Author Topic: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended  (Read 1614 times)

Online Dave Tyson

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The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« on: November 25, 2021, 10:30:57 am »
The directors of Cave Access Ltd (CAL) were told on 24/11/21 without any notice in a Zoom meeting with NRW that NRW has unilaterally terminated CAL's mine access agreement with immediate effect.

CAL's scheme had been operating successfully for about 6 years without any concerns being voiced.   But we are now told that NRW requires strong proof of compliance with statutory requirements across its estate.  NRW said its main concern is ensuring that bats are not disturbed which seemed to revolve around the SSSI status of land.  Essentially we were told that if the land was not an SSSI then bats are not an issue.  This demonstrates a failure by NRW staff to understand bats protection is on a national basis and the SSSI status of particular pieces of land neither adds to nor subtracts from that national-level bat protection which applies no matter where the bats are located.  There needs to be more clarity here.

Despite this massive quango being created to integrate environmental management, NRW has divided itself into six operational areas and so no longer has a holistic view of Wales.  So sadly the all-Wales access agreement we have enjoyed will need replacing with up to six separate agreements that cover our mines of interest split up by NRW operational areas. We have agreed with NRW to work on a solution to their North West Wales area first and once that is deemed a success then to try to replicate it in other areas, but this requires cooperation from five other Land Management Team Leaders which is clearly not a given and we may end up with many different access agreements tailored to these employees.

NRW asked CAL to pay for mine surveys done by professional bat ecologists at various times of the year, to be repeated in future years as necessary.  This is infeasible for a voluntary non-funded group like CAL to embrace.  So we told NRW that if they held to this idea then we would not attempt to renew the access scheme, leaving them at a dead end.

We suggested to NRW that installing electronic footfall counters (to count all groups using the mines and not just CAL visitors) and electronic bat activity monitors running all year around provided on a voluntary basis would provide a clearer wider picture and be more accountable than infrequent visits by paid-for consultants writing snapshot style reports.

CAL is not the only organisation affected by this change.  Outdoor Pursuits Centres will also be affected along with underground adventure companies.  Unfortunately NRW is requiring each group to commission its own professional bat surveys even if the surveys done by other groups exist and are in NRW's possession.  So, for example, if several local authorities want to use a mine then all will need to purchase independent bat surveys which concern the very same mine and the cost of this would fall on each local authority.  NRW would then have multiple bat surveys for the same site.  For NRW's purposes, CAL cannot utilise bat surveys commissioned by others and simply reference them as prior art.

Unfortunately there will be no access through CAL for explorers anywhere on NRW's estate whilst CAL endeavours to work with NRW to find a workable solution for their North West Area first.  We think this may take a year if NRW is cooperative and flexible.  If not, then CAL may wind up and NRW would then be left with no obvious lines of communication with mine explorers in the caving community.

Conversely mine explorers in the caving world would have no practical way to obtain permissive access from NRW resulting in a return to the status quo ante which was unregulated, unaccounted for and unconsented activity.

I am sorry to be the bearer of such bad news  :(

For and on behalf of the CAL directors,
Dave Tyson


Online ChrisJC

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2021, 10:38:23 am »
Sorry to hear that news Dave.

So are we truly back to the old situation?, or is there a certain way that we should all behave to maximise the chances of a return to a satisfactory access agreement?

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2021, 10:42:27 am »
I am sorry to hear about this also , as I said before I am happy to help how I can but I don’t think I can be of much use with this !   :'(

Online Dave Tyson

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2021, 11:16:57 am »
Sorry to hear that news Dave.

So are we truly back to the old situation?, or is there a certain way that we should all behave to maximise the chances of a return to a satisfactory access agreement?

Chris.
The ball is firmly in NRW's court and until they decide exactly what forms of bat survey etc. are needed we are in the dark as are the outdoor centres and commercial groups. I believe Go-Below paid for a bat survey in Rhiwbach so they may be covered for access for the time being. I cannot really say much more on an open forum, save to say that this whole issue flies in the face of Welsh Governments desire to promote Wales as the outdoor experience and recreational area of the UK.

The idea that you can take three disparate bodies: Forestry Commission Wales, Countryside Commission Wales and the Welsh environmental agency and shove them all together to make NRW with less funding (and no funding or plan for the merger) seems to be nonsensical - the organisation seems still to be in 'headless chicken' mode - my personal view.

Dave

Offline Cantclimbtom

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2021, 11:22:49 am »
 :wall:

Appreciate all the work you guys have been doing for others!
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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2021, 11:59:32 am »
Sorry to hear that, hope it can be resolved ASAP

Offline Keris82

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2021, 12:00:54 pm »
What is CAL please?

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2021, 12:27:38 pm »
It’s a major shame such selfish people have been going without using the permit system it only took 5 minutes and the information passed on helped make it a safer system of mine exploring for others .


It’s always the way though the decent people suffer because of the others .

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2021, 12:31:38 pm »
Could be good business for anyone selling camouflage oversuits?
 :lol:
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Offline badger

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2021, 01:19:13 pm »
bureaucracy at its best to confuse the populace, some may call it the mushroom approach. why keep thins simple when you can complicate them, and someone somewhere has been paid a lot of money coming up with this.

Offline Cantclimbtom

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2021, 01:26:56 pm »
Could be good business for anyone selling camouflage oversuits?
 :lol:
I have various of comments here... that I can't post ;)  But it's back to that perhaps?
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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2021, 02:29:56 pm »
The directors of Cave Access Ltd (CAL) were told on 24/11/21 without any notice in a Zoom meeting with NRW that NRW has unilaterally terminated CAL's mine access agreement with immediate effect.

CAL's scheme had been operating successfully for about 6 years without any concerns being voiced.   But we are now told that NRW requires strong proof of compliance with statutory requirements across its estate.  NRW said its main concern is ensuring that bats are not disturbed which seemed to revolve around the SSSI status of land.  Essentially we were told that if the land was not an SSSI then bats are not an issue.  This demonstrates a failure by NRW staff to understand bats protection is on a national basis and the SSSI status of particular pieces of land neither adds to nor subtracts from that national-level bat protection which applies no matter where the bats are located.  There needs to be more clarity here.

Despite this massive quango being created to integrate environmental management, NRW has divided itself into six operational areas and so no longer has a holistic view of Wales.  So sadly the all-Wales access agreement we have enjoyed will need replacing with up to six separate agreements that cover our mines of interest split up by NRW operational areas. We have agreed with NRW to work on a solution to their North West Wales area first and once that is deemed a success then to try to replicate it in other areas, but this requires cooperation from five other Land Management Team Leaders which is clearly not a given and we may end up with many different access agreements tailored to these employees.

NRW asked CAL to pay for mine surveys done by professional bat ecologists at various times of the year, to be repeated in future years as necessary.  This is infeasible for a voluntary non-funded group like CAL to embrace.  So we told NRW that if they held to this idea then we would not attempt to renew the access scheme, leaving them at a dead end.

We suggested to NRW that installing electronic footfall counters (to count all groups using the mines and not just CAL visitors) and electronic bat activity monitors running all year around provided on a voluntary basis would provide a clearer wider picture and be more accountable than infrequent visits by paid-for consultants writing snapshot style reports.

CAL is not the only organisation affected by this change.  Outdoor Pursuits Centres will also be affected along with underground adventure companies.  Unfortunately NRW is requiring each group to commission its own professional bat surveys even if the surveys done by other groups exist and are in NRW's possession.  So, for example, if several local authorities want to use a mine then all will need to purchase independent bat surveys which concern the very same mine and the cost of this would fall on each local authority.  NRW would then have multiple bat surveys for the same site.  For NRW's purposes, CAL cannot utilise bat surveys commissioned by others and simply reference them as prior art.

Unfortunately there will be no access through CAL for explorers anywhere on NRW's estate whilst CAL endeavours to work with NRW to find a workable solution for their North West Area first.  We think this may take a year if NRW is cooperative and flexible.  If not, then CAL may wind up and NRW would then be left with no obvious lines of communication with mine explorers in the caving community.

Conversely mine explorers in the caving world would have no practical way to obtain permissive access from NRW resulting in a return to the status quo ante which was unregulated, unaccounted for and unconsented activity.

I am sorry to be the bearer of such bad news  :(

For and on behalf of the CAL directors,
Dave Tyson

Does this affect access to caves? or just mines?
Should we all invest in ghillie suits?
Will this affect the AALS insurance for taking groups?  :shrug:
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Online Dave Tyson

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2021, 02:42:01 pm »
Does this affect access to caves? or just mines?
Should we all invest in ghillie suits?
Will this affect the AALS insurance for taking groups?  :shrug:
Just mines on the CAL list (mainly slate/lead)
Outdoor groups are affected as NRW have barred their access as well.
I think Go-Below still have access to Rhiwbach as they funded a bat survey of the mine just after the Covid restrictions were relaxed.

Dave

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2021, 02:53:59 pm »
Does this affect access to caves? or just mines?
Should we all invest in ghillie suits?
Will this affect the AALS insurance for taking groups?  :shrug:
Just mines on the CAL list (mainly slate/lead)
Outdoor groups are affected as NRW have barred their access as well.
I think Go-Below still have access to Rhiwbach as they funded a bat survey of the mine just after the Covid restrictions were relaxed.

Dave
 
Thank you for clearing that up.
Hope you have a wonderful day, it's a shame this has happened.
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Offline Cantclimbtom

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2021, 03:05:56 pm »
I understand CAL no longer has an access remit and so no authority to grant access
However: Question.... Suppose - someone decided, permission or not, they were going to enter a site formerly access managed by CAL

If they *retrospectively* notified CAL (note the retrospective, not asking CAL to endorse access) would that be beneficial for CAL to know about trips so they can demonstrate that people are still using these sites?
Or would CAL prefer not to hear about "trespassing"?

EDIT: hmmmm..  actually in theory isn't there a bylaw prohibiting entering mines on NRW land, maybe reporting a trip could be a liability?
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Online Dave Tyson

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2021, 03:32:46 pm »
I understand CAL no longer has an access remit and so no authority to grant access
However: Question.... Suppose - someone decided, permission or not, they were going to enter a site formerly access managed by CAL

If they *retrospectively* notified CAL (note the retrospective, not asking CAL to endorse access) would that be beneficial for CAL to know about trips so they can demonstrate that people are still using these sites?
Or would CAL prefer not to hear about "trespassing"?

EDIT: hmmmm..  actually in theory isn't there a bylaw prohibiting entering mines on NRW land, maybe reporting a trip could be a liability?
Yes, accessing mines on NRW land without explicit permission is now a trespass so please don't notify CAL  :)
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Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2021, 04:51:30 pm »
Well to say this is a shit is an understatement  :o
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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2021, 05:05:12 pm »


EDIT: hmmmm..  actually in theory isn't there a bylaw prohibiting entering mines on NRW land, maybe reporting a trip could be a liability?

Yes there is, and bit of history. Back in the 1980s there was a rescue call out to Rhiwbach whereby a woman slipped on the incline and injured her back. The leader was taking payed for trips to complicate matters, and was prosecuted and fined under what was then, before devolution, Forestry Wales Bye Laws.

In other words, get caught and you could get done.
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Offline notdavidgilmour

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2021, 05:38:52 pm »
It’s a major shame such selfish people have been going without using the permit system it only took 5 minutes and the information passed on helped make it a safer system of mine exploring for others .


It’s always the way though the decent people suffer because of the others .

I could be mistaken, but I don't think this is down to people not using the permit system.  I'm happy to be corrected if I've misinterpreted Dave's post.

Either way, this isn't good news for cavers.  Back to dressing like a rambler then  8)
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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2021, 06:48:44 pm »
Either way, this isn't good news for cavers.  Back to dressing like a rambler then  8)

I'm going to dress like a caver. If I get caught, I will put on an Australian accent and ask if they know the way to Adelaide.

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Offline Stuart France

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2021, 07:35:01 pm »
This falling-out was not fuelled by people visiting the mines who had not got NRW permission via the former CAL access scheme.  People not using the scheme is not the fault of the scheme, and in any case nearly all the permitted mines were not in any way secured against unauthorised entry by NRW.

NRW told us it has simply become more risk averse because it gets many FOIRs from single-issue groups seemingly intent on demonstrating that NRW is not upholding the law to protect things of value to these groups.   Bats were said to be top of that list.  NRW maybe fears being held accountable in public and of being required to publish embarrassing FOIR answers about itself on its own website.  And if a complaint got really serious then it might result in NRW decisions being Judicially Reviewed which exposes NRW to High Court scrutiny, pushing things up to a whole new level.

Now that NRW has killed off the permissive access scheme everyone is back at the status quo ante which is that explorers would have no choice but to visit without consent if they're intent on doing it.  The need for consent to enter mines on government forestry land may not be obvious since walkers and cyclists and horse riders have 'unbridled' access to the same forests.

I don't imagine NRW is going to try to defend its territory and their staff are not allowed underground for H&S reasons.  So interest would likely arise when people admitted to breaking forestry byelaws in their social media postings or magazine articles, or if rescue services became involved somewhere people should not have been, as per the back injury incident mentioned earlier.

Determined people will still venture underground, but now in more senses than one, they'll do the same things and visit the same places as formerly, and so from a conservation viewpoint having explicit permission or not seems to be neutral.

NRW scrapped a workable lawful access system created by explorers for explorers who wished to avail themselves of it, one that suited and managed modest levels of activity well and of which there has never been any criticism.  They have thus left themselves with no rational basis for their opposite numbers in recreation to return to talk with them, and they also risk losing some general support too given the craven rationale for denying future access as we understand it.


Online Dave Tyson

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2021, 07:52:33 pm »
One other thing to note is that in the unlikely event someone got caught and NRW decided to prosecute then I think a good defense council could absolutely nail NRW for removing a scheme which allowed legal access and worked well for very tenuous reasons. There is plenty of evidence from other parts of the country that cavers and bats have happily coexisted. The resultant publicity might result in NRW getting rather more FOIR's from concerned groups to the point that they just give up or spend an inordinate amount of money trying to secure sites which have multiple ways in. They are in a lose-lose situation regardless.

Dave 

Offline Cantclimbtom

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2021, 08:14:43 pm »
 :coffee: hmmm... given that mine exploring is likely to be seen by a magistrate (in their judgement) as an unusually dangerous activity, I wouldn't at all be surprised if it was taken as "strict liability" and defences like didn't know, or used to be the situation that, etc may not help. Probably it's a can of worms and those are the situations where only the lawyers seen to profit :(
I'd agree with your earlier comment, the activity is best covered by the 11th commandment
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Offline robnorthwales

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #24 on: November 25, 2021, 08:31:49 pm »


EDIT: hmmmm..  actually in theory isn't there a bylaw prohibiting entering mines on NRW land, maybe reporting a trip could be a liability?

Yes there is, and bit of history. Back in the 1980s there was a rescue call out to Rhiwbach whereby a woman slipped on the incline and injured her back. The leader was taking payed for trips to complicate matters, and was prosecuted and fined under what was then, before devolution, Forestry Wales Bye Laws.

In other words, get caught and you could get done.

I'd suspect that the Forestry by-laws have been superseded by the CROW Act and other legislation which has led to open access land. Which specifically allow such acts as climbing (and thus abseiling), walking, etc. Add in the reluctance of NRW to actually do anything that might put them foul of other pieces of legislation (bulldozing entrances might be problematic for bat or newt protection, for example), and the vast majority of their staff being office-based (mainly in Cardiff), and I suspect that there's not going to be much that comes to their attention.

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #25 on: November 25, 2021, 08:35:00 pm »
Sadly the CROW argument is as yet unresolved. There are 6194 posts on here already about how it relates to caving, and the judicial review being driven by David Rose to try to resolve it.

I am going on the fact that there isn't anybody who is likely to complain, mostly because they are all too busy responding to FOI requests to be actually out in the woods.

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Offline BradW

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #26 on: November 25, 2021, 08:48:31 pm »
Cavers, of course, are not a single issue group, or at least not one that would raise FOI requests to pursue an agenda.

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2021, 08:50:58 pm »
I don't think the CROW situation would give access to mines anyway?

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2021, 08:57:21 pm »
I don't think the CROW situation would give access to mines anyway?

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Offline David Rose

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #29 on: November 25, 2021, 10:20:06 pm »
Does this affect the classic Cwm Croesor trip?

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #30 on: November 25, 2021, 11:35:53 pm »
Does this affect the classic Cwm Croesor trip?
No - that is not on the list of CAL sites

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #31 on: Yesterday at 07:17:02 am »
...and I suspect that there's not going to be much that comes to their attention.
Not if you don't post on public forums about it...

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #32 on: Yesterday at 08:00:00 am »
Two questions arise:
1. Did the CAL statistics get sent to NRW, i.e. do NRW know how many people visit the mines?
2. Are discussions over?, or are CAL and NRW still talking?

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Offline Graigwen

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #33 on: Yesterday at 08:21:31 am »
Either way, this isn't good news for cavers.  Back to dressing like a rambler then  8)

I'm going to dress like a caver. If I get caught, I will put on an Australian accent and ask if they know the way to Adelaide.

Chris.

You might find it useful to view this account of a 14th century iron mine in Cumbria that reached 20th century New Zealand. (It is rather a good film.)

https://www.nzfilm.co.nz/films/navigator

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Offline Stuart France

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #34 on: Yesterday at 09:46:54 am »
I confirm that CAL did submit annual reports and statistics to NRW.  We did not receive comments of any substance on these documents from NRW in return, nor any suggstions or complaints.  This is since March 2015 when the agreement came into effect.

NRW appears to be in breach of contract due to not giving us 6 weeks notice of termination in the absence of any identification of a breach by CAL and proper notice being given of that.  They terminated the agreement verbally in a Zoom meeting which was unexpected.  This has not been confirmed in writing yet and it is not clear NRW ever intends to do so.  We will follow this up.

We will continue discussions with NRW for a while but it is not clear yet if they will move their new position away from demanding things from CAL that we simply cannot do and are in any case disproportionate to CAL.  Obviously if they maintain that position the matter will be closed by us pretty quickly.

That doesn't mean to say it can't be revisited.  In my experience of resolving business contracts with NRW that contained utterly unreasonable demands on their part, it can take up to a year for things to escalate to a level in the organisation where someone senior enough on their side with full authority to negotiate engages meaningfully to obtain resolution in principle and then action it down the line.

Offline ttxela2

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #35 on: Yesterday at 01:30:46 pm »
Oh dear  :(

Well first of all, many thanks to all those involved with CAL for their work so far, I know I have benefitted greatly from it, as will have many other folk on here.

Secondly, booo to NRW generally in this instance.

Thirdly, if I were interested in bats and there welfare to any degree (which I sort of am) I think I'd probably much prefer a proper access and recording scheme to be in place.

Fourthly, if there is anything those in the know think we could do to help resolve this please let me know.

Offline PeteHall

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #36 on: Yesterday at 01:42:30 pm »
If it's of use (probably not in this instance), I know a number of licenced bat ecologists, one of whom does quite a number of underground surveys. I'm happy to have an off-the-record chat if it might be helpful.

The issue is that ecologists generally tend to prefer to arse-cover when it comes to bats, so they might not provide the pragmatic advice we are looking for.

Offline Paul Marvin

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #37 on: Yesterday at 01:54:51 pm »
How did this go so sour so quick ?  I have my suspicions but wont post on a forum  :-\

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #38 on: Yesterday at 01:59:46 pm »
If it's of use (probably not in this instance), I know a number of licenced bat ecologists, one of whom does quite a number of underground surveys. I'm happy to have an off-the-record chat if it might be helpful.

The issue is that ecologists generally tend to prefer to arse-cover when it comes to bats, so they might not provide the pragmatic advice we are looking for.

It would be interesting to know if there is a background to this which non bat people would not be aware of, e.g.:
- People are using bat protection legislation vexatiously to prevent developments, antagonise the Forestry Commission etc.
- There have been legal changes, maybe a case recently won which increased potential penalties for bat bothering.
- A decline in the number of bats
- New legislation protecting bats, or demanding their recording, or placing restrictions on activities that might disturb them.

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Online royfellows

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #39 on: Yesterday at 02:42:48 pm »
Please dont everyone just write off CAL
Stuart, Dave and me are still here and willing to talk if and when sense prevails.

For what its worth, my 'dept of simple solutions' would be to include possibility of bats on the Risk Assessments and the mitigation would be the guidelines taken from the NRW leaflet "Bats underground, what you need to know"

In the meantime, I counsel some caution. This has come like a bolt out of the blue and we have no knowledge of what 'forces' if any may be at work behind this. Or if such 'forces' exist, the agenda. Maybe best to stay away from the mines for a while, just a suggestion.
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Offline mikem

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Online Dave Tyson

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #41 on: Yesterday at 09:16:04 pm »
Seems to be caused by things like this:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/870150/FOI2019_10351_Response_Redacted.pdf

Which don't seem to relate just to SSSI's:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/bat_reports_at_county_hall_mold
I think this exactly highlights the problems NRW is up against.

I would strongly defend the FOI legislation but it can be abused by individuals as it costs nothing to submit requests and cause mischief. Maybe requests should cost a nominal amount, say £25, which would discourage multiple malicious requests. I could understand a bat hugger being concerned if building work is disturbing bats, but I know the historical society which looks after Rhydymwn have had real problems with people raising objections to access to any of the buildings - just in case there was a bat present. The society were trying to train up a member so that they could assess the situation themselves - but this proved very problematic and both DEFRA and NRW were less than helpful. I don't know what the answer is here, but I think that requests for information need to be logged with the identity of the person so that it is clear to others if this is a genuine concern or just making trouble.

Interestingly bats in mines in England don't seem to cause the same level of problems.

Dave

Offline RobinGriffiths

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #42 on: Today at 02:14:20 am »
That reminds me. I arranged a rescue practice at BYP and PYW about 25 years ago, and thought it would be a nice touch to ask the bat people along as observers. What a pain in the arse they turned out to be. Far from being observers, they stuck their oar in so far that the practice almost got cancelled.

Offline robnorthwales

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #43 on: Today at 08:01:36 am »
Seems to be caused by things like this:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/870150/FOI2019_10351_Response_Redacted.pdf

Which don't seem to relate just to SSSI's:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/bat_reports_at_county_hall_mold
I think this exactly highlights the problems NRW is up against.

I would strongly defend the FOI legislation but it can be abused by individuals as it costs nothing to submit requests and cause mischief. Maybe requests should cost a nominal amount, say £25, which would discourage multiple malicious requests. I could understand a bat hugger being concerned if building work is disturbing bats, but I know the historical society which looks after Rhydymwn have had real problems with people raising objections to access to any of the buildings - just in case there was a bat present. The society were trying to train up a member so that they could assess the situation themselves - but this proved very problematic and both DEFRA and NRW were less than helpful. I don't know what the answer is here, but I think that requests for information need to be logged with the identity of the person so that it is clear to others if this is a genuine concern or just making trouble.

Interestingly bats in mines in England don't seem to cause the same level of problems.

Dave

Knowing someone who works in FOI / Subjext Access requests for a public body, I have to entirely agree with Dave on this - they are bombarded with massive numbers of requests from the same few people, on a continual basis.

So much so that they have taken some of the worst to Court to ask for them to be declared 'vexatious' - which means that the individual requests can be refused if the information has been previously supplied or the request is worded so broadly as to be a fishing expedition, or if large numbers of requests are received from the same person or group

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #44 on: Today at 09:59:06 am »
Perhaps it's time the legislation regarding bat protection is reviewed.

Certainly I find it hard to believe that they are endangered since they seem to crop up every time a development is mooted...

Perhaps it's why HS2 is costing £1million per meter to build - fending of the ecologists.

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Re: The CAL agreement with NRW has ended
« Reply #45 on: Today at 11:30:12 am »
I think that a universal problem is society is people 'really coming from somewhere else'.
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