So let me get this straight on the question of the MLCMAC.
The Beaufort Estate owns the land on which the cave entrances are sited and under which some (or all) of the cave passage runs.
Some or all of the land is designated by law as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve.
The Beaufort Estate have legally leased some of the land (or rights over it) to NRW.
NRW have stopped being involved in meeting their obligations under the lease.
Cavers have stepped in and now manage access to the leased caves because it is desirable that someone does so.
The Beaufort Estate is happy that all this has happened and that NRW have just given up their obligations under their lease?
That's all fine but is that the position?
Post moved from 'Using tape in Caves (was Agen Allwedd Trashed ?) Topic by Global Moderator
There's a bit of a misunderstanding in the above.
The MLCMAC until very recently was[...]
... I don't believe the MLCMAC is an access controlling body (in the 'registered with the BCA' sense) - again I could be wrong. Which leaves the question of what they are, assuming they still exist?
I thought I'd covered all that. MLCMAC was a government committee, most recently controlled and chaired by NRW. There was clearly a goodbye meeting with NRW in NRW's offices in Abergavenny but there has been no paperwork or other agreement emerging over the management of the Llangattock caves. NRW has a lease from the Beaufort Estate on the Craig y Cilau NNR which includes Aggy and Eglwys Faen but not Daren Cilau or Craig a Ffynnon which are also on Beaufort land. The NNR lease makes NRW responsible for managing cave access within it and they've abrogated their responsibility by informally winding up MLCMAC and not leaving anything in its place other than the suggestion that the cavers previously involved with the committee should run it themselves. Basically NRW wants to keep control at least in theory (the lease) but not have any responsibility or involvement at one and the same time (having done away with the Old MLCMAC but not put that in writing nor really figured out what the future should look like before NRW left the room).
The New MLCMAC (i.e. the usual cavers minus NRW personnel) could approach the estate to set up a new written access agreement running in parallel to the one that NRW is no longer operating but has not revoked.
However, in meetings I had with the estate longer ago concerning the wider area and issues, it emerged that its position is that cave access and appropriate conduct when caving is a matter for cavers to organise for themselves. By that the estate might possibly mean that you can do what you like so long as you can justify it to yourselves as responsible behaviour and don't involve the estate in micro-management of activities at one extreme or general purpose written agreements at the other.
So informality is pretty much what's happened and we'll just have to see how this works out. You can get a key for Aggy or OCAF or the Ogof Cnwc entrance to Daren Cilau from Malcolm Reid or from Adrian Fawcett or get it from Whitewalls by prior arrangement (see http://chelseaspelaeo.org/index_htm_files/contact.htm)