Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

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heybaz
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Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by heybaz » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:51 pm

A heads-up folks...

About a kilometre down from Burneside on the G2 section of the Kent, where the golf course sits on the river left bank, two strands of barbed wire have been stretched right across the river.

These are most definitely meant to be there with solid fence posts on both banks and the river right gravel beach with the wire stapled to them and up into the field on the right. The lower strand was just high enough to float a canoe under this afternoon while the higher strand was at throat height (low medium level?) Whoever put them there clearly recognised that this is a hazard as there are a few lengths of yellow tape hanging on the higher strand - but only just as it's pretty tattered and not that obvious.

It was simple enough to hop out river right and duck under it today but at higher levels / less light this could be really, really nasty.

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by Chalky723 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:28 pm

Worth reporting to the Police as "attempted manslaughter" or something similar? It's not usual to put boundaries across rivers....

C
Jackson Nirvana, BMW F650GS...

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by heybaz » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:29 pm

Photo here if you can do Facebook...

http://www.facebook.com/groups/18778444 ... up_comment

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by andpops » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:51 pm

If this is on golf club land then a nice email to the club secretary pointing out the implications, they are also on facebook and lets face it their members consider themselves as sports men/women.

info@carusgreen.co.uk

if they then do nothing then the the responsibility is theirs IMHO.

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by Uisce » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:27 pm

Contact local EA office and ask to see the consent for this 'structure'. If it has not been consented ask them what action they propose to take. If it has been consented ask them Wtf they were thinking.

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by R3V » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:46 pm

dony know the area but do animals graze nearby wire acrooss the river may simply be to prvent grazing animals straying-or not as the case may be.

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by Keith Day » Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:18 pm

If I understand the facebook comments correctly the wire continues into the field for a while then ends so livestock can just walk round it so its only an obstacle from the river. This is something for the police not the EA.

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by Skinner » Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:47 pm

Me and a mate paddled the Sprint and followed down the Kent on Friday.

We came accros this barbed wire fence it chest height just by the Carus Green Golf Course.

On the way home I went into the police station to let them know. I don't know if this fence is illegal or not but it looks like an accident waiting to happen.

They took my details and this morning gave me a call to say that they are going to send a PCSO round to have a look on Monday and that if there is anything to tell they will give me a call and let me know.

If I hear from them I'll post it here.

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by heybaz » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:54 am

I also reported this to the police who gave every sign of being very concerned and committed to sending an officer to check.

If I hear any more I'll post again.

Barry

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by Uisce » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:15 am

Keith Day wrote:If I understand the facebook comments correctly the wire continues into the field for a while then ends so livestock can just walk round it so its only an obstacle from the river. This is something for the police not the EA.
Based on that description...agreed. Sounds like a wilful act that intended to endanger.

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by heybaz » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:06 am

OK Folks...

Kendal Police have just called me back. They confirmed that there had been an earlier report and that an officer had been out to speak with "the golf club owners and the farmer". The reason that the police have been given for the "fence" being there is that is to prevent cattle getting onto and escaping from the golf course and that recent high river levels had caused the "fence" to be in the position that I saw it in yesterday.

I explained to the officer that this sounded completely implausible, that the fence had been constructed across the river and - having actually seen the fence posts and wire, and the construction method - this "high water" explanation simply didn't hold up. I also re-iterated that the present structure is an exceptionally dangerous, potentially life threatening, hazard. The officer said that she understood this and that she would note my concerns on file. A few moments further conversation left me in no doubt that the officer was at least aware of - shall we say - friction between various river users on the Kent.

Can I suggest that everybody that runs this section of the Kent and comes across this hazard makes a further report to the Police in the hope that something / somebody will see sense and the fence be removed? I completely understand folk wanting to take action themselves but wonder how that might stir things further in the longer term. That said, I'll certainly start carry appropriate kit for cutting wire in the event of somebody becoming tangled in it though....

Tim Farron is the local MP and seems to be very approachable. Is there a constituent paddler willing to take this up with him?

I still intend to speak with the EA tomorrow and maybe the golf club as well. Will post again if there's anything to share.

Barry

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by heybaz » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:22 am

Just for info: the EA aren't interested.

OK, using their Environmental Incident reporting hotline number is probably not appropriate (I couldn't get hold of anybody on any other number) but the guy I spoke with was clear - "the EA doesn't need to be aware of this".

I pointed out that in the event of somebody being injured or worse on this wire, then at least it would be on record that the EA were aware of this obstruction but not willing to take action to which the guy replied that he would let the local EA office know of my concerns.

Barry

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by Uisce » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:51 am

Dangerous game they are playing. Good luck to the landowner should somebody be injuried or worse after the hazard has been brought to their attention. Hope they have deep pockets, or equally realistic some spare time to enjoy the hospitality of the the state.

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by ruralweb » Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:41 pm

I've paddled that river on and off for the last 30 years and the farmer there hates kayakers - the barbed wire has been a problem for all that time. The first time I paddled the river the farmer was at the fence and gave us a real mouth full. Ever since then I've always checked that section before running it but then your at risk of being on dry land with a farmer and his dogs. He knows exactly what he is doing by putting the wire over the river.
Mal

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by Keith Day » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:09 pm

heybaz wrote:The officer said that she understood this and that she would note my concerns on file. .......... Can I suggest that everybody that runs this section of the Kent and comes across this hazard makes a further report to the Police in the hope that something / somebody will see sense and the fence be removed?
Next Month we will be asked to vote for the appointment of Police & Crime Commissioners. Perhaps a word or an email to these candidates (while they are still looking for votes) would help. Or contact with a more senior Police Officer! Placing a record on file is not an appropriate response!

They must treat this in the same way as they would a similar obstruction on a public footpath.

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by heybaz » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:32 pm

ruralweb wrote:I've paddled that river on and off for the last 30 years... the barbed wire has been a problem for all that time
Mal - I've paddled this section 9 or 10 times in the past couple of years but haven't come across this fence previously. From the condition of the timber posts and almost total lack of debris etc. around it, I would suggest that it hasn't been there for very long. It could of course be a replacement of an earlier structure but not one that I have been aware of. Have you reported this or raised the matter with the police previously? If so maybe there is already a file on record...

Keith - interesting take on the legalities of obstruction of a right of way. It would be an interesting case for somebody legally qualified to take on - connecting rights of way with rights of navigation (always assuming that there might be such a right on the Kent of course).

Barry

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by Keith Day » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:37 pm

heybaz wrote:(always assuming that there might be such a right on the Kent of course).
You gotta have faith! ;) If we don't believe it, how can we expect others to?

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by RichJ » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:49 pm

Hi there,

With the greatest repect to all involved, and I am sure my comments will illustrate my political ignorance in such matters .... but my inclination would be to take a photo (which you have done) and then cut the blXXdy thing out the way.
Just (say) folk used our gardens as a short cut to (say) the pub, what is the legal position if we created life threatening, unmarked traps to deter them?

Richard

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by heybaz » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:54 pm

Keith Day wrote:
heybaz wrote:(always assuming that there might be such a right on the Kent of course).
You gotta have faith! ;) If we don't believe it, how can we expect others to?
Keith - it's not that I'd claim to "have faith" - I'm probably more of a fundamentalist!

Richard - don't get me wrong; if it's there when I arrive next time, it'll be down before I leave

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by ruralweb » Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:09 pm

Mal - I've paddled this section 9 or 10 times in the past couple of years but haven't come across this fence previously. From the condition of the timber posts and almost total lack of debris etc. around it, I would suggest that it hasn't been there for very long. It could of course be a replacement of an earlier structure but not one that I have been aware of. Have you reported this or raised the matter with the police previously? If so maybe there is already a file on record...
The first time I came across it was in 1984 when it was a single wire over the river since then it's been there on and off over the years. TBH I've never reported it nor the other wires that pop up now and then on other rivers - the eamont was also bad in the 80s.
Mal

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by Keith Day » Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:43 pm

heybaz wrote:Keith - it's not that I'd claim to "have faith" - I'm probably more of a fundamentalist!
Quite right - nothing to do with faith - everything to do with evidence! But that's another discussion!
The Association of Chief Police Officers advises against the use of barbed wire, razor wire, wall spikes or broken glass on the grounds that building owners have a duty of care to ensure that visitors to the property are reasonably safe.
This may sound crazy, but that duty extends to trespassers and intruders, .........
Not that I'd accept for one second that canoeists are trespassers or intruders.
Full details here.

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by Mal Grey » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:50 pm

Could anybody provide an approx grid ref of this wire? I'd like to add it to Paddle Points as a Hazard. If not, I'll just put it near the start of the golf course so folk are aware of it & know to look out as they reach the club.

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by heybaz » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:35 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Could anybody provide an approx grid ref of this wire?
Hi Mal; SD513949 should do it, approx half way along the golf course as best I recall from Saturday - though from what others have said it may be that it moves on occasion.

Barry

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by garya » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:29 am

Carry a pair of wire cutters in your emergancy kit. if you become entagled then you will be able to cut the thing down as an emergancy at least. I am not sure you would be charged with damaging the fence if this was the case and you where in an emergancy situation.

The main issue with this is the type of wire used and the ability to see it. There are plenty of solutions to prevent livestock straying into the water, this is probably in the farmers interest if he is not to loose them when the river is high. Placing wire accross the rvier is problably not the best solution . In our local area cattler have specially constructed pens that allow them access to the river bank to drink but keep them out of the water itself.

The other problem with this fence is that it is constructed with barbed wire, this is the major risk as it will snag and trap the clothing and equipment of anyone washing into it. the fact it has barbs is a deliberate intention to increase the danger and makes it clear the not risk assement with regard to public safty has taken place. The person resposible would therefore be liable for any danger or injury caused.

Gary Archer

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by Mal Grey » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:58 pm

heybaz wrote:
Mal Grey wrote:Could anybody provide an approx grid ref of this wire?
Hi Mal; SD513949 should do it, approx half way along the golf course as best I recall from Saturday - though from what others have said it may be that it moves on occasion.

Barry

Thanks Barry. Added to Paddle Points here. Let me know if this looks wrong, ta.

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by kjones86 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:43 pm

Hi all,

I find this situation almost unbelievable, how ever, paddling now for only a few months, it has become apparent that this sad reality is all too believable and common. I must say though how great it is to see so many getting involved in highlighting these unnecessary dangers and taking necessary steps to combat those who wish to cause such antagonism on our waterways for nothing more than selfishness greed with no conscious thought for others safety and well being.

After reading "heybaz's" post on Kendal police's reluctant nature to help, and on looking around, I have found that Cumbria Police have public online meeting's, another Kendal online meeting will be confirmed. I personally feel that if these incidents are to be resolved it would take all of us to act. Also cutting the fence down could fuel the antagonistic farmer/golf-club, and may lead to the head on tackling of this issue being subdued until the next time, then the next and the next. (although that's just my opinion).

If you are interested in joining an online meeting with our police forces then I will gladly inquire into the next one, until then If anyone knows the name of the farm in question, then It wouldn't hurt for some of us to send them a polite letter or two, to explain our rather dangerous predicament whilst traveling on the river.

Finally thank you for your hospitality regarding a newbie to the sport, especially here in the south, you guy's and girl's have been the most accommodating above any other sport in witch I participate. Thank you!

Regards
Kyle

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by Skinner » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:49 pm

Hi all

I just had a look at the fence and on the way home had a chat with the PCSO's who went to have a look at the fence.

The lower strand has been removed but the higher one is still there.

The PCSO's said that they had a chat with the 'man at the golf course' and he explained that the fence was put up to stop animals from the near by fields entering the golf course. They also said that it is not breaking the law.

After a 'difficult' chat with the land owner they said that the barbed wire would be replaced with a 'regular' wire, CD's would be hung from it making it more visable and a sign would be placed upstream to act as a warning.

I don't imagine paddlers will be happy with the result but its not the fault of the 'police'. The PCSO's explained that they looked into various legal avenues to get the wire removed but as there is no public right of way and the river is not a 'navigation' their hands are tied. (I'm sure some legal eagle will pull me up on the terminology but you get my drift)

I've e-mailed Gareth Field (Development Officer for the BCU). I know he is not the listed acess officer but he only lives a short distance from the river and asked him to pass this onto someone in the BCU with more clout than us.

If I hear any more I'll let you all know

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by callwild » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:16 pm

It seems to be stated in the posts above that the wire ends at a post and can be just walked around, so how can the landowner say it is for keeping livestock in and was the PC not aware it could be walked around?

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by heybaz » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:59 pm

To clarify, the wires that were in place on Saturday ran from the farmers field edge perpendicularly across a wide gravel beach (river right), continued across the river to the river left bank on the golf course side.

To pass the fence we floated the canoe under the lower strand (just - the wire dragged along the gunwhales) and ducked between the lower and upper strands. We didn't try walking to / through the field as it was way simpler to duck through the fence taking it in turn to hold onto the canoe.

The fence quite obviously cannot stop animals crossing from the field to the golf course (via the river); all it could do is prevent them walking along the gravel bank parallel to the river or along the length of the river.

As a PS, I and at least one other person from hereabouts have contacted Tim Farron, the local MP. I haven't had a reply but shall post as appropriate if / when I do.

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Re: Barbed wire hazard, River Kent (Cumbria)

Post by Keith Day » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:04 pm

heybaz wrote:As a PS, I and at least one other person from hereabouts have contacted Tim Farron, the local MP. I haven't had a reply but shall post as appropriate if / when I do.
Tim Farron is President of the Lib Dems whos 2010 manifesto said
“Liberal Democrates will:
Increase the general right of access to the countryside along the lines of the model introduced by the Liberal Democrats in Scotland” – 2010 Liberal Democrat Manifesto, page 80.
Tim Farron also voted in favour of the 2008 Early Day Motion in favour of public access on all rivers.

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