10 October 2006

The English Access Situation

This has been taken directly from the homepage of The UK Rivers Guidebook, one of the most popular websites in the British Kayaking community. Frankly, I couldn't put the situation, after the commission report on the viability of improving access to rivers by agreeement was released, any better if I tried myself.

We have long been looking forward to the completion of the Environment Agency commissioned report on the viability of improving access to rivers by agreements. Knowing what we all know about the viability of Access 'Agreements', it could not fail to aid our case. However, the final report is now completed and incredibly it is a total whitewash, a laughably un-academic and unprofessional piece of work. Early on, the survey team took the amazing step of jettisoning any rivers from their survey, which might be difficult to secure 'Agreements' on. E.g. almost the entire Wear was openly dropped from their study.

Despite this un-academic approach, in 2004 they still concluded that "Negotiated access agreements alone are unlikely to fully meet the demand and need for canoeable waters... canoeists are disadvantaged by the prevailing patterns of landownership and property rights."

Somehow this realistic conclusion was dumped along the way to suit political motives, and the very first line of the final report's conclusions now reads: "in the vast majority of cases, approaches to securing canoe access by voluntary agreement are successful." The rest is similarly ludicrous.

What can now be done?

  • Write to your MP's and tell them how much the situation stinks; maybe they'll try and do something about it.
  • Have a mass access rally/trespass to raise awareness.
  • Log your support on the BCU Rivers Access Campaign website.

PS. Eleven days till my eighteenth birthday. Yay!!!

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

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