and represent this without prejudice to its discipline, type or level

This really only scrapes the surface of everything that is bound in the subject and really isn’t exhaustive. I hope, though it goes some way to answer the questions that have been raised. I’m happy to expand on any questions. In the mean time though, I would make two requests though.

1. If you want to communicate with Canoe Wales on access get in touch. There are still a large number of volunteers doing lots of good work. It is really dispiriting to have to argue about the NGB’s position on things. Please direct requests or moans at paid officers through the channels outlined above
2. If you have a Paddlesport experience in Wales that concerns you or is out of the norm, please report it to Canoe Wales here, without you reporting things we cannot make headway

See you on the water!

Ash

User avatar
roo
Posts: 806
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2002 11:11 am

Re: Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by roo » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:43 am

Thanks Ash.

A clear response - can I ask that this is made easy to find on the Canoe Wales website.

User avatar
Adrian Cooper
Posts: 9518
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2002 2:26 pm
Location: Buckinghamshire

Re: Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by Adrian Cooper » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:42 pm

Thank you for the link to the thread, unfortunately the further link quoted in that thread http://www.canoewales.com/position/position.htm is not working.

Fortunately, Mark posted the text at that time as follows:
WCA wrote:WCA Position Statement on Access to Inland Waters
Access to water in England and Wales is restricted due to the common conception that permission is needed to access and use water that is not tidal or does not have a public right of navigation. In other countries, access to water is unrestricted, and permits those involved in non-powered water sport to use both inland rivers and lakes.

Parallels can be drawn between access for cyclists to highways and that of canoeists to inland waters. As non-polluting vehicles that promote health and well being, there is no need to be licensed, and in the absence of facilities to improve or enhance the enjoyment of the sport there is no need to pay for the use of a natural resource. It is clear that the act of canoeing presents a minimal impact to the environment.

The British Canoe Union and Welsh Canoeing Association have been continuously advised by government to secure access to water via voluntary agreements. Access Agreements have been sought for over 50 years.

This approach has not delivered.

The supply has not met demand.

In Wales only 13 of the 300 rivers that are canoeable have any form of access agreement. Even the majority of these agreements are antiquated and fail to meet the needs of today’s canoeists. They are restrictive in nature, usually permit use of small sections of rivers only and are for short periods of the year. Canoeing continues to enjoy growing numbers of participants for which sustainable access to water is essential to allow participants and rural economies to continue to benefit from what is a low environmental impact, high health promotion activity.

Recent Government studies conform what canoeists have been saying for years: that access for canoeing is not freely available and is in short supply.

These studies have shown that access agreements cannot provide the necessary water resources needed for water sport.

50 years of negotiation has resulted in a pitiful 4% of the linear waters ways in England and Wales that are in private ownership being opened up via agreement. However, the Government decided that they way forward was to pursue further agreements in 4 study areas in England over a 2 year period. There is no guarantee that these studies will deliver acceptable agreements for canoeing. Furthermore, in England and Wales there are 7816 rivers to address.

The WCA does not accept that further access to water can be delivered by utilising the same methods that have failed again and again.

The WCA feels that a solution can only be achieved with a mechanism of access similar to that of the Scottish Land Reform Bill. Legislation is required to enshrine and enhance the right of access to the water, and provide clear roles and responsibilities for user groups in relation to the preservation of the environment.

It is the WCA’s submission that the law in relation to access to non-tidal water is unclear and lacks a definitive position. The research of Rev. Doug Caffyn suggests that a historical right of Navigation already exists on a vast number of waters; however, the law is unhelpful by being unclear.

Antiquated and unclear legislation causes the problems of access to water. Legislation must evolve.

The Government is responsible for legislation and its adaptation. It is the WCA’s submission that responsibility for inaction and the problems that this causes will also remain with the Government.

Ashley Charlwood
Access Development Officer
Welsh Canoeing Association
---------------------------------------------------
ash wrote:It is really dispiriting to have to argue about the NGB’s position on things.
I do hope you don't think people have been arguing about this, I'm sure that is not the case and they have merely been asking for confirmation that the position statement had not changed.

User avatar
Big Henry
Posts: 1920
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:31 am
Location: North East

Re: Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by Big Henry » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:02 pm

ash74 wrote: • Canoe Wales is fundamentally here to represent its members; we note that recreational participation is the basis on which all other participation is based.
That's just like BCU/CE isn't it? (This is just too easy...!)

Thanks for posting, Ash.

paddletastic2
Posts: 566
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 1:30 pm
Location: Coventry
Contact:

Re: Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by paddletastic2 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:42 pm

Ash

Many thanks.

Do you fancy a job with the BCU? Canoe england?

Regards

David

User avatar
Mark R
Posts: 24090
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2002 6:17 pm
Location: Dorset
Contact:

Re: Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by Mark R » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:08 pm

That's great, many thanks.
Mark Rainsley
FACEBOOK

kayakgirlz
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:06 pm

Re: Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by kayakgirlz » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:22 pm

I'm sorry but can someone put all that abit more simple like... I get lost in all the words.. but would like to have a rough idea of what the deal is.
Cheers.

andrew butler 101
Posts: 342
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:32 pm
Location: Capel Curig, N.Wales

Re: Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by andrew butler 101 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:31 pm

kayakgirlz wrote:I'm sorry but can someone put all that abit more simple like... I get lost in all the words.. but would like to have a rough idea of what the deal is.
Cheers.
Go boating.

User avatar
buck197
Posts: 1432
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 5:25 pm
Location: Plymouth

Re: Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by buck197 » Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:32 am

Ash

That is awful, how can you have the temerity to come on here and tell us the WCA policy on access in words I can understand, that is not what we expect from a national body.

Come on CE and muddy the waters so we really have not got a clue!!!
Brian Taylor
Paddle Pirates

User avatar
stripper
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 3:48 pm
Location: Taunton

Re: Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by stripper » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:06 am

Clive

User avatar
Tom_Laws
Posts: 8122
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 8:37 am
Location: North Wales
Contact:

Re: Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by Tom_Laws » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:34 pm

•Please proceed in a generally downstream direction.
Time for new Tshirts... "Attaining is not a crime"

User avatar
quicky
Posts: 2984
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2005 4:08 pm
Location: Wirral,
Contact:

Re: Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by quicky » Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:34 pm

They seem to like emphasising the avoid conforntation bit. (Adding it a few times).

twopigs
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:55 pm
Location: Stroud & Cheltenham

Re: Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by twopigs » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:55 am

quicky wrote:
They seem to like emphasising the avoid conforntation bit. (Adding it a few times).
It takes at least two parties to have a confrontation ........
Canoeing - bigger boat, broken paddle, more skill!

Dave Thomas
Posts: 1734
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 10:36 pm

Re: Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by Dave Thomas » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:09 am

twopigs wrote:It takes at least two parties to have a confrontation ........
Yep - oneself and the party who is wrong.
Dave Thomas

twopigs
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:55 pm
Location: Stroud & Cheltenham

Re: Canoe Wales and the 'A' word

Post by twopigs » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:13 am

Dave Thomas wrote:
twopigs wrote:It takes at least two parties to have a confrontation ........
Yep - oneself and the party who is wrong.
Usually the wrong party has a fishing rod of some sort ......
Canoeing - bigger boat, broken paddle, more skill!

Post Reply