Environment Agency

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Bod Bagby
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Environment Agency

Post by Bod Bagby » Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:52 pm

http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... 20&t=41032

So someone is posting all over the South West River Pages in the name of Environment Agency. Real or just a mischief maker?

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Simon
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Re: Environment Agency

Post by Simon » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:10 pm

Real or just a mischief maker?
It could be either, but it is normal expected protocol for a person communicating on behalf of a government body (local government or national) to give their name and contact details in any letter or communication, so you can get back to him or her with any comments or questions.

In my opinion it might be entirely appropriate for an EA person to make such a post on this newsgroup, but the person making the post should have given their full name, position in the organisation, and contact details, within the posting. If they haven't, then how do we know it is genuine.

Simon

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quicky
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Re: Environment Agency

Post by quicky » Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:25 pm

EA id number would help as well to tell if they are genuine.

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by chicklechives » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:40 am

Cobblers surely.
Don't touch the gravel until we know how the fish disease is transmitted.
Fish don't get I'll if you abide by access agreements.

That really does need some research.

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by DaveBland » Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:18 am

Clearly total bollocks. Or possibly total ineptitude.

Any responsible communication would be better written and attributed to EA contact.
It would also make sense for it to be a totally new thread specifically about it, and not buried in a related one.

And of course it would have been covered in the media too.
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Re: Environment Agency

Post by morsey » Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:19 pm

Utter pony

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RichA
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Re: Environment Agency

Post by RichA » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:29 pm

Has anyone asked the EA about it? If it's real they will back it up. If it's fake then I'm sure they will be interested in someone impersonating a member of their staff.

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Jim Pullen
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Re: Environment Agency

Post by Jim Pullen » Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:36 pm

It does appear to be from an EA member of staff.

Look at the East Lynn guide and the last post is from Pete Thorn saying that the EA have told him something similar.
Done any NE/NW rivers not on the site? PM me!

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by jmmoxon » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:34 am

The fishing forums do seem quite concerned about diseased spring run fish in Devon, rather than ones that run in the autumn, hence the access agreement comment. Certainly stocks were almost wiped out in the 1960s by a similar occurrence.

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by morsey » Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:11 am

As ever with these ' issues', fishing takes priority over all river environmental concerns. The prime cause of introduction of invasive and destructive species and disease is from 'Stocking' rivers. This is done for the promotion of angling. The action of stocking rivers, has been shown, time and again, to be a major environmental impact to rivers. Personally I am not happy that the situation continues and the fisheries (noting the conflict of interest with multiple positions held within fisheries and the EA simultaneously!) should be stopped from this activity.

Reactionary; "Ban canoes, walkers, swimmers etc" will not stand up to reasoned objection.

Fish Stocks Low/under threat = Ban Fishing and stocking (Address the main cause)


Cleaning/drying canoes/kayaks/equipment in between watercourses is the most restriction that can be expected.

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Jun 29, 2015 11:29 am

Jim Pullen wrote:It does appear to be from an EA member of staff.

Look at the East Lynn guide and the last post is from Pete Thorn saying that the EA have told him something similar.
Interesting; if you check the wording of Pete Thorn's post in March and compare it with the wording of the new 'offending' post, the wording is almost exactly the same for the first few sentences. To avoid people making this comparison, the 'EA' post is not repeated on the Lyn Watersmeet thread.

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by BC Waterways Env » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:50 pm

We are looking into this, and contacting the Environment Agency for more information - will update when we get something back.

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by DaveBland » Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:13 pm

morsey wrote:As ever with these ' issues', fishing takes priority over all river environmental concerns. The prime cause of introduction of invasive and destructive species and disease is from 'Stocking' rivers. This is done for the promotion of angling. The action of stocking rivers, has been shown, time and again, to be a major environmental impact to rivers. Personally I am not happy that the situation continues and the fisheries (noting the conflict of interest with multiple positions held within fisheries and the EA simultaneously!) should be stopped from this activity.

Reactionary; "Ban canoes, walkers, swimmers etc" will not stand up to reasoned objection.

Fish Stocks Low/under threat = Ban Fishing and stocking (Address the main cause)


Cleaning/drying canoes/kayaks/equipment in between watercourses is the most restriction that can be expected.
Exactly. And excellently pointed out.
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Re: Environment Agency

Post by jmmoxon » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:37 pm

If you ignore the access agreement comment they don't have particularly onerous demands:
"For canoeists this would include careful entry into and egress from rivers, paddling in good flows only and avoiding contact with river beds wherever possible."

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by BC Waterways Env » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:41 am

We have had a reply regarding the recent posts from the Environment Agency on the forum, and they have also asked if we can share their thoughts back to the forum.

The posts were genuine posts from the Environment Agency. There is a real issue with fish diseases on several rivers in Devon & Cornwall, and so the EA are making efforts to contact a wide variety of user groups to spread the message about increased vigilance – this includes anglers, walkers, etc. The issue is not that canoes or kayaks can spread the disease. However the amount of some species that have been able to return to the rivers has been severely affected (estimates are around 50% of returning trout, and almost all salmon have died before returning to the rivers), and so the agency is keen to ensure as many of those that do make it to spawn have as little disturbance as possible.

In previous years fishing activity was halted for the most affected migratory species (which seems to vary year by year) – however, it hasn’t been felt necessary to do that in 2014 and 2015 so far.

The EA’s core request is that people use extreme caution in choosing where and when to paddle. This is by and large good practice anyway, and something paddlers support, but we would support calls for people to be even more vigilant with regards to avoiding wading in the water (especially where gravels and other spawning grounds are present), and avoid the water when levels are so low as to resulting in bumping and scraping.

Again, Check, Clean, Dry is good practice, and while not directly related to this disease, anything we can do to minimise the risk of new pressures for the fish populations on these rivers would be beneficial.

We asked the EA about the message containing requests to stick to Access Agreements. The reply is that the agency’s policy is to try to work to agreements as a tool for managing issues on the river. However, the key message and the most important to get out there is the need to be wary of water levels and the potential for disturbance. There are no Access Arrangements in the South West that currently meet British Canoeing’s policy for recommending them to paddlers. So we advise paddlers to be very aware of the need to treat the environment in/around these rivers with a high level of sensitivity. We will keep in touch with the Environment Agency to help flag up any specific locations where spawning fish are known to help guide paddlers.

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by GJH » Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:27 pm

Is it worth pointing out to them that by mentioning access agreements they alienate a great many of the paddlers they wish to reach.
And it was all going so well...

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by Simon » Wed Jul 01, 2015 9:18 pm

BC Waterways&Env wrote:We have had a reply regarding the recent posts from the Environment Agency on the forum, and they have also asked if we can share their thoughts back to the forum.

Snip
I repeat my post above
it is normal expected protocol for a person communicating on behalf of a government body (local government or national) to give their name and contact details in any letter or communication, so you can get back to him or her with any comments or questions.
.

Your post is really helpful, but if you are posting on behalf of the National Governing Body of canoeing, it would be really nice if you could give your name and details so we know who "We" might be. "BC Waterways&Env" doesn't really mean much except to those in the know, who can work out the the BC bit means British Canoeing.

Simon

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by Franky » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:42 pm

Simon wrote: Your post is really helpful, but if you are posting on behalf of the National Governing Body of canoeing, it would be really nice if you could give your name and details so we know who "We" might be. "BC Waterways&Env" doesn't really mean much except to those in the know, who can work out the the BC bit means British Canoeing.

Simon
I was going to post something in the same vein, but thought it best to check the forums first. "BC Waterways&Env" appears to be
Chris Page, Waterways & Environment Manager (Central England), according to this thread:

http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... 03#p767703

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by Simon Westgarth » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:20 am

Only a few days ago Richard Atkinson - Head of Waterways and Environment at British Canoeing joined Kayaking the River Dart Facebook group. He previously Left Job at Environment Agency in 2011 — Fisheries and Recreation Dept. Thus if the above BC Waterways&Env is Richard, I am sure he has creditability & expertise on these matters, (a good appointment for British Canoeing).

My question to Richard would be informations, we need more of it to make better decisions. Spawning beds location and seasonal time of activity, the EA are reluctant to share this information, and yet it is very clear it is needed to help us avoid them. Each watershed is unique, and locations of 'redds' and then year on year time of activity should be known. We are a community of paddlers have shown that we can take on this information and act accordingly, therefore, Richard please work to bring this information into the public sphere, as surely this info is already held by the EA.

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by Franky » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:36 am

Simon Westgarth wrote:Thus if the above BC Waterways&Env is Richard, I am sure he has creditability & expertise on these matters, (a good appointment for British Canoeing).
See my post above. It would appear to be one Chris Page, and not Richard Atkinson.

It's possible that several people are using the BC Waterways&Env forum account, and if so it would be helpful for us to know exactly who we're engaging with.

I'm still not sure why all these concerns about spawning and environmental damage are such a big issue in England and Wales, while in, say, Germany, a pretty environmentally responsible country, the unambiguous status of all rivers as public rights of way is accepted by anglers and government bodies alike, and there is none of this talk along the lines of, "There *might possibly* be some potential for environmental concern, but the concern is so vague and unspecific that the best course of action is to keep off the rivers completely."

In other words, the vaguer the threat, the more drastic can be the measures proposed.

Sorry if I'm sounding sceptical, but if what Simon says is true, there appear to be links at the top level between the angling/fishing community, and British Canoeing. It may not technically be a conflict of interest, but in the context of the reluctance of British Canoeing to stand up for the rights of paddlers, it doesn't offer much reassurance.

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by BC Waterways Env » Thu Jul 02, 2015 1:54 pm

Simon wrote:
Your post is really helpful, but if you are posting on behalf of the National Governing Body of canoeing, it would be really nice if you could give your name and details so we know who "We" might be. "BC Waterways&Env" doesn't really mean much except to those in the know, who can work out the the BC bit means British Canoeing.

Simon
Sorry, quite right. The post was added by 'me' (Chris Page) in this instance - but on behalf of the whole team, as we worked with the EA on getting an answer to the issue.

I will try to sign posts off in future - it was a slip of memory rather than intent!

For future reference too, you can contact any of the Waterways & Environment team at any time. We cover specific regions, but in general we get mucked in where needed too, and we'll always get your email's to the right person. We are:
Northern England, and Manager of the function: richard.atkinson@britishcanoeing.org.uk
Central England: chris.page@britishcanoeing.org.uk
Southern England: kevin.east@britishcanoeing.or.uk
Access queries; access@brtishcanoeing.org.uk

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by BC Waterways Env » Thu Jul 02, 2015 2:04 pm

Franky wrote:
Simon Westgarth wrote:
I'm still not sure why all these concerns about spawning and environmental damage are such a big issue in England and Wales, while in, say, Germany, a pretty environmentally responsible country, the unambiguous status of all rivers as public rights of way is accepted by anglers and government bodies alike, and there is none of this talk along the lines of, "There *might possibly* be some potential for environmental concern, but the concern is so vague and unspecific that the best course of action is to keep off the rivers completely."

In other words, the vaguer the threat, the more drastic can be the measures proposed.

Sorry if I'm sounding sceptical, but if what Simon says is true, there appear to be links at the top level between the angling/fishing community, and British Canoeing. It may not technically be a conflict of interest, but in the context of the reluctance of British Canoeing to stand up for the rights of paddlers, it doesn't offer much reassurance.
I (and we!) understand the reasons for being skeptical - which was one reason we wanted to follow it up with the EA very quickly. In this instance, there is a real concern, but the guidance at present only needs to be in terms of an advisory to people to be as careful as possible with water levels and entry/exit of the water. We'll keep in touch with the EA, and if any more specific locational info comes in we'll pass it on.

Chris Page - W&E Manager, Central Region, chris.page@britishcanoeing.org.uk

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by BC Waterways Env » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:17 pm

Franky wrote:Sorry if I'm sounding sceptical, but if what Simon says is true, there appear to be links at the top level between the angling/fishing community, and British Canoeing. It may not technically be a conflict of interest, but in the context of the reluctance of British Canoeing to stand up for the rights of paddlers, it doesn't offer much reassurance.
Thank you all on the UKRGB for responding to the British Canoeing postings with interest and general positivity. I have always said that we should be communicating with, not only our members, but the wider paddling community who have opinions to express which can be very different to those of British Canoeing. Communication is key to generating healthy debate which hopefully helps everyone to establish a way forward to develop better relationships between British Canoeing and paddlers, as well as understanding the needs of other organisations who are tasked with managing the aquatic environment which we all enjoy.

With regard to the Waterways and Environments Teams past employment history, I can assure you that everyone of us is dedicated to working on behalf of paddlers and that we don’t have any relationships with other organisations that could be construed as conflicting with our desire to represent paddlers. For those of you who are interested, I was with the Environment Agency and predecessors for 20 years (17 years in Fisheries and 3 years as Area Recreation Officer in Yorkshire).

We, as I hope people would expect, are looking to build a positive and productive working relationships with key organisations such as the Environment Agency, Canal & River Trust etc. We are very open to working with angling groups to help build cooperation and joint working between the two sports, where paddling can do this as an equal partner in the process.

When working with other organisations we all in the Waterways & Environment team, both staffers and volunteers, do very much advocate on behalf of paddlers rights. We are hoping to demonstrate this more through increased communication through these forums, and other methods.

I'm not an experienced paddler, but I have paddled to be able to enjoy river trips and tours to get closer to the natural environment. If I get a chance I would also like to try out kayak fishing.

So to sum up, the key reason for working within Waterways and Environment Team is to:
· use my fisheries and ecological knowledge to ensure paddling doesn’t impact on our fantastic wildlife and work with other organisations to ensure that they get the message that sustainable paddling is environmentally benign.
· work with organisations to ensure that access rights are recognised.

Richard Atkinson, Head of Waterways & Environment, richard.atkinson@britishcanoeing.org.uk

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by dougdew99 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:04 pm

morsey wrote:As ever with these ' issues', fishing takes priority over all river environmental concerns. The prime cause of introduction of invasive and destructive species and disease is from 'Stocking' rivers. This is done for the promotion of angling. The action of stocking rivers, has been shown, time and again, to be a major environmental impact to rivers. Personally I am not happy that the situation continues and the fisheries (noting the conflict of interest with multiple positions held within fisheries and the EA simultaneously!) should be stopped from this activity.

Reactionary; "Ban canoes, walkers, swimmers etc" will not stand up to reasoned objection.

Fish Stocks Low/under threat = Ban Fishing and stocking (Address the main cause)


Cleaning/drying canoes/kayaks/equipment in between watercourses is the most restriction that can be expected.
Hey Morsey
Can you point to any evidence that supports your statement that the introduction of invasive and destructive species is from stocking rivers causing major environmental impact to rivers. I live in an area where the anglers are very aggressive and I would like to be able to share this fact with them... Not that they would listen...

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by Chris Bolton » Sat Jul 04, 2015 10:33 pm

BC Waterways&Env wrote:I have always said that we should be communicating with, not only our members, but the wider paddling community who have opinions to express which can be very different to those of British Canoeing.
Well said, Chris. I have always said that, too, but only a minority of people representing British Canoeing seem to think this, so I'm really pleased you do.
GJH wrote:Is it worth pointing out to them that by mentioning access agreements they alienate a great many of the paddlers they wish to reach.
I posted to that effect on the Upper Dart thread (but not the other seven with practically identical posts), several days ago, but 'Environment Agency' have not responded.

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:20 am

Chris Bolton wrote:I posted to that effect on the Upper Dart thread (but not the other seven with practically identical posts), several days ago, but 'Environment Agency' have not responded.
That's because the Environment Agency is not interested in 'communication' as we understand it; they want to tell us something.

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by gp.girl » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:01 pm

I can roll :)

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Re: Environment Agency

Post by brevan » Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:54 am

The newspaper article states
The distressing part is that nothing can be done. It is something they bring in from the sea
So attempting to ban or limit paddling would have absolutely no benefit, and just undermines the credibility of those giving the advice or making those statements. People have good access to information these days and inaccurate (or misleading) statements will quickly be exposed.

It then goes on to say that the best thing that can be done is to allow successful breeding so stocks can recover. Informed and responsible paddlers will know how they can best contribute to that, for example avoiding paddling in low water levels.

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