UK Caving

TECHNICAL FORUMS => National Access Discussions => Topic started by: Ian Adams on March 16, 2013, 09:07:23 am

Title: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 16, 2013, 09:07:23 am
Global Moderator Comment New thread for general discussions not directly relating to Carno.

The topic was the loss of access to a system and there was a suggestion mooted that we might want to look at access with CROW and some other cases. I only added an extension of “being controlled” to the loss of access (I feel in some cases it sits harmoniously) and the quote you have cited was a response to a question/challenge on precisely that.

I hardly think I have indulged in any “wild rantings”, on the contrary I feel that I have adopted a view point held by some others and supported a proposal which has arisen directly as a result of this threads raison d’etre. In short, I believe I am addressing and commenting on issues that are central to the topic.

Droid, no, but I guess I should not answer specifically for further for fear of being “off topic”.  :doubt:

“loss of Access” (on topic) can be “lost” (diminished, made very difficult or become impossible) by a club/body or group imposing it’s own conditions/criteria (having persuaded a landowner that their way is the right way) to some cavers. I am sure any experienced caver can name examples without me having to.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 16, 2013, 12:07:41 pm

I hardly think I have indulged in any “wild rantings” ...


Oh, I dunno, I suspect that there are some who might, just, possibly, think that your use of Gestapo style policing would fall into that category.

I could be wrong, though :)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: langcliffe on March 16, 2013, 12:22:10 pm
Oh, I dunno, I suspect that there are some who might, just, possibly, think that your use of Gestapo style policing would fall into that category.
I could be wrong, though :)
Was it not just an inevitable manifestation of Godwin's law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law)?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: steviet_scg on March 16, 2013, 12:54:51 pm
Oh, I dunno, I suspect that there are some who might, just, possibly, think that your use of Gestapo style policing would fall into that category.
I could be wrong, though :)
Was it not just an inevitable manifestation of Godwin's law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law)?

 :clap2: Brilliant

Although when it comes to negotiating access then Hofstatder's law may be more applicable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hofstadter%27s_law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hofstadter%27s_law)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 16, 2013, 01:09:08 pm
But Hofstatder's law applies to complex tasks; according to the OP negotiating access is a simple job; all that has to happen is that a landowner has to agree to give cavers, i.e. him, whatever they want.

Simple.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: JessopSmythe on March 16, 2013, 01:24:20 pm
I'm still waiting for an answer from Jackalpup. I asked who he thought should negotiate access and, at the end of a long rant about who shouldn't, he still doesn't tell us who should.

Sent from my HTC Desire S using Tapatalk 2

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 16, 2013, 03:38:18 pm
I already suggested I would much prefer either the BCA or the CCC were such a "body" to exist.

Failing that, I get the impression from David that he was proposing some form of unity be brought about to look at and address access issues - if that were the case and if such a "body" were formed, I expect that "body" would be less biased in favour of their own individual (club)  preferences and more representative of "cavers" in general (as I expect that would be their mandate).

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 16, 2013, 03:48:29 pm
I already suggested I would much prefer either the BCA or the CCC were such a "body" to exist.

This sentence doesn't make sense, given that both BCA and CCC do exist.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 16, 2013, 03:51:30 pm
Please stop being pedantic Graham.  You know exactly what I mean.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 16, 2013, 04:26:05 pm
Graham might, but I'm buggered if I do.... :lol:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 16, 2013, 04:54:37 pm
The BCA and the CCC exist as entities but their mandate is not to seek and secure access to “any old hole” on behalf individuals, clubs or groups. They may do so (and I know they do) where they consider it appropriate but they do not exercise any authority, per se, to supersede individuals, clubs and groups where those bodies are already negotiating or have negotiated access.

Since there is no “body” in existence whose raison d’être would be to secure unbiased access for cavers , Jessop asked who I would propose take on such a role. I suggested the BCA (and/or the CCC for Wales) as I consider them to be both appropriate and unbiased in the absence of any other apparent alternatives.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 16, 2013, 05:12:20 pm
Might the CNCC or CSCC be better alternatives, or are they part of your conspiracy theory?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 16, 2013, 05:42:38 pm
I don’t have any conspiracy theories. I was supporting David’s original proposal;

Quote
Does anyone agree with me that cavers collectively should be trying to mount some kind of campaign to get it restored - not only to Carno but to other affected caves, both in Wales and other areas?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 16, 2013, 05:49:20 pm
You do with regard to Club control of access.

And while I might have sympathy for Dave Rose's wish list, I don't think that it will happen any time soon. As it is, the CNCC and CSCC do a pretty good job IMHO.

Ogof Draenen may well be a farce, but that doesn't apply to all Club/cave situations.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 16, 2013, 06:12:21 pm
...but they do not exercise any authority, per se, to supersede individuals, clubs and groups where those bodies are already negotiating or have negotiated access. ...

Indeed they do not and an ounce of research would lead you to discover that their constitutions do not permit them to muscle in on pre-existing access schemes and and ounce of thought would have you realise why. I really, really hope I do not have to explain this. I cannot believe that anyone involved in caving does not understand it.

Do you know how many separate access schemes there are on Mendip that are not negotiated by nor administered by CSCC. The short answer is most of them.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 16, 2013, 06:20:39 pm
Droid,

Please don’t tell me I subscribe to conspiracy theories – I don’t.  I know of a number of instances that I would consider “unsatisfactory”, I also know of a number of instances that I would consider “satisfactory” and I also know that there are an even greater number of instances that I have no clue whether access is satisfactory or not.

I posted earlier;

Quote
David did say "in certain cases" ....

I do have an issue with “some” bodies (clubs or otherwise) ....

I have not questioned your judgement or opinion on CNCC, CSCC or Draenen and I am very well aware that any issues surrounding any of the three you have named are hardly likely to apply elsewhere.


Graham,

Yes I know. I was making the point that they don’t do it – not arguing it.


Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 16, 2013, 07:01:11 pm
ian

You miss the point. They do not exercise that authority because they do not have that authority. Any attempt to acquire such authority would be bound to end in acrimonious failure.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 16, 2013, 07:04:01 pm
And en route it would entail hysterical comedic value.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 16, 2013, 07:20:23 pm
ian

You miss the point. They do not exercise that authority because they do not have that authority. Any attempt to acquire such authority would be bound to end in acrimonious failure.


Graham,

I am not in disagreement with you and have not disagreed with you

 Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 16, 2013, 08:26:40 pm
And en route it would entail hysterical comedic value.

 :lol: :lol: :lol: Yea, good in't it Chris. dus't think we could show these young Jackalpup's a thing or two, up 'ere in't Peaks.  :) :)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 16, 2013, 10:52:38 pm
Bloody hell, Rhys - I'm not even sure which thread to post on now!

Tell you what, I'll post on this one but if you want to move it to the other one then feel free to do so. Fair enough? (But please don't ban me if I've done it wrong.)

I have never met Ian and know very little about him other than that he is based in North Wales. Judging from his posts, he talks a lot of common sense and it is clear that he has direct experience of the vagaries of the access system in the area where he has chosen to live. As such, I think his views are relevant when applied to a different area, particularly when parallels do exist.

I am not questioning your decision to moderate this thread by splitting it and beginning another (although, as I have already said, I do find it somewhat confusing) so you cannot ban me on those grounds. I do, however, take exception to your description of Ian's views as "wild rantings". You attempt to justify this by quoting (completely out of context) one particular comment he has made. By doing so you have most decidedly knocked him out of his stride, at the same time taking attention away from any validity his arguments might hold. The other thread has already been taken over by people whose only intention is to bring scorn upon someone whose views do not match their own. I dare say one of their number is at this very moment wading through forgotten caving journals from days gone by trying to unearth something else with which to discredit him.

Sorry, Rhys but I am very disappointed that you have felt the need to resort to tactics such as these. (Will I get banned now for saying this?)




Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Rhys on March 17, 2013, 09:13:21 am
Nig

Given that your last post does not relate to Carno, I've moved it to the new thread.

I've been in correspondence with Ian/Jackalpup. Though not particularly happy, he is prepared to put this issue in the past and move on.

I was just trying to keep the general access debate separate from the Carno issue. Drifting of topic is natural and expected on forums. Ian certainly wasn't the first to stray off topic but his lengthy postings were going to far. Perhaps I should've split it sooner.

I'm not adopting any sort of "tactic" here, just trying to keep the two debates separate. There's no desire to silence or censor anyone. Even Ian's comments comparing access controllers to the Nazis have not been deleted or moved!

Rhys   
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 17, 2013, 10:45:16 pm
No problem with moving the post, Rhys - thought you might want to!

Glad to hear that Ian has not been put off because I genuinely do think his contributions add to the value of the debate.

Yes, I do accept that it is difficult to decide how far to allow a post to drift off topic. Taking this to the extreme, if you look at the OP's first (and only!) post in the other thread he actually mentions three distinct things - the Carno situation, other recent events regarding loss of access in South Wales, Cambrian Caving Council's involvement (or lack of). Perhaps you should have split these into three separate threads from the very start?!

On a general note, the major problem (in my opinion) with deliberately moving any thread to this section (i.e UK Caving) is that it tends to quickly get subsumed and lost amongst the multifarious other topics. This has certainly happened with threads concerning access in the past. Perhaps a better option would be to create a separate section entitled "Access"? Failing that, how about changing the title of the Conservation section to  "Conservation and Access"? I would be grateful if you could give these proposals serious consideration.




Title: Re: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 18, 2013, 07:48:19 am
Having read the original thread as well as this one.  Well done to David for raising the issue.  I fully agree with posts made earlier in the thread that the CCC should be doing more.  It's a shame this topic has been split but hey, that's in the past.  Jackalpup & NigR have some very valid points and talk a lot of sense.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 18, 2013, 08:00:58 am
Global Moderator Comment Keep it civil - recent reported inflammatory posts removed. Access is/has been a heated topic within caving ever since caves were invented but don't let your emotions run through your fingertips and keyboard onto this forum; that's what pubs are for.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 18, 2013, 11:59:23 am
Even Ian's comments comparing access controllers to the Nazis have not been deleted or moved!

Perhaps it is time for moderators to start moderating other moderators?

Not complaining or arguing with the decision to edit my previous post (to do so in public would be to risk a ban), just pointing out that the the major part of the offending sentence was taken verbatim from the above-quoted comment by Rhys! It was a throwaway remark on my part, intended to lighten the mood rather than inflame it.

As a result, I was subjected to a nasty and vicious personal attack from another forum
member. This used foul and abusive language which upset my wife when she read it. Rather than reply in kind, I posted a perfectly reasonable response which clearly exposed the mindset of the person responsible. Both posts, along with a further observation from somebody else, have since been taken down.

The forum guidelines, as pointed out by Rhys to Ian the other day, clearly state that personal insults/attacks are a bannable offence. So, having been the victim of such myself, I would like to know if this ultimate sanction will now be invoked?

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Rhys on March 18, 2013, 12:54:39 pm
Nig

Your questions and comments on moderation will not be addressed on a public board any further. Please send me and/or Chris a personal message.

Feel free to continue using this thread for discussing "Loss of cave access, CROW and other (related) things".

Rhys
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 18, 2013, 01:03:08 pm
Rhys,

Fine. PM sent.

Nig
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 18, 2013, 02:49:42 pm
I am also a little miffed that my comment was removed, as it did not breach any policy.  It was highlighting an observation by Jackalpup and an opinion regarding the CCC  :weep:

Global Moderator Comment I have now restored an edited form of your original post
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Rhys on March 18, 2013, 04:34:54 pm
Not wishing to be accused of stifling the access debate, here's some issues that I've been pondering...
 
In principle I was thinking that it would be nice if we did in fact have an unambiguous "right to cave" established on all CROW (open access) land.

I don't really accept the argument that agreement to dig would never be granted if it automatically would lead to a right to cave. After all, the land owner only really sees people walking across the surface when they go caving. The effect on the surface would be minimal compared to digging and if the cavers have third party insurance through BCA membership, surely the landowner does not have any justified legal fears - the right-to-cave legislation could clarify any such legal worries in any case.

Then I started to think "What happens to existing gated caves on such land?" Off the top of my head I can think of OFD top entrance, Tunnel Cave top entrance, Agen Allwedd, Ogof Cnwc (Darren) which all fall into this category. When the right to cave comes in, do all those gates have to be removed? What happens to the rules that are in place relating to these caves? Could commercial caving take place? Could cavers use carbide? Could cavers enter with unlimited group sizes?
 
Perhaps exceptions might have to be made where the cave is an SSSI or a significant bat roost or has a dangerous pitch just inside the entrance. Might some local bye-laws need to be enacted to protect individual caves?
 
Perhaps the right could be limited to BCA members only rather than applying to the general public at large.
 
Of course, without a gate, there isn't really any practical control on access. The situation with cavers pirating permit-only caves in the Dales last year sort of demonstrates that.
 
How would all this work in practice? I'm not sure a blanket right to cave would be any simpler or more satisfactory than the patch-work arrangement we have now, but I'd like to be proved otherwise...
 
Any thoughts?

Rhys
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 18, 2013, 05:12:41 pm
In principle I was thinking that it would be nice if we did in fact have an unambiguous "right to cave" established on all CROW (open access) land.

I don't really accept the argument that agreement to dig would never be granted if it automatically would lead to a right to cave. After all, the land owner only really sees people walking across the surface when they go caving.

Let us say that you own a piece of land that at present no-one has any such rights over. You allow a dig. Which goes. Now thousands of strangers have a potential right to access your property. How do you think such a move would affect the value of the land should you decide to sell it?

The effect on the surface would be minimal compared to digging and if the cavers have third party insurance through BCA membership, surely the landowner does not have any justified legal fears - the right-to-cave legislation could clarify any such legal worries in any case.

It's not so much the legal fears, though they do exist, as the financial ones as outlined above.


Then I started to think "What happens to existing gated caves on such land?" Off the top of my head I can think of OFD top entrance, Tunnel Cave top entrance, Agen Allwedd, Ogof Cnwc (Darren) which all fall into this category. When the right to cave comes in, do all those gates have to be removed?

If an absolute right of entry exists then yes, they would.


What happens to the rules that are in place relating to these caves?

Most, if not all of them become null.


Could commercial caving take place?

Potentially that could be prevented by legislation, but it is virtually impossible to police if there is no other oversight of the access.

Could cavers use carbide?

What would stop them?

Could cavers enter with unlimited group sizes?

Yes, as each person in a party would have the right to enter the cave.
 
Perhaps exceptions might have to be made where the cave is an SSSI or a significant bat roost or has a dangerous pitch just inside the entrance. Might some local bye-laws need to be enacted to protect individual caves?

Ah but who decides which caves need such protection - and why? The nazis?
 
Perhaps the right could be limited to BCA members only rather than applying to the general public at large.

I'd just love to see someone try to get the BCAs membership enshrined and defined in statute!
 
Of course, without a gate, there isn't really any practical control on access. The situation with cavers pirating permit-only caves in the Dales last year sort of demonstrates that.

Quite correct.
 
How would all this work in practice?

Badly. Especially from the point of view of cave conservation.

I'm not sure a blanket right to cave would be any simpler or more satisfactory than the patch-work arrangement we have now, but I'd like to be proved otherwise...

Why? What is actually wrong with the current arrangements? OK, not all of them work perfectly all the time, but a great many cavers up and down the land work hard to negotiate and administer them - all volunteers - only to be criticised and insulted.
 
Any thoughts?

Some ;) but I'll not debate further if the nasty insults return.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Rhys on March 18, 2013, 05:18:47 pm
I don't really accept the argument that agreement to dig would never be granted if it automatically would lead to a right to cave. After all, the land owner only really sees people walking across the surface when they go caving.

Let us say that you own a piece of land that at present no-one has any such rights over. You allow a dig. Which goes. Now thousands of strangers have a potential right to access your property. How do you think such a move would affect the value of the land should you decide to sell it?
But, if we're talking about open access land, the great unwashed already have the right to ramble across it whenever they like. They can look at the entrance, why not go in? What's the difference?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Rhys on March 18, 2013, 05:21:41 pm
I'm not sure a blanket right to cave would be any simpler or more satisfactory than the patch-work arrangement we have now, but I'd like to be proved otherwise...

Why? What is actually wrong with the current arrangements?

It just seems like a nice simple ideal? Dunnit?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 18, 2013, 05:40:09 pm
Prior to CROW no one had the “right” to simply use land without the owners consent. Even with CROW, there are limitations that anyone taking advantage of the act must adhere to. How can landowners “police” the people who use their land under the CROW act ?  In short, the legislation dictates what some one can or cannot do and we have a court system to deal with people who break the law.

The question of how the caves would be policed if they fell within CROW has been asked; I think there is already a basic framework in place which would certainly starting point if all gates were removed and rules/conditions set by the controlling access bodies were lifted, that being;

The “law” still applies, CROW rules still apply. SSSI rules still apply. CCW and NE still have their mandate in respect of conservation.

I appreciate there are a lot of volunteers who help organise “access”  - would they not see an extension to CROW as being extremely helpful to them in that they would not need to spend nearly as much “volunteer” time ?

Sometimes, when something is changing, it may be better to re-build from the base upwards. Why not start with “baby steps” and just look at CROW first and leave the issue of digging and access to non-CROW land until later (since it may never come to fruition in any event).

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 18, 2013, 06:08:39 pm
Just as well cavers are creating access to more systems than we are losing then!

To bring things back to the Clydach Gorge, Ogof Nant Rhin was originally accessed by 3 tight squeezes and had some stunning formations, it's now, 10 years later, an (admittedly awkward) through trip with a much larger lower entrance and a lot of the formations have been trashed and this definitely wasn't done by commercial groups or the public...

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 18, 2013, 07:08:25 pm

I'm not sure a blanket right to cave would be any simpler or more satisfactory than the patch-work arrangement we have now, but I'd like to be proved otherwise...

Why? What is actually wrong with the current arrangements? OK, not all of them work perfectly all the time, but a great many cavers up and down the land work hard to negotiate and administer them - all volunteers - only to be criticised and insulted.
 

If applied and administered correctly, I'm sure it would be simpler and more satisfactory than the current system.  If I owned land upon which a cave or mine was situated, I would feel more comfortable negotiating access with a recognised body (BCA / CCC etc.) who acted for all cavers in the region rather than one person within a caving club.  I think being approached by a spokesperson from each of the possible numerous clubs which may be in the area would be enough for me to say "right, I don't want anyone going in"

I appreciate the many hours that cavers put in negotiating access with landowners, which is great if access is open to all local caving clubs and also accommodates requests from clubs further afield.  But many cavers / clubs are negotiating access and being obstructive when approached by other cavers / clubs who may also want to see what's inside.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 18, 2013, 07:18:07 pm
Name them.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 18, 2013, 07:20:38 pm
If I owned land upon which a cave or mine was situated, I would feel more comfortable negotiating access with a recognised body (BCA / CCC etc.) who acted for all cavers in the region rather than one person within a caving club.

I wouldn't.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 18, 2013, 07:31:43 pm
In principle I was thinking that it would be nice if we did in fact have an unambiguous "right to cave" established on all CROW (open access) land.

I don't really accept the argument that agreement to dig would never be granted if it automatically would lead to a right to cave. After all, the land owner only really sees people walking across the surface when they go caving.

Let us say that you own a piece of land that at present no-one has any such rights over. You allow a dig. Which goes. Now thousands of strangers have a potential right to access your property. How do you think such a move would affect the value of the land should you decide to sell it?

If it's access land (as I assume that's what we're talking about), why would it affect the value any more or any less? You could still have thousands of people walking across it anyway.  :shrug:

This was one of the tenets the anti-CRoW lobby tried to use in the original discussions. Conservation and erosional problems were also mentioned within the same breath. The World didn't seem to fall off its axis once CRoW was enacted.


Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 18, 2013, 07:37:40 pm
If I owned land upon which a cave or mine was situated, I would feel more comfortable negotiating access with a recognised body (BCA / CCC etc.) who acted for all cavers in the region rather than one person within a caving club.

I wouldn't.

If you extended your quote of me to include the next line instead of quoting me out of context, you would read that this often leads to many people from various clubs arguing over who 'holds the key'
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 18, 2013, 07:41:06 pm
Name them.

Naming them is only going to cause more arguments and would not be beneficial to this topic but I'm sure it's a national problem (where there is more than 1 caving club in the area) and not just a regional thing
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 18, 2013, 07:42:30 pm
RE your penultimate post:
If it's a dig then the club doing the dig usually negotiates access, so I don't see this.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 18, 2013, 07:44:26 pm
Name them.

Naming them is only going to cause more arguments and would not be beneficial to this topic but I'm sure it's a national problem (where there is more than 1 caving club in the area) and not just a regional thing

OK.

Name the caves. Say, 3 each in 3 different areas.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 18, 2013, 07:48:32 pm
If you extended your quote of me to include the next line instead of quoting me out of context, you would read that this often leads to many people from various clubs arguing over who 'holds the key'
Doubt that interclub arguments would affect someones decision about whether they would rather negotiate with an individual instead of an organisation.

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 18, 2013, 07:51:40 pm
Name them.

Naming them is only going to cause more arguments and would not be beneficial to this topic but I'm sure it's a national problem (where there is more than 1 caving club in the area) and not just a regional thing

OK.

Name the caves. Say, 3 each in 3 different areas.

If I named the caves, anyone with an ounce of intelligence would be able to work out the clubs I'm referring to.  Stop trying to provoke an argument.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 18, 2013, 07:54:16 pm
If you extended your quote of me to include the next line instead of quoting me out of context, you would read that this often leads to many people from various clubs arguing over who 'holds the key'
Doubt that interclub arguments would affect someones decision about whether they would rather negotiate with an individual instead of an organisation.

Mike

Possibly not Mike, that's just my opinion and not necessarily the correct one.  It may however put them off the idea of anyone going underground on their land.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 18, 2013, 07:58:31 pm
We are stuck with much the same problems in the canoeing world, but have managed to get ourselves specifically excluded from CRoW (despite being included in the Scottish Access legislation) and being in the far worse situation of having to negotiate with numerous landowners alongside rivers, rather than just the one where we access the river...

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 18, 2013, 07:59:18 pm

If I owned land upon which a cave or mine was situated, I would feel more comfortable negotiating access with a recognised body (BCA / CCC etc.) who acted for all cavers in the region rather than one person within a caving club.


And that, of course is your prerogative, however, there are many landowners, both individual and personal, who prefer to negotiate with someone they have built a relationship with rather than with a body whose access officer may change at any time.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 18, 2013, 08:04:29 pm
No doubt that is true of the here and now.  The original suggestion was of a much simpler model of extending CROW to cover entering caves – not overlording private land arrangements which seems to be at the far end of the spectrum.

I also agree with NotDavidGilmour that naming clubs and caves would be inflammatory. I am quite sure we can all think of a number of contentious access problems regardless of which side of the fence we are sat on.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 18, 2013, 08:07:25 pm

  Stop trying to provoke an argument.

I'm not trying to provoke an argument, I'm trying to get you to provide some evidence for your assertion: 'But many cavers / clubs are negotiating access and being obstructive when approached by other cavers / clubs who may also want to see what's inside.'
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 18, 2013, 08:10:41 pm
Unless the landowner has blocked the entrance, then generally the only thing stopping you accessing caves on CRoW land is...other cavers.

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 18, 2013, 08:42:10 pm
If I owned land upon which a cave or mine was situated, I would feel more comfortable negotiating access with a recognised body (BCA / CCC etc.) who acted for all cavers in the region rather than one person within a caving club.

I wouldn't.

I think being approached by a spokesperson from each of the possible numerous clubs which may be in the area would be enough for me to say "right, I don't want anyone going in"

I would be far happier knowing someone in each club with whom I had established a relationship and as a result more amenable to the idea of granting access.

I know of many caves where the landowner gets approached routinely by people seeking access and they deal with it on a case-by-case basis rather than delegating to a faceless organisation and thereby having no say over any problems with the ongoing situation other than rescinding access with a blanket ban.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 18, 2013, 08:49:01 pm

  Stop trying to provoke an argument.

I'm not trying to provoke an argument, I'm trying to get you to provide some evidence for your assertion: 'But many cavers / clubs are negotiating access and being obstructive when approached by other cavers / clubs who may also want to see what's inside.'

I'm sure you are aware of instances where this has happened Droid!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 18, 2013, 08:50:14 pm
Not 'many'..... ;D
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 18, 2013, 09:12:41 pm
Wow, there's some serious Empire Building and Old Boys Club worship going on in here.

A reasonable question about the possibility of extending the CROW gets comments deleted, people banned and direct insults? the word "Fucknuggets" was invented for idiots that act like that.

As for naming names... there's a lot of issues in N.Wales, (GCC and NWCC, I'm looking at you). I'll name names, no bother to me, and it wouldn't be an issue if they had a reasonable access policy for people who are competent.

Banned in 3... 2... 1...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Rhys on March 18, 2013, 09:21:04 pm
Wow, there's some serious Empire Building and Old Boys Club worship going on in here.
Not sure what you mean by that!

A reasonable question about the possibility of extending the CROW gets comments deleted, people banned and direct insults? the word "Fucknuggets" was invented for idiots that act like that.
Nobody's been banned.

Banned in 3... 2... 1...
You'll have to try harder than that!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 18, 2013, 09:25:30 pm
Wow, there's some serious Empire Building and Old Boys Club worship going on in here.
Not sure what you mean by that!
I suspect you know perfectly well what I mean. If not, I suggest You look in a dictionary. They're the rather large books that reside in a library, lots of words, not many pictures.

A reasonable question about the possibility of extending the CROW gets comments deleted, people banned and direct insults? the word "Fucknuggets" was invented for idiots that act like that.
Nobody's been banned.
Bullshit. I know at least one.


Banned in 3... 2... 1...
You'll have to try harder than that!

I'm not trying, just the likely course of events given the course of this thread, and the one it was split from.

PS, your quote embedding and preview system... it needs work...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 18, 2013, 09:26:38 pm
Get back into my mine and take my pictures. :tease:

If you aren't the 'Newstuff' on AditNow that won't make much sense, will it? :lol: :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 18, 2013, 09:29:51 pm
Get back into my mine and take my pictures. :tease:

If you aren't the 'Newstuff' on AditNow that won't make much sense, will it? :lol: :lol: :lol:

That's me. One of the reason I get all uppity with this kind of issue, is that due to access politics, I can't publish a lot of my pictures.

It's a joke, and one that I will do my utmost to help Exploration of mines (and caves), be rid of.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 18, 2013, 09:35:22 pm
I can only speak about Derbyshire here, but some mines do have 'special interest' groups that control access, often by gates.

Don't know of a group that's not amenable to taking others down 'their' mine though.

The only real problem is when jokers start publishing photos from mines where access is denied to all-comers. Doesn't help anybody get proper access then.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 18, 2013, 09:41:19 pm
If you're not meant to be in there, than it's common sense that You don't publish pictures.  To do otherwise is to fuck it up for everyone.

However, in this region, there are several systems, of which you are not allowed to publish pictures, at all, despite having legitimate permission to be in there. in addition to "warden" schemes that never have any available wardens, and many other issues. As I said, Old Boys Club, Empire building, and "it's ours. If You want in, join *our* club". The attitude is, quite frankly, pathetic and childish, and reminds me of 8yr olds on a playground.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: estelle on March 18, 2013, 09:44:43 pm
If it's a dig then the club doing the dig usually negotiates access
or more likely a small handful of individuals digging as a lot of digs aren't 'club' digs as such, in that they are often a mixed group of individuals who may or may not be from the same club. Chances are that no-one else apart from the diggers care about access when it's a just a mucky dig, but it's the bit where a 'dig' become a 'cave'and we 'create a monster'! Up until this point the landowner has usually had a small group accessing maybe once or twice a week at the most, but if it goes into something worth caving into, suddenly things change and all and sundry want to cave there! :o It does seem to be this point where more people are interested in the site and the traffic increases, that often ends up losing the access if renegotiated access isn't done sensitively and by the 'right' people - by 'right' there is no right or wrong - some landowners will be happier dealing with the devil they know (i.e. the digging team or club) and some may prefer some sort of higher level formal access with a regional body and i think the rest of the caving community has to respect this as ultimately it is the landowners decision.
I think the one thing everyone has to remember is that landowners are usually not cavers, they have little or no interest in caving politics and arguments and at the end of the day, if sh*t is being stirred, they are far more likely to tell cavers to just get of their land! I mean, look at it from their point of view - what's in it for them to let a bunch of mucky cavers go caving on their land? Some will see it as a chance to make money, and perhaps try and charge cavers loads of money to cross their land to the cave - Lamb Leer is a good example of a cave lost to that idea. Some won't care as long as it doesn't impact their life - which goes back to caver politics, stirring, pirating, etc. which has also clearly lost us access to caves. Access is a very difficult and clearly touchy subject, but one thing i do think is important to remember because caves are always found on someone's land, there is no one shoe to fit all!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mad-dan on March 18, 2013, 10:51:40 pm
I've tried to read this thread and the "other" quite a few times, but my mind just starts to melt and i give up.

can someone just tell me if this is right or wrong though please..

CROW land is land covered by "The countryside and rights of way act"?

you have the right to roam on land covered by CROW?

if there is a cave on land covered by crow, you can walk up to said cave in caving gear, but you cant go in without the permision of the land owner?

if the above is correct, how would extending CROW to give you permision to cave have any extra effect, either negertive or posertive on the land owner...

Nore would it give people the right to access caves on land not covered by CROW.

if all the above is right, i dont understand why anyone wouldnt want open access for all, on all caves on land covered by CROW unless it was so they could controll access and "empire build"

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 18, 2013, 10:55:34 pm
Estelle,

Your overview is very good and I expect most (perhaps all?) readers will agree your sequence of events.

The contentious element is where the land owner is approached and representations for access are negotiated where the “agenda” (laid down by the person(s) approaching the landowner) is not in the interests of cavers per se but, rather, for their own purpose. This “empowers” that person/club or group and some of those people begin to command dominion over their peers and “police” something that does not need to be policed. This includes making other people jump through hoops or even not allowing them access at all. Sometimes the approaching person(s) intentions are iniquitous even though they are probably unaware of it and may even believe that they are acting in the best interests of “all”.

The main problem (I think) is that I do not believe any of us have the right to command, demand or dictate what we et al can or cannot do (with respect to caving).

Again, though, we have moved away from the original suggestion of extending CROW to allow for access to caves and “digging” would not be embraced within that.


Dan,

You have the position exactly.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 18, 2013, 10:59:24 pm
Eh?

Surely an access agreement is bound to contain certain stipulations*. Are you suggesting that an access agreement should just be a blank sheet of paper?

* Various things spring to mind (some or many of which might include): insurance/BCA membership, group size, minimum age, closed season/times, conservation considerations etc.).

You may believe, for whatever reason, that cavers might not have the right to "demand" such things, but landowners certainly do.

In your comment "cavers per se" how do you define a caver? - is it someone who within the space of ten minutes pops to a builders' merchants and buys a site helmet and a boiler suit and wears a badge with "I'm a caver, me" written on it? Bingo! - a caver is born.  How do you discern what makes a caver per se?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Brains on March 18, 2013, 11:03:53 pm
Should an access agreement include a prohibition on publishing photos / surveys of long known systems, or denying access to cavers from the wrong side of the border?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 18, 2013, 11:05:43 pm
An "Access Agreement" is not needed per se if CROW was extended to include entering caves.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 18, 2013, 11:08:17 pm
Many caves extend WAY beyond the boundaries of the land their entrances are located within. How would CROW resolve things in such instances where the majority of the cave passage is in private ownership and set within non-CROW real estate?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Brains on March 18, 2013, 11:11:36 pm
Many caves extend WAY beyond the boundaries of the land their entrances are located within. How would CROW resolve things in such instances where the majority of the cave passage is in private ownership and set within non-CROW real estate?

How are such matters addressed now? Generally by turning a blind eye
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 18, 2013, 11:14:19 pm
I don't think people charged with drawing up functioning legislation are able to include a Blind Eye clause, though.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 18, 2013, 11:18:05 pm
Many caves extend WAY beyond the boundaries of the land their entrances are located within. How would CROW resolve things in such instances where the majority of the cave passage is in private ownership and set within non-CROW real estate?

But if you have a right to enter a cave as the entrance is on CROW land (and CROW was extended to caving) how would any land owner know / prove if you had explored parts of the cave beneath land in their private ownership?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 18, 2013, 11:19:14 pm
Bumping into them while exploring their cave via the entrance on their land might be a giveaway.

Also, some caves have concealed data loggers which record numbers, direction etc..
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 18, 2013, 11:21:56 pm
Many caves extend WAY beyond the boundaries of the land their entrances are located within. How would CROW resolve things in such instances where the majority of the cave passage is in private ownership and set within non-CROW real estate?

Assuming "some" caves do (and I am sure some will), then you have raised an interesting question. I am not a legislator and I don't know how that issue would be addressed.

I would be in favour of looking at that issue within the scope of reasoned debate were the prospect of an extenstion to CROW become a realistic possibility.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 18, 2013, 11:23:02 pm
I think it is neither realistic nor possible. But this is just a hunch; perhaps someone with expert knowledge could guess how realistic and possible it is.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mad-dan on March 18, 2013, 11:26:40 pm
Many caves extend WAY beyond the boundaries of the land their entrances are located within. How would CROW resolve things in such instances where the majority of the cave passage is in private ownership and set within non-CROW real estate?

Just put a sign in the cave saying "this is the boundry, you must not pass this point" it works in cwmorthin/oakly
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 18, 2013, 11:30:25 pm
Bumping into them while exploring their cave via the entrance on their land might be a giveaway.

Also, some caves have concealed data loggers which record numbers, direction etc..

But in the scenario we are debating, we have already established that the entrance may not be on their land.  If it is on their land but the land was covered by CROW then surely if CROW was extended to cover caves, bumping into them at the entrance still wouldn't be an issue?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 18, 2013, 11:31:33 pm
I think it is neither realistic nor possible. But this is just a hunch; perhaps someone with expert knowledge could guess how realistic and possible it is.


It depends on whether the legislators deliberately worded CROW to exclude caving or whether it was unwittingly excluded. It also depends on what a court of law would think the answer to that question was should it be brought before them.

My “guess” would be that if caving was deliberately excluded then any form of campaign to have it instated would probably fail. On the other hand, if it was unwittingly excluded there is every chance of a campaign succeeding unless, of course, there was significant (valid?) opposition.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 18, 2013, 11:33:07 pm
Just put a sign in the cave saying "this is the boundry, you must not pass this point" it works in cwmorthin/oakly

Yes it does and I guess that would be one way of addressing the issue ....
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 18, 2013, 11:38:23 pm
Also, some caves have concealed data loggers which record numbers, direction etc..

Really?

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 18, 2013, 11:41:42 pm
Draenen has (had?) one .....
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 18, 2013, 11:47:30 pm
Also, some caves have concealed data loggers which record numbers, direction etc..

Really?

I found this in my lunch box on last week's caving trip

(http://www.britsuperstore.com/acatalog/TRACKER_Chocolate_Chip_37g.jpg)

MI5 were waiting when I got out  :-\
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: estelle on March 18, 2013, 11:47:46 pm
The contentious element is where the land owner is approached and representations for access are negotiated where the “agenda” (laid down by the person(s) approaching the landowner) is not in the interests of cavers per se but, rather, for their own purpose. This “empowers” that person/club or group and some of those people begin to command dominion over their peers and “police” something that does not need to be policed. This includes making other people jump through hoops or even not allowing them access at all. Sometimes the approaching person(s) intentions are iniquitous even though they are probably unaware of it and may even believe that they are acting in the best interests of “all”.
the problem is that we don't know exactly what is going on 'behind the scenes' in each situation so we don't know for sure whether the landowner or the caver individuals or caving club or regional body are setting the agenda and if we're not in the room listening to the discussion, we have no proof either way, we only have the opinions of those there and for every individual, there is likely to be a different opinion! (and add some chinese whispers in as well by the time the story is retold in the pub several times!) Sometimes, if access is being denied or become awkward, we don't necessarily know the trigger for the reasons - it could just as easily be internal or external to cavers.
Every region is different and access arrangements are handled differently - we don't seem to hear much about CROW land in the Mendip area, but then looking at the CROW webpage and map, there seems to be very little land within that caving area marked yellow for CROW land and South Wales seems to be much the same, while the northern caving areas seems to have a lot more land covered by CROW so it no doubt makes the CROW argument a non-starter if very little land is covered by it where it seems to be quite a big feature up north.

Quote
Again, though, we have moved away from the original suggestion of extending CROW to allow for access to caves and “digging” would not be embraced within that.
when does a 'dig' become a 'cave' though? and don't many existing caves also have dig sites within the cave?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 18, 2013, 11:55:26 pm
Estelle,

Of course we are not privy to the actual negotiations but we do see the end result. We also see the terms and conditions laid down by those who did the negotiation. Without naming anyone (to avoid flaming) there are some very obvious examples.

Of course I accept that some negotiations are for the benefit of cavers per se and I can name some of them too (as probably we all can).

I still think the “dig” issue is a misnomer; digging would not be covered by CROW as it stands and would need landowner consent.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 19, 2013, 12:41:44 am
Also, some caves have concealed data loggers which record numbers, direction etc..

Really?

Draenen has (had?) one .....

Never!?  :o
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 19, 2013, 03:27:11 am
I've tried to read this thread and the "other" quite a few times, but my mind just starts to melt and i give up.

can someone just tell me if this is right or wrong though please..

CROW land is land covered by "The countryside and rights of way act"?

you have the right to roam on land covered by CROW?

if there is a cave on land covered by crow, you can walk up to said cave in caving gear, but you cant go in without the permision of the land owner?

if the above is correct, how would extending CROW to give you permision to cave have any extra
effect, either negertive or posertive on the land owner...

Nore would it give people the right to access caves on land not covered by CROW.

if all the above is right, i dont understand why anyone wouldnt want open access for all, on all caves on land covered by CROW unless it was so they could controll access and "empire build"

Thanks, Dan.

Without a doubt one of the best posts ever on this forum.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Blakethwaite on March 19, 2013, 07:21:55 am
I'm not really certain why so much energy and anger is being expended debating this issue on an internet forum.

Do people think that Parliament is likely to go to the trouble to extend current legislature to satisfy the needs of a minority section of a minority group? If so, are they likely to do so as a consequence of a handful of people arguing on UKCaving?

If not, what practical steps are being taken? Presumably people are writing to their MPs and forming action / lobbying groups? Are these producing positive feedback?

If an extension of CROW did allow Joe Public to wander down any old open hole it wouldn't remove the landowners rights upon the ground & the landowner would presumably be at liberty to block said hole by means suitable to a particular situation?

How would conservation issues be addressed? Increased traffic demonstrably causes increased wear & tear and that's without starting to consider litter, graffiti & aggravated damage.

As for alleged local 'empire building' on non-Open Access land, again the internet isn't likely to change much. My club isn't likely to try and change its access agreements because of sour comments on the internet because we know what hoops we had to jump through to get permission to dig in the first place and I imagine that there will be very few clubs who don't share that thought.

If there is a need to do something then that action needs to be done on the ground in a way that will not prejudice existing though possibly not ideal agreements if they fall through?


Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Rhys on March 19, 2013, 07:40:56 am
A reasonable question about the possibility of extending the CROW gets comments deleted, people banned and direct insults? the word "Fucknuggets" was invented for idiots that act like that.
Nobody's been banned.
Bullshit. I know at least one.
Nope. If someone is telling you they're banned as a result of the recent access threads, they are mistaken.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: TheBitterEnd on March 19, 2013, 07:46:49 am

if there is a cave on land covered by crow, you can walk up to said cave in caving gear, but you cant go in without the permision of the land owner?


The CROW act is silent on the matter of caving. The act grants permission to access the land shown on the maps. The act lists a specific set of Exclusions (quoted earlier in this thread), caving is not in that list of exclusions. Perhaps of note is that rock climbing is also in  this situation and the view there is that if it is not explicitly excluded then it is allowed.

Also worth noting is that the act significantly reduces landowners liability with respect to natural features for people exercising their CROW Act right of access.

Ultimately a court would have to decide if caving is in or out and given that caving is such a minority sport and has no money in it it is unlikely to get that far.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 19, 2013, 07:50:44 am
Also, some caves have concealed data loggers which record numbers, direction etc..

Really?

Two caves on Mendip during my tenure as C&A numpty - not sure if they're still in situ - shan't name the caves though.  :)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 19, 2013, 08:08:00 am
Also, some caves have concealed data loggers which record numbers, direction etc..

Really?

Two caves on Mendip during my tenure as C&A numpty - not sure if they're still in situ - shan't name the caves though.  :)

Some in South Wales as well. This information is freely available on the world wide interweb. (http://www.mlcmac.talktalk.net/llangtwg.htm)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 19, 2013, 08:19:18 am
A reasonable question about the possibility of extending the CROW gets comments deleted, people banned and direct insults? the word "Fucknuggets" was invented for idiots that act like that.
Nobody's been banned.
Bullshit. I know at least one.
Nope. If someone is telling you they're banned as a result of the recent access threads, they are mistaken.

Rhys -
On the contrary, Yes.
He was banned as a direct result of posting on one of the 2 threads where the issue of CROW access has been raised.

NigR - A number of Welsh caves have counters IIRC, and re-reading a few CCC newsletter seems to support that notion.
Should someone be so inclined, it's probably not difficult to bypass these without causing damage to them, or the cave in which they are situated.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 19, 2013, 08:26:36 am

Rhys -
On the contrary, Yes.
He was banned as a direct result of posting on one of the 2 threads where the issue of CROW access has been raised.


So you know more about this than the bloke who actually does any actual banning?. Fascinating.


NigR - A number of Welsh caves have counters IIRC, and re-reading a few CCC newsletter seems to support that notion.
Should someone be so inclined, it's probably not difficult to bypass these without causing damage to them, or the cave in which they are situated.


Why the hell would you want to? It's not as if they are fitted with cameras.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 19, 2013, 08:29:41 am

Rhys -
On the contrary, Yes.
He was banned as a direct result of posting on one of the 2 threads where the issue of CROW access has been raised.


So you know more about this than the bloke who actually does any actual banning?. Fascinating.


He may not have banned him.
But he was banned as a direct result of posting in here. Stop being a wind up merchant and wind your neck in.



NigR - A number of Welsh caves have counters IIRC, and re-reading a few CCC newsletter seems to support that notion.
Should someone be so inclined, it's probably not difficult to bypass these without causing damage to them, or the cave in which they are situated.


Why the hell would you want to? It's not as if they are fitted with cameras.

I wouldn't, and Your reading comprehension appears to need time to warm up in the morning.
You may want to try again later, maybe after You have a nice coffee.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 19, 2013, 08:31:12 am
Nothing on moderation log about recent bannings; have you checked password or done a reset etc.?

Your IP has a large number of errors logged on it, though.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 19, 2013, 08:39:54 am
Ah, just checking IPs and I think we've got two contributors registered to the same IP - I'm not a geek so wouldn't know but perhaps therein lies a techie problemo. Could notdavidgilmour and his alter ego stand up to be counted!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 19, 2013, 08:41:13 am
Nothing on moderation log about recent bannings; have you checked password or done a reset etc.?

I'll check, but he said it was a ban, and he's not the type easily confused by a forum.

Your IP has a large number of errors logged on it, though.

It's BT on VDSL, it wouldn't surprise me. Sadly, I can't get this bandwidth at this price any other way, C'est la vie

EDIT:-

I am me, and only me. I do not have another account on here, and this is my username on a number of exploration fora.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 19, 2013, 08:41:57 am
I am here. Is there a problem?  :bounce:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 19, 2013, 08:44:07 am
 :coffee:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 19, 2013, 08:52:53 am
Bad Behavior has blocked 2232 access attempts in the last 7 days. LOL  :spank:

No break time and detention for a week?  :spank:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 19, 2013, 09:08:11 am
Newbies are getting a bit exciteable :lol: :lol: :lol:

Maybe they could try to remember this is caving, not urbex :wall:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 19, 2013, 09:18:17 am
Ummmm, Have I mentioned anything Urbex related? :-\
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 19, 2013, 09:26:12 am

if there is a cave on land covered by crow, you can walk up to said cave in caving gear, but you cant go in without the permision of the land owner?


The CROW act is silent on the matter of caving. The act grants permission to access the land shown on the maps. The act lists a specific set of Exclusions (quoted earlier in this thread), caving is not in that list of exclusions. Perhaps of note is that rock climbing is also in  this situation and the view there is that if it is not explicitly excluded then it is allowed.

My reading of everything the BMC sent out suggests climbing is included page 2 (http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/Important%20information%20for%20open%20access%20users_tcm6-9795.pdf).
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 19, 2013, 09:33:00 am
Newbies are getting a bit exciteable :lol: :lol: :lol:

Maybe they could try to remember this is caving, not urbex :wall:

And what difference, precisely, would that make to an individuals conduct? Does it make a single iota of difference to my posts on this subject that I also happen to wander around abandoned buildings, in culverts or abandoned mines?

Irrespective of whether it Urbex, Mine Exploration, Caving, Climbing, Canyoning or Via Ferrata... it's not the pursuit itself that dictates how an individual conducts themselves, and sweeping generalisations do not help the topic at hand.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 19, 2013, 09:44:55 am
http://www.british-caving.org.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=26 (http://www.british-caving.org.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=26)

Situation doesn't seem to have changed much, apart from access to water has been spurned by Government, who advise "Voluntary Agreements" with landowners.

http://www.riversaccess.org/ (http://www.riversaccess.org/)

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 19, 2013, 10:06:39 am
http://www.british-caving.org.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=26 (http://www.british-caving.org.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=26)

Situation doesn't seem to have changed much, apart from access to water has been spurned by Government, who advise "Voluntary Agreements" with landowners.

http://www.riversaccess.org/ (http://www.riversaccess.org/)

Mike

David Cooke makes mention in his post on the link you gave, that cave access has been lost in certain cases because of CRoW. Which ones, anyone?

Quick edit: Dave Judson also says that in the minor, remote cases where people are discrete (assumption being that access is denied normally), then who the hell cares? My feeling is, that is a far more likely path to losing access physically (concrete  :shrug:), than looking to have caves on CRoW land included on a list. Tacitly he's saying pirating on the quiet is OK... Is that really a responsible and sensible way to go about access?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: martinr on March 19, 2013, 10:09:32 am
Can someone who believes in extending CROW to caving  please explain to me why there should be a right of access for one-and-all to something like this:

(http://mendipcavinggroup.org.uk/mark%20shinwell/CRAWL_BACK_FROM_PIES.jpg)

and secondly, could they estimate how long the formations would survive if there was unlimited access?

(I should add: the broken stall in the image was already broken before the passage was discovered; and I know the cave is not on CROW land )


Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 19, 2013, 10:15:52 am
Can someone who believes in extending CROW to caving  please explain to me why there should be a right of access for one-and-all to something like this:

and secondly, could they estimate how long the formations would survive if there was unlimited access?

(I should add: the broken stall in the image was already broken before the passage was discovered; and I know the cave is not on CROW land )

Why does it make it any more or less likely that open access will lead to desecration of caves? Someone can have a permit and still smash stal. Unless every trip on a permit is closely monitored then who can say when damage was caused (easily deniable).

I said it earlier; the conservation issue was cited as reason not to have CRoW enacted (mainly by the land lobby). Funny enough it didn't lead to hordes of people traipsing among the moors causing untold damage.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 19, 2013, 10:20:16 am
I said it earlier; the conservation issue was cited as reason not to have CRoW enacted (mainly by the land lobby). Funny enough it didn't lead to hordes of people traipsing among the moors causing untold damage.

Quote
More than 250,000 walkers pound the paths of the Yorkshire Three Peaks – Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent each year, creating a need for costly footpath maintenance.

Source. (http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2009/10/06/stone-gift-puts-dales-walkers-on-firm-footing)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 19, 2013, 10:21:18 am
To be clear on my stance:

Caves on CRoW should be access open. If a new dig is to be undertaken on CRoW land then the land owner will either say yes or no. It's CRoW land so objections against, being given because they don't want people walking on their land, are (contentiously) weak and probably not likely. Landowners have had over 10 years to get accustomed to what CRoW actually means in reality.

Caves on land out with CRoW need one on one local access agreements. It's their land after all.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: TheBitterEnd on March 19, 2013, 10:24:16 am

if there is a cave on land covered by crow, you can walk up to said cave in caving gear, but you cant go in without the permision of the land owner?


The CROW act is silent on the matter of caving. The act grants permission to access the land shown on the maps. The act lists a specific set of Exclusions (quoted earlier in this thread), caving is not in that list of exclusions. Perhaps of note is that rock climbing is also in  this situation and the view there is that if it is not explicitly excluded then it is allowed.

My reading of everything the BMC sent out suggests climbing is included page 2 (http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/Important%20information%20for%20open%20access%20users_tcm6-9795.pdf).

Perhaps you could point me to the Paragraph in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, or in regulations/orders made under the act, where Rock Climbing is explicitly mentioned? AFAIAA it is isn't, it is just that the the act and regulations don't exclude it, so it is included, like I said...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 19, 2013, 10:25:45 am
I said it earlier; the conservation issue was cited as reason not to have CRoW enacted (mainly by the land lobby). Funny enough it didn't lead to hordes of people traipsing among the moors causing untold damage.

Quote
More than 250,000 walkers pound the paths of the Yorkshire Three Peaks – Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent each year, creating a need for costly footpath maintenance.

Source. (http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2009/10/06/stone-gift-puts-dales-walkers-on-firm-footing)

Which has what to do with CRoW? Wainwright has more to answer for than CRoW. The article actually reads like a successful partnership between all parties concerned rather than a doom and gloom apocalypse.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 19, 2013, 10:32:27 am
I said it earlier; the conservation issue was cited as reason not to have CRoW enacted (mainly by the land lobby). Funny enough it didn't lead to hordes of people traipsing among the moors causing untold damage.

Quote
More than 250,000 walkers pound the paths of the Yorkshire Three Peaks – Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent each year, creating a need for costly footpath maintenance.

Source. (http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2009/10/06/stone-gift-puts-dales-walkers-on-firm-footing)

Which has what to do with CRoW? Wainwright has more to answer for than CRoW. The article actually reads like a successful partnership between all parties concerned rather than a doom and gloom apocalypse.

Merely pointing out that hordes of people do indeed traipse and do indeed cause damage that requires maintenance.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 19, 2013, 10:32:45 am

Perhaps you could point me to the Paragraph in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, or in regulations/orders made under the act, where Rock Climbing is explicitly mentioned? AFAIAA it is isn't, it is just that the the act and regulations don't exclude it, so it is included, like I said...

I don't know BitterEnd the Natural England doc has climbing listed (or is it just mentioned?) as an activity that is included.

http://archive.defra.gov.uk/rural/countryside/crow/restrict.htm (http://archive.defra.gov.uk/rural/countryside/crow/restrict.htm)

Maybe I'm just taking the above link and the BMC guidelines as read that climbing is included.  :shrug:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 19, 2013, 10:43:50 am
I said it earlier; the conservation issue was cited as reason not to have CRoW enacted (mainly by the land lobby). Funny enough it didn't lead to hordes of people traipsing among the moors causing untold damage.

Quote
More than 250,000 walkers pound the paths of the Yorkshire Three Peaks – Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent each year, creating a need for costly footpath maintenance.

Source. (http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2009/10/06/stone-gift-puts-dales-walkers-on-firm-footing)

Which has what to do with CRoW? Wainwright has more to answer for than CRoW. The article actually reads like a successful partnership between all parties concerned rather than a doom and gloom apocalypse.

Merely pointing out that hordes of people do indeed traipse and do indeed cause damage that requires maintenance.

Yes Graham they do... Some (not very imaginative) people walk the same route (for charity?) causing footpath erosion. And because of that one piece of evidence, you win.  ;)

Meanwhile I'll carry on running and hiking (and let's not forget caving) on the other areas of CRoW where I never seem to see anyone else. Even though it's open access...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 19, 2013, 10:49:41 am
Would that be the same footpath they also used before CRoW legislation?

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: martinr on March 19, 2013, 10:51:10 am

Why does it make it any more or less likely that open access will lead to desecration of caves?


Does increasing access = less damage? Or do you think limiting access = less damage?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: martinr on March 19, 2013, 10:58:27 am

... Some (not very imaginative) people walk the same route (for charity?) causing footpath erosion. ......

Meanwhile I'll carry on running and hiking (and let's not forget caving) on the other areas of CRoW where I never seem to see anyone else. Even though it's open access...

There  is an obvious problem with a cave passage though -  you cant move to the side like you can on the open fell, so the same piece of cave gets used time and time again. So I'd like to ask again: if you have a well-decorated passage, how to you reconcile uncontrolled access with cave conservation?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 19, 2013, 11:01:13 am
Yes Graham they do... Some (not very imaginative) people walk the same route (for charity?) causing footpath erosion. And because of that one piece of evidence, you win.  ;)

Meanwhile I'll carry on running and hiking (and let's not forget caving) on the other areas of CRoW where I never seem to see anyone else. Even though it's open access...

This isn't about winning or losing, it's about the best way to balance cave access against cave conservation.

You may be able to access other bits of CRoW land where you never see other people, but different things apply in caves. If a passage is large enough to allow straying off the footpaths into the empty bits there are all sorts of conservation issues that come into play. Don't believe me? Ask all the people who have spent so long laying taped paths in the Frozen Deep in Reservoir Hole.

Caves are not like moors and need to be treated differently. I would have thought that was obvious, but, seemingly, it isn't.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 19, 2013, 11:57:24 am
It is all too easy to find an example to support a position (on either side of the fence). There will, no doubt, be many examples of “pretties” that might become damaged (and have become damaged) both in caves with and without access restrictions.

Additional “traffic” will inevitably lead to more “wear and tear” (or call it damage if you like).

“Conservationism”  is not engrained in stone but it is, rather, a very comparative idealism. Of course we want to protect the “pretties” but just how far do we go to do that ?  What constitutes something worth conserving ?  There are no absolute answers to these questions – only opinions.

Man is, by his very nature many things, which include being an “explorer” of things (stories of adventures though out all of the history man ), he is a “builder” of things (just look at what we have accomplished) and he is also a “destroyer” of things (look at what we have had to destroy to embrace our “progress”). Arguably, a nice green field of grass and small lifeforms were destroyed when the farmer ran his plough across it – which he did so he could plant his seeds to grow his vegetables. Should we have “conserved” the field ?  Or was it ok to destroy it ?  I obviously realise that this example is at the far end of a spectrum but it serves to demonstrate that the value of conservation and the nature of conservation is a very moot point and we would probably all draw different lines in the proverbial sand.

In the photo, there is a broken stal – nature has done this herself but had she not have done so – how many people would consider it acceptable to break the stal to explore further (because they needed to, to get past) and how many would not ?

In short, I believe that the natural order of man is what it is and as much as we want to save and enjoy everything  - footpaths WILL be eroded and caves WILL be travelled. I don’t want to lose the “pretties” any more than the next man but, equally, we should not impose our “line in the sand” onto others.

Man will continue to explore, build and destroy ....

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: peterk on March 19, 2013, 12:21:18 pm
"we should not impose our “line in the sand” onto others"  I think that's pretty close to a definition of anarchy.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 19, 2013, 12:45:41 pm

Why does it make it any more or less likely that open access will lead to desecration of caves?


Does increasing access = less damage? Or do you think limiting access = less damage?

Increasing access can spread the wear and tear. Neither point can be proven absolute. Of course limiting access can reduce damage, so let's press the nuclear button and close all caves (silly I know, or is it?).

Question: has limited access or permit systems protected the caves that said permits/agreements related to? Or put another way, does prohibition of any kind work - drugs, alcohol etc?

You want to stop cave damage? Educate, educate, educate. Put the onus on the individual.

There's a strange phenomenon I witness when traffic lights are broken at otherwise really busy road junctions. People get along by making up their own rules, knowing the consequence of getting it wrong (i.e. a shunted car/bike/lorry). And guess what? They often self manage the system with a better outcome than when the "rules" of the lights are followed. Of course this can't be proven by me and maybe I've just been lucky.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 19, 2013, 12:49:00 pm
"we should not impose our “line in the sand” onto others"  I think that's pretty close to a definition of anarchy.

Out of context I guess you could read it like that. In context it sits harmoniously with moral and ethical values and, specifically, with the idealogy of conservation.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 19, 2013, 12:50:21 pm

Question: has limited access or permit systems protected the caves that said permits/agreements related to?


Yes. Compare the condition of the caves on Mendip that have leadership systems with the condition of those that don't.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: martinr on March 19, 2013, 12:52:40 pm

Question: has limited access or permit systems protected the caves that said permits/agreements related to?


Well, in the situation I referred to earlier, Yes - a limited access system has protected the cave
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 19, 2013, 12:54:29 pm
Yes Graham they do... Some (not very imaginative) people walk the same route (for charity?) causing footpath erosion. And because of that one piece of evidence, you win.  ;)

Meanwhile I'll carry on running and hiking (and let's not forget caving) on the other areas of CRoW where I never seem to see anyone else. Even though it's open access...

This isn't about winning or losing, it's about the best way to balance cave access against cave conservation.

You may be able to access other bits of CRoW land where you never see other people, but different things apply in caves. If a passage is large enough to allow straying off the footpaths into the empty bits there are all sorts of conservation issues that come into play. Don't believe me? Ask all the people who have spent so long laying taped paths in the Frozen Deep in Reservoir Hole.

Again, how does limiting access stop this? One person on a permit could contaminate spotless stal. Or does the issuing of a permit somehow predispose this person to only walk the right way? In a cave, just like moorland, if there are bits that need protecting then well done all round to the people who do the job of taping. Wouldn't that get done anyway? It's not the number of people per se, but where they're allowed to go, surely?

Quote
Caves are not like moors and need to be treated differently. I would have thought that was obvious, but, seemingly, it isn't.

A minute ago you were saying moors were like caves what with all the erosion on the Three Peaks in Yorkshire.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: martinr on March 19, 2013, 12:54:56 pm

You want to stop cave damage? Educate, educate, educate.


How do you propose to do this? What resources would you need? What would the cost be? Who will pay for it?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: martinr on March 19, 2013, 12:58:44 pm

 It's not the number of people per se, but where they're allowed to go, surely?


But the free access people are arguing anybody should be allowed to go everywhere? Are you suggesting there should be limits to access?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 19, 2013, 01:01:28 pm
To Martin and Graham:

Lots of caves in Yorkshire on a permit system with plenty of damage.

So if the leader led trips are the only way to protect caves, is it too much of a leap to suggest all caving becomes nothing more than what happens at show caves? I'm being serious (in a philosophical sort of way); this goes beyond permits or agreements.

As for education: BCA. Internet, publications (Descent), spot treat places like (insert name of favourite caver cafe/pub/club hut) with a poster campaign (I'll print off a hundred cheap posters for you!).
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: antmcc on March 19, 2013, 01:03:58 pm

Question: has limited access or permit systems protected the caves that said permits/agreements related to?


Yes. Compare the condition of the caves on Mendip that have leadership systems with the condition of those that don't.

Since you don't know the state these systems would be if they didn't have access conditions, you can only conjecture what might have happened (unless you have identical control caves)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 19, 2013, 01:08:29 pm

 It's not the number of people per se, but where they're allowed to go, surely?


But the free access people are arguing anybody should be allowed to go everywhere? Are you suggesting there should be limits to access?

I'm not sure they are Martin. I'm definitely not. If a presently open cave on CRoW land needs a permit to grant access, then I really do think it a bit of a nonsense. Why can I wander willy nilly over Fountains Fell as a walker/runner yet there is a closed season for caving over winter?

A sensible sift through the cave areas on a case by case basis and a proper look is all I'm asking - I can't talk for other cavers and what their agendas might be.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: TheBitterEnd on March 19, 2013, 01:11:34 pm

You want to stop cave damage? Educate, educate, educate. Put the onus on the individual.

There's a strange phenomenon I witness when traffic lights are broken at otherwise really busy road junctions. People get along by making up their own rules, knowing the consequence of getting it wrong (i.e. a shunted car/bike/lorry). And guess what? They often self manage the system with a better outcome than when the "rules" of the lights are followed. Of course this can't be proven by me and maybe I've just been lucky.

Well said!

Recent threads on this forum show that mindless idiots will commit acts of vandalism in some of the further reaches of caves. These are not due to hoards of the great unwashed* or kids but people who have put some effort into reaching that part of the cave and presumbaly had the equipment and knowledge to get there.


*or would that be "washed" WRT cavers?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Alex on March 19, 2013, 01:25:15 pm
I have kept quite recently letting you lot bash it out but I thought I would throw my 2.5p in.

I think you are right Stu too and I am sure we are not alone, that land we can already walk on requires a permit to walk on if your destination is a cave.

One devils advocate question: if the land is open access but is a SSSI which one takes precedence, or do the two not coincide?

Another thing whats bugged me about this thread is why do people think the land value will go down just because maybe 20% more people walk over it, if its already CROW land then I can't see it effecting the value. Infact having a cave on the land may improve the value of the land as its an "interesting feature" If I am not mistakned there was some land sold recently with a cave on it and the cave was listed as a feature, not a dteriment and as someone else said its possible to make a little bit of money from good will fees for caves on the land increasing the value further.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: langcliffe on March 19, 2013, 01:46:54 pm
One devils advocate question: if the land is open access but is a SSSI which one takes precedence, or do the two not coincide?

They can coincide. Designating an area as a SSSI does not affect access to that area per se, although the administering authority may exclude or restrict access to CROW land under Section 26 for reasons of "Nature conservation and heritage preservation".
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 19, 2013, 01:47:13 pm
Just a point I would like to make regarding conservation.  After reading http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-19515285 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-19515285)

Certain lines of text jumped out at me


Surely blowing things up does not fall in line with conservation?  How many people criticised the "Tuesday Diggers"?  Was it right to alter the original cave? 

Suddenly because they happened to find a sizable chamber, all is forgiven?  I'm sure some stal damage however minute must have been caused by using explosives?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 19, 2013, 01:54:51 pm
Of course some damage was caused in the discovery of The Frozen Deep, but they were removing blocks that had filled an older passageway, not mining their way through solid rock.

I suppose the closest to a "control" cave situation I can think of would be Ogof Clogwyn - open access, shows wear and tear but little that can be easily damaged. Ogof Nant Rhin, entry was restricted by the size of the entrance until a lorry drove off the main road and blocked it, new entrance was dug out and is now large enough for most to get in and the formations have noticeably suffered. Ogof Capel, where a leader system was introduced after damage occurred in a key controlled system. All within a short distance of each other in the Clydach Gorge.

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 19, 2013, 02:02:56 pm
Mike, Please don't feel I'm picking holes in your post as I agree with you in gereral, but:

Of course some damage was caused in the discovery of The Frozen Deep, but they were removing blocks that had filled an older passageway, not mining their way through solid rock.

But by the same token, it is therefore ok to damage stals (which are also not solid rock and have filled an older passageway) in favour of exploration.

Just before anyone shoots me, I would prefer that stals were left unharmed.  The point I'm trying to make is that in some cases it is deemed acceptable to cause damage and in others it isn't.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 19, 2013, 02:14:06 pm
Indeed and it has to be done on a case by case basis, you can't legislate either way...

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: jasonbirder on March 19, 2013, 02:45:13 pm
While I'll sidestep the access/conservation issue for a moment...
Surely its relatively easy to agree that there are many situations where a cave entrance in on CROW land...but access is currently possibly only by permit with various time of year/membership restrictions etc that it would be sensible to revisit...
As it has been pointed out already...the landowner currently would allow someone to kit up in caving gear...walk to the entrance of the cave and look in...without any restrictions...like wise come away from the entrance and walk back to their starting point/car etc...
But the instant they pass beyond the portal as it were...their activity comes under another completely different and more restrictive remit...
Where is the logic in treating accessing a cave as opposed to visiting a cave as two completely seperate activities?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: RobinGriffiths on March 19, 2013, 03:24:38 pm
And at what point does climbing stop being an open air activity ?
Buttertubs?
Hull Pot?
Alum ?
Hunt ?

Or would you need a roof vertically above you for it to be caving ?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 19, 2013, 03:29:20 pm
Probably when you start using fixed aids...

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pony on March 19, 2013, 04:47:00 pm
Hull Pot does have a number of climbs listed in Yorkshire Limestone. Can't remember the accsess procedure off the top of me head.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: langcliffe on March 19, 2013, 04:55:09 pm
Hull Pot does have a number of climbs listed in Yorkshire Limestone. Can't remember the accsess procedure off the top of me head.
This (http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=1640) seems to indicate that one just goes there and climbs.

Interestingly enough, they do recommend abseiling into the hole, and that one ought to take prussiks "just in case" you can't climb out.

I suspect that you only need a permit if you wear wellies.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 19, 2013, 05:24:13 pm
And what difference, precisely, would that make to an individuals conduct? Does it make a single iota of difference to my posts on this subject that I also happen to wander around abandoned buildings, in culverts or abandoned mines?

Irrespective of whether it Urbex, Mine Exploration, Caving, Climbing, Canyoning or Via Ferrata... it's not the pursuit itself that dictates how an individual conducts themselves, and sweeping generalisations do not help the topic at hand.

It makes a helluva difference to a person's attitude to any restriction of access if the places you visit are all off limits.

Had a conversation with some person on Facebook, RE photos of an easily identifiable mine in **** that this clown had published. His attitude was that it was 'black ops'....his phrase not mine. Having visited a couple of 'Urbex' sites, it seems to be a prevailing attitude.

Well it isn't mine.

And if that winds you up, then tough.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 19, 2013, 06:41:10 pm

So if the leader led trips are the only way to protect caves, is it too much of a leap to suggest all caving becomes nothing more than what happens at show caves? I'm being serious (in a philosophical sort of way); this goes beyond permits or agreements.


I can think of one very well known Northern caver who advocated just that policy a few decades ago.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: TheBitterEnd on March 19, 2013, 06:42:29 pm
And at what point does climbing stop being an open air activity ?
Buttertubs?
Hull Pot?
Alum ?
Hunt ?

Or would you need a roof vertically above you for it to be caving ?

Sleets gill entrance ramp?

And what would a "closed air" activity be?                   (Do I want to know?  :spank:)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 19, 2013, 06:48:34 pm

Surely blowing things up does not fall in line with conservation?


In Charterhouse Cave, just up the hill from Reservoir Hole, the original route into the 2010/11 extensions went over a really rather beautiful stal flow. During the exploration phase, this was protected with a large tarpaulin. Before 'ordinary' trips started in that part of the cave, the diggers, who are very conservation minded, spent a considerable amount of time and money blasting a bypass through solid rock. I don't remember how many trips it took, but I do know it cost several hundred pounds.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 19, 2013, 07:54:23 pm
And what difference, precisely, would that make to an individuals conduct? Does it make a single iota of difference to my posts on this subject that I also happen to wander around abandoned buildings, in culverts or abandoned mines?

Irrespective of whether it Urbex, Mine Exploration, Caving, Climbing, Canyoning or Via Ferrata... it's not the pursuit itself that dictates how an individual conducts themselves, and sweeping generalisations do not help the topic at hand.

It makes a helluva difference to a person's attitude to any restriction of access if the places you visit are all off limits.

Had a conversation with some person on Facebook, RE photos of an easily identifiable mine in **** that this clown had published. His attitude was that it was 'black ops'....his phrase not mine. Having visited a couple of 'Urbex' sites, it seems to be a prevailing attitude.

Well it isn't mine.

And if that winds you up, then tough.

I beg to differ.

The persons outlook is entirely down to themselves. Acting like a prick is acting like a prick, whether it be Caving or Urbex (and there are some people in both camps that do act like pricks).

Willful ignorance and sweeping generalisations wind me up, and you have just shown both.

How about I say that, having visited a few "Caving" sites, the general attitude of cavers is to lock everything up and only let members of their club in? It's not unreasonable given your reasoning above. I know it's not true though, and that it is (thankfully), a minority, as I actually bother to do more than take a cursory glance and make a snap judgement. Yes, the guy posting public, identifiable pictures sounds like a knob. I can assure you that many more pictures are taken, and *not* published, or at least not where they shouldn't be.

Get off your high horse, and don't use the lowest common denominator to classify everyone, it's a load of crap and You know it, and it's kind of unpleasant if (when?) it gets turned around and used against yourself.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 19, 2013, 08:13:36 pm

So if the leader led trips are the only way to protect caves, is it too much of a leap to suggest all caving becomes nothing more than what happens at show caves? I'm being serious (in a philosophical sort of way); this goes beyond permits or agreements.


I can think of one very well known Northern caver who advocated just that policy a few decades ago.

And to be fair Graham they might actually have had a point! But of course it isn't going to happen and there can be endless specific cases that will prove either point, either of us wants to make. If conservation is the issue (and it is) I personally think it's separate to the access issue.

Conservation is in my mind analogous to the wider environmental threats nationally and globally. With some education we now are a nation of recyclers, more aware of our impact, and more prepared to do something about it. The message does get through.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Blakethwaite on March 19, 2013, 08:21:30 pm
Get off your high horse

and wind your neck in.

Bullshit.

Is there really any need for all this ranting? If you don't like your local access issues go and do something about it locally; you'll achieve sweet FA by ranting and raving on here.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: LizW1985 on March 19, 2013, 08:53:17 pm
Whats urbex? :shrug:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Les W on March 19, 2013, 09:04:05 pm
Whats urbex? :shrug:

Urbex is Urban Exploring. Drains, old derelict buildings, cranes, gasometers, bridges, tunnels, etc.

Have a look at:
http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/index.php (http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/index.php)
http://nwex.co.uk/ (http://nwex.co.uk/)
http://siologen.livejournal.com/ (http://siologen.livejournal.com/)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Bob Smith on March 19, 2013, 09:10:19 pm
Urban exploration. Often abandoned man made structures.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 19, 2013, 09:35:24 pm
Get off your high horse

and wind your neck in.

Bullshit.

Is there really any need for all this ranting? If you don't like your local access issues go and do something about it locally; you'll achieve sweet FA by ranting and raving on here.

Ranting? Nope, just pointing out a few problems, mistakes and errors I've seen.  I'll admit to being a little cheesed off by the wilful ignorance towards others, both in respect to Urbex etc, and people on this issue that happen to be on the opposing side. If I went on a Rant I would not be as polite as I have been so far. I'm not particularly well known for beating around the bush though, and I call it as I see it. Should You consider that ranting, I would suggest a visit into the wider world may help open Your eyes.

Although I am doing what I can locally, I did have a notion, strange though it may be, that trying to change things at a national level may well help out at a local level, and benefit others. You know, like Yourself, maybe.

Despite the thinly veiled and snarky comments in this thread, aimed mostly at people with a similar viewpoint to mine, my wish is that there is reasonable, equal access for *all*, including those who, judging by their conduct on here, do not want to see it happen, and indulged in the aforementioned behaviour.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 19, 2013, 09:36:19 pm
Get off your high horse, and don't use the lowest common denominator to classify everyone, it's a load of crap and You know it, and it's kind of unpleasant if (when?) it gets turned around and used against yourself.

No high horse here, NewStuff. Just an observation.

Which you can turn back on me all you like. I'm not as easy to piss off or wind up as you clearly are. :lol:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 19, 2013, 09:43:20 pm
Get off your high horse, and don't use the lowest common denominator to classify everyone, it's a load of crap and You know it, and it's kind of unpleasant if (when?) it gets turned around and used against yourself.

No high horse here, NewStuff. Just an observation.

Which you can turn back on me all you like. I'm not as easy to piss off or wind up as you clearly are. :lol:

As posted above, a little cheesed off about sums it up.

It's Your choice to believe that most urbexers are cocks that post up pictures they really shouldn't. If that's what You choose to believe in, I'll not argue, as it would be akin to debating the existence of a deity with a adherent of that religion. No matter the observations or facts you place before them, it's almost impossible to reason with "brainwashing". Carry one as You were.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: LizW1985 on March 19, 2013, 09:46:16 pm
Is urbex illegal?  Looks rather cool, although getting an asbo for trespassing or whatever the law is wouldn't be so cool :-\
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Blakethwaite on March 19, 2013, 09:50:37 pm
and benefit others. You know, like Yourself, maybe.

Just a touch of the Jesus Syndrome there no?
I have no particular problems with access thank you & require no particular help.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Les W on March 19, 2013, 09:54:58 pm
Urbex can be legal through to totally illegal. If you look at Siologen's blog you will see he was arrested for gaining illegal access to Aldwych Tube Station.

Trespass itself is not illegal, it is a civil offence however there are other laws that can be brought to bear in certain circumstances and certainly there have been attempts to tighten up on various aspects of gaining entry to these sites.
Drains have their own set of hazards too, like very active cave systems.
There is a very large Urbex movement in the UK with lots of sites to visit.
Urbex, mine exploration and caving really cross over a lot, with many people involved in all, or some of the different aspects of each.
Similar skill sets with like minded individuals mean that many people are doing these things. They tend to be quite photogenic places too as you can see if you hunt around.
Some really cool photos on the Urban Glow (http://www.siologen.net/pbase/index.php) gallery site...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 19, 2013, 09:55:17 pm

Surely blowing things up does not fall in line with conservation?

the diggers, who are very conservation minded, spent a considerable amount of time and money blasting a bypass through solid rock.

Does this post not contradict itself?  How can a caver be conservation minded by blasting through solid rock?  Surely the original structure  and layout of the cave holds a higher conservational value than the much newer stal formation?

My interest in caves is how they were formed, looking at the scalloping on the walls in relation to the passages and working out which way the water was flowing.  By calling in the DIY SOS team and blowing everything up, the cave is merely a hole to me.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: cavermark on March 19, 2013, 10:53:21 pm


Does this post not contradict itself?  How can a caver be conservation minded by blasting through solid rock?  Surely the original structure  and layout of the cave holds a higher conservational value than the much newer stal formation?


If the bypass is through solid rock - not enlarging an existing passage, then all the scalloping and original layout will remain. Whilst we often try to conserve stal because it looks pretty, there is also a lot of scientific information held in calcite, with  relevence such reconstructing past climates to learn about climate change, as well as dating and learning about the development of the specific cave system.


My interest in caves is how they were formed, looking at the scalloping on the walls in relation to the passages and working out which way the water was flowing.  By calling in the DIY SOS team and blowing everything up, the cave is merely a hole to me.

It's a matter of scale - we're not blowing "everything" up - usually just boulders that block a way through. In doing so we gain access to large cave systems and all the scientific learning potential they contain. Often the boulders are glacial infill near entrances that hold little relevence to the geomorphology of the cave. For example Ogof Draenen found in the 1990's - a couple of hundred metres of digging and blasting boulders, to discover over 60km of passages - most would say that's a worthwhile compromise?
One analogy could be removing some ancient stone walling to gain access to an Egyptian Pyramid.

The ultimate conservation is to never enter a cave; but if we do, then a compromise is made and the current consensus is that explosives are an acceptable tool to use to do this.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 19, 2013, 10:55:27 pm
How can a caver be conservation minded by blasting through solid rock?

Indeed. A moot point. Rock, after all, is a finite and dwindling resource, see:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/geologists-we-may-be-slowly-running-out-of-rocks,17341/ (http://www.theonion.com/articles/geologists-we-may-be-slowly-running-out-of-rocks,17341/)

Alternatively DNFTT....

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=acronym+dnftt (http://lmgtfy.com/?q=acronym+dnftt)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: cavermark on March 19, 2013, 10:59:13 pm
How can a caver be conservation minded by blasting through solid rock?

Or - caves are the voids between rocks.
Cave conservation must be conserving the voids. Blowing up rocks makes more void - win win!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: cavermark on March 19, 2013, 11:12:46 pm
Alternatively DNFTT....

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=acronym+dnftt (http://lmgtfy.com/?q=acronym+dnftt)

Ooo - I've never knowingly had a troll encounter before (well on a forum that is; Friday nights in various caving huts are different...)

"Cave Troll" is a nice enough chap - can we still feed him?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: robjones on March 19, 2013, 11:20:13 pm
caves are the voids between rocks.

And thus when a quarry consumes a cave-riddled hill, only the rock surrounding the cave is removed; the cave is left perfectly intact.  :-\
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 19, 2013, 11:30:37 pm
There is a quarry in Minera (Wrexham) that decimated a very nice cave system (some photos remain). Should the “quarry” have been allowed to continue (since the cave was known about prior) ?

Too late now, it’s gone and all that remains are memories (and a few photos).

Sorry I can’t resist this ....

For example Ogof Draenen found in the 1990's - a couple of hundred metres of digging and blasting boulders, to discover over 60km of passages - most would say that's a worthwhile compromise?

.... and then the diggers get locked out ... ?

 :blink:

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: cavermark on March 19, 2013, 11:34:08 pm
caves are the voids between rocks.

And thus when a quarry consumes a cave-riddled hill, only the rock surrounding the cave is removed; the cave is left perfectly intact.  :-\

Exactly!
We're all naked...under our clothes..
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: cavermark on March 19, 2013, 11:36:37 pm

.... and then the diggers get locked out ... ?

 :blink:

Ian

..and that's a tale for a different day, yawwn, must be time for bed.....
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Brains on March 20, 2013, 12:09:26 am
I get the feelings some people may be confusing conservation and preservation.
As cavers our prime objective is to go caving, and our collective efforts should be towards making this as staightforward as possible. Why would any caver in principle wish to reduce access to fellow cavers?
The situation of caves on CRoW land is currently farcical, and access may already be permitted subject to a test case. Conservation and preservation are different but related issues
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 20, 2013, 12:37:42 am

As cavers our prime objective is to go caving, and our collective efforts should be towards making this as staightforward as possible. Why would any caver in principle wish to reduce access to fellow cavers?


Well said that man! I am aware of the difference between preservation and conservation, my argument isn't for or against either, my argument is that there are people on here that think keeping caves under lock and key will prevent damage, when some members of the  caving community cause damage themselves but justify it in the name of furthering exploration.  I understand there is a balance.

I am based in North Wales so tend to explore locally.  I have no more right to explore my local systems than someone travelling from further afield, which is why I don't go around gating them all up.  I therefore do not see why, if I travel to a different region, I have to "seek permission" and or pay to join another club to enter a cave. 

Keep caves open and keep empire building for the Monopoly board. 
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 20, 2013, 08:35:20 am
Second sentence, exchange "know" for "think".
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 20, 2013, 09:58:40 am
Second sentence, exchange "know" for "think".

Chris,

To "know" something requires an undoubtable fact.  The issue of whether caves should all be locked up is a matter of opinion as this very thread highlights.  Therefore "think" was and still is the appropriate word to use.

I have included the definitions of each below (and a link to the source) if you are struggling:

Know - to be certain
Think - to believe something or have an opinion or idea

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/think_1?q=think (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/think_1?q=think)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 20, 2013, 10:17:24 am
Second sentence, exchange "know" for "think".

Chris,

To "know" something requires an undoubtable fact.  The issue of whether caves should all be locked up is a matter of opinion as this very thread highlights.

In which case, those of us who care about the condition of our caves should apply the precautionary principle and limit the amount of usage our caves get.

Quote
The precautionary principle or precautionary approach states if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an act.

This principle allows policy makers to make discretionary decisions in situations where there is the possibility of harm from taking a particular course or making a certain decision when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result.

In some legal systems, as in the law of the European Union, the application of the precautionary principle has been made a statutory requirement.

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precautionary_principle)

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 20, 2013, 10:25:52 am
How much would fair usage be Graham?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: jasonbirder on March 20, 2013, 10:35:38 am
Quote
those of us who care about the condition of our caves should...limit the amount of usage our caves get...

As a self-confessed Caver...I like going in Caves (there's a clue in the name) and while I like to think I'm sensible enough to be careful under most circumstances (don't touch this...don't break that, stay within the tape etc etc) and would obviously encourage others to do the same...I've no interest in limiting my Caving activity...in fact i'm rather fond of maximising it...

Besides where's the logic...if there's no access to caves...what exactly are we preserving them for?

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 20, 2013, 10:37:53 am
Quote
those of us who care about the condition of our caves should...limit the amount of usage our caves get...

As a self-confessed Caver...I like going in Caves (there's a clue in the name) and while I like to think I'm sensible enough to be careful under most circumstances (don't touch this...don't break that, stay within the tape etc etc) and would obviously encourage others to do the same...I've no interest in limiting my Caving activity...in fact i'm rather fond of maximising it...

Besides where's the logic...if there's no access to caves...what exactly are we preserving them for?

Or even bothering to dig for them in the first place?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 20, 2013, 10:38:10 am
Second sentence, exchange "know" for "think".

Chris,

To "know" something requires an undoubtable fact. 

Notdavidgilmour, I know it to be true. It is a fact that I do not doubt. Not even for an instant.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 20, 2013, 10:43:34 am

In which case, those of us who care about the condition of our caves should apply the precautionary principle and limit the amount of usage our caves get.


But what gives a caver the right to "limit access" to other cavers.  How do you know that I won't be just as careful if not more careful than yourself when it comes to applying the "precautionary principle"?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 20, 2013, 10:46:08 am
In the case of a local cave here on Mendip I'd say (and I think many others would agree) that spending 32 years digging before finding something confers a degree of "right" over the subsequent discovery.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 20, 2013, 10:46:56 am
Second sentence, exchange "know" for "think".

Chris,

To "know" something requires an undoubtable fact. 

Notdavidgilmour, I know it to be true. It is a fact that I do not doubt. Not even for an instant.

No Chris, you do not know, like I have already said, it's your opinion.  In fact most of the posts on here are opinions.  Therefore you do not know, you think
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 20, 2013, 10:47:57 am
I think you're an annoying troll and I hope not to meet you. Is that OK?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 20, 2013, 10:57:00 am
I think you're an annoying troll and I hope not to meet you. Is that OK?

That would suit me just fine to be honest. 
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 20, 2013, 11:12:25 am
I think you're an annoying troll......

He might be annoying you but he isn't a troll, he is a member of a caving club who clearly feels passionately about the subject being discussed. By accusing him of being a troll you are simply attempting to diminish the credibility of his views in the eyes of others. Cheap tactic, Chris.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 20, 2013, 11:34:08 am
In the case of a local cave here on Mendip I'd say (and I think many others would agree) that spending 32 years digging before finding something confers a degree of "right" over the subsequent discovery.

Is that what happened at Draenen ?

(Sorry, couldn't resist again)

..... I don't think it is "right" that we should command dominion over our peers (fellow cavers) and just because person "A" may be in favour of limiting and restricting access to a cave (for conservation reasons) that does not and should not mean that they can or should.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 20, 2013, 11:37:09 am

In which case, those of us who care about the condition of our caves should apply the precautionary principle and limit the amount of usage our caves get.


But what gives a caver the right to "limit access" to other cavers.  How do you know that I won't be just as careful if not more careful than yourself when it comes to applying the "precautionary principle"?

Who said anything about rights? I didn't. However, I do thing that someone who brings a beautiful* cave to light has a duty to do all they can to keep it beautiful.


*substitute adjective of choice: interesting, important, etc.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 20, 2013, 11:56:05 am


Who said anything about rights? I didn't. However, I do thing that someone who brings a beautiful* cave to light has a duty to do all they can to keep it beautiful.

*substitute adjective of choice: interesting, important, etc.


I feel "jasonbirder" has already given an excellent response.

I've no interest in limiting my Caving activity...in fact i'm rather fond of maximising it...

Besides where's the logic...if there's no access to caves...what exactly are we preserving them for?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 20, 2013, 12:03:03 pm
I do thing that someone who brings a beautiful* cave to light has a duty to do all they can to keep it beautiful.

I would probably go a step further and suggest we all have a duty ....  Might be minded to add "moral" in front of "duty".  :halo:

Might also like to see "all they can amended to all they reasonably can.

 :ang:

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 20, 2013, 12:10:46 pm

I feel "jasonbirder" has already given an excellent response.

I've no interest in limiting my Caving activity...in fact i'm rather fond of maximising it...

Besides where's the logic...if there's no access to caves...what exactly are we preserving them for?

I disagree Firstly 'maximising' might be taken to mean at all costs with all that implies.  Secondly, I don't think that anybody has suggested that there should be no access to caves.

So this is not an excellent response, it is one that uses hyperbole. That is all.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 20, 2013, 12:37:03 pm
He might be annoying you but he isn't a troll, he is a member of a caving club who clearly feels passionately about the subject being discussed. By accusing him of being a troll you are simply attempting to diminish the credibility of his views in the eyes of others. Cheap tactic, Chris.

Being a member of a caving club and being someone who feels passionately about the subject being discussed doesn't not a troll make. I think/know he is doing quite a good job at diminishing the credibility of his views in the eyes of others without much intervention from me.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 20, 2013, 12:49:07 pm
Some of this reads more of a discussion into how to have a discussion. Accusations of people using the straw man fallacy and the false dichotomy seem to arise (though not with those names) more than any specific caves. The ad hominem attack seems to be a recent addition.

Anyway, it seems that there are many who would like to be able to access caves that are on CROW land (such as on Fountains Fell) without permits or booking. I think that many cavers would like to to cross CROW land and cave rather than just look at the entrance, in the same way that climbers (probably) are able cross the land and climb rather than just look at the crags. (Silly suggestion: Either turn up to a cave with a permit, or a rack and a pair of halves.)
However caving is not mentioned in the CROW legislation. Thus, surely this is just a legal issue? Is there a way of clarifying a piece of legislation? Any legal experts here?

As for gates, I don't see that they would legally have to be removed. A landowner may obtain permission to build on their land and if they were once allowed a gate or even a lump of concrete on the cave entrance, then they presumably still would after any clarification. AFAIK, CROW gives you a right to roam, not a right to dictate what is built where.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Alex on March 20, 2013, 01:19:22 pm
God I losing the will to live reading this. Why does everyone have to be point scoring off ofeach other.

As for something I read (who knows where it was now) If explore anything and find something fantasic I would wan't to share it with the world and would not want to limit the access to do this. I don't understand the mentality of restricting access, otherwise no point in finding the darn thing.

Off to descend a pitch without a rope as my will has failed...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pony on March 20, 2013, 01:21:04 pm
With regards to the Hull Pot part of this thread, that is something that has really goy my goat for some years now. I can potter up to Hull and climb, maybe not totaly legal, but it seems to be tollerated. Potter up to go caving, yes not a classic I ll grant, but a permit is required and insurance.
 How has caving become a sport that requires this burocracy? All the answers are well documented in past events but they were 40/50 years ago. Times,attitudes and most importantly rights have changed. I appreciate the major land owners have remained the same, but in a number cases the situation above is present on their property.
 It seems to me since the implementation of CROW climbers have got out there and got on with it what with the new routes reported on CROW land.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Alex on March 20, 2013, 01:24:40 pm
Its simple Pony, its because we spend too much time bickering with each other then trying to change things, where as the climbers got together and got things changed. Now wheres that pitch...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: gus horsley on March 20, 2013, 01:31:34 pm
However caving is not mentioned in the CROW legislation. Thus, surely this is just a legal issue? Is there a way of clarifying a piece of legislation? Any legal experts here?

It is in the legislation:  "As the CRoW Act covers access for the purposes of open-air recreation, pot holing and caving are not included in the right"
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 20, 2013, 01:39:50 pm
Ah, I see. That explains a few things and renders most of my post null.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pony on March 20, 2013, 01:57:05 pm
With regards to Gus' quote. How about Hollywood Bowl a Giggleswick and of course Victoria Cave. Sorry bud couldn't resist, slack day and all that
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: TheBitterEnd on March 20, 2013, 02:00:57 pm
However caving is not mentioned in the CROW legislation. Thus, surely this is just a legal issue? Is there a way of clarifying a piece of legislation? Any legal experts here?

It is in the legislation:  "As the CRoW Act covers access for the purposes of open-air recreation, pot holing and caving are not included in the right"

Gus - where is that in the legislation (Act/Regulation/Order and paragraph please)? It is in a guidance note from the Countryside Commission for Wales. What is the applicability of the  Countryside Commission for Wales to English CROW land.

It seems to me there is a lot of wishful thinking about this "Open Air Recreation" element of the act. Google does not seem to know of any legal precedent for "Open Air Recreation" and as I have previously pointed out only the courts can decide the meaning of "Open Air Recreation". What would "Closed Air Recreation" be?

I suspect the drafters of the legislation used the term "Open Air" to exclude vehicles, caravans and temporary building etc. but given that "Camping" is explicitly in the list of exclusions it would seem that even they were not too sure what "Open air recreation on foot" really meant.

Furthermore it still does not address the Hull/Alum/Rowten (Lancaster? Mistral?) issue. A court would need to decide. If someone had a strong financial drive to do so they would challenge the CCW statement (so it won't happen WRT caving).
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Les W on March 20, 2013, 02:02:09 pm
It is in the legislation:  "As the CRoW Act covers access for the purposes of open-air recreation, pot holing and caving are not included in the right"

Where is this in the legislation Gus?
I have looked at the relevant Act of Parliament and cannot see it...  :unsure:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 20, 2013, 02:35:45 pm

... If explore anything and find something fantasic I would wan't to share it with the world and would not want to limit the access to do this. I don't understand the mentality of restricting access, otherwise no point in finding the darn thing.


Do you think that the original discoverers of Easter Grotto necessarily agree with you?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: gus horsley on March 20, 2013, 02:58:50 pm
It is in the legislation:  "As the CRoW Act covers access for the purposes of open-air recreation, pot holing and caving are not included in the right"

Where is this in the legislation Gus?
I have looked at the relevant Act of Parliament and cannot see it...  :unsure:

Oops, looked at the wrong thing.  It's in the CCW legislation. 
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 20, 2013, 03:45:46 pm
Then, if it really isn't in the wording of the act, for those who want to cave freely on CROW land, surely the top priority is trying to find a way to clarify whether caving is covered by the legislation or not.

Does anyone else think this is worth trying and has any ideas about how to do so?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 20, 2013, 05:01:30 pm

... If explore anything and find something fantasic I would wan't to share it with the world and would not want to limit the access to do this. I don't understand the mentality of restricting access, otherwise no point in finding the darn thing.


Do you think that the original discoverers of Easter Grotto necessarily agree with you?


And Gimli's Dream??
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: braveduck on March 20, 2013, 05:41:36 pm
About a year ago there was long thread on here about the CROW act.
There were several lines of text from the CROW posted.
One that interested  me was something about going UNDER walls.
No one else seemed to pick up on this and explain it.To be fair at this point
a lot of the posters were exhausted and the thread died!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 20, 2013, 06:39:13 pm

... If explore anything and find something fantasic I would wan't to share it with the world and would not want to limit the access to do this. I don't understand the mentality of restricting access, otherwise no point in finding the darn thing.


Do you think that the original discoverers of Easter Grotto necessarily agree with you?

Is that the Easter Grotto in the system that requires a permit?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 20, 2013, 06:41:23 pm

... If explore anything and find something fantasic I would wan't to share it with the world and would not want to limit the access to do this. I don't understand the mentality of restricting access, otherwise no point in finding the darn thing.


Do you think that the original discoverers of Easter Grotto necessarily agree with you?


Is that the Easter Grotto in the system that requires a permit?


& isn't gated
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 20, 2013, 06:43:40 pm

... If explore anything and find something fantasic I would wan't to share it with the world and would not want to limit the access to do this. I don't understand the mentality of restricting access, otherwise no point in finding the darn thing.


Do you think that the original discoverers of Easter Grotto necessarily agree with you?


Is that the Easter Grotto in the system that requires a permit?


& isn't gated

So we either limit access to all caves or make sure all cavers cave responsibly?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 20, 2013, 06:55:24 pm

... or make sure all cavers cave responsibly?


That would be nice. How do you think it might be done?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: LizW1985 on March 20, 2013, 07:30:47 pm
I think it would be a good idea if before anyone is given their bca red card they need to attend a one/two day course on cave conservation, caving safely, flooding etc if they love caving then I don't think paying a few extra quid would bother them (I wouldn't mind and then its a bit more cash for the bca).  Then when it comes to gated caves you should be able to show a warden your card and gain access instead of messing about with permits.  Also if everyone has to play by the same rules there wouldn't be any accusations of empire building etc
Definitely think educating people is the best way!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 20, 2013, 07:42:40 pm

... or make sure all cavers cave responsibly?


That would be nice. How do you think it might be done?

Not sure I'd go so far as Liz's suggestion but along similar lines, how about a BCA road-show doing the rounds of the clubs or caving areas. Or if that's too much to put together, a gathering of all the club conservation officers at a seminar/lecture/gathering for the purposes of getting the message to them so they can get it out to club members.

To be clear, some gated, locked, permit based, leader led systems and completely open access caves are having some parts of them destroyed maliciously or otherwise. None of these "systems" eradicate the problem. Educate isn't such a woolly and meaningless term if there is something to underpin it.

To be extra clear (again!) I'm not in the open all cave access lobby. My interest was piqued with the mention of CRoW. Though interestingly there are many fine caves in the Dales and Derbyshire (my stomping ground) that are open access and have still retained their majesty.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Chocolate fireguard on March 20, 2013, 09:20:45 pm
Though interestingly there are many fine caves in the Dales and Derbyshire (my stomping ground) that are open access and have still retained their majesty.

I am not sure which ones you have in mind, but wherever they are it can`t last for ever.

The last-but-one time I went up into White River in Peak/Speedwell, after a gap of a couple of years, I saw how it had deteriorated. There was no vandalism that I could see, just the general grubbiness that comes with cavers edging past the Crystal Pools, trying their best not to dislodge any muck onto them but every now and then somebody failing. The thin layer of mud on the White River that is inevitable if people want to see it.
I realised that I was on my 6th or 8th visit so a couple of us decided to go once more to see the bits we had missed (mainly Nameless) and then not go again. So far I have kept to this, despite temptation.

I know it is easy for me to say - in 5 or 10 years I shall probably not be capable of getting up there anyway - but it is now a trade route with a few people I know having done it dozens of times and they are spoiling it for the future.

To be clear: I would not ban access to it, although it could easily be done. Every caver capable of getting there should see White River if they want to. But unless individual cavers start to think that a couple of visits is enough we are going to lose it sooner rather than later.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: LizW1985 on March 20, 2013, 09:21:23 pm
Sounds like a good idea.  I do think caving as a whole should be more accessible to newbies,  some people I know really enjoy caving but don't feel they can commit to being an active member of a club and also don't have the confidence to just meet up with a group and go caving, which means not having access to some of the caves.  Perhaps this is why there isn't as many people into caving as there is climbing and canoeing etc. 

Malicious vandalism is definitely a problem,  I was in a spectacular cave a few weeks ago, (which is gated and groups arent allowed, so to speak) but some mindless tosser had written their name in the mud!! The sad part of this is that it must have been a caver who did it as its not possible for public etc to get in!  The other thing is there is a log book at the cave entrance which requires the groups details name, club etc so im guessing the culprit forgot about that when writing in mud. Fool!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 20, 2013, 09:23:58 pm
But unless individual cavers start to think that a couple of visits is enough we are going to lose it sooner rather than later.

That is a brilliant and succinct message.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 20, 2013, 09:25:09 pm
Malicious vandalism is definitely a problem,  I was in a spectacular cave a few weeks ago, (which is gated and groups arent allowed, so to speak) but some mindless tosser had written their name in the mud!! The sad part of this is that it must have been a caver who did it as its not possible for public etc to get in!  The other thing is there is a log book at the cave entrance which requires the groups details name, club etc so im guessing the culprit forgot about that when writing in mud. Fool!

An example of limited access not working (sorry to bang on about it). If I was in this group and saw someone doing this I'd certainly vent my view.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 20, 2013, 09:27:41 pm
Something Chocolate fireguard said struck a chord (about trade routes); too often I see on trip reports a time stamp on how fast the cave was "done"!. I know one persons fast could be another persons slow but careful to me would mean economy of movement which would, for me any way, mean considered movement, and slow.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: LizW1985 on March 20, 2013, 09:28:53 pm
Its ridiculous,  I couldn't believe it, its a really beautiful cave, why someone would do it is beyond me.   :chair:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 20, 2013, 09:30:36 pm
Maybe, just maybe, they didn't know any better.  :shrug: But yes, it's madness.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 21, 2013, 06:21:20 pm
Then, if it really isn't in the wording of the act, for those who want to cave freely on CROW land, surely the top priority is trying to find a way to clarify whether caving is covered by the legislation or not.

Does anyone else think this is worth trying and has any ideas about how to do so?
Unfortunately the easiest way to clarify is to test it in court - anyone volunteering? Trying to get the government to make a pronouncement is only likely to end in "no you can't"...

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: TheBitterEnd on March 21, 2013, 06:41:05 pm
Unfortunately the easiest way to clarify is to test it in court - anyone volunteering? Trying to get the government to make a pronouncement is only likely to end in "no you can't"...

Mike

Not necessarily, a significant effect of the act is reduction in landowners liability. The courts would consider the case before them and government would be influenced by political pressure. Consider a couple of possible scenarios:


Which of these case came first may affect the outcome of a decision.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 21, 2013, 06:50:31 pm
  • The insurance company of a fit and active caver who was killed falling down a pitch in an open non-permit cave on CRoW land sues the landowner to recover costs of a life insurance pay out. The landowner's defense is that the cave is a natural feature and the caver was exercising his CRoW rights
  • Two children are drowned by flooding in a gated cave on CRoW land where the gate had been left unlocked. The children's parents sue the landowner.  The landowner's defense is that the cave is a natural feature and the children were exercising their CRoW rights

Which of these case came first may affect the outcome of a decision.

The problem is that you cannot prevent anybody taking a case to court. With this sort of scenario, whatever the outcome, the fact may be that the landowner has the hassle and expense of being sued, even if he wins in the end. Now, if a proper access agreement is in place and the landowner is aware of the scheme, he would have the security of knowing that his costs should be covered under the BCA scheme. Well-constituted access agreements can give this confidence.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 21, 2013, 06:55:25 pm
CRoW= Countryside Right of Way

Question - is underground the countryside, is there a right of way?

Definitions is everything  :doubt:

P.S. I agree with Graham in his last post, and I know that doesn't happen very often!!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 21, 2013, 06:57:50 pm
I thought the landowner was exempt from prosecution if an accident were to befall someone exercising their rights on CROW land (natural features) ?

.... (That's a question)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 21, 2013, 07:01:03 pm
On CRoW land, not under it.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Alex on March 21, 2013, 07:09:42 pm
If someone falls down an open shaft and end up under it does that mean they are not except despite the top of the shaft being a surface feature. Basically the law is in-adequate as it does not answer these questions and it needs changing. (but that would need a conciseness, something that is never going to happen)

If it was changed to include caving one way or the other the land owner would be much more happy as they know where they stand and would less likely want a permit system.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 21, 2013, 07:30:45 pm
I thought the landowner was exempt from prosecution if an accident were to befall someone exercising their rights on CROW land (natural features) ?

.... (That's a question)

Ian

Do you actually mean prosecution or do you mean being sued in the civil courts? There is a difference.

As an aside is a dug cave entrance necessarily regarded as a natural feature? I'm sure the, quite long, dug entrance to Carno wouldn't be, for example.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 21, 2013, 07:43:37 pm
Neither would Titan or any other mine shaft, come to think of it, I don't think any entrances in the Peak District are on CRoW land.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 21, 2013, 07:50:37 pm
*pedant mode ON*

Wasn't it Leviathon that was the mine shaft? I thought the main Titan pitch was natural.


*pedant mode OFF*
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 21, 2013, 07:58:40 pm
*pedant mode ON*

Wasn't it Leviathon that was the mine shaft? I thought the main Titan pitch was natural.


*pedant mode OFF*

Not necessarily pedantic. After all the top entrance to Titan was dug out. Was it a wholly natural feature artificially cleared or a wholly or partially artificial shaft that was artificially cleared?

What this demonstrates is quite how difficult it can be to write clear legal documents that don't leave loopholes for somebody who really wants to sue someone else.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: TheBitterEnd on March 21, 2013, 08:36:26 pm
  • The insurance company of a fit and active caver who was killed falling down a pitch in an open non-permit cave on CRoW land sues the landowner to recover costs of a life insurance pay out. The landowner's defense is that the cave is a natural feature and the caver was exercising his CRoW rights
  • Two children are drowned by flooding in a gated cave on CRoW land where the gate had been left unlocked. The children's parents sue the landowner.  The landowner's defense is that the cave is a natural feature and the children were exercising their CRoW rights

Which of these case came first may affect the outcome of a decision.

The problem is that you cannot prevent anybody taking a case to court. With this sort of scenario, whatever the outcome, the fact may be that the landowner has the hassle and expense of being sued, even if he wins in the end. Now, if a proper access agreement is in place and the landowner is aware of the scheme, he would have the security of knowing that his costs should be covered under the BCA scheme. Well-constituted access agreements can give this confidence.

 :-\ :-\ :-\ :-\

ONLY IF, in those examples, the caver had BCA insurance and let's assume that the children don't.

The act does not reduce landowners liability for people they invite or permit to use their land. I have a hunch that the presence of an agreement, or gate or anything else (e.g. permission to dig, renting a farm to a caving club) could be counted against the land owner in terms of claims that a person was exercising their CRoW rights.

I think it is fairly clearly the intent of the act, with respect to natural features and people exercising their CRoW rights - i.e. if a walker falls down an open pot, the landowner's liability is reduced. What would be interesting is to know what a lawyer thought about a walker falling down a pot for which there was a caving access agreement?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: peterk on March 21, 2013, 08:42:36 pm
what a lawyer thought about a walker falling down a pot for which there was a caving access agreement?

Here's what the courts think http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/politics/8048916.print/ (http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/politics/8048916.print/)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 21, 2013, 08:45:56 pm
What would be interesting is to know what a lawyer thought about a walker falling down a pot for which there was a caving access agreement?
I have helped put grills on some quite scrotty little holes for exactly this reason. One of these was right next to a footpath.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 21, 2013, 08:56:58 pm
Just catching up .....

"Mines" are covered by the quarries act and the landowner has some legal obligations which, if are not followed and someone "falls in", they would be liable for. There are no such legal obligations for caves that I am aware of.

I believed (and it seems to be correct) that a landowner is protected (I don't know if CROW covers both civil courts and criminal) from an incident on their land if the injured party was exercising their right under CROW and it was a "natural feature" (ie. not the landowners tractor running them down) that was central to the incident.

If CROW covered caves, it appears the landowner would still be exempt. (Digging aside - I am trying to establish the basis, not embrace all the nuances).

In a like manner, people walking to a cave on CROW land who have an "incident" but are there on a "permit" basis would prima facie have a case against the landowner. Would the landowner not prefer the protection CROW gives to them ?

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 21, 2013, 09:29:50 pm
If CROW covered caves, it appears the landowner would still be exempt. (Digging aside - I am trying to establish the basis, not embrace all the nuances).

The devil is, always, in the detail.

In a like manner, people walking to a cave on CROW land who have an "incident" but are there on a "permit" basis would prima facie have a case against the landowner. Would the landowner not prefer the protection CROW gives to them ?

The point is about proving negligence. CRoW seems to be saying that having a natural feature on your land is not per se a negligent act. Now, if that applies to CRoW land, I rather suspect that the same principle would be applied by the courts to other land. There are, of course, a myriad of other ways in which one might be negligent. I might suggest that some landowners might prefer an agreement that brings with it known insurance cover.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: TheBitterEnd on March 21, 2013, 09:48:20 pm
Now, if that applies to CRoW land, I rather suspect that the same principle would be applied by the courts to other land.

Absolutely not! Other land is covered by the Occupiers Liability Acts of 1957 and 1984. The CRoW reduction in liability covers only natural features on CRoW land for people exercising their CRoW rights, i.e. NOT invited or permitted to use the land.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 21, 2013, 10:00:26 pm
Another question I do not know the answer to;

If a caver with BCA insurance, with a permit (ie. the agreement of the landowner), suffers an incident on the landowners land where he would "normally" have a claim against the landowner (with a natural feature) - does the BCA insurance cough up on behalf the landowner to the injured party ? (The injured party being the BCA card holder)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 21, 2013, 10:04:39 pm
Now, if that applies to CRoW land, I rather suspect that the same principle would be applied by the courts to other land.

Absolutely not! Other land is covered by the Occupiers Liability Acts of 1957 and 1984. The CRoW reduction in liability covers only natural features on CRoW land for people exercising their CRoW rights, i.e. NOT invited or permitted to use the land.

I understand that. Now, what defence did Dr Farrar use in the GG case cited above. it was that he had not been negligent not that CRoW absolved him of negligence. That is why I can be reasonably confident that the courts would treat other cases in a similar fashion. Don't forget, the Scout Association was found to have been negligent.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 21, 2013, 10:06:36 pm
Another question I do not know the answer to;

If a caver with BCA insurance, with a permit (ie. the agreement of the landowner), suffers an incident on the landowners land where he would "normally" have a claim against the landowner (with a natural feature) - does the BCA insurance cough up on behalf the landowner to the injured party ? (The injured party being the BCA card holder)

Ian

I cannot give an absolute answer to this but do know that the BCA policy does cover member to member claims, so if the landowner is considered to be covered then presumably it would, yes.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 22, 2013, 10:30:44 am
I understand that. Now, what defence did Dr Farrar use in the GG case cited above. it was that he had not been negligent not that CRoW absolved him of negligence.

This case pre-dates CRoW. Are you just applying the facts in a "what if" scenario as if CRoW had applied?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Les W on March 22, 2013, 11:02:27 am
Pretty sure a land owner cannot be held negligent for natural features on their land, either before or since CROW. If they were then all the cliffs around the coast (and inland) would be fenced off, as would all rivers and lakes.  :unsure:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: langcliffe on March 22, 2013, 11:13:45 am
Pretty sure a land owner cannot be held negligent for natural features on their land, either before or since CROW. If they were then all the cliffs around the coast (and inland) would be fenced off, as would all rivers and lakes.  :unsure:

One would have thought so, but in the GG case "the judge ... decided Dr Farrer was not to blame as in the car park there was a warning about dangerous pot holes.", and Section 13 of the CROW is quite specific, presumably because it was changing the status quo.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 22, 2013, 11:23:58 am
As I remember the judge found in favour of the principle that warning signs at the point of access are adequate and that expecting warning signs at every hazard actually on the land is unrealistic. Everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief at the time because if the decision had gone otherwise it would have spawned a proliferation of such signs all over the place and conservation issues would have been severely compromised.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 22, 2013, 11:24:44 am
The problem with continual what if scenarios is that we simply do not know, as the facts of each case will be different. However, over the last few years there has been a move by the courts away from placing liability on landowners and more on placing responsibility on visitors.

To quote Mr Justice Burnton in the Hampstead Ponds case

Quote
“If an adult swimmer, with knowledge of the risks of swimming, chooses to swim unsupervised, the risks he incurs are the result of his decision and not of the permission to swim.”

I'm pretty damn sure that Hampstead Ponds are not on CRoW land.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ed W on March 22, 2013, 11:49:24 am
I have watched this thread with a mixture of interest and bemusement!  As usual the arguments (I think that at times this thread has crossed the line from discussion) have become polarised and absolutist.  To me it does seem a little bizarre that there are now huge tracts of countryside over which we have a right to wander as we see fit, but that for many of these bits of land we need a bit of paper to say that we can venture underground.

At the same time to me it is vital that our underground heritage is protected (this includes archaeology, sediments and biology just as much as stal).  There are many caves on what is now open access land that are either not gated, or have had gates fitted for reasons other than conservation of the cave, yet still require cavers to follow a formal procedure to descend.  I honestly cannot see what the issue is with a presumption that cave entrances located on open access land should be open for access to cavers without some form of prior formal permission.  I equally do not see any reason why such a presumption should not allow for sensitive cave sites to have appropriate access controls where necessary to protect them (or possibly the public).

Of course there is the issue of who gets to decide which sites are sensitive and precisely what access cotrols are suitable.  However this approach might force some level of transparency, consistency, fairness and understanding of why access to certain sites is restricted, not something that is to my mind apparent at present across the many access agreements in place across the UK.

I know that there are many cavers who give up valuable time to the issue of access to our caves, and I am incredibly grateful that their efforts have allowed me to visit some very special places indeed.  However it does strike me that now may be a good time for us (as cavers) to reflect on the changing environment we find ourselves in and think a little more proactively about the future of cave access rather than just continuing as we have done for many years.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 22, 2013, 12:44:32 pm
I understand you Ed - but perhaps there is something to be said for not nailing everything down absolutely in tablets of stone, so that cavers can exploit grey areas to their own advantage sometimes? (in an entirely responsible way of course!) Just a thought.

Before anyone jumps down my throat - just ponder on the deeper meaning of this comment - and perhaps also about what I might have chosen not to type here.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: jasonbirder on March 22, 2013, 01:48:57 pm
I think the issue with Caves on CROW land that still require an exclusionist (is that even a word) and convoluted access process is that...

LOADS of people Pirate them...I know no-one will admit it on UKCaving for fear of being exiled to the ninth circle of hell...but they do...don't they?

If it were a cliff/crag on CROW land...you'd be able to walk across and climb it without restriction...

There is absolutely nothing to stop you parking up...kitting up in oversuit and srt kit...walking to the cave entrance....dancing a jig in the cave entrance...then walking back to your car....

Do we really believe that the land owners are passionate about restricitng traffic to minimise wear and tear on the cave....rather than...didn't really want to allow access to walkers under CROW...don't see why I should change cave access to increase accessibility unless confronted?

As a final thought...surely they should be grateful we're going underground...rather than checking up on them poisoning buzzards/hen harriers/peregrines and grassing them up!

:) :) :)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 22, 2013, 01:54:05 pm
Actually Jason, a very large number of cavers respect (and are very grateful for) the access agreements, whether local or from further afield.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 22, 2013, 01:56:43 pm
Very sensible post from Ed.

Yes, Pitlamp - I do realise what you are saying (and choosing not to say). If everyone thought and acted this way I agree it would be a reasonable state of affairs and need not necessarily have to change. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Some cavers exploit the grey areas for themselves and go to great lengths to ensure that others should not be able to. Even worse, some cavers take advantage of the grey areas and turn them around on others purely to further their own aims and objectives. This is wrong and now is as good a time as any to put an end to it.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 22, 2013, 02:02:14 pm
H'm, I live and frequently cave in the Dales and I've not come across what you're describing Nig.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 22, 2013, 02:05:59 pm
Just thinking a bit further - maybe this sort of thing Nig described is more common in other UK caving areas?  :shrug:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: ian.p on March 22, 2013, 02:31:19 pm
Quote
ONLY IF, in those examples, the caver had BCA insurance and let's assume that the children don't
would be compleatly irelevent:
1) BCA insurance is 3rd party only so the landowners insurance is not affected by wether or not the children themselves are insured.
2) Children who are members of BCA clubs have to be insured as well as adults given that its a third party insurance i think this absurd but thats way of things at the moment.

I think there is every reason to push for cave access on CROW land there is nothing to lose and potentialy a lot to gain i certainly dont think land owner liability is likley to increase after all walkers will go onto CROW land wether or not there is also CROW access to caves so falling into entrances is not a hazard that will be increased.
Those venturing into caves are clearly making a concios decision to do so and espcialy if there is a warning signe at a car park or on the cover of the cave entrance i realy dont see how a judge is ever going to see an accident arising from a caving trip as the farmers fault and either way that farmer will be coverd by BCA 3rd party insurance whether or not the injured/dead person is insured so wether or not the acess the acces is based on CROW or regional council negotiated terms matters not a toss in terms of insurance cover.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: ian.p on March 22, 2013, 02:35:50 pm
the only reason councils such as CNCC have negotiated terms that require BCA insurance to access caves is to protect revenue that pays for the insuring of the landowner your own individual 3rd party insurance only protects you from claims against you nothing else.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 22, 2013, 02:42:30 pm
Just thinking a bit further - maybe this sort of thing Nig described is more common in other UK caving areas?  :shrug:

No, it's not common at all Pitlamp, anywhere.

And you can read into that whatever you wish.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: ian.p on March 22, 2013, 02:44:01 pm
I understand you Ed - but perhaps there is something to be said for not nailing everything down absolutely in tablets of stone, so that cavers can exploit grey areas to their own advantage sometimes? (in an entirely responsible way of course!) Just a thought.

Agreed but i think some councils make there lives harder and the lives of cavers trying to access land harder then they need to be the system works alright for normal club cavers but as soon as you go outside the box you enter a whole new world of burocratic pain in my experiance. Ever tried to organise permits for a dye trace on leck fell? my best advice would be dont. Equally if your club is centered around taking young people caving expect to have to send at least 5 emails per permit explaining your not a outdoor persuits center doesnt seem to matter that you are registered as a BCA member club and have had the same argument every year for years with same individuals.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 22, 2013, 02:59:47 pm
Well, with hand on heart, I can honestly say I've never had anything but help, from the volunteers who make CNCC work, on occasions when I've had to ask for assistance in special circumstances.

At the end of the day CNCC is all about promoting the best possible access, in often difficult circumstances. Without the efforts of the various CNCC officers we'd all be much worse off. I just find myself wondering how often other cavers ever think of actually thanking those individuals who give so much of their time for our benefit. I have - and, boy, does it make a difference next time help is needed!

(Got to sign out of this discussion now due to other priorities. Cheerio all.)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 22, 2013, 04:38:01 pm
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/introduction (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/introduction)

Been confined to quarters today by white stuff so thought I'd do a bit of surfing. The above link is about the most comprehensive detail of what and what is not permissible under CRoW.

 I think the biggest problem is one of interpretation, CRow is established for "open air recreation", is this a fair description of caving?
 
Under the act landowners are exempt from claims against them for injuries sustained by "natural features" unless they are found to be "intentionally negligent", a criminal offence in itself.

The act also mandates the setting up of "Local Access Forums (or Fora)" to deal with issues arising from the legislation, set up under the auspices of the National Park Authority where relevant, Local Authority where not, perhaps this is where your regional councils could make representation on your behalf?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 22, 2013, 04:53:36 pm
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/introduction (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/introduction)
I think the biggest problem is one of interpretation, CRow is established for "open air recreation", is this a fair description of caving?

Part of many people's job as "outdoor" instructors is to take groups/people caving. This requires insurance; this insurance is bought as a package covering "outdoor pursuits". One of which is caving/potholing/mine exploration.

Many outdoor pursuit centres operate with caving as an activity alongside climbing, mountaineering etc.

It's not a great leap to make open air recreation analogous or synonymous with outdoor pursuits generally.

Of course it'd need a legal test, but I'd wager a years worth of my salary that an outcome would favour caving as an "open air recreation".

This is only third hand rumour but when representations were made by the likes of the BMC before the CRoW 2000 Act, NCA (as it was) was notable for it's not pushing for a case.  :shrug: Was this "policy" or just sh*t stirring?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 22, 2013, 05:05:36 pm
IIRC, at that time NCA was in a "state of flux".

Just remembered another bit in the legislation, visitors are not allowed to carry out a business on CRoW land, I wonder how outdoor centres get round that one with their climbing courses?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 22, 2013, 05:10:43 pm
Just remembered another bit in the legislation, visitors are not allowed to carry out a business on CRoW land, I wonder how outdoor centres get round that one with their climbing courses?

I rather suspect that many of them ignore it. Not that long ago, I heard of a report on 'outdoor activities' relating to a specific piece of land. A number of bodies had been involved in putting it together, but that did not include the landowner who knew nothing about it until a copy found its way into his inbox. I don't think he was impressed.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: paul on March 22, 2013, 05:11:27 pm
I think the biggest problem is one of interpretation, CRow is established for "open air recreation", is this a fair description of caving?
From
Quote
05_important_information_for_access_users_faq_tcm6-26818.pdf
on www.naturalengland.org.uk (http://www.naturalengland.org.uk):
Quote
What activities are allowed on access land?
The CROW Act gives people a right to use access land for the purposes of open air recreation.
Activities such as running, walking, bird watching and climbing are permitted but the new rights
do not extend to other activities such as camping and horse-riding.

Can I ride a horse or a bike across access land?
Horse-riders and cyclists continue to have the legal right to ride along public bridleways that
cross access land, but have no general right of access to areas of open country or registered
common land – though nothing prevents them continuing to use land they have used in the
past.
Landowners can choose to permit additional activities such as horse riding on an informal basis,
or can choose to dedicate their land for additional access rights if they want the rights to be
allowed permanently (for further information please refer to the CROW Section 16 page).
What activities are not included in the new rights?

The following list summarises key activities that are expressly excluded from the new rights of
access. You can find more details on these ‘general restrictions’ under Schedule 2 to the
CROW Act 2000:

+ Riding a horse or bicycle
+ Driving a vehicle (unless it is an invalid carriage)
+ Taking an animal, other than a dog
+ Camping
+ Organised games
+ Hang-gliding or paragliding
+ Using a metal detector
+ Commercially-run activities on the land
+ Swimming in, or using boats or sail boards on, non-tidal rivers, lakes and so on
+ Intentionally removing, damaging, or destroying any plant, shrub, tree or root
+ Lighting, causing or risking a fire
+ Damaging hedges, fences, walls, crops or anything else on the land
+ Leaving gates open, that are not propped or fastened open
+ Leaving litter
+ Intentionally disturbing livestock, wildlife or habitats
+ Posting any notices
+ Committing any criminal offence

The recreational activities on this list are not always prohibited on access land. There may be
other, existing rights or customs to do such things or the landowner may permit such uses. For
example, horse riders have the legal right to ride along public bridleways or byways that cross
access land and organised sports or commercially run events may be held with the landowner's
permission.
 


So certain things appear to be specifically prohibited (Horse Riding, Hang-gliding) while "Activities such as running, walking, bird watching and climbing are permitted". Perhaps this is just a list of "open air recreational" activities but it could easily include "caving"?
Surely in the spirit of the meaning of "open air recreation" caving would be included? I is wasier to list specific prohibitions than list all possible allowable activities such as playing with a kite or painitng or photographing landscapes or any other activity whcih would surley be thought of as "open air recreation". I'm sure that just because caving involves an enclosed space that wouldn't discount it as such.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jopo on March 22, 2013, 05:19:56 pm
Imagine.

Like a very large percentage of the population you think cavers are nuts. All the hassle they cause if there is a rescue - costing the community a bloody fortune!!

So you are landowner with a cave on your land. Someone turns up to negotiate access. In the process they mention that cavers will be covered by Landowners Liability insurance.

You wonder why? Climbers don't have insurance, walkers don't have insurance - why should cavers need it. It is much easier for me to say no - just in case. After all what do I care about nutcases who find it fun to cave.

If Landowner Liability insurance is unnecessary, and it is MY opinion that we do not, then why do we (the caving fraternity in general) insist we do?

I can understand why many club cavers believe that it is necessary to insure committee members against all sorts of liabilities perceived or real but why the Landowners Liability inclusion. My club has many older members who will never ever cave again but they also have to pay their whack.

We may just have created petard to hoist ourselves upon.


I accept that it may be too late to turn the clock back with the cat well out of the bag and if Third Party Liability insurance keeps hardworking and dedicated committee members happy it is a small price to pay.

Jopo
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 22, 2013, 05:21:36 pm
IIRC, at that time NCA was in a "state of flux".

Just remembered another bit in the legislation, visitors are not allowed to carry out a business on CRoW land, I wonder how outdoor centres get round that one with their climbing courses?

Obviously can't speak for all of them; in my experience all the centres or organisations I've been involved with sought permission once and it was given freely, for as long as, I presume, CRoW was the pre-eminent Act of Parliament.

It's not just centres or instructors. My running club has to seek permission to run it's races. It's always granted.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 22, 2013, 05:22:57 pm
That was my opinion Paul, a test case could be raised at a LAF by a regional body, I would encourage this route since these things vary from area to area.
 
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 22, 2013, 05:28:32 pm

You wonder why? Climbers don't have insurance,

I think you'll find that BCA insurance was originally based upon the BMC scheme.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 22, 2013, 05:30:26 pm

You wonder why? Climbers don't have insurance,

I think you'll find that BCA insurance was originally based upon the BMC scheme.

But not all climbers are in BMC; and very few (if any) venues require insurance as prerequisite.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 22, 2013, 06:09:23 pm
I'm strongly in agreement with Paul :
"Surely in the spirit of the meaning of "open air recreation" caving would be included? I is wasier to list specific prohibitions than list all possible allowable activities such as playing with a kite or painitng or photographing landscapes or any other activity whcih would surley be thought of as "open air recreation"."

I would say (without any legal knowledge) this it is an "open air" activity as an open cave is, erm, open to the air. Gated caves and might be different, I don't know. Activities that aren't open air are usually thought to be inside an object with doors such as camping, staying in a caravan or car.

Take one example. It is possible to climb in Trow Gill (the gulley on the walk to GG) without any form of permit. Does that mean that one can also climb GG main hang without a permit? Surely these are both "open air" recreation. Following this, I think it would be perverse if the law allowed free/aid climbing but not abbing and prusiking. Therefore I can't see how cavers should need a permit, but climbers don't.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: TheBitterEnd on March 22, 2013, 07:11:05 pm
As I said earlier, the people who wrote the legislation were sufficiently unsure of the scope of the term "open air recreation" that they put CAMPING in the list of exclusions, presumably just to be sure.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Roger W on March 22, 2013, 07:32:23 pm
Camping surely has the idea of actually staying on the land, rather than walking across it, taking photographs and suchlike?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: steviet_scg on March 22, 2013, 08:10:40 pm
I can certainly see the logic that many have outlined - but probably also need to remember that Landowners can exclude people from CRoW land - sometimes temporarily but for the purposes of nature conservation and heritage preservation they can exclude or restrict access for any period, i.e. to help conserve the "flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features of the land in question" and having  "regard to any advice given to them by the relevant advisory body." they may decide that a permit system is required. In which case it may be immaterial whether caving is an open air recreation or not.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/section/26 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/section/26)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 22, 2013, 08:13:44 pm
Camping surely has the idea of actually staying on the land, rather than walking across it, taking photographs and suchlike?

Which is an interesting point. Camping (wild) has always (legally) required the permission of the landowner, yet who does? Go to Scotland (slightly different I guess) or Wales or the Lakes and it occurs all the time. Of course that doesn't make it right, but there is a tacit understanding that in certain areas it happens with no problems (in accordance with some inferred "rules" - above a certain height, no base camping, no fires etc.). Camping (http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/wheretostay/wildcamping)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: martinr on March 22, 2013, 08:17:10 pm
CROW ACT:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/section/20 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/section/20)

Quote
20 Codes of conduct and other information.

(1)In relation to England, it shall be the duty of the Countryside Agency [now Natural England] to issue, and from time to time revise, a code of conduct for the guidance of persons exercising the right conferred by section 2(1) and of persons interested in access land, and to take such other steps as appear to them expedient for securing—

(a)that the public are informed of the situation and extent of, and means of access to, access land, and
(b)that the public and persons interested in access land are informed of their respective rights and obligations

Natural England guidance:

http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/05_important_information_for_access_users_FAQ_tcm6-26818.pdf (http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/05_important_information_for_access_users_FAQ_tcm6-26818.pdf)

Quote
The media sometimes use the phrase 'right to roam'. Does this mean I can go where I
want?

Under the CROW Act people can walk, responsibly and subject to some common sense
restrictions, over areas of open country and registered common land in England and Wales.

These areas are included in the access land shown on OS Explorer maps and on the Crow
Access Maps website.

The legislation only provides a new right to walk over ‘access land’.

 ‘Access land’ is land that has been shown by the Countryside Agency on conclusive maps of open country and registered
common land, or land that has been voluntarily dedicated for CROW access. It excludes
excepted land and CROW Section 15 land.

You have a right to walk OVER access land. Not UNDER access land

QED

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: langcliffe on March 22, 2013, 08:17:28 pm
Landowners can exclude people from CRoW land - sometimes temporarily but for the purposes of nature conservation and heritage preservation they can exclude or restrict access for any period, i.e. to help conserve the "flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features of the land in question"

No they can't - only the " relevant authority" can. I had already highlighted the issues raised by this Section of the legislation in an earlier post in answer to a question from Alex.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 22, 2013, 08:26:05 pm
Quote
    ‘Access land’ is land that has been shown by the Countryside Agency on conclusive maps of open country and registered common land, or land that has been voluntarily dedicated for CROW access. It excludes excepted land and CROW Section 15 land.

With the exception of Ingleborough Cave which has been on the OS map for a century or so, are any other caves actually visible on the relevant maps?

Just asking.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: steviet_scg on March 22, 2013, 08:39:51 pm


No they can't - only the " relevant authority" can. I had already highlighted the issues raised by this Section of the legislation in an earlier post in answer to a question from Alex.

Apologies Langcliffe - on two counts - one I missed your earlier post (there was a lot of posts!) and secondly - yes, you are right and the relevant authority would either be the national park authority or the appropriate countryside body (or possibly the Forestry Commission).
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: langcliffe on March 22, 2013, 08:41:18 pm
QED

I did actually discuss the guidelines with a chap from DEFRA a few years ago, and he said that they were an interpretation, and had no legal standing. He went on to say that it would require a High Court judgement to determine whether a specific activity  was permitted or not.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: martinr on March 22, 2013, 08:45:10 pm
QED

I did actually discuss the guidelines with a chap from DEFRA a few years ago, and he said that they were an interpretation, and had no legal standing. He went on to say that it would require a High Court judgement to determine whether a specific activity  was permitted or not.

Your man from DEFRA got it wrong then.

CROW requires NatEng to issue guidance. Their guidance says you can walk OVER access land. Until they revise their guidance, that is the state of the law.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: langcliffe on March 22, 2013, 08:49:37 pm
would either be the national park authority or the appropriate countryside body (or possibly the Forestry Commission).

The legislation is quite specific about what constitutes a "relevant authority" in these circumstances - English Nature and the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England in England, and the Countryside Council for Wales and the National Assembly for Wales (depending on the protection required).

The Forestry Commission and National Parks are not relevant authorities.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: langcliffe on March 22, 2013, 08:58:36 pm
Your man from DEFRA got it wrong then.

CROW requires NatEng to issue guidance. Their guidance says you can walk OVER access land. Until they revise their guidance, that is the state of the law.

Well, I wouldn't like to get involved in too earnest a discussion on this, but I think that the point the guy was making was that whilst Natural England are obliged to provide guidelines, those guidelines can be challenged in the High Court.

It's exactly the same with the Inland Revenue. They are obliged to interpret tax law, but their interpretation is often challenged in the courts by those that can afford to. Neither the Inland Revenue nor Natural England have the power to legislate.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: martinr on March 22, 2013, 08:59:32 pm
would either be the national park authority or the appropriate countryside body (or possibly the Forestry Commission).

The legislation is quite specific about what constitutes a "relevant authority" in these circumstances - English Nature and the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England in England, and the Countryside Council for Wales and the National Assembly for Wales (depending on the protection required).

The Forestry Commission and National Parks are not relevant authorities.

I think you mean Natural England (the successor to English Nature)?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: martinr on March 22, 2013, 09:02:44 pm
Your man from DEFRA got it wrong then.

CROW requires NatEng to issue guidance. Their guidance says you can walk OVER access land. Until they revise their guidance, that is the state of the law.

Well, I wouldn't like to get involved in too earnest a discussion on this, but I think that the point the guy was making was that whilst Natural England are obliged to provide guidelines, those guidelines can be challenged in the High Court.

It's exactly the same with the Inland Revenue. They are obliged to interpret tax law, but their interpretation is often challenged in the courts by those that can afford to. Neither the Inland Revenue nor Natural England have the power to legislate.

Fair enough Langliffe. But as it stands, the NatEng guidance does have a legal standing (contrary to what the DEFRA guy said). Until it is changed by NatEng or overturned by a court of law, it is the current state of the law
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: steviet_scg on March 22, 2013, 09:05:52 pm
I was just quoting the legislation - chapter 2, section 21, para 5 and 6

21 Interpretation of Chapter II.


(5)Subject to subsection (6), in this Chapter “the relevant authority”—
(a)in relation to any land in a National Park, means the National Park authority, and
(b)in relation to any other land, means the appropriate countryside body.
(6)Where—
(a)it appears to the Forestry Commissioners that any land which is dedicated for the purposes of this Part under section 16 consists wholly or predominantly of woodland, and
(b)the Forestry Commissioners give to the body who are apart from this subsection the relevant authority for the purposes of this Chapter in relation to the land a notice stating that the Forestry Commissioners are to be the relevant authority for those purposes as from a date specified in the notice,the Forestry Commissioners shall as from that date become the relevant authority in relation to that land for those purposes, but subject to subsection (7).

 :shrug:

I have no axe to grind - (I knew it would be complex mind  ;))
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 22, 2013, 09:27:55 pm

You have a right to walk OVER access land. Not UNDER access land

QED

Once more, misinterpretation, the act clearly states;

Any person is entitled by virtue of this subsection to enter and remain on any access land for the purposes of open-air recreation, if and so long as— .
(a)he does so without breaking or damaging any wall, fence, hedge, stile or gate, and .
(b)he observes the general restrictions in Schedule 2 and any other restrictions imposed in relation to the land under Chapter II.

The general restrictions imposed in Schedule 2 are those listed by Paul above.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 22, 2013, 09:31:10 pm
NE and CCW do not have the right to legislate. They can "interpret" the legislation and even seek to enforce their interpretation BUT it is a court that will ultimately decide whether NE/CCW or the other party correctly intrepreted the law in a dispute.

(Same with HMRC as pointed out already)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 22, 2013, 09:37:52 pm
"England's 82 Local Access Forums (LAFs) are statutorily prescribed bodies, introduced by s94 and s95 of the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000.

Their main function is to advise their appointing authority, ie. either a local highway authority (LHA) or a national park authority (NPA) for their area, as to the improvement of public access to land in that area for the purposes of open-air recreation and the enjoyment of the area.

In carrying out its functions, a LAF must also have regard to the needs of land management and the desirability of conserving the natural beauty of the area for which it is established, including the flora, fauna and geological and physiographical features of the area.

LAFs comprise appointed members who must be representative of both users of local rights of way or access land and owners and occupiers of access land or land encompassing local rights of way."

Quote from Natural England;
http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/access/laf/default.aspx (http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/access/laf/default.aspx)

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 22, 2013, 09:55:14 pm
http://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/lookingafter/caringfor/managingaccess/ydaf/ydlaf-memberdetails (http://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/lookingafter/caringfor/managingaccess/ydaf/ydlaf-memberdetails)

There is a caver on the Yorkshire Dales LAF, anyone know Philip Woodyer?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 22, 2013, 10:11:14 pm
http://www.cumbrialaf.org.uk/membership.asp (http://www.cumbrialaf.org.uk/membership.asp)

Theres an ex caver on Cumbria LAF as well, anyone know Alan Dougherty ?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: langcliffe on March 22, 2013, 10:44:10 pm
I was just quoting the legislation - chapter 2, section 21, para 5 and 6

Sorry, steviet_scg - you're absolutely right. My tiny brain was confusing "advisory relevant bodies" with "relevant authority". Goodness knows how.

Mea culpa.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 05:04:27 am
Having re-read the latter parts of this thread, it seems that a number of people are happy for the current situation to stay in force. I think it would make interesting reading to see just how many are in clubs that have Access to a number of caves/mines.

Given all the other bickering, and trying to draw an argument on relatively unrelated items, is it any wonder that people get the impression that the same parties are actively trying to keep other explorers out of "their" holes in the ground.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 24, 2013, 05:47:45 am
That's probably  because in most areas, the status quo works. I don't doubt you can find examples where it doesn't, but would unregulated free access be any better? Or would it lead to the permanent closing of more caves/mines than it opened up?

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Blakethwaite on March 24, 2013, 06:24:12 am
Having re-read the latter parts of this thread, it seems that a number of people are happy for the current situation to stay in force. I think it would make interesting reading to see just how many are in clubs that have Access to a number of caves/mines.

Given all the other bickering, and trying to draw an argument on relatively unrelated items, is it any wonder that people get the impression that the same parties are actively trying to keep other explorers out of "their" holes in the ground.

For Yorkshire (& Derbyshire is similar largely) there will loads of people in clubs with access to caves (caving clubs?).  Access s generally open however or via the landowner or the CNCC.

Mines are a slightly different beasty with different issues surrounding them & I suspect will never be considered for inclusion in CROW.


Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 08:35:11 am
That's probably  because in most areas, the status quo works. I don't doubt you can find examples where it doesn't, but would unregulated free access be any better? Or would it lead to the permanent closing of more caves/mines than it opened up?

It works for people who are in the club.

It's yet again the "You have to join my gang" playground mentality rearing it's head. Why on earth should I have to join a club to go into underground? Before I joined my current club, I had BCA, SRT training (both official from an approved instructor, and being shown the ropes) and know the risks. I've learned about geology, how a cave or mine is formed, and what the likely risks are going to be in that particular place.

I know an awful lot of people who won't join any club because of the politics, bickering and associated bullshit that goes on, as evidenced by this very thread, amongst many others on this forum alone. Those people are also competent in SRT, have BCA insurance. The only thing different is that they do not belong to a club. They just want to go underground, and come back out again safely.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 24, 2013, 08:47:33 am
Most people are in a club.

The reason's simple. Access to gear.

The answer to club politics/bullshit is simple. Stay out of it....but I get the idea that you'd find that difficult, being a plain spoken person. :lol:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 08:56:17 am
I know more people out of clubs than in one.

I think the nature of being an individual rather than a club member means You'll hear of them, and see them out and about less. These same people also wary of club's, because of the politics, though not all should be tarred with the same brush, a large number certainly do nothing to diminish the stigma they have to non-members.

As for keeping out of it? It's something I have concerns about, that directly affects me, and some people seem intent on locking others out. Unlike like most people who will sit around bitching yet ultimately do nothing about it, I put my money where my mouth is. I stand up and get involved. Much as I have a distaste for politics, I realise I'll have to wade through the shit to get to the other side.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 24, 2013, 09:00:14 am
Camping surely has the idea of actually staying on the land, rather than walking across it, taking photographs and suchlike?

Which is an interesting point. Camping (wild) has always (legally) required the permission of the landowner, yet who does? Go to Scotland (slightly different I guess) or Wales or the Lakes and it occurs all the time. Of course that doesn't make it right, but there is a tacit understanding that in certain areas it happens with no problems (in accordance with some inferred "rules" - above a certain height, no base camping, no fires etc.). Camping (http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/wheretostay/wildcamping)
The law is different in Scotland and wild camping and canoeing are allowed, whilst being specifically excluded in England and Wales...

http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/outdoors-responsibly/your-access-rights/ (http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/outdoors-responsibly/your-access-rights/)

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pete K on March 24, 2013, 09:01:15 am
Most people are forced to join or start their own club.

The reason's simple. Access to gear. caves with permits
4 of my friends and I started a caving club of our own to be able to get permits for trips when we had free time. If you are not in a club and are a recreational or professional caver bodies like the CNCC don't give a damn about you. Thank goodness for the DCA.
Sorry for the OT.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 24, 2013, 09:11:32 am
I'm in two clubs, one in Derbyshire, the other in the Mendips.

No-one forced me to join. I try to stay out of club politics except to occasionally take the piss. (Maj, Laurie, button it! :lol: ).

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 24, 2013, 10:52:35 am
Camping surely has the idea of actually staying on the land, rather than walking across it, taking photographs and suchlike?

Which is an interesting point. Camping (wild) has always (legally) required the permission of the landowner, yet who does? Go to Scotland (slightly different I guess) or Wales or the Lakes and it occurs all the time. Of course that doesn't make it right, but there is a tacit understanding that in certain areas it happens with no problems (in accordance with some inferred "rules" - above a certain height, no base camping, no fires etc.). Camping (http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/wheretostay/wildcamping)
The law is different in Scotland and wild camping and canoeing are allowed, whilst being specifically excluded in England and Wales...

http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/outdoors-responsibly/your-access-rights/ (http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/outdoors-responsibly/your-access-rights/)

Mike

Agreed Mike, which is why I put it in brackets as being different for Scotland. Excluded it might be but it happens. A lot. It happens in the higher uplands of England and Wales (with the tacit permission from landowners). In areas that are deemed too sensitive or unsuitable (Peak District being a classic case) it's not practised.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: paul on March 24, 2013, 12:18:02 pm
I joined a club long ago back in the 1980's. Why? Because it opened up a lot more caving to me than there was previously when I caved with 2 or 3 other caving friends. We soon realised we couldn't afford to buy a lot of gear and were missing out on many caving trips we would like to do.

Since joining I've met many more caving friends, both members of the same club and other clubs and some not in clubs. I also have access to an extensive caving Library, a hut to stay in if I want to, go on caving trips abroad every year and got involved with the local Cave Rescue Team.

The friends I used to go caving with, who decided a club wasn't for them, gave up caving many years ago. I probably would have to.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 24, 2013, 12:28:34 pm
Most people are forced to join or start their own club.

The reason's simple. Access to gear. caves with permits
4 of my friends and I started a caving club of our own to be able to get permits for trips when we had free time.

Looking at the BCA membership trends listed in the draft minutes of last year's AGM, it would appear that you are not alone: 89 member clubs in 2004, 189 in 2011.

As Pete says, under the present system there is no doubt that people are being made to either join an established club or begin their own if they wish to go caving. Quite simply, if they do not do so they cannot gain access to the caves.

Yes, people do join clubs for other reasons but the bottom line is that for anyone coming into caving these days it is effectively being forced upon them. Otherwise, their choice of caves to visit will be extremely limited and they will soon begin to lose interest (as Paul's friends did).
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pete K on March 24, 2013, 12:35:32 pm
Can I just add before someone bites that I have absolutely nothing against the club system, I just find it frustrating that individual and professional cavers are a bit side-lined in access negotiations.
Interesting figures NigR, thanks for finding them out.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: exsumper on March 24, 2013, 12:48:25 pm
Rather than submit to this monstrous tyranny.  Perhaps the poor oppressed things could stick to visiting caves not dug, or discovered by members of a caving club?

Not sure such a guide book exists. I suspect that it would be a rather thin read?
Perhaps forum members from the bookselling world could advise?

Individual and commercial cavers might get a better look in if they actually contributed something?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 12:55:56 pm
Rather than submit to this monstrous tyranny.  Perhaps the poor oppressed things could stick to visiting caves not dug, or discovered by members of a caving club?

Not sure such a guide book exists. I suspect that it would be a rather thin read?
Perhaps forum members from the bookselling world could advise?

Individual and commercial cavers might get a better look in if they actually contributed something?

Trollbait. Not biting. D-, Try harder.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: exsumper on March 24, 2013, 01:01:06 pm
Rather than submit to this monstrous tyranny.  Perhaps the poor oppressed things could stick to visiting caves not dug, or discovered by members of a caving club?

Not sure such a guide book exists. I suspect that it would be a rather thin read?
Perhaps forum members from the bookselling world could advise?

Individual and commercial cavers might get a better look in if they actually contributed something?

Trollbait. Not biting. D-, Try harder.

Not Troll bait . Just curious to know where you get your sense of entitlement from?  You put F**k all into caving, so why do you expect anything from it?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pete K on March 24, 2013, 01:06:14 pm
Are you saying that clubs are the only group of people who do anything for caving?

I'll knock down the repairs that PICA paid for in Knotlow then.
Dump back the stuff I helped tidy out of Stoney Middleton Dale.
Re-paint the arrows in Carlswark.
Not bother cleaning up the Oxlow layby when the snow's gone as I offered to do for the DCA last week.
Not bother putting any new scrubbing brushes in Peak Cavern.

Oh, and burn my application for DCRO.

Yes, I make some money from my passion, caving, get over it. Do all individuals or professionals put anything back, no. Do some of the clubs I see underground do large amounts of damage, leave litter, use awful rigging and drag half drunk freshers through sensitive areas, yep.
Just because some cavers choose not to publish their efforts in journals for all to see and pat them on the back does not mean that there is nothing going on. It's high time we acted as a single entity, not continue to fragment ourselves with bitterness and cliques. Who the hell is gonna take caving seriously if we can't get our own house in order and work together?

I'm backing out of this discussion now, I feel a bit of deja-vu coming on, again.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 01:15:47 pm
Really...

I am actually negotiating with a landowner to open up 2 new mines, most importantly, for anyone with BCA insurance.

Being in a club or not has zero impact on what I can give back to exploration.

Sweeping generalisations are generally bad, You may want to avoid them in the future.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Blakethwaite on March 24, 2013, 01:44:26 pm
Really...

Being in a club or not has zero impact on what I can give back to exploration.

Being in a club has a 100% impact on what I can give back to exploration.
We had to form a club not so we could get permits but in order to help obtain permission to dig at a certain site. The forming of a club did nothing whatsoever to alter the dynamics of a group who had known each other for years (other than bringing more people in as it happens) but it has meant that we have had a nice respectable name to put forward in later negotiations.

Really...

Sweeping generalisations are generally bad, You may want to avoid them in the future.

If you are in negotiations, please don't use that tone during the course of them. It really does you no favours and will turn people against you who may have otherwise held a similar view as you.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 24, 2013, 03:18:11 pm
Are you saying that clubs are the only group of people who do anything for caving?

I'll knock down the repairs that PICA paid for in Knotlow then.
Dump back the stuff I helped tidy out of Stoney Middleton Dale.
Re-paint the arrows in Carlswark.
Not bother cleaning up the Oxlow layby when the snow's gone as I offered to do for the DCA last week.
Not bother putting any new scrubbing brushes in Peak Cavern.


I'm sorry Pete I didn't realise that these activities ( & PICA) were one man operations as implied by this post. I thought they were carried out by groups of volunteers, some individual and some club members, on behalf of DCA and Derbyshire cavers.

Way back in the late '60's, early'70's I was incidental in setting up 3 seperate clubs at various times with other like minded individuals,  we chipped in a few bob as and when necessary to join DCA and CNCC to expand our caving alternatives, as a result all who wanted to could cave where we wanted to
 This could be even more beneficial these days as these groups of individuals who call themselves a club could join BCA direct and obtain CIM cards at a cheaper rate than DIM.

 In any political / management system it is far more efficient to get inside and find out how it works before setting about trying to change it, rather than stand on the outside of the fence shouting about it to no effect.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: JessopSmythe on March 24, 2013, 04:02:58 pm
Here's a thought -

Access is generally negotiated by clubs or regional organisations at a local level.
Those people who are the loudest critics of the the current arrangements seem to have a beef with those clubs or organisations responsible for access in their own areas
Based on that, this small minority seem determined to push some kind of national "fix" for something which the majority don't believe to be broken.

Have the people with an access "problem" actually looked at their own relationship with the clubs/organisations in question?
Have they made any constructive approach to relevant organisations with their proposed "fixes"?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 24, 2013, 05:26:23 pm
Here's another thought for those that want open access everywhere...

If a landowner has made it clear he doesn't want cavers entering a hole on his land, he's still not going to want it even if it's made open access. What to do? Here's what to do:- get the tractor and back-actor and solve the problem permanently.

The bollocks about clubs/organisations 'denying access' is a red herring. If it wasn't for those clubs/organisations then quite possibly no access would be grantead AT ALL.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 24, 2013, 05:29:26 pm
Thanks to a HUGE number of different organisations and individually negotiated agreements, cavers in the UK have access to hundreds of caves and all you've got to do to visit them is a few piffling hoop-jumps. That's all.

If you can't be arsed then that's your look out.

Rocket science it is not.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 24, 2013, 05:36:21 pm
Heres your chance all you dissenters, DCA are looking for a new access officer, any volunteers? ::)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: cavermark on March 24, 2013, 05:51:26 pm
Heres your chance all you dissenters, DCA are looking for a new access officer, any volunteers? ::)

Or should that be  "descenters"  ;D
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 24, 2013, 06:11:49 pm
 ;D ;D, I remember, back in the mists of time, a debate about wether Descent was a suitable name for a caving mag. as those whe heard it might get the wrong idea and think anarchic thoughts, reading this thread seems we've gone full cycle!! :) :)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pete K on March 24, 2013, 06:31:44 pm
I'm sorry Pete I didn't realise that these activities.....
A twisting of my words and you know it BogRat. I was replying to Exsumper's odd idea that no one outside a club was involved in furthering caving, which is of course total rubbish as shown by my personal examples.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 06:36:38 pm
Droid - Private land is not what's up for debate, and You know it. As for the red herring... How exactly is it a Red herring? Some clubs do exactly that. I know, I've been on the receiving end of it, as have others in this thread.

Chris - I would rather put my efforts into opening up new things that pretty much anyone can go down. As it is, being forced to join a club (and it *does* happen), is not a "piffling hoop jump" by any stretch of the imagination, neither are the "Leaders not available" at every... single... enquiry... about a trip into certain systems. This is exactly why gates get cut off. People try to do the right thing, but ultimately, if people effectively give You the finger, then someone of the right temperament is going to turn around and give it right back.

Bograt - If I was closer, I probably would. I'm assuming DCA is Derbyshire something or other.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 24, 2013, 07:12:31 pm
Droid - Private land is not what's up for debate, and You know it.

And You know that even on access land, permission or access agreements need to be in place in order to enter a cave...and continual pirating may well lead to permanent closure.

Or do you?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 24, 2013, 07:13:30 pm
Droid - Private land is not what's up for debate, and You know it.

Almost all the land in the UK is private land.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 07:16:38 pm
Droid - Private land is not what's up for debate, and You know it.

Almost all the land in the UK is private land.

And?

Land that is covered by the CROW is, unless I've imagined all 13 pages of this thread, the topic. This may be private, and I probably could have phrased it better, but you know exactly what I meant, you're just being childish.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 24, 2013, 07:20:18 pm
Is Doris Stokes in the house? :lol: :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 07:31:11 pm
It's obvious that certain people are just going to carry on regardless. Here's a thought for You though.

There are a lot more people reading this thread than posting in it. Some of them are going to be pissed off with Your attitude. Some of those will own angle grinders. So when your gates get cut off (it won't take many to decide to do it, and have), because of the issues I and others have highlighted, you've caused it Yourself.

Change will happen regardless of you. It may be slow, but it *is* coming.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 24, 2013, 07:42:39 pm
... being forced to join a club is not a "piffling hoop jump" by any stretch of the imagination

I would rather put my efforts into opening up new things that pretty much anyone can go down.

In the UK I think you'll find that the work involved in finding and opening up new caves will make the effort of joining a club most assuredly a piffling hoop jump by comparison. Good luck, though.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 24, 2013, 07:56:02 pm
It's obvious that certain people are just going to carry on regardless. Here's a thought for You though.

There are a lot more people reading this thread than posting in it. Some of them are going to be pissed off with Your attitude. Some of those will own angle grinders. So when your gates get cut off (it won't take many to decide to do it, and have), because of the issues I and others have highlighted, you've caused it Yourself.

Change will happen regardless of you. It may be slow, but it *is* coming.

Some of the people who read this thread are actually landowners. Believe me, landowners do read this site. You are suggesting that if your enormous sense of entitlement as to what you want to do on their land is not met then their property is going to be subject to criminal damage.

And somebody accused me of being childish. Sheesh!!!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 08:12:31 pm
... being forced to join a club is not a "piffling hoop jump" by any stretch of the imagination

I would rather put my efforts into opening up new things that pretty much anyone can go down.

In the UK I think you'll find that the work involved in finding and opening up new caves will make the effort of joining a club most assuredly a piffling hoop jump by comparison. Good luck, though.

I'm well aware of the work involved. The key difference is, it's voluntary. Being forced to join a club in order to access a system is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a piffling fucking hoop jump.

Graham -
I know that landowners read this and other fora. Several have told me about their opinions on what they read. In general, they think cavers (in particular) fighting and bickering is childish (and I agree wholeheartedly). One in particular said "bunch of wankers, couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery without arguing the toss and deciding on what lock to put on it". That's from a Landowner who has no interest whatsoever in going underground, but can still see that while debates like this roll on endlessly, and we don't as a collective, do something smart for a bloody change, nothing is going to change. I'm also aware that that will suit some fine.

In addition, what sense of entitlement? You keep on about this, but I fail to see it. I do see an ideal situation where all clubs, where possible, open things up to anyone with a valid BCA card. It's give and take. At no point have I either said or inferred that I have a right to go in any old hole I feel like, whenever I feel like it, and fuck you to anyone who tries to stop me, and bollocks to the consequences. That would be a sense of entitlement. I just want reasonable access for the majority. The current system, in a large number of cases, is not reasonable. How in the hell do You reach up and pull "entitlement" out of Your arse based on that?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 24, 2013, 08:23:00 pm
How in the hell do You reach up and pull "entitlement" out of Your arse based on that?

Might have had something to do with the threats of criminal damage, don't you think.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 24, 2013, 08:39:28 pm
Some of the people who read this thread are actually landowners. Believe me, landowners do read this site. You are suggesting that if your enormous sense of entitlement as to what you want to do on their land is not met then their property is going to be subject to criminal damage.

But how many of the gates alluded to are actually the property of the landowners concerned? I would hazard a guess (and it is only a guess) that in reality the vast majority belong to (and are paid for) by caving clubs, access bodies or regional councils (i.e. cavers, not landowners).

Has anyone got any firm statistics? (This is a serious request.)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 08:41:56 pm
How in the hell do You reach up and pull "entitlement" out of Your arse based on that?

Might have had something to do with the threats of criminal damage, don't you think.

What threats? I'm saying I can understand that some people get that pissed off with the situation, and just say "fuck it", and bypass the system in their own way. I do NOT condone cutting off locks, do not try to tar me with that brush. Has Your reading comprehension gone walkies again?

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 24, 2013, 08:44:36 pm
How in the hell do You reach up and pull "entitlement" out of Your arse based on that?

Might have had something to do with the threats of criminal damage, don't you think.

What threats? I'm saying I can understand that some people get that pissed off with the situation, and just say "fuck it", and bypass the system in their own way. I do NOT condone cutting off locks, do not try to tar me with that brush. Has Your reading comprehension gone walkies again?

Son, if you don't condone it, then don't fucking mention it. So doing in such a weasally manner is the sort of tactic that gives Daily Mail journalists a bad name.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jopo on March 24, 2013, 08:52:09 pm
I think you pair should slow down a bit and impose on yourselves a 20min delay before you press send. This forum is supposed to be for info and discussion not personal slagging - however well dressed up.


Jopo
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 08:52:34 pm
How in the hell do You reach up and pull "entitlement" out of Your arse based on that?

Might have had something to do with the threats of criminal damage, don't you think.

What threats? I'm saying I can understand that some people get that pissed off with the situation, and just say "fuck it", and bypass the system in their own way. I do NOT condone cutting off locks, do not try to tar me with that brush. Has Your reading comprehension gone walkies again?

Son, if you don't condone it, then don't fucking mention it. So doing in such a weasally manner is the sort of tactic that gives Daily Mail journalists a bad name.

Stop with the "son" tone of voice. I'm easily your equal.

I will mention it, and I don't condone it. It does however, happen, and I can see why. I am not, nor do I want to be a Journalist. I mention it because it is a direct result of people being unhappy with access, and I can see it happening more often in the future, and that's not something I want to see happen. It's is very related to the topic on discussion. Use a little bit of logic and foresight, and think about how little it may be reduced to (eliminated entirely? Optimistic, but we can hope) should there be reasonable access for the majority.

See where it's going now? Drop the faux "I know best sonny" attitude, and actually discuss the matter at hand.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Blakethwaite on March 24, 2013, 08:57:14 pm
The current system, in a large number of cases, is not reasonable.

I'm not wholly sure that statement is true as lots of people seem to manage to get out to all sorts of places on a regular basis but anyway and again, what are you actually going to do about it?

Ill manners & strange capitalisation on an internet forum will not move you one step closer to achieving your goal. Have you tried to join the local access body? Are you trying to negotiate with the local clubs? Setting up meetings in the village hall perhaps? Writing an article for Descent? Anything?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 24, 2013, 09:03:25 pm
Stop with the "son" tone of voice. I'm easily your equal.

 :coffee:

I will mention it, and I don't condone it. It does however, happen, and I can see why. I am not, nor do I want to be a Journalist. I mention it because it is a direct result of people being unhappy with access, and I can see it happening more often in the future, and that's not something I want to see happen. It's is very related to the topic on discussion. Use a little bit of logic and foresight, and think about how little it may be reduced to (eliminated entirely? Optimistic, but we can hope) should there be reasonable access for the majority.

Reasonable access for the majority exists now.

See where it's going now? Drop the faux "I know best sonny" attitude, and actually discuss the matter at hand.

I came back into this thread to discuss the matter in hand which, at that point, was the attitude that some cavers have that they have a god-given right to enter other people's land wherever and whenever they want. They don't have that right and should learn to live with that instead of throwing their toys out of the pram and threatening to cause criminal damage.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: paul on March 24, 2013, 09:05:09 pm
Global Moderator Comment We all know that the subject is an emotive one but as Jopo has already pointed out, lets keep the personal slanging matches out of what is supposed to be a discussion.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 09:09:18 pm
The current system, in a large number of cases, is not reasonable.

I'm not wholly sure that statement is true as lots of people seem to manage to get out to all sorts of places on a regular basis but anyway and again, what are you actually going to do about it?

Ill manners & strange capitalisation on an internet forum will not move you one step closer to achieving your goal. Have you tried to join the local access body? Are you trying to negotiate with the local clubs? Setting up meetings in the village hall perhaps? Writing an article for Descent? Anything?

Yes. As mentioned above, I am currently trying to open 2 new holes in the ground, so anyone with BCA can access them, with the minimum of trouble. My life does not revolve solely around posting on fora. I have a phone, email, and I can even social networking with which I can talk to landowners should I not be able to get there to talk to them in person. If the system was reasonable, would people have to resort to cutting off gates? It's a hell of a lot more hassle than, I don't know, going underground and exploring?

When did this thread descend to Grammar-nazi levels of trolling about capitalisation?

Graham -
Again, at what point did anyone in this thread threaten to cut off gates? I haven't seen a single post that does, mine included.
Reasonable access for the majority does not exist. If it did, this thread would not exist, let alone trundle on for fourteen bloody pages.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 24, 2013, 09:15:13 pm
Son, if you don't condone it, then don't fucking mention it.

Yep, that's the way ahead.

Bad things happen but please don't talk about them, let's all pretend they are not really happening at all.

Do you really think that's the best way to make the bad things go away?

How about considering why they are happening as a starting point and then trying to find ways to ensure they do not happen again?

Somewhat more constructive than trying to hide from reality, don't you think?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 24, 2013, 09:25:10 pm
Maybe, if all cavers who have knowledge of criminal acts by other cavers were to report them to the police, then instances of law-breaking by cavers would be drastically reduced.

Just a thought.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Blakethwaite on March 24, 2013, 09:27:08 pm
Ho Hum.
Well your, 'Pissing off Empire Builders, one post at a time' tagline marked you out as a potential troll from the start though amusingly the only person who seems getting to themselves caught in a tizz is you....

To keep on topic though, its still not clear what you intend to do. We all have phones and social networking sites available to us but that doesn't mean we're using them to do anything substantive. Your answers are time and again full of bluster but without meaningful content.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 24, 2013, 09:31:43 pm
Maybe, if all cavers who have knowledge of criminal acts by other cavers were to report them to the police, then instances of law-breaking by cavers would be drastically reduced.

Yes, that's a good idea.

Any takers?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 09:36:56 pm
Ho Hum.
Well your, 'Pissing off Empire Builders, one post at a time' tagline marked you out as a potential troll from the start though amusingly the only person who seems getting to themselves caught in a tizz is you....

My tagline is an advertisement of what I do, and an indication of what I intend to achieve, as already stated, reasonable access, which despite arguments to the contrary, is not the present situation. If was, gate cutting would not be an issue.

To keep on topic though, its still not clear what you intend to do. We all have phones and social networking sites available to us but that doesn't mean we're using them to do anything substantive. Your answers are time and again full of bluster but without meaningful content.
I thought I was quite clear. In the immediate term,  I'm attempting to open up access to 2 new places for anyone with BCA, and capable of following a couple of simple wishes of the landowner. In the long-term, I would like to see holes on CRoW land explicitly allowed under the act.

Maybe, if all cavers who have knowledge of criminal acts by other cavers were to report them to the police, then instances of law-breaking by cavers would be drastically reduced.

Just a thought.

I don't know anyone who has, or will admit to it. I do know it happens, and it's not done by magical gate-removing faeries. Why though, would you want to cure the symptoms (removal of gates), rather than the cause (no access)? Surely better access will eliminate, or at the very least, drastically reduce, the instances of this happening?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: John S on March 24, 2013, 09:40:19 pm

Under the CROW Act people can walk, responsibly and subject to some common sense
restrictions, over areas of open country and registered common land in England and Wales.

These areas are included in the access land shown on OS Explorer maps and on the Crow
Access Maps website.


You have a right to walk OVER access land. Not UNDER access land

QED

I think you missed the meaning of over here. Really the covering version of over, maybe a better term as we know over has several different meanings. We know its not over as in fly over as hang gliding is not allowed but is it really the over/under version? Not with the comma and sub sentence between the walk and over.

So I have not seen anything that says caving is excluded from CRoW.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 24, 2013, 09:53:38 pm

... the cause (no access) ...


Certainly, there are one or two caves in the UK to which there is no access. Lamb Lair is one, a recent find in S. Wales that soon had its gate forcibly removed is another.

But they are very few and far between.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 24, 2013, 10:08:18 pm
Would it be reasonably accurate to say that 99.9% of UK caves can be visited?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 10:18:29 pm
Would it be reasonably accurate to say that 99.9% of UK caves can be visited?

Reasonably? No.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 24, 2013, 10:20:11 pm
Very, then.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 10:29:10 pm
I meant accessed in a reasonable manner. The answer is no to either though.

The problems are pretty numerous. Club only access, warden only schemes without wardens available, keys that get "lost", simple ignoring of requests, and outright refusals if You are not a member of the controlling club. I dare say others can add more, but those are thing I have either come across, or have happened directly to friends.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 24, 2013, 10:37:04 pm
S'funny none of them things have ever happened to me.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 24, 2013, 10:41:52 pm
The problems are pretty numerous.

Your problems seem pretty spurious actually.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 10:56:06 pm
Graham -
Most of the above have happened to me. A friend was the (repeated) recipient of the "lost" keys.

Chris -
I tell you what the problems are, as I and a friend have personally experienced, and you pull "spurious" out of a hat.
I do not lie... what the fuck could I expect to achieve from that? If I had to make up problems, then that would suggest access would be pretty good. As it is, see my reply to Graham.

At least come out and accuse me directly... spurious... for fucks sake...

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: cavermark on March 24, 2013, 11:21:30 pm
I've generally found a calm, polite and patient approach will get you anywhere.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 24, 2013, 11:25:40 pm
I've generally found a calm, polite and patient approach will get you anywhere.

Quite agree. I sometimes wonder if failed enquiries have something to do with attitude.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 24, 2013, 11:34:54 pm
Access problems are rife and just because some people don’t experience that does not mean others don’t.

I have found access so significantly frustrating that I have given up trying to arrange access in some cases (and this instance is with a BCA member club who, I understand, has an obligation to afford other BCA members entrance under the BCA terms.) I also find the CNCC difficult to deal with (notwithstanding I know others do not) – my clubs trip organiser was even told we could not have a permit for a CNCC “controlled” hole as we were not BCA members (the club has been a member for years).

One of my neighbouring clubs refuses access to ALL of their holes ALL of the time and the other is less than helpful.

South Wales trips have  hoops to jump through – one of our members was told his daughters BCA card was invalid because she is 15 and then he was told he could not take her into certain “controlled” caves. Additionally, he was told to cough up subs for him and her before he could be accommodated. That’s reasonable is it ?

Tell me this isn’t powerplay ?  Tell me this isn’t unreasonable ?

How would someone who had an interest in caving possibly manage to pursue their activity without agreeing to be policed ?  Why should someone have to be a BCA member to visit a cave? Why should someone be forced to leave their daughter outside a cave because a committee says “over 18’s only” ?   Why would the CNCC not consider CRoW as an opportunity to lighten the load for themselves and make access for all cavers easier (isn’t it their mandate to do so?).

This is about allowing access to caves on CRoW land NOT private land – and this thread is being repeatedly hijacked by antagonists hell bent of deflecting attention from a perfectly reasonable debate just so that they, prima facie, can keep their controls.

Geeze.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 24, 2013, 11:39:14 pm
As mentioned above, I am currently trying to open 2 new holes in the ground, so anyone with BCA can access them, with the minimum of trouble.

When you get access to these two holes, how are you going to ensure that everyone who goes down them has BCA cover, without initiating some form of control?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 11:47:06 pm
I've generally found a calm, polite and patient approach will get you anywhere.

Quite agree. I sometimes wonder if failed enquiries have something to do with attitude.

Stop your poorly disguised sniping, I have a thick skin, so I suggest You come out and say what You want to.
As mentioned above, I am currently trying to open 2 new holes in the ground, so anyone with BCA can access them, with the minimum of trouble.

When you get access to these two holes, how are you going to ensure that everyone who goes down them has BCA cover, without initiating some form of control?

That's what I am currently talking about with the Landowner. When we find a mutually equitable solution, I'll be sure to point You at it. It may happen that BCA is not needed at all, provided common sense is used.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 24, 2013, 11:53:41 pm
As a former C&A numpty the following case law was frequently useful in establishing access for cavers on the grounds that access was unauthorised, but tolerated (i.e. the landowner wouldn't do anything about it other than say access was prohibited), and in so doing meant they were largely absolved of liability if the fan and the manure met at full speed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomlinson_v_Congleton_Borough_Council (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomlinson_v_Congleton_Borough_Council)

You may find that access is easy to arrange if access is denied in such a manner. There's irony for you.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 24, 2013, 11:59:27 pm
As a former C&A numpty the following case law was frequently useful in establishing access for cavers on the grounds that access was unauthorised, but tolerated (i.e. the landowner wouldn't do anything about it other than say access was prohibited), and in so doing meant they were largely absolved of liability if the fan and the manure met at full speed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomlinson_v_Congleton_Borough_Council (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomlinson_v_Congleton_Borough_Council)

You may find that access is easy to arrange if access is denied in such a manner. There's irony for you.

Thank You for the constructive link, I had looked at that, but had not realised it had been used successfully. That's the kind of response I had been hoping for. It's not ideal, but it may help if it comes down to that.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 25, 2013, 07:49:53 am
NewStuff.

You've been banging on about iniquitous access arrangements since you joined this forum. You claim to be plain spoken and honest. You claim to be pissing off the Empire builders.

So put your mouth where your money is and name them.

Which clubs are denying access for their own ends?

Which caves/mines are involved?

It's got to be a pretty big list, given that there are thousands of caes with easy access to all....
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: crickleymal on March 25, 2013, 08:03:06 am
I'm running out of popcorn.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 25, 2013, 08:28:23 am
I'll email you some.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 25, 2013, 09:19:08 am
Which clubs are denying access for their own ends?

I said in my first post on the topic.
http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=14948.msg193622#msg193622 (http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=14948.msg193622#msg193622)

GCC and NWCC, between them, that's not a small number of mines.

There are others, but not to the degree that  they cause issues. I'm not naming individual mines or caves just yet, but a quick ask around of anyone even a little familiar with N.Wales should pop up a fair number of names.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 25, 2013, 09:21:43 am
So it's not a national problem, it's a local NorthWalian problem?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 25, 2013, 09:30:57 am
I've heard of plenty of others, but I can't say, as I do not have direct, first-hand experience of them. Others may chime in with names (and I encourage them to do so), but I suspect that a lot won't because of the likelihood that already problematic access will turn into no access at all because of childish retribution to the poster and/or their club.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: owd git on March 25, 2013, 09:33:50 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomlinson_v_Congleton_Borough_Council (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomlinson_v_Congleton_Borough_Council)

You may find that access is easy to arrange if access is denied in such a manner. There's irony for you.
[/quote]
Oooh a red Herring, how unexpected!
I, too have run out of popcorn, Can I sue?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 25, 2013, 09:43:57 am
I've heard of plenty of others, but I can't say, as I do not have direct, first-hand experience of them. Others may chime in with names (and I encourage them to do so), but I suspect that a lot won't because of the likelihood that already problematic access will turn into no access at all because of childish retribution to the poster and/or their club.

So you are making a sweeping genreralisation.

Because I haven't experienced first hand, or heard of (from known and trusted sources) more than a handful of suck problems.

Looks to me like you've been drafted in to provide support for others that are 'outnumbered' by those that don't see a general problem.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: zomjon on March 25, 2013, 09:46:11 am
Droid, I must admit, I've always found WMRG seem to like collecting private access and as for Good Luck Mine...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 25, 2013, 09:57:39 am
Drafted in? What is this, the fucking Army?

I'm me, I post what I do on my own accord. There are numerous word of mouth reports of access issues. Hopefully people will realise that this needs to be out in the open, and post up where they have issues. It *is* a large problem, or this wouldn't be a contentious issue at all. If the current system worked, I'd be behind it all the way. But it doesn't, at least not very well, hence my posting here, as I feel strongly about it, and actually want to do something about it.

I've heard of plenty of others, but I can't say, as I do not have direct, first-hand experience of them. Others may chime in with names (and I encourage them to do so), but I suspect that a lot won't because of the likelihood that already problematic access will turn into no access at all because of childish retribution to the poster and/or their club.

So you are making a sweeping genreralisation.

Because I haven't experienced first hand, or heard of (from known and trusted sources) more than a handful of suck problems.

Looks to me like you've been drafted in to provide support for others that are 'outnumbered' by those that don't see a general problem.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 25, 2013, 10:00:06 am
I've heard of plenty of others, but I can't say, as I do not have direct, first-hand experience of them. Others may chime in with names (and I encourage them to do so), but I suspect that a lot won't because of the likelihood that already problematic access will turn into no access at all because of childish retribution to the poster and/or their club.

So you are making a sweeping genreralisation.

Because I haven't experienced first hand, or heard of (from known and trusted sources) more than a handful of suck problems.

Looks to me like you've been drafted in to provide support for others that are 'outnumbered' by those that don't see a general problem.

Agreed

It seems to me that there are two quite separate scenarios being played out here:

There is one area of the country where there may - I cannot say with any more certainty than that as I do not have first-hand experience - be a specific problem.

Then there is the rest of the country where there is no particular problem, certainly no large scale one, but there are a few individuals with a vast sense of entitlement who do not wish to respect the rights of others.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 25, 2013, 10:12:59 am
Here's another thought for those that want open access everywhere...

Is anyone on here arguing for that? I'm certainly talking just those caves on CRoW, and specifically the nonsense of areas on CRoW being shut for "cavers" yet I can walk up them any time of year, barring any exceptional closures (grouse shooting etc). If I'm in the vicinity of say Clapham and I fancy a quick mid week jaunt into Bar Pot or some such the only thing holding me back is the lack of a permit. Which I'm told is easy to get and permission never refused... So looking from the other end of the telescope, why the need for a permit? Wouldn't a compromise situation be a log book at the estate office?

Quote
If a landowner has made it clear he doesn't want cavers entering a hole on his land, he's still not going to want it even if it's made open access. What to do? Here's what to do:- get the tractor and back-actor and solve the problem permanently.


Well, good luck backfilling GG (I have no idea if Ingleborough Estate has ever made it clear about banning access to the GG system. I'm just making a rather daft and extended point)!?! Besides they'd possibly end up in more trouble than it's worth; owning land doesn't necessarily equal being able to do what you want with it.


Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Brains on March 25, 2013, 10:15:28 am
You wont get in Parrys Mountain unless you are welsh...
Seems a lot of those in favour of the status quo know their own patch well, including landowners and access controllers and hance have few problems.
As a rare vivitor to the 'dips I have given up on hoping to visit certain places owing to the plethora of petty rules and regulations (besides the only proper cave is Swildons...  ;D ). 
Perhaps those in favour of the Status Quo would like to have a visit to the system in N Wales accessed via mine shafts and workings that have intersected large natural passages. Of course we will never know here on UKC as trip reports, photos and surveys are not for dissemination - dont think the name is even allowed to be mentioned. A 330' entrance shaft, cross cut to internal shafts with fixed ladders, to lower level to boulder choke into the very extensive (miles) of natural

The antis do seem very much like "We are ok, thank you, so you can lump it"
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 25, 2013, 10:15:49 am
I think you pair should slow down a bit and impose on yourselves a 20min delay before you press send. This forum is supposed to be for info and discussion not personal slagging - however well dressed up.


Jopo

:thumbsup:



Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: jasonbirder on March 25, 2013, 10:57:39 am
Seems we have a lot of different issues been raised and discussed...
And opinion has been polarised into those who suggest changes to some of the Status Quo and thos who oppose it...and feel that concession on any issue raised undermines their argument.

I don't have a particular axe to grind...I'm a club caver...and enjoy being a club member...and likewise I agree that the various C&A officers of the regional bodies do a bl**dy difficult task and are don't get nearly the thanks they deserve...

But I would also say there are also things that could be improved...

Like most people I'd agree that there are certain caves where a leader system has been put in place for various conservation reasons...IE Otter Hole, Upper Flood etc and I don't think many people have a problem with that...
However I would also say there are certain systems where clubs have negotiated access and seem reluctant to allow general access to cavers...which seems to go against the general spirit of the BCA...I'm thinking of examples like Ogof Llyn Parc or some of the mines that WMRG like to winch people in and out of...(just examples...there are many more)
That DOESN'T mean I instantly want to allow large groups of underage scouts led by a paid instructor to be allowed to trash Charterhouse Cave without any restriction...but it DOES mean that there are some access agreements that are negotiated by clubs for the purpose of control rather than to meet landowner or conservation requirements and I don't think thats a particularly good situation...

Similarly I would say there are Cave systems that have relatively restrictive access agreements (presumably negtiated pre-CROW and I am assuming that was the best that could have been agreed at the time) that could well be re-visited in light of the fact every man and there dog is allowed to walk up to the entrance...EXCEPT cavers....suggesting this doesn't mean I don't appreciate what the regional bodies do...just that situations are dynamic and can be reviewed...even if people want to nit-pick over the legal niceties of CRoW - it surely gives us a stronger negotiating position with landowners...

Similarly while I've had nothing but good experiences with most of the landowners/tennents i've met and many are very caver friendly...there are some that are either plain greedy/obstructive - and some that are just huge Landowners that from historical accident own great swathes of land that should in all honesty belong to the general public and manage it for a very narrow set of interests...and if left to their own devices probably wouldn't let the likes of you and I anywhere near it...so to say that a landowners interests and choices should always be paramount and sacrosanct is just plain silly...we're not victorians and don't always need to doff our cap to the landed gentry ;)

Anyway...while not particularly coherent...thats just a brain dump of some of my thoughts!!!!

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 25, 2013, 12:01:41 pm
Rather amusingly, the one mine WMRG didn't winch had an Orpheus member on the trip.... :kiss2:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: TheBitterEnd on March 25, 2013, 12:09:09 pm

Is anyone on here arguing for that? I'm certainly talking just those caves on CRoW, and specifically the nonsense of areas on CRoW being shut for "cavers" yet I can walk up them any time of year, barring any exceptional closures (grouse shooting etc). If I'm in the vicinity of say Clapham and I fancy a quick mid week jaunt into Bar Pot or some such the only thing holding me back is the lack of a permit. Which I'm told is easy to get and permission never refused... So looking from the other end of the telescope, why the need for a permit? Wouldn't a compromise situation be a log book at the estate office?


I suspect that the main protagonists in this debate do not want that level of clarity, they would much rather obfuscate and make the whole situation seem complex and intractable.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 25, 2013, 12:24:08 pm

Is anyone on here arguing for that? I'm certainly talking just those caves on CRoW, and specifically the nonsense of areas on CRoW being shut for "cavers" yet I can walk up them any time of year, barring any exceptional closures (grouse shooting etc). If I'm in the vicinity of say Clapham and I fancy a quick mid week jaunt into Bar Pot or some such the only thing holding me back is the lack of a permit. Which I'm told is easy to get and permission never refused... So looking from the other end of the telescope, why the need for a permit? Wouldn't a compromise situation be a log book at the estate office?


I suspect that the main protagonists in this debate do not want that level of clarity, they would much rather obfuscate and make the whole situation seem complex and intractable.

.... And are managing it very well  ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 25, 2013, 12:38:42 pm
Situation seems pretty simple to me.

Access details are published in the guidebooks, read and act.

There's a saying: if it ain't broke don't fix it. If it's broke in N wales then fix that. Why cock about with workable systems elsewhere?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 25, 2013, 12:42:29 pm
You lot all seem grumpy lately; did the snow stop you getting under't sod this weekend or something?

For what it's worth, I've generally found that quietly having a polite word with whoever manages access usually does the trick. Here's an example from a few years ago.

A bunch of us from the north fancied a trip in Reservoir Hole. When we mentioned this to some of our mates in the Wessex they just laughed and said "You've got no chance; even us locals can't get in there". Undeterred, I found out that the main person was Willie Stanton. So I wrote a short letter to him, with an SAE, asking if it might be possible to visit this cave and suggesting some dates. Within a few days I had a really encouraginging letter back telling me we could go on any of the dates I'd mentioned and also giving lots of helpful information. When we called at his place for the key he made us very welcome and gave us further advice. It was a really enjoyable trip and when we told him so whilst returning the key, he beamed.

Interestingly, ever since then I've kept hearing even Mendip cavers complaining bitterly about it being impossible to get on a trip in Reservoir. I wonder if they ever put in even the merest effort? Or was it just that they were perpetuating a common myth? I don't know - and, very sadly, Willie passed away not long ago. There are massive extensions in there as well now and I don't know the current arrangements. But I hope that the above shows that if you're decent with most folk, they're usually really helpful. After all, they're cavers - and most cavers are decent folk when it comes down to it.

I admit I've not followed this topic - and I very much defend the right of my fellow cavers to query anything which they think isn't working well. But the suggestion that all this is actually about North Wales caught my eye. If this is the case, maybe all this could be put in a more appropriate place on the forum?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 25, 2013, 12:48:48 pm
You lot all seem grumpy lately;
For what it's worth, I've generally found that quietly having a polite word with whoever manages access usually does the trick.

I'm grumpy ALL the time :wall: :lol:

And you follow the course I'd advocate.

There seems a lot of bitterness in NigR and NewStuff's posts. Bittertness is never a good starting point for any sort of discussion IMHO :)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 25, 2013, 12:53:45 pm
Don't be grumpy Droid; you've got a long weekend coming up!   :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: JessopSmythe on March 25, 2013, 01:15:43 pm
You wont get in Parrys Mountain unless you are welsh...

I seem to remember a certain Midlands caving club talking about some very enjoyable trips in there. None of them sounded very Welsh to me!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 25, 2013, 01:17:10 pm
Situation seems pretty simple to me.

Access details are published in the guidebooks, read and act.

There's a saying: if it ain't broke don't fix it. If it's broke in N wales then fix that. Why cock about with workable systems elsewhere?

 :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 25, 2013, 01:18:01 pm
If they were from the Midlands they wouldn't have sounded very English, either....,
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 25, 2013, 01:30:42 pm
If they were from the Midlands they wouldn't have sounded very English, either....,

 :lol:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 25, 2013, 02:02:25 pm
It’s not about North Wales … that is the doing of “Droid” who has been exceptionally antagonistic, specifically demanding that people “name names” which is clearly incendiary and has thrown the thread “off course” (I did say “they” were managing it very well).

It’s about access to caves on CRoW land and things HAVE changed since the advent of the CNCC and the permit system et al. The original suggestion (which has long since been lost in a mass of blather) was to look at the possibility of extending CRoW to include caves. Since CRoW is relatively new and times have changed, the “it ain’t broke” analogy is not relevant.

Sensible debate on the pro’s and con’s of such a suggestion is what was being mooted and, having followed the thread closely, there are arguments for both sides. It is actually possible to debate those issues sensibly and even possible to reach a consensus without the mindless and deliberate hijacking for whatever motivation.

(as far fecthed as that might seem)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: dudley bug on March 25, 2013, 02:03:47 pm
If they were from the Midlands they wouldn't have sounded very English, either....,

 :lol:

 :spank: :spank: :spank: :spank: :spank:

Watch and learn..

Black Country Alphabet Song - OFFICIAL VIDEO! T Shirts ON SALE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrIqSlt9PXg#)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 25, 2013, 02:19:22 pm
 :lol: :lol: :lol:

I'm in a Wolverhampton bike club...full of bloody yamyams :o

Jackalpup...what do you imagine the 'other things' part of the thread title means? 'Exceptionally antagonistic'? No. Just wondering if a self-proclaimed 'say it like it is' person is prepared to say it like it is. He is, so no problem.

Since no-one appears to be able to give a definitive answer as to whether caves are included in 'right to roam' the entire exercise is rather theoretical anyway.
I suppose it gives some people the chance to show their discussion techniques. And others to take the piss. Bit like a typical night down the hut, eh? ;D
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 25, 2013, 02:26:03 pm
Droid,

I referred to the original thread – this thread was created by a moderator and titled by him.

And, of course there is no definitive answer which is exactly why David Rose raised it in the first place and pondered the merits of looking into it.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 25, 2013, 02:37:57 pm
Reading his post, it seems to me he was advocating a national system for negotiating cave access. The reference to 'right to roam underground' was a bit of an add-on.

I argued then, and still argue now, that the local system we have generally works fine. A couple of people have difficulties with one area. That doesn't mean that the system needs dismantling for the whole country.

Does it? :-\
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: jasonbirder on March 25, 2013, 02:49:39 pm
Actually...having been to the pub for five pints at lunch has just given me a fantastic perspective on the CRoW issue...

If everyone that caves in CRow area's just volunteers to park, change and walk to a Cave entrance every once in a while (it'll only take half an hour before you go do the cave you've actually booked)...surely it will eventually make all access agrrements null and void...

"I saw cavers crossing my land to go to cave entrance x on Saturday...no permits were booked out...and two cars were parked up...can you have a look into it..." says landowner...

"Yup...just walkers...excercising their CRoW privalages...i've checked it out...its person x and y  in car reg abc123x just walking..no-one went underground..." says regional access officer

Give it a few months of that and no landowner will give a flying f*ck about who caves on his CRoW land...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 25, 2013, 02:55:47 pm
A couple of people have difficulties with one area. That doesn't mean that the system needs dismantling for the whole country.

Does it? :-\

That is a deliberately inflammatory remark. There are numberous people who have expressed concern or dis-satisfaction and you cannot quantity them as "a couple".

Neither is anyone suggesting dismantling the whole country - only looking at CRoW land which would (probably) make access and life much easier.

Ian

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: peterk on March 25, 2013, 02:56:49 pm
The whole of the CROW element of this discussion hinges on the interpretation of open air recreation.  AFAIK the "legal" phrase first appeared  in the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside:

59 Provision for public access to open country.

(1)The provisions of this Part of this Act shall have effect for enabling the public to have access for open-air recreation to open countryside

I would guess the phrase has just been used in subsequent legislation with no recognised need for a legal definition.  However since this act only came into being through a mass trespass and 5 imprisonments I would suggest that CROW is as good as it will get and that the current work by individuals, groups, clubs etc. sits very happily within access and property law
Title: Re: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: JessopSmythe on March 25, 2013, 03:18:17 pm
Droid,

I referred to the original thread – this thread was created by a moderator and titled by him.

If I remember rightly, the original thread was specifically about access to Carno Addit and was split because of the discussion on CROW and other issues not relevant to Carno.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 25, 2013, 03:26:43 pm
Yes, but as I said, I was refering to David Rose's mooting of CRoW and his suggestion of looking into the possibilty of including caving ....

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 25, 2013, 03:37:29 pm
And, of course there is no definitive answer which is exactly why David Rose raised it in the first place and pondered the merits of looking into it.

Reading his post, it seems to me he was advocating a national system for negotiating cave access. The reference to 'right to roam underground' was a bit of an add-on.

What Droid says could be construed as being correct if you limit yourself to reading David's initial post. However, if you look at the later ones (in particular his final post on page 4 of the Carno thread) you will see that Ian is much nearer the mark.

If I remember rightly, the original thread was specifically about access to Carno Addit and was split because of the discussion on CROW and other issues not relevant to Carno.

Again, if you look back at the original thread you will see that David went on to address various wider issues that he regarded as being important and in need of attention.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: John S on March 25, 2013, 04:00:48 pm
There may be access to many caves but is the system actually working?

A club I belonged too had to join CNCC, CSCC, CCC to help it get permits - I think this may have changed. But I thought it was wrong when we were already a BCA member club.

We get a permit to a cave up on Leck Fell say. We get there and find 3 other parties without a permit already down the pot. Do we continue or find another cave we don't have a permit for?

Or  It  has rained and the cave we have a permit for is too wet. 500 mile round trip for nothing? No wonder Casterton Fell has problems with permits etc.

Then there are the caves with no access on CRoW land. Those small caves of Mossdale or Lancliffe (is Oddmire still accessible or not, been a while since I was over that way)

And access problems are only in North Wales !
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on March 25, 2013, 07:02:31 pm

There are many cavers in the Dales who are unhappy with the access status quo, particularly on CRoW land.  I doubt many of them will voice their opinions on this forum, but please don't doubt they exist.

The CNCC, Council of Northern Caving Clubs, represent access for their member caving clubs but do not appear to represent other cavers interests.   This is well demonstrated by looking at the permit system for the CRoW land of Leck and Casterton Fells.  As a frequent visitor to these fells I estimate less than half the cavers who cave on these fells have the CNCC permit (see previous thread on Casterton Fell where no one had a permit on the sunday described).  The system therefore frustrates those that do have a permit as well as those who don't. 

Over recent years several aclaimed discoveries have been made on Leck Fell.  The final connection in the Three Counties System, Deaths Head to Lost Johns, Lost Pot to Boxhead and even Shep Pot.  To my knowledge not one of these hundreds of digging trips had a CNCC permit although they went on in the full glare of both local and national publicity.  This must demonstrate, if nothing else, that there is something wrong with the system and it is about time it came out into the open, rather than be a hidden frustration as it has been for years. 

Why not keep quiet and maintain the status quo that has been in place for years?  Hundreds ignore the permit system but that is alright as long as no one brings it out into the open.  This has been alluded to by other posts on this thread.  Unfortunately, instead of promoting a more open access policy, the CNCC has become more proactive of late in pursuing the easy target permit breakers such as young caving club members and professional cavers, and making onerous representations to the BCA and EN/NE.  Where will this end.

So who are these cavers who ignore the CNCC permit system?  They are not all the renegades they are made out to be.  Some are respected local cavers who feel the CNCC do not represent them, some are from clubs or close knit groups who are not members of CNCC, some are individuals who don't believe they need a permit on CRoW land, some are from member clubs who just don't bother with a permit when they are out caving with their mates, and some probably just don't give a hoot for small minded burocracy. 

I appreciate that many people also cave quite happily under the CNCC permit system.  It does suit some clubs and some digging teams.  However, lets also not kid ourselves that those in the 'know' can have access to these permits, printing them out on demand, when other clubs and groups have a more negative experience of obtaining permits.

I feel the frustration on this forum for those who are trying to get through to other cavers for whom the permit system works - it doesn't for a lot of people.  North Wales is a terrible, extreme example of an access system gone wrong, and those that maintain it should hang there heads in shame.  But there are many examples where restricting access has been the chosen position amongst caving groups rather than engaging a wider access strategy. 

There have been some well considered posts on this thread (by both sides) but also some lowly behaviour.  To those in support of open access to CRoW let's stay cool, make our points and rise above the jeers.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 25, 2013, 07:42:38 pm
Very nice post Badlad - thank you.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: cavemanmike on March 25, 2013, 07:49:34 pm
 ;) ;) thought you'd say that , we where only discussing that this morning, someone must be spying on you
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 25, 2013, 08:01:54 pm
Droid and Graham - Stop trying to make out the problem is a localised North Wales one. It isn't, it's national, but worse in some places (a little light reading indicates that S.Wales has some pretty serious unresolved issues as well). Many people from many places are fed up. You are appearing a little desperate now, patting each other on the back at your latest attempt to belittle the problem, and pretend it's not a widespread issue.

Currently, it seems that I can go and walk up to an entrance, sit there, pass time, smoke some cigs, eat a bit of lunch etc... but I can't go in? What idiotic attempt at logic came up with that one?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 25, 2013, 08:06:32 pm
Very nice post Badlad - thank you.

Ian

Definitely not 'exceptionally antagonistic' or 'deliberately provocative', bur 'nice'.

Well it agrees with what you maintain so it must be correct.... :lol: :lol:

But does it? The system maiuntains access, so it works. It doesn't work for individuals, so modify the system....it's not a big 'tweak' to include individuals as well as clubs, is it? I'm not in CNCC so I can't say. But it doesn't seem to me to be an impossiblle thing.

NewStuff.....have you read Badlad's post?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Peter Burgess on March 25, 2013, 08:10:00 pm
While some people are bickering and getting hot under the collar about the injustices of this world, many more are actually finding few problems in getting underground, relaxing and enjoying life. I think there's a lesson there for everyone.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Smiley Alan on March 25, 2013, 08:11:36 pm
The CNCC, Council of Northern Caving Clubs, represent access for their member caving clubs but do not appear to represent other cavers interests.   This is well demonstrated by looking at the permit system for the CRoW land of Leck and Casterton Fells.  As a frequent visitor to these fells I estimate less than half the cavers who cave on these fells have the CNCC permit (see previous thread on Casterton Fell where no one had a permit on the sunday described).  The system therefore frustrates those that do have a permit as well as those who don't. 
............

So who are these cavers who ignore the CNCC permit system?  They are not all the renegades they are made out to be.  Some are respected local cavers who feel the CNCC do not represent them, some are from clubs or close knit groups who are not members of CNCC, some are individuals who don't believe they need a permit on CRoW land, some are from member clubs who just don't bother with a permit when they are out caving with their mates, and some probably just don't give a hoot for small minded burocracy. 

There were probelms  recently with trips in the dales and BCA publised a statement  about it here :
http://british-caving.org.uk/conservation/Casterton%20Access%20Statement.pdf (http://british-caving.org.uk/conservation/Casterton%20Access%20Statement.pdf)

it says if nesessary  BCA will take action against members who act  against the best intrests of British cavers. Is'nt there some new disiplinery action stuff being talked  about coming into operation soon ? I guess people who are posting here who seem anti CNCC/permits might need to think about  what they post

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 25, 2013, 08:50:01 pm

Definitely not 'exceptionally antagonistic' or 'deliberately provocative', bur 'nice'.

Well it agrees with what you maintain so it must be correct.... :lol: :lol:

It was reasonably balanced and non-antagnostic, so was an early post by Jasonbirder which I thought was equally sensible. I have also seen a number of other posts which I thought were very sensible from people sat on the opposite side of the fence (one from Cap 'n' Chris springs to mind but there are others) but I don't agree with everything said and I doubt we will all ever agree .... they were, nevertheless, sensible posts and a value to the debate.

Unlike your posts which are blatent attempts to incite trouble, cause dissent and ridcule/derail the debate.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: notdavidgilmour on March 25, 2013, 08:53:00 pm
Droid seems to troll around the whole forum picking holes in my (and others') posts, however he has just had to eat humble pie on another thread  :ras:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 25, 2013, 09:06:34 pm
And was perfectly happy to do so.

 :beer2:

Posts to cause dissent? The dissent is already there. I haven't actually insulted anyone or made veiled threats. Just taken the piss out of people that seem to think they've got a monopoly on 'sensible' (ie 'agree with me') debating technique.

Jackalpup. You are being very selective in what you reply to, as well. That's my technique, too :lol: :lol:

I'm sorry if I don't take internet debates as seriously as you guys seem to. Entrenched positions masquerading as reasoned debate always amuse me. If/when i have anything serious to say, I always find it best to say it to someone that can actually do something about the problem, viz a rep on the CNCC, Charterhouse, etc etc. Tinternet isn't face to face. Nuances are missed. People get all brave and huffy.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 25, 2013, 09:21:49 pm
I haven't actually insulted anyone or made veiled threats.

I didn't say you had ...

Just taken the piss out of people .....

Quite the point.

....that seem to think they've got a monopoly on 'sensible' (ie 'agree with me') debating technique.

Both sides do that - including you ..... Isn't that the starting premise of debate per se ?

Jackalpup. You are being very selective in what you reply to, as well.

I replied to you didn't I ?   (despite my reluctance to rise to your posturing). I also commended posts from the "otherside" - I even agree with some things Graham has raised (and just admitted it on the open forum).

I'm sorry if I don't take internet debates as seriously as you guys seem to.

Fine ... but would you mind allowing those who have a genuine interest (on both sides) to debate the issue without running interference ?

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 25, 2013, 09:32:21 pm
You have shown no reluctance whatsoever to 'rise to my posturing'. Wise, as it's not posturing.

To repeat: The overall system for maintaining access to caves in this country works well, IMHO, since access for most caves and cavers is maintained. It does not need some monolithic institution to take over, which David Rose was suggesting.

Local difficulties should be sorted locally. Whinge to the trouble-causers direct.

I acknowledge that individuals my have problems in some areas. Again that's best sorted out with the institutions causing the problem.

That's not posturing, that's a point of view based on my experiences. Your mileage clearly differs. And I've said it all before in this thread, but you've clearly (and maybe understandably) focussed on what you see as pisstaking and negativity.

As if anyone gives a toss what's discussed on here anyway... :lol:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 25, 2013, 09:51:25 pm
Yet another inflammatory and deflective post.

It has been amply shown that there are access problems across a wide area.

There have been many posts by people who have suggested access is not reasonable and many posts by people who have suggested it is.

This is about the wider issue of addressing access to caves on CRoW land. Not private land and not specific areas.

Either debate that or stop causing trouble.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Blakethwaite on March 25, 2013, 10:00:25 pm
Re the right to open access to caves on CRoW land and the benefits of discussing it on here.
Isn't it much akin to discussing Eric Idle's right to have babies?

Something surely needs to be done in the real world?

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 25, 2013, 10:25:17 pm
Re the right to open access to caves on CRoW land and the benefits of discussing it on here.
Isn't it much akin to discussing Eric Idle's right to have babies?

Something surely needs to be done in the real world?

And I daresay it will be, once we agree on a direction, and the action that needs to be taken.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Blakethwaite on March 25, 2013, 10:48:49 pm
I'm not convinced that waiting for a consensus to be struck on the internet is an expedient course of action.
Nothing of particular merit is achieved on the internet. You need to get out and about rather than getting angry and hammering sweary words into your keyboard. Decisions and agreements are reached in actual physical meetings, cafes, pubs & lay-bys. Or more likely by a headstrong one or two actual going out and just getting on with it.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 25, 2013, 10:57:38 pm
Nothing of particular merit is achieved on the internet.

I look forward to challenging your outdated assumption.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Blakethwaite on March 25, 2013, 11:08:04 pm
Great. I sincerely hope you do. Just don't look forward to doing it, actually do something about it now.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Blakethwaite on March 25, 2013, 11:26:58 pm
Here's a thought for you. If you want to know whether the majority of cavers favour open access on open access land then the answer is likely yes, they probably do.

If you're happy with that now what you can do is spend time in your car and on your phone discussing the issues at hand with other groups with a vested interest - landowners, national parks, bat groups, naked ramblers, whoever. Once you've done that and know who are your allies & who are your enemies perhaps then you can consider who you are going to present your case to and how?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 25, 2013, 11:43:32 pm
The CNCC, Council of Northern Caving Clubs, represent access for their member caving clubs but do not appear to represent other cavers interests.   This is well demonstrated by looking at the permit system for the CRoW land of Leck and Casterton Fells.  As a frequent visitor to these fells I estimate less than half the cavers who cave on these fells have the CNCC permit (see previous thread on Casterton Fell where no one had a permit on the sunday described).  The system therefore frustrates those that do have a permit as well as those who don't. 
............

So who are these cavers who ignore the CNCC permit system?  They are not all the renegades they are made out to be.  Some are respected local cavers who feel the CNCC do not represent them, some are from clubs or close knit groups who are not members of CNCC, some are individuals who don't believe they need a permit on CRoW land, some are from member clubs who just don't bother with a permit when they are out caving with their mates, and some probably just don't give a hoot for small minded burocracy. 

There were probelms  recently with trips in the dales and BCA publised a statement  about it here :
http://british-caving.org.uk/conservation/Casterton%20Access%20Statement.pdf (http://british-
caving.org.uk/conservation/Casterton%20Access%20Statement.pdf)

it says if nesessary  BCA will take action against members who act against the best interests of British cavers. Is'nt there some new disiplinery action stuff being talked  about coming into operation soon ? I guess people who are posting here who seem anti CNCC/permits might need to think about  what they post

So, is telling the truth not in the best interests of British cavers? If this is the case, can anyone tell me why? (And please do not say, yet again, because landowners read this forum too.)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mmilner on March 26, 2013, 01:56:22 am
The overall system for maintaining access to caves in this country works well, IMHO, since access for most caves and cavers is maintained. It does not need some monolithic institution to take over, which David Rose was suggesting.

Local difficulties should be sorted locally. Whinge to the trouble-causers direct.

I acknowledge that individuals my have problems in some areas. Again that's best sorted out with the institutions causing the problem.

Re the right to open access to caves on CRoW land and the benefits of discussing it on here. Something surely needs to be done in the real world?

Decisions and agreements are reached in actual physical meetings, cafes, pubs & lay-bys. Or more likely by a headstrong one or two actual going out and just getting on with it.

I have read this from the first post with interest, but have held back from posting till now. Haven't we now got to the stage where we can agree how to move forward somehow?

All the posts above (and others) have merit. To summarise:-

1. You need to get out there and discuss your problems with with people / clubs / organisations you have issues with. (Not just bicker about them on here?)
2. There are lots of people in the various caving regions doing what they can to create and maintain access to caves for people.
3. The current system works but isn't perfect.
4. It would be nice to get clarification of the 'access to caves on crow land' situation sorted.

My conclusions? Hmm, let's see:-

1. It would be great to have regional councils negotiate access for sites in 'their' area because of their local knowledge, etc. (As they do now.) BUT it it would be even better if you only had to be a member of BCA (as a DIM or CIM) to get permits, etc. and not have to join every regional council. (That would probably need administrating by BCA, maybe as an extension of their current membership arrangement?)

2. If you want clarification of the 'access to caves on crow land' then you really need to contact your local MP's and try and get them to bring it up in parliament discussions? If enough of us do this then it might prove fruitful. Otherwise it seems it would take a court case to decide one way or the other. Maybe a petition from enough interested parties, ie:- cavers, might make them take notice...

Feel free to add to the wish list or correct anything. But be friendly, just an initial stab at a way forward...  :) I can see some peeps have problems and some don't, so maybe we should just try and help each other...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 26, 2013, 05:08:47 am
Yet another inflammatory and deflective post. No. Just a collation of my thoughts.

It has been amply shown that there are access problems across a wide area. No it hasn't, unless 'amply' means half a dozen people whinging

There have been many posts by people who have suggested access is not reasonable and many posts by people who have suggested it is. At last. Balance. Well done.

This is about the wider issue of addressing access to caves on CRoW land. Not private land and not specific areas. No it isn't. It's about access generally, or at least that's what's indicated by the thread title.

Either debate that or stop causing trouble. Are you a moderator now? I'll debate what I like, Ian.

Ian

Droid
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 26, 2013, 05:13:27 am
I'm not convinced that waiting for a consensus to be struck on the internet is an expedient course of action.
Nothing of particular merit is achieved on the internet. You need to get out and about rather than getting angry and hammering sweary words into your keyboard. Decisions and agreements are reached in actual physical meetings, cafes, pubs & lay-bys. Or more likely by a headstrong one or two actual going out and just getting on with it.

Totally agree.

In face to face discussion you don't get the time to spend constructing a paean of rhetorical perfection. Face to face also tends to moderate the input. All of which is condusive to actually achieving something other than looking pompous and humourless.

 :)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 26, 2013, 08:22:13 am
One for Badlad - just out of interest, how do you organise your own access (up in the area where you're busy exploring)?

I only ask because I'm involved with a few projects up there and we have to put in a bit of time to make sure we have permits in place. Not trying to score any points or anything, just genuinely interested. Thanks.

By the way, regarding CRoW; I seem to remember various individuals involved with running BCA having a good go at getting caving included in the list of what's allowed on CRoW land when the whole thing was being set up, without success. If there's a move to try and sort this out, perhaps getting information about what was established then would be a good starting point? (If this has been mentioned already I do apologise but I've not had the opportunity to read through everything in this long discussion.)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Les W on March 26, 2013, 08:36:33 am
1. It would be great to have regional councils negotiate access for sites in 'their' area because of their local knowledge, etc. (As they do now.) BUT it it would be even better if you only had to be a member of BCA (as a DIM or CIM) to get permits, etc. and not have to join every regional council. (That would probably need administrating by BCA, maybe as an extension of their current membership arrangement?)

I rather naively thought this was already the case...

As far as I'm aware:
CNCC - You need to be a member of a BCA club to get a permit
CSCC - No requirement for membership of anything to get a key for our caves...
DCUC - I believe keys are available to all bonafide cavers
DCA - No requirement for membership as far as I'm aware. Most sites are closed with only a bolt.
CCC - No requirement for anything other than club membership to access their sites, as far as I know

I really don't see that there is any further need to involve BCA in trying to further administer this (they can't anyway without the consent of the regions)

The only issue I can see is that people who are not members of clubs may have difficulties getting access to some sites. In the Dales it is a prerequisite that you are in a club. In South Wales I believe you need to be a club to get some of the keys (although I may be wrong in this).
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 26, 2013, 08:38:55 am

I rather naively thought this was already the case...


Not naive at all, Les. That was the whole point of the 'ons stop shop' that came in to being a few years back.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bob monkhouses face mole on March 26, 2013, 09:21:19 am
But should this superstructure be applied to caves on CROW land if CROW applies underground?

If CROW applies underground then a permit system would be contrary to the law.

A landowner who had concerns for public safety may decide to gate or cap any caves or shafts on his CROW land. Whilst this may also be contrary to the law, I'd imagine that bearing in mind the walkers, birdwatchers, other non cavers/mine explorers etc who may now walk over this land  the public safety argument outweighs the (hypothetical in this case) rights of cavers under CROW. However, in this situation a role for caving clubs exists in negotiating for these gates, fences lids or caps to be made pass through-able, with gates or hatches that are bolted.

If CROW doesn't apply underground than it is situation normal......

Want to add though that restricting access to new discoveries through politics is contrary to the ethos of exploration and discovery.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: kay on March 26, 2013, 11:38:50 am
1. It would be great to have regional councils negotiate access for sites in 'their' area because of their local knowledge, etc. (As they do now.) BUT it it would be even better if you only had to be a member of BCA (as a DIM or CIM) to get permits, etc. and not have to join every regional council. (That would probably need administrating by BCA, maybe as an extension of their current membership arrangement?)

I rather naively thought this was already the case...


Not quite, as you say yourself ...
Quote

CNCC - You need to be a member of a BCA club to get a permit ....

... In the Dales it is a prerequisite that you are in a club.

It would be good to be able to get access to sites as a DIM. The access officer of one of my clubs says "if you want access, let me know and I'll sort out a permit" - but why should he have to? If I want access for a trip for myself and a couple of DIM friends, shouldn't I do the work of getting a permit myself? And if I weren't in a club, I wouldn't be able to get access at all.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mmilner on March 26, 2013, 01:01:53 pm
It would be good to be able to get access to sites as a DIM. The access officer of one of my clubs says "if you want access, let me know and I'll sort out a permit" - but why should he have to? If I want access for a trip for myself and a couple of DIM friends, shouldn't I do the work of getting a permit myself? And if I weren't in a club, I wouldn't be able to get access at all.

Good point Kay. I think membership of BCA via whatever route should be enough and we should ask the regional councils where this is an issue if they could try and move towards that goal.

By the way, regarding CRoW; I seem to remember various individuals involved with running BCA having a good go at getting caving included in the list of what's allowed on CRoW land when the whole thing was being set up, without success. If there's a move to try and sort this out, perhaps getting information about what was established then would be a good starting point? (If this has been mentioned already I do apologise but I've not had the opportunity to read through everything in this long discussion.)

Another good idea.  :thumbsup: Does anyone on here know how to find out this info?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 26, 2013, 02:37:31 pm
2. If you want clarification of the 'access to caves on crow land' then you really need to contact your local MP's and try and get them to bring it up in parliament discussions? If enough of us do this then it might prove fruitful. Otherwise it seems it would take a court case to decide one way or the other. Maybe a petition from enough interested parties, ie:- cavers, might make them take notice...

Feel free to add to the wish list or correct anything. But be friendly, just an initial stab at a way forward...  :) I can see some peeps have problems and some don't, so maybe we should just try and help each other...

There is no need at this stage to go to the MP, as already stated in an earlier post there is in existence the mechanism to query interpretations in the act, this is the Local Access Forum, a body set up to clarify the rules and advise the administrators accordingly, I suggest the preliminary lobbying should start here, if the point is made to them, it may not have to go any further.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on March 26, 2013, 02:52:00 pm
Apologies for contradicting and I may have been misinformed but..

My understanding was that the NCA/BCA was invited, by the BMC, to join them in campaigning to get both caving and climbing clearly included in the list of permissible activities on CRoW land at the time the bill was being drawn up.  The NCA/BCA declined the offer prefering to stick with the traditional access arrangements it already had in place on CRoW land.   I would be interested to know what truth there was in this as it now appears to be an opportunity missed.

It is interesting the different approach the BMC takes with access.  Certainly they would be unlikley to support many of the restrictive access arrangements that we cavers endure. 

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 26, 2013, 03:12:45 pm
Apologies for contradicting and I may have been misinformed but..

My understanding was that the NCA/BCA was invited, by the BMC, to join them in campaigning to get both caving and climbing clearly included in the list of permissible activities on CRoW land at the time the bill was being drawn up.  The NCA/BCA declined the offer prefering to stick with the traditional access arrangements it already had in place on CRoW land.   I would be interested to know what truth there was in this as it now appears to be an opportunity missed.

It is interesting the different approach the BMC takes with access.  Certainly they would be unlikley to support many of the restrictive access arrangements that we cavers endure.

Badlad, I mentioned this previously; it was second hand, though the source was connected at the time.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 26, 2013, 05:11:57 pm
My understanding of the situation prior to the passing of the Act closely corresponds with that outlined by Stu and Badlad. In addition, I seem to recall that there was a certain amount of "smokescreening" going on and it came as something of a surprise to many cavers when caving was not included. Perhaps someone who was involved in the negotiations at the time would be willing to further enlighten us as to what actually took place?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 26, 2013, 05:30:39 pm
To be honest NigR I don't know what purpose that would serve.

I think the way forward is a proper consultation (how?) and an approach via the Local Access Forum (I'm talking specifically Dales here).

I also suspect this would have to be done outwith the CNCC and BCA as, not wishing to cause a rumpus or offend anyone, it seems the status quo is there preferred position (of which I have no gripe - other than not representative of some cavers).

Anyone?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 26, 2013, 05:36:15 pm
http://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/lookingafter/caringfor/managingaccess/ydaf/ydlaf-advisorygroups (http://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/lookingafter/caringfor/managingaccess/ydaf/ydlaf-advisorygroups)

Having looked through just one set of minutes for the Cave & Crag Access Advisory Group interesting (or telling) the BMC had two representatives. None from the cavers - or none with a specific remit from BCA/CNCC). That is only from a brief look. Busy lagging the attic!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 26, 2013, 05:42:05 pm
This is an interesting excerpt from the last minutes;

6. Caving
JB suggested inviting Paul Hindle from Natural England to the meetings as he has been
working on increasing cave access and conservation monitoring in the area. He is
managing to bring into the area works such as the removal of rubbish from shake holes
and putting in stiles for increased access.


Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on March 26, 2013, 07:30:31 pm

From 2008 minutes - Cave and Crag advisory group.

"GM asked if the group would back cavers in trying to gain access to caves through the CRoW Act.  JB reiterated this and said that there is a reluctance from cavers to do anything about access in case the situation with landowners is made worse.  .........  AM asked why caving had been excluded from the CRoW act.  JB said that the BMC had rallied hard to get climbing included in the Act but that BCA, due to lack of members, hadn't got their act together."
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on March 27, 2013, 01:29:37 pm
Note that this is not correct strictly speaking - at the time CRoW came into existence, BCA did not exist and we were still in the transition period between NCA and BCA.

Worth noting also that CNCC (and also DCA) work in close co-operation with Natural England because almost all cave entrances are part of Scheduled Sites of Scientific Importance (SSSIs) and both regional councils work together with N.E. in monitoring cave features.  Because of the SSSI status of caves, E.N. has some say in access to them in a way which does not apply to the access enjoyed by climbers, walkers, etc.

CRoW affects the various caving regions differently because there is effectively no CRoW land involved in either the Peak District or Mendips - most of our caves are on farmland and we need to deal with farmers, landowners, and some estates which have tenant farmers. 

CNCC is unique in having a large area of interest (Leck/Casterton) owned by a landowner with shooting rights who will only deal with a regional body and not with either clubs or individuals.  (This area was completely closed to cavers until CNCC was formed to negotiate access in 1960.)  Some other estates prefer to deal with the regional council, whereas others, such as Ingleborough Estates, are happy to deal with clubs.

DCA also has to deal with Estates, such as Chatsworth, but we are lucky that, on the whole, they do not insist on a permit system or booking.  Because the Peak also has numerous mine shafts and adits of interest to cavers because they lead into natural cave, we have had to come up with a system which safeguards the public whilst still allowing access to cavers:  shaft cap lids or gates with a captive bolt closure which can be opened by anyone with a large adjustable spanner (a.k.a. Derbyshire key). 

There is more to the BCA insurance scheme than many people realise.  What has been extremely useful to DCA where a farmer has been advised by a solicitor (incorrectly) that he could be liable if there were an accident in a cave on his land, is that BCA is able to issue a P.L. Insurance 'landowner certificate' as part of its insurance scheme. This reassures the landowner that, even if someone does try to take him to court, this insurance will cover his expenses.  CNCC also uses this 'landowner certificate' scheme and it is also open to clubs or access management bodies which are members of BCA.

Another point which is true of the regional councils which deal with access themselves: CNCC, DCA, CSCC and DCUC is that they provide working parties to help farmers and landowners in various ways: building and repairing fences, stiles, walls, etc.; clearing debris dumped in shakeholes.  We also find ourselves involved in soothing irate landowners when someone (not even necessarily a caver) has behaved irresponsibly or done damage.  It is the club cavers who belong to the regional councils who provide the workforce which enables us to do this.

It is also open to any regional council to propose a caver to be a member of any local access forum which deals with a caving area.  There are certain conditions to being a member and it will take up some of your precious caving time but you could always volunteer.

BCA isn't involved directly in negotiating access but it does provide the backup to enable regional councils to do so, particularly with the BCA insurance scheme.  Things are not always ideal and there are glitches in the system but, on the whole it does seem to work reasonably well.  So, if you are unhappy with things, the way to improve it is to get involved with whichever regional council is appropriate and work from the inside.

Jenny Potts
Hon. Secretary, Derbyshire Caving Association
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: exsumper on March 27, 2013, 02:46:38 pm
I'm sorry Pete I didn't realise that these activities.....
A twisting of my words and you know it BogRat. I was replying to Exsumper's odd idea that no one outside a club was involved in furthering caving, which is of course total rubbish as shown by my personal examples.

Pete K   "Twisting of my words?" you don't understand irony do you?
The point I was quite obviously making was that the vast majority of caves in the UK have been dug open, discovered and explored by members of caving clubs!!;  I wouldn't be surprised if the their volume was more than 90 per cent of the total; and wanted to know why newstuff felt entitled to have unrestricted access to these caves when he had  contributed nothing towards their being accessible for him to cave in.

As for the other bits, we all do stuff like that. Do you want a medal??  :clap2:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 27, 2013, 03:15:29 pm
Jenny P,

Thank you for your post, the information you have posted onto the forum is very helpful.

 :)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 27, 2013, 03:23:11 pm
Jenny, could you let us know in what way do N.E. have a say over the access to caves?

I really thought (and likely others on here did too) that a cave being an SSSI meant nothing in terms of access. I'm sure that landowners have physically blocked entrances to SSSIs before. (Some pretty cave in the Mendips in a quarry, had a few blocks pushed over the entrance, I seem to recall).
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 27, 2013, 03:30:16 pm
I was thinking of Fairy Holes, which isn't in Mendips. My bad.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 27, 2013, 03:37:32 pm
... in what way do N.E. have a say over the access to caves?

Making a cave an SSSI does not and cannot confer any rights of access, even to those who work for N.E. However, the SSSI schedule describes what are called PDOs, potentially damaging operations. Anyone carrying out a PDO in an SSSI can be subject to legal sanction. Most of these operations concern activities on the surface designed to protect natural features and can include things from chopping down trees to using inappropriate fertilizers. However caving activity could, in theory, be included as a PDO on a cave SSSI and would thus require consent from N.E. before it could be undertaken.

As Jenny says, however, Regional Councils and other access bodies do work closely with N.E. to ensure, on the one hand, that normal caving activities are not disrupted by scheduling and, on the other, to monitor the condition of the caves and their scientifically important features.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: peterk on March 27, 2013, 03:40:20 pm
Jenny, could you let us know in what way do N.E. have a say over the access to caves?


There's a link here http://www.northerncavemonitoring.org.uk/frequently-asked-questions/1-general-information/1-operations-requiring-natural-englands-consent (http://www.northerncavemonitoring.org.uk/frequently-asked-questions/1-general-information/1-operations-requiring-natural-englands-consent)

We've had the access issue before. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 s51 there is a statutory right of access to SSSI's by any person authorised by Natural England
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 27, 2013, 03:54:56 pm
Thanks for the replies. The CNCC link mentions:
27. Recreational or other activities likely to damage features of interest.
As something that is potentially something that once was called a PDO (so to speak). So, as Graham says, in theory, caving at such a SSSI could require permission from N.E.

I might be unlikely to get an answer, but has this ever happened in practice? Has N.E. ever recommended a permit system or some sort of restricted access for a cave on CROW land?

If not, then the SSSI link is perhaps irrelevant, and I remain in the dark about why cavers cannot cave on CROW land, but climbers can climb on it.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 27, 2013, 04:07:56 pm
We've had the access issue before. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 s51 there is a statutory right of access to SSSI's by any person authorised by Natural England

Sorry, I should have clarified. That right of access is limited only to those carrying out the specific acts listed in that section. I should have said that the designation does not confer any general right of access.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: TheBitterEnd on March 27, 2013, 04:22:43 pm

I might be unlikely to get an answer, but has this ever happened in practice? Has N.E. ever recommended a permit system or some sort of restricted access for a cave on CROW land?

Not quite as simple as that but one related example that comes to mind is that we are asked not to use the new entrance to Southerscales pot as it lies in a Nature Reserve (which I believe is also a SSSI) which itself is in an CRoW area. See http://www.cncc.org.uk/access/details.php?id=93 (http://www.cncc.org.uk/access/details.php?id=93)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 27, 2013, 04:48:49 pm
It would appear that the CCW (the Welsh counterpart to NE) do restrict access to caves on SSSI land.

Here is an excerpt;

3.7
The Alyn Gorge Caves, comprising three cave systems within the Carboniferous
Limestone
 
The  caves  should  continue  to  demonstrate  how  geological  structure,  lithology  and
water  flow  influence  passage  profile.  The  range  and  distribution  of  sediments
deposited  in  the  caves  should  also  continue  to  provide  evidence  of  the  solution  and
stream processes that have occurred over time. A variety of calcite formations should
occur throughout the caves, providing an insight into the history of the caves and the
contemporary  environments.  Access  to  the  three  cave  systems,  namely  Ogof  Hesp
Alyn,  Ogof  Hen  Ffynhonnau  and  Ogof  Nadolig,  should  be  available  for  legitimate
study and research.


... and here is a link to the full document;

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/17140/response/40382/attach/html/2/SSSI%200241%20SMS%20EN001.pdf.html (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/17140/response/40382/attach/html/2/SSSI%200241%20SMS%20EN001.pdf.html)


(No mention on recreational access)

 :blink:

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 27, 2013, 04:52:46 pm
From the same document:

Quote
Though  Ogof  Nadolig  is  smaller  and  less  well  used  than  the  two  larger  caves,  it  is
more  vulnerable.  There  is  currently  no  effective  control  over  who  uses  the  cave  and
damage to calcite formations has taken place. 
 
Currently,  the  main  threat  to  the  cave  fabric  and  environment  comes  from  the  wear
and tear resulting from the movement of cavers and their activities. It is important that
the  more  delicate  and  important  formations  within  the  caves  are  taped  off  following
the baseline survey to be carried out by the NWCC.
 
Controlling  access  to  the  caves,  education  of  visitors  and  taping  off  of  the  more
sensitive  areas  will  lead  to  less  damage  of  the  cave  formations  and  conservation  of
these important cave systems.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: jasonbirder on March 27, 2013, 04:55:17 pm
I'm sure a quote like that....made your day eh!  ;D
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 27, 2013, 05:01:24 pm
What is interesting is that CCW scheduled the three caves after liaising with NWCC. There are many other caves in the same sedimentary limestone “bank” including some much better examples further along.

These caves further along (which are much better examples) were not offered as potential sites to the CCW by NWCC as they both sit on their doorstep and the club has active digs in them (which they cannot do whilst subject to SSSI without a PDO).

By suggesting the three caves (arguably the least exciting of the caves) as “examples” to schedule, they left themselves the very best caves to play in and dig.

A master stroke ?  I am sure many will say so ....

Conservationism at it’s best ?  .....

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on March 27, 2013, 05:45:02 pm
"I might be unlikely to get an answer, but has this ever happened in practice? Has N.E. ever recommended a permit system or some sort of restricted access for a cave on CROW land?"

N.E. has recommended a permit system for one cave and one extension to a cave in the Peak, neither of which are on CRoW land.  Both are of particular scientific importance because of deposits in the cave - not 'pretties' but delicate floor deposits which have been protected by taping done by the original discoverers.

Interestingly, N.E. are involved in the potential reopening of Fairy Caves in Weardale, closed by the quarry which effectively removed much of it many years ago before the SSSI system as we know it now came into being.  N.E. can be a very valuable ally in protecting caves from threats of dumping, pollution, quarrying, etc. but they have to fight their corner against commercial interests and they don't always win.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: owd git on March 27, 2013, 06:15:59 pm
Hi Jenny thanks for all your efforts, not just posting.
If you reffered to Wicc. is it not  fair to say; it's only one of the 'breakthroughs' that is so vulnerable, hence protected ( not out of bounds.)
(http://i796.photobucket.com/albums/yy244/owd-git/P1010168.jpg)
(http://i796.photobucket.com/albums/yy244/owd-git/P1010178.jpg)
Ric'
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: 4bags on March 27, 2013, 06:49:45 pm
wow... and who wouldn't want to protect that?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 27, 2013, 07:24:08 pm
And who, in their right mind, would break it?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 27, 2013, 08:33:56 pm
(No mention on recreational access)

 :blink:

Ian

It may well be that 'recreational caving' is looked upon as a trivial use of an important scientific resource.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 27, 2013, 08:41:54 pm
And who, in their right mind, would break it?

Some people just do, I remember a conversation with the management at Stump Cross not long after a punter was prevented - just - from breaking off and walking away with a quite large stalagmite boss from the show cave.

However, that notwithstanding, I suspect that you will find that most damage is accidental, not intentional, and comes about simply through a lack of care. Maybe if people had to work harder to access sites like this, maybe then they'd treat them with a bit more care and respect.

Maybe.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 27, 2013, 08:43:17 pm
(No mention on recreational access)

 :blink:

Ian

It may well be that 'recreational caving' is looked upon as a trivial use of an important scientific resource.

It is irrelevant. Recreational use is not part of Natural England's remit. Why should it be?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 27, 2013, 08:47:55 pm
(No mention on recreational access)

 :blink:

Ian

It may well be that 'recreational caving' is looked upon as a trivial use of an important scientific resource.

It is irrelevant. Recreational use is not part of Natural England's remit. Why should it be?

If it's egar astrivial it won't.  :lol:

Bloody keyboard.

Try again.

If it's regarded as trivial, it won't.  :lol:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 27, 2013, 08:50:28 pm
Maybe if people had to work harder to access sites like this, maybe then they'd treat them with a bit more care and respect.

And maybe, a little education would help just as much. Maybe slow down the "timed runs" through systems?  Common sense and an awareness of your surroundings would, I suspect, do far more than making You jump through hoops. There's no point in opening a system if no-one gets to see the damned thing.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 27, 2013, 09:03:34 pm

Worth noting also that CNCC (and also DCA) work in close co-operation with Natural England because almost all cave entrances are part of Scheduled Sites of Scientific Importance (SSSIs) and both regional councils work together with N.E. in monitoring cave features.  Because of the SSSI status of caves, E.N. has some say in access to them in a way which does not apply to the access enjoyed by climbers, walkers, etc.
Jenny Potts
Hon. Secretary, Derbyshire Caving Association

One for the legal eagles: if as Jenny asserts, many caves lie in (on/under) S.S.S.I. what would the penalty be if a landowner were to decide to cap/backfill/despoil a cave entrance on S.S.S.I. (or any other version of legally protected land, private or otherwise)?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 27, 2013, 09:13:45 pm
There is more to the BCA insurance scheme than many people realise.  What has been extremely useful to DCA where a farmer has been advised by a solicitor (incorrectly) that he could be liable if there were an accident in a cave on his land, is that BCA is able to issue a P.L. Insurance 'landowner certificate' as part of its insurance scheme. This reassures the landowner that, even if someone does try to take him to court, this insurance will cover his expenses.  CNCC also uses this 'landowner certificate' scheme and it is also open to clubs or access management bodies which are members of BCA.
Jenny Potts
Hon. Secretary, Derbyshire Caving Association

If cavers were granted access to CRoW caves as part of the Act, the liability issue would be a none issue (though it sounds like it wasn't needed in the first place in certain cases). I presume this would remove massive amounts of liability off the insurance burden BCA has to face each year...  :-\
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 27, 2013, 09:16:45 pm

Worth noting also that CNCC (and also DCA) work in close co-operation with Natural England because almost all cave entrances are part of Scheduled Sites of Scientific Importance (SSSIs) and both regional councils work together with N.E. in monitoring cave features.  Because of the SSSI status of caves, E.N. has some say in access to them in a way which does not apply to the access enjoyed by climbers, walkers, etc.
Jenny Potts
Hon. Secretary, Derbyshire Caving Association

One for the legal eagles: if as Jenny asserts, many caves lie in (on/under) S.S.S.I. what would the penalty be if a landowner were to decide to cap/backfill/despoil a cave entrance on S.S.S.I. (or any other version of legally protected land, private or otherwise)?

http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/about_us/news/2011/250811.aspx (http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/about_us/news/2011/250811.aspx)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 27, 2013, 09:18:22 pm
The BCA view towards access to caves on CRoW land is unequivocal.

If you look at page 29 of Descent dated June/July 2010 (No. 214), there is a short piece entitled "Cavers and the Land". Written by David Judson (who the editorial introduction says "deals with legal issues relating to caving on behalf of BCA") it says;

CRoW does not give legal access to caves.

and

The law in England and Wales is thus absolutely clear: access to caves, whether or not on CRoW land, is entirely at the discretion of the landowner.

The editorial (presumably written by Chris Howes) describes the entire piece as;

....a clear statement for cavers covering cave and land ownership.

Also, as emphasis to the main article, it advises:

It's worth a careful read: these are the laws that govern where you can cave, and when and why you require those all important permissions and landowner agreements.

In view of Badlad's superb honest and enlightening post (concerning the hundreds of digging trips required to make the Three Counties System a reality, not one of which had an official permit) this is ironic in the extreme. All the publicity given to this magnificent achievement in subsequent issues of Descent was, in effect, lauding years and years of (in the opinion of the Editor and the BCA) illegal activity!





Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 27, 2013, 09:22:54 pm
One for the legal eagles: if as Jenny asserts, many caves lie in (on/under) S.S.S.I. what would the penalty be if a landowner were to decide to cap/backfill/despoil a cave entrance on S.S.S.I. (or any other version of legally protected land, private or otherwise)?

IIRC the penalties for such things are laid out in the Act. However, a N.E. person once told me that much of his working day was spent writing letters giving landowners permission to carry out PDOs in a controlled manner. So if the landowner can justify the act & do it in a manner that does not harm the scientific value of the site (say, by protecting it from despoiling vandals) then permission may well be granted.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 27, 2013, 09:26:06 pm
One for the legal eagles: if as Jenny asserts, many caves lie in (on/under) S.S.S.I. what would the penalty be if a landowner were to decide to cap/backfill/despoil a cave entrance on S.S.S.I. (or any other version of legally protected land, private or otherwise)?

IIRC the penalties for such things are laid out in the Act. However, a N.E. person once told me that much of his working day was spent writing letters giving landowners permission to carry out PDOs in a controlled manner. So if the landowner can justify the act & do it in a manner that does not harm the scientific value of the site (say, by protecting it from despoiling vandals) then permission may well be granted.

Would they have to prove "despoiling" by said vandals?  :shrug:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: owd git on March 27, 2013, 09:34:14 pm
Re the right to open access to caves on CRoW land and the benefits of discussing it on here.
Isn't it much akin to discussing Eric Idle's right to have babies?


or Stans' right to be known as Loretta :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 27, 2013, 09:34:33 pm
One for the legal eagles: if as Jenny asserts, many caves lie in (on/under) S.S.S.I. what would the penalty be if a landowner were to decide to cap/backfill/despoil a cave entrance on S.S.S.I. (or any other version of legally protected land, private or otherwise)?

IIRC the penalties for such things are laid out in the Act. However, a N.E. person once told me that much of his working day was spent writing letters giving landowners permission to carry out PDOs in a controlled manner. So if the landowner can justify the act & do it in a manner that does not harm the scientific value of the site (say, by protecting it from despoiling vandals) then permission may well be granted.

Would they have to prove "despoiling" by said vandals?  :shrug:

Furthermore, would they be required to "make good" all the surrounding area of the cave entrance? Presume they wouldn't just be allowed to get a backhoe on it and tear up any more of the land?

Sounds costly to me. Might be cheaper for the BCA to have a fundraiser to buy a load of posters about cave conservation, make a big splash of it in Descent (caving journal of choice) and perhaps buy a load of barrier tape to tape off the pretties.  :shrug:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 27, 2013, 10:25:46 pm
http://tinyurl.com/bqvnyah (http://tinyurl.com/bqvnyah)

PDF - Annual report of the 2008/09 LAF for the Dales. Heartening statement by the Chairman (page 4).
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 27, 2013, 10:54:01 pm
Would they have to prove "despoiling" by said vandals?  :shrug:

no idea, you'd have to ask one of the guys who actually makes such decisions.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: exsumper on March 28, 2013, 12:25:57 am
Its not just vandalism by landowners ,cavers or yobs we should be concerned with. I know of one site in Ebbor Gorge, where vandalism has  occured as the result of the lack of consideration by Professional Archeologists. Gully cave and its environs (including text book examples of formerly pristine periglacial scree slopes) has been turned into a complete eyesore. :spank:

With an increasing no of research students (with little or no experience of cave excavation or environments) jumping on the cave deposits bandwagon. I think now would be a good time for the BCRA/QRA  to consider how to prevent such an occurence happening again??

Its a bloody disgrace!!! :furious:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 28, 2013, 12:36:25 am
It is interesting to note the differing attitudes taken towards access on CRoW land by the various Regional Councils.

This is from the minutes of Cambrian Caving Council's AGM in 2012 and follows on from a discussion about an access agreement with the Forestry Commission:

Several people asked whether this could be extended to a general right of access to underground without landowner liability. Stuart (France) is particularly keen to see this happen on CRoW land and could do this via Statutory Instrument in Wales. Elsie (Little) emphasised that this is already part of our objectives.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 28, 2013, 08:16:49 am
The BCA view towards access to caves on CRoW land is unequivocal.

If you look at page 29 of Descent dated June/July 2010 (No. 214), there is a short piece entitled "Cavers and the Land". Written by David Judson (who the editorial introduction says "deals with legal issues relating to caving on behalf of BCA") it says;

CRoW does not give legal access to caves.

and

The law in England and Wales is thus absolutely clear: access to caves, whether or not on CRoW land, is entirely at the discretion of the landowner.

The editorial (presumably written by Chris Howes) describes the entire piece as;

....a clear statement for cavers covering cave and land ownership.

Also, as emphasis to the main article, it advises:

It's worth a careful read: these are the laws that govern where you can cave, and when and why you require those all important permissions and landowner agreements.

In view of Badlad's superb honest and enlightening post (concerning the hundreds of digging trips required to make the Three Counties System a reality, not one of which had an official permit) this is ironic in the extreme. All the publicity given to this magnificent achievement in subsequent issues of Descent was, in effect, lauding years and years of (in the opinion of the Editor and the BCA) illegal activity!
Many canoeists are now taking the view that there is nothing in the legislation that prevents canoeing on inland rivers apart from the interpretation of previous generations - the issue of crossing land to get to the rivers may be more of a problem...

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 28, 2013, 08:33:41 am
Many canoeists are now taking the view that there is nothing in the legislation that prevents canoeing on inland rivers apart from the interpretation of previous generations.........

So is canoeing like caving in so much as it is neither mentioned as being an allowable activity nor is it specifically excluded? If so, what is the attitude of the national body (BCU?) to this? What was the attitude of the national body prior to and during the drafting of the legislation? I would assume that most canoeists would have wanted their activity to have been included. What was their reaction when this was not the case?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 09:12:37 am
The BCA view towards access to caves on CRoW land is unequivocal.

If you look at page 29 of Descent dated June/July 2010 (No. 214), there is a short piece entitled "Cavers and the Land". Written by David Judson (who the editorial introduction says "deals with legal issues relating to caving on behalf of BCA") it says;

CRoW does not give legal access to caves.

and

The law in England and Wales is thus absolutely clear: access to caves, whether or not on CRoW land, is entirely at the discretion of the landowner.

The editorial (presumably written by Chris Howes) describes the entire piece as;

....a clear statement for cavers covering cave and land ownership.

Also, as emphasis to the main article, it advises:

It's worth a careful read: these are the laws that govern where you can cave, and when and why you require those all important permissions and landowner agreements.

In view of Badlad's superb honest and enlightening post (concerning the hundreds of digging trips required to make the Three Counties System a reality, not one of which had an official permit) this is ironic in the extreme. All the publicity given to this magnificent achievement in subsequent issues of Descent was, in effect, lauding years and years of (in the opinion of the Editor and the BCA) illegal activity!

Before you get carried away NigR, may I please remind you of a simple fact. The Three Counties system has been achieved as a result of many decades of exploratory activity by a vast number of cavers, many of whom did arrange permission.

The excellent articles in Descent didn't just celebrate the last phase of this outstanding achievement by northern cavers.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 28, 2013, 09:34:24 am

Before you get carried away NigR, may I please remind you of a simple fact. The Three Counties system has been achieved as a result of many decades of exploratory activity by a vast number of cavers, many of whom did arrange permission.


Indeed. it didn't all just happen last year.

The excellent articles in Descent didn't just celebrate the last phase of this outstanding achievement by northern cavers.

And some southern cavers ;)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 09:38:51 am
To be fair to NigR the point I took from it is that there is definitely a mixed message whether casually, inadvertently, or whatever. We could possibly all name a name or two of explorers/diggers who didn't get permits.

Granted many may have done.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 09:49:32 am
Many canoeists are now taking the view that there is nothing in the legislation that prevents canoeing on inland rivers apart from the interpretation of previous generations.........

So is canoeing like caving in so much as it is neither mentioned as being an allowable activity nor is it specifically excluded? If so, what is the attitude of the national body (BCU?) to this? What was the attitude of the national body prior to and during the drafting of the legislation? I would assume that most canoeists would have wanted their activity to have been included. What was their reaction when this was not the case?

The BCU have very few fanboys. My involvement is a lot less than it used to be so not as up to date as I once was, but they do have access as a policy issue and do organise campaigns.

They have a trickier time in that much of the navigable water is accessed over private/none access land (there is if memory serves an issue about natural waterways can't be owned, so the paddling could be ok it's getting access and egress is the problem).

A Google of BCU access and CRoW will undoubtedly throw something up. The paddlers I know are quite a militant bunch. 
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: kay on March 28, 2013, 10:22:32 am
The BCU have very few fanboys. My involvement is a lot less than it used to be so not as up to date as I once was, but they do have access as a policy issue and do organise campaigns.

They have a trickier time in that much of the navigable water is accessed over private/none access land (there is if memory serves an issue about natural waterways can't be owned, so the paddling could be ok it's getting access and egress is the problem).

[/quote]

They also have a problem in that there is a powerful opposing group (anglers) competing for access to the same waters. At least cavers don't have that problem!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: ian.p on March 28, 2013, 10:31:19 am
Pitlamp i think its worth considering the fact that who you are may have had a significent affect on your experiance of the CNCC permit system as a well established caver who is well known and whos been on the scene long enough to know the score at least as well as the permit issuers you are one of the least likley individuals to have any trouble. The same goes for most of the other individuals speaking in favour of the status quo.
I can point to a recent attempt by one of the clubs i cave with: Education in the environment caving club (EECC) to gain casterton fell permits for trips over the next few months. The permits were aplied for by about the most patient and diplomatic individual i know and they were ranting by the end of the experiance which only ended when the relevant officer was asked to phone me if they wouldnt beleive we were a bona fide caving club (i was working away with no internet conection or would have aplied for the permits myself) at which point CNCC backed of imediatly and issued the permits. Knowing people and being known seems to make a massive differance.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: estelle on March 28, 2013, 10:36:19 am
I can point to a recent attempt by one of the clubs i cave with: Education in the environment caving club (EECC) to gain casterton fell permits for trips over the next few months. The permits were aplied for by about the most patient and diplomatic individual i know and they were ranting by the end of the experiance which only ended when the relevant officer was asked to phone me if they wouldnt beleive we were a bona fide caving club (i was working away with no internet conection or would have aplied for the permits myself) at which point CNCC backed of imediatly and issued the permits. Knowing people and being known seems to make a massive differance.
that seems ridiculous when a quick google leads to http://british-caving.org.uk/?page=171, (http://british-caving.org.uk/?page=171,) which has a list of current BCA member clubs at Mar 2013 including the above named club, which any regional body or access officer wanting to check club affiliation to BCA should be able to check. :shrug:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 10:37:45 am
Pitlamp i think its worth considering the fact that who you are may have had a significent affect on your experiance of the CNCC permit system as a well established caver who is well known and whos been on the scene long enough to know the score at least as well as the permit issuers you are one of the least likley individuals to have any trouble. The same goes for most of the other individuals speaking in favour of the status quo.

They say you never notice a clique unless you aren't part of one. At the risk of inflating Pitlamp's ego ( ;)) I too had thought this might have some bearing or influence (and that isn't intended as any sort of sleight towards Pitlamp. I have nothing but admiration).

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 28, 2013, 10:46:39 am
AFAIK, the access issues for kayaking make the issues for caving look small. If you're ever feeling down about not being able to get a permit, then look it up, in the way that Stu suggests.

However, when you look at the relatively free access that climbers have, then it looks like we have a long way to go.

Thanks for getting back to me Jenny. It seems then, that NE and CROW, when it comes to access are largely separate topics. Its always heartening to hear about people working towards the preservation of certain features, such as in WICC, and that NE are still on the Fairy caves issue.

Sadly, I don't have that Descent article so cannot check for context but when David Judson states,

CRoW does not give legal access to caves.

The law in England and Wales is thus absolutely clear: access to caves, whether or not on CRoW land, is entirely at the discretion of the landowner.

what is his reasoning? Does he give any? A substantial portion of this thread is devoted to how the law is absolutely unclear. Does he know something that we don't?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 10:54:13 am
Pitlamp i think its worth considering the fact that who you are may have had a significent affect on your experiance of the CNCC permit system as a well established caver who is well known and whos been on the scene long enough to know the score at least as well as the permit issuers you are one of the least likley individuals to have any trouble. The same goes for most of the other individuals speaking in favour of the status quo.

They say you never notice a clique unless you aren't part of one. At the risk of inflating Pitlamp's ego ( ;)) I too had thought this might have some bearing or influence (and that isn't intended as any sort of sleight towards Pitlamp. I have nothing but admiration).

Thank you for those kind words Stu - and also Ian - but I'd hope that a reasonable approach, based on sound reasoning in occasional special circumstances, its what really counts most. The names of many people who have posted in this discussion are very well known too - but some seem to be very unhappy with how things presently are. Their concerns should certainly be listened to. It never hurts to re-examine the present situation to look for ways it might be improved - provided that's done in a way which doesn't adversely affect other caving colleagues' speleological endeavour.

I understand your point that people who are relatively new to the scene might not find it quite so easy to navigate through what may seem a complex situation. But there are plenty of more experienced folk who would happily help guide them, if help was sought.

Graham - re. "northern cavers" I meant "cavers operating in the north". (Apologies for unintended ambiguity.)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: ian.p on March 28, 2013, 11:25:28 am
Quote
there are plenty of more experienced folk who would happily help guide them, if help was sought.

Who you need to know if they're going to help you... an access system which requires individuals to be in the know in order to be able to access the permit system has got to be fundamentally flawed. Its interesting as a mendip caver who has moved north to observe the opinions held by northern cavers of southern access arrangements and vice versa.

The mendip gating systems appear hopelessly confusing to the unindoctrinated but is very simple to use if you are a southern club caver as you just have to pick up a key from your hut and go.

As a southern caver the northern permit system seems terribly bureaucratic having to apply months in advance on club headed paper this that and the other as a northern caver it seems very simple if you are running a big club trip you apply for a permit
otherwise you don't bother and just go caving that's how it works.

How many people have ever applied for a midweek casterton fell permit? i bet its less than 10 whats more how is a permit system that requires dates to be set months in advance ever going to be suitable for an area like the dales that is so weather dependant casterton fell will always get pirated on wet days under the present access arrangement and no amount of berating from the CNCC is going to change that shourly therefor flexible access under CROW would be preferable
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 11:40:04 am
I suspect rather more than "10" people have "ever applied" for a midweek Casterton Fell permit Ian. Just as an example, I was on a trip on Tuesday 19th February for which a permit had been obtained.

I do understand your frustrations regarding advance booking when the weather is so fickle. (I'm an active caver myself and this has sometimes put paid to our plans - so I fully appreciate where you're coming from.) Yes, it would be superb if CRoW access did give a right to go caving generally. But it doesn't - and I suspect it'd be no mean achievement to get things changed. It would need very careful handling in order to avoid the possibility of it also backfiring in various ways. If anyone is seriously interested in taking that on, I wish you the best of luck. It might prove to be an uphill struggle though. It's not the sort of thing to go at in a half hearted way. If you can get the backing and support of the caving "establishment" this would give access to all sorts of people with special expertise and contacts, probably making a good outcome for all concerned more likely.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on March 28, 2013, 11:45:55 am
Can I bring up the subject of the Leck Fell closed season.  Why, for three months of the year, is there no access to the caves of Leck Fell under the CNCC permit system?

There are no access restrictions to anyone else during this time.  Those permitted access under CRoW can wander around anywhere they like all year round, but cavers are only allowed on the fell for nine months of the year.

I presume the original restriction was to protect the breeding grouse for shooting but I have not seen any organised shooting on Leck for a decade or more.  Since CRoW, the access permitted for all seems to undermine this restriction anyway.  Even if grouse are the reason many would dispute that cavers disturb the breeding grouse when they mostly stick to well trod routes to the caves.  Certainly that is no reason to restrict access to Notts 2 and Lost Johns' which are right next to the public highway.

Last year I watched with interest the estate contractors erecting the new fences around Lost Pot and Lower Ease Gill.  They drove their tractors and 4x4's wilfully all over the heather.  They were there for a week or more slap bang in the middle of the breeding season.

I guess that if a restrictive access system is to receive wide support from cavers then it needs to be seen to be fair and justified.  Many people are just not seeing it.


Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: langcliffe on March 28, 2013, 11:46:21 am
Quote
there are plenty of more experienced folk who would happily help guide them, if help was sought.
Who you need to know if they're going to help you... an access system which requires individuals to be in the know in order to be able to access the permit system has got to be fundamentally flawed.

It doesn't take a brain the size of a planet to establish the access requirements for a particular hole in the Dales using the CNCC website.

How many people have ever applied for a midweek casterton fell permit?

We do - four times so far this year, and 3 times for Leck Fell including yesterday,
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 11:50:52 am
Point taken Badlad - it does seem a bit strange.

Why not go to a CNCC meeting and ask the question directly?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 28, 2013, 11:57:42 am
Pitlamp, at this risk of repeating myself, how do you know that CROW doesn't give cavers access to caves on CROW land? Is it because it isn't explicitly included in the list in the legislation? Or because the legal correspondent for BCA believes that it isn't?

I ask because if you have a reason other than these why it doesn't give access, then it would be very interesting to hear.

So far, after all these pages, it still seems that it hasn't been conclusively decided that caving isn't covered by CROW.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 11:58:34 am
If you can get the backing and support of the caving "establishment" this would give access to all sorts of people with special expertise and contacts, probably making a good outcome for all concerned more likely.

There in lies the problem as far as I see it. The BMC and even the dreaded BCU have access aims which are to promote and improve access. The BCA and CNCC stance is conservative (again I repeat myself - I'm talking CRoW, so the Dales specifically). They may indeed have the best interest of cavers in mind but I suspect that since the status quo suits their (personal?) stance then they won't move to change and I don't see BCA ever putting it to the membership.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 12:02:16 pm
So far, after all these pages, it still seems that it hasn't been conclusively decided that caving isn't covered by CROW.

In spite of what some people would have us believe, that pretty much sums it up. It'd need testing. Though I suspect in these enlightened times rather than a Suffragette/mass trespass type protest, in roads with the LAF would be a very good first approach.

With my last post in mind I suspect this would have to be done outwith the BCA and in the case of the Dales, the CNCC. Pity.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 12:16:44 pm
Pitlamp, at this risk of repeating myself, how do you know that CROW doesn't give cavers access to caves on CROW land? Is it because it isn't explicitly included in the list in the legislation? Or because the legal correspondent for BCA believes that it isn't?

I ask because if you have a reason other than these why it doesn't give access, then it would be very interesting to hear.

So far, after all these pages, it still seems that it hasn't been conclusively decided that caving isn't covered by CROW.

I'm afraid I have to confess not to know enough to answer that question definitively blackholesun. I just understood that CRoW doesn't grant automatic access from what I learned from people who were involved at the time it was all happening. I certainly can't categorically state that it's the case.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 28, 2013, 12:19:56 pm
I agree that this would be a good start and that it doesn't seem like those organisations would be behind any motion like this.

However, I'd also wager that there will be significant number of people who will read your post (Stu) and would be very tempted by the idea of a mass trespass up, say, GG.

(Tempted by a publicized trespass that is, otherwise it'd just be like any other trip down Bar pot.)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 12:20:45 pm
(Tempted by a publicized trespass that is, otherwise it'd just be like any other trip down Bar pot.)

 :clap2:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Les W on March 28, 2013, 12:23:01 pm
I will point out that BCA and CNCC are run by cavers and are democratic organisations. If you are unhappy about any aspect of what "they" do in your name then you should lobby them to change their attitudes or even stand for office yourself and change them from the inside.

Just saying...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 28, 2013, 12:26:03 pm
Finding out the attitude of Local Access Forums is definitely the way to go as they advise on what is / isn't acceptable...
Many canoeists are now taking the view that there is nothing in the legislation that prevents canoeing on inland rivers apart from the interpretation of previous generations.........

So is canoeing like caving in so much as it is neither mentioned as being an allowable activity nor is it specifically excluded? If so, what is the attitude of the national body (BCU?) to this? What was the attitude of the national body prior to and during the drafting of the legislation? I would assume that most canoeists would have wanted their activity to have been included. What was their reaction when this was not the case?
Caving is in the grey area of not being mentioned, whilst Canoeing's push for access to inland waterways got them specifically EXCLUDED by the CRoW Act (whereas canoeing is specifically allowed under the Scottish  legislation)...

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 12:27:45 pm
If you can get the backing and support of the caving "establishment" this would give access to all sorts of people with special expertise and contacts, probably making a good outcome for all concerned more likely.

There in lies the problem as far as I see it. The BMC and even the dreaded BCU have access aims which are to promote and improve access. The BCA and CNCC stance is conservative (again I repeat myself - I'm talking specificall CRoW, so the Dales specifically). They may indeed have the best interest of cavers in mind but I suspect that since the status quo suits their (personal?) stance then they won't move to change and I don't see BCA ever putting it to the membership.

Stu - with the greatest respect, I wonder if your post above actually reveals at least part of the problem (from the terminology you chose)? The BCA and CNCC are very much your representatives. You wrote "their (personal?) stance". This is NOT any criticism of you but it's helped me start to get a grasp of what's really going on here.

Putting aside the technicalites of CRoW for a moment, certain landowners only recognise CNCC as cavers' representatives. Whatever one's opinion of that fact, it's still a fact. So why not make use of the existence of CNCC to thrash this one out properly. Remember, it's the Council of Northern Caving Clubs. And any group of mates can call themselves a club to get permits via CNCC - or influence the direction CNCC takes for the benefit of cavers, whether or not they favour the idea of fancy constitutions and the like.

It seems to me there's a real lack of understanding about what CNCC's actually about. It's not a case of "us and them" - we're all in this together (as our current political leader likes to say).

By the way, I should point out that I've never been a CNCC officer myself.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 28, 2013, 12:34:39 pm

I'm afraid I have to confess not to know enough to answer that question definitively blackholesun. I just understood that CRoW doesn't grant automatic access from what I learned from people who were involved at the time it was all happening. I certainly can't categorically state that it's the case.
[/quote]

Ok, thanks for that. (It's also so reassuring to see people giving a viewpoint but stating that they are not completely certain on this thread.)

Talking to the people involved certainly seems like a reasonable source for why you think that caving is not covered. It may well not be covered. However, there are many other niche activities things that you can do under CROW that aren't explicitly in the legislation, so I'm trying to find out if anyone knows for certain and can provide a reason that would convince others beyond doubt why it is not covered.

I suspect, but am happy to accept evidence to the contrary, that no one knows as it has never been tested in court. How it could be tested without a some disaster between landowners and caver, is something that I think many would be interested in.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 12:37:22 pm
That's a very reasonable view blackholesun.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 28, 2013, 12:41:41 pm
I will point out that BCA and CNCC are run by cavers and are democratic organisations.

With regards to CNCC, is that "true" ?   Could a non-northern caving club join ?   Can an individual join ?  Is there a pre-requiste (like there is with the PDCMG) before you can join ?

In any event, why is there even any resistence to the suggestion of CRoW being a mechanism for cavers to access caves in the Dales ?   Wouldn't it make life easier for the CNCC and their volunteers ?     Doesn't it (CRoW) provide automatic liability cover for landowners ?    Isn't it a Win/
Win scenario ?

And ... why should some HAVE TO BE a BCA member to enter a cave in the Dales ?  That isn't just (prima facie) elitist but it is also "unknown" to a new adventurer beginning their life of underworld exploration ....

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 12:46:22 pm
I'm not sure of my facts Jackalpup - but couldn't your first question at least be answered from a quick glance at CNCC's constitution?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 12:48:53 pm
I will point out that BCA and CNCC are run by cavers and are democratic organisations. If you are unhappy about any aspect of what "they" do in your name then you should lobby them to change their attitudes or even stand for office yourself and change them from the inside.

Just saying...

That option hasn't escaped me Les.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on March 28, 2013, 12:49:57 pm
There are plenty of caves in the Dales that you can just rock up and 'do'. Most of them are the easier caves that a beginner is likely to choose.

And a 'new adventurer' would be best off being under the guidance of a club.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 12:50:39 pm
I will point out that BCA and CNCC are run by cavers and are democratic organisations. If you are unhappy about any aspect of what "they" do in your name then you should lobby them to change their attitudes or even stand for office yourself and change them from the inside.

Just saying...

That option hasn't escaped me Les.

Now you're talking . . . .  :thumbsup:

Signing off now - snap time.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 28, 2013, 12:52:58 pm
Oh, how I sometimes wish this thread was split.
We could have:
Problems with current permit systems for people not part of a club etc
Whether people want caving to be covered by CROW
Whether caving is covered by CROW
Wild accusations about North Wales

So, how does one go about contacting the Yorkshire Dales LAF, with an aim to clarifying CROW with respect to caving? (Not about lobbying for a change in the legislation, just asking for advice).

They have an email address, and you can attend meetings. However, I don't think it's great if loads of people just email the first address on their page, who probably isn't the person who would know anyway. The meetings are tri-annual, but you can't ask questions. So does anyone have any ideas?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 01:00:08 pm
Stu - with the greatest respect, I wonder if your post above actually reveals at least part of the problem (from the terminology you chose)? The BCA and CNCC are very much your representatives. You wrote "their (personal?) stance". This is NOT any criticism of you but it's helped me start to get a grasp of what's really going on here.

Putting aside the technicalites of CRoW for a moment, certain landowners only recognise CNCC as cavers' representatives. Whatever one's opinion of that fact, it's still a fact.

This is without a doubt an absolute truth Pitlamp, though from my viewpoint this link between the landowners and CNCC in the very specific case of CRoW (technicalities aside), is possibly vestigial in that the link might not be needed. In which case maybe it's CNCC that are maintaining the status quo, and on this point I really don't know. So are they realistically representing cavers' views? It's a best guess assumption and is not intended to offend or disrespect any work done or those involved. This is (finally) turning out to be an adult discussion, as hard as some of the themes might be to discuss.

My edit: re: BCA in light of their statement about CRoW, it's exclusion and their stance on cavers pirating it would seem that organisation has (at least publicly) a stance which is at odds with mine. Which is, in a grown up world, fair. However BCA couldn't really be said to be at the vanguard of pushing for CRoW access in the way BMC did/does.

Quote
So why not make use of the existence of CNCC to thrash this one out properly. Remember, it's the Council of Northern Caving Clubs. And any group of mates can call themselves a club to get permits via CNCC - or influence the direction CNCC takes for the benefit of cavers, whether or not they favour the idea of fancy constitutions and the like.
 

I suspect this might be the way forward, if we can get a groundswell.



Quote
It seems to me there's a real lack of understanding about what CNCC's actually about. It's not a case of "us and them" - we're all in this together (as our current political leader likes to say).

By the way, I should point out that I've never been a CNCC officer myself.

Fair points all.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 01:03:07 pm
Oh, how I sometimes wish this thread was split.
We could have:
Problems with current permit systems for people not part of a club etc
Whether people want caving to be covered by CROW
Whether caving is covered by CROW
Wild accusations about North Wales

So, how does one go about contacting the Yorkshire Dales LAF, with an aim to clarifying CROW with respect to caving? (Not about lobbying for a change in the legislation, just asking for advice).

They have an email address, and you can attend meetings. However, I don't think it's great if loads of people just email the first address on their page, who probably isn't the person who would know anyway. The meetings are tri-annual, but you can't ask questions. So does anyone have any ideas?

You can submit questions (if memory serves) five days in advance. Attending might be useful in as much as getting a feel for the "vibe". Though the detail for forthcoming meetings is blank.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on March 28, 2013, 01:04:14 pm
Point taken Badlad - it does seem a bit strange.

Why not go to a CNCC meeting and ask the question directly?

Yes, I could go to a meeting and ask that question, but then the CNCC could just reply on this forum then everyone would get to know the answer.  I'm sure they will be reading this thread even though they choose not to post.

I'd like to take this opportunity to address a related point.  That is a critism which is often leveled at those who promote a view for change, "why don't you get involved to change things yourself".  This is my answer;

There are many people who give up vast amounts of their time for British caving.  I know several officers of BCA and have seen first hand the amount of effort and sometimes personal money that they invest in our sport.  I don't doubt that officers of the CNCC put in a considerable amount of time and effort too, but that is their choice and that is how they have chosen to help British caving.  Just because I, and many others, are not involved with BCA or CNCC that does not mean we do not put in a lot of effort to support British caving in other ways.  What about people who introduce young people to caving, dedicate themselves to cave rescue, run clubs, organise local area projects, organise expeditions and projects abroad, write cave guidebooks, resurvey cave systems, set up cave archives, maintain libraries, write articles, promote caving in the media, develop equipment, etc etc.  All of these things can be of as much benefit to British caving as can the work of any local or national officer.

Just because you criticise the status quo should not mean that you necessarily have to try and change it yourself.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: ian.p on March 28, 2013, 01:13:18 pm
i took up the sugestion of going to a BCA council meeting once to argue a point re the way BCRA membership is organised and to argue for free or vastly reduced insurance for under 16s on the basis of their negligable liabilty risk. jesus christ what a minefeild caving politics turns out to be there are more personal agendas in british caving than you can shake a stick at i rememer my overwhelming impression of the event being f@ck this for a laugh no wonder hardly anyone wants to get involved its not a particulalry pleasent or productive experiance and who on earth cares if IT is maniged by a working party or a sub commitee though this seemed to be the bigest issue in british caving at the time.

whilst im sure ill be told its a wild conspiracy theory i realy dont think from what ive seen of caving politics that it is at all unlikley that the main reason for activly maintaining regional access restricitions that require BCA membership is to protect revenue for the BCA insurance scheme which is fine i just wish they would be open about what theyre doing and why.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 01:20:47 pm
Twice I tried to get "involved". Once no reply (replies).

Second time I was asked by an officer "why am I bothering?". I got the impression there was a suspicion as to why I wanted to get involved.

Don't ask who, when or why. I've had a chat with a sympathetic man in the know and it's in the past. In the end I was involved with my clubs first two or three Try Caving events. Sadly (with kids of my own), I'm less able to do as much volunteering.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cookie on March 28, 2013, 01:21:45 pm
i took up the sugestion of going to a BCA council meeting once to argue a point re the way BCRA membership is organised and to argue for free or vastly reduced insurance for under 16s on the basis of their negligable liabilty risk. jesus christ what a minefeild caving politics turns out to be there are more personal agendas in british caving than you can shake a stick at i rememer my overwhelming impression of the event being f@ck this for a laugh no wonder hardly anyone wants to get involved its not a particulalry pleasent or productive experiance and who on earth cares if IT is maniged by a working party or a sub commitee though this seemed to be the bigest issue in british caving at the time.

But by making the effort to turn up, you substantially got what you wanted on both of the issues you raised.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 28, 2013, 01:25:41 pm
whilst im sure ill be told its a wild conspiracy theory i realy dont think from what ive seen of caving politics that it is at all unlikley that the main reason for activly maintaining regional access restricitions that require BCA membership is to protect revenue for the BCA insurance scheme which is fine i just wish they would be open about what theyre doing and why.

Tread carefully, Ian - you might be getting just a little bit close to the truth here.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on March 28, 2013, 01:30:27 pm
I suspect Ian is confusing BCRA membership with BCA membership here?

Under-16's do have a reduced insurance contribution.  The problem is not that they could be sued for causing the landowner problems, rather that, just like anyone else, if a problem is caused by anyone at all the landowner will incur expense in trying to sort it out, even if he is not liable.  That is why BCA issues landowner certificates so that landowners will be confident that they will not have to suffer any expense through no fault of their own. 

The other point is that for the BCA insurance to be effective it is a requirement of the insurers, NOT of BCA, that all cavers who are members of BCA must be covered by the insurance.  That includes non-caving members of caving clubs as well.  BCA can, and does, vary the payment to be made according to whether the insured is a caver, non-caver, student caver, etc.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 01:39:18 pm
Snap time's over, so I'm back, briefly.

Ian - you're a scientist aren't you? Are you really drawing conclusions from just a single experience? It's not really a comprehensive set of data is it?

Seems to me this long discussion isn't leading very far. If there are forum contributors who are motivated enough seriously to want to bring about change then go to the relevant meeting, with a formal proposal, having jumped through any hoops which are needed (yes - "sigh") - then you CANNOT be ignored. Play your cards right then those "rules" you dislike so much will actually be your greatest ally.

This forum is not used by anywhere near all of the British caving poulation, so it's fine for idle chat but it's not the place for big decisions to be made as it's not genuinely representative of all cavers. This comment is not meant as criticism of anybody - more as a suggestion for how to go about achieving objectives, if serious about them.

We have loads of common ground - we all enjoy our caving, for a start off. People like Badlad are clearly passionate about it. But sometimes it's useful to pause and analyse exactly what has to be done to get what you want, together with contemplating any possible unwanted side effects which might result.

I'd better get some work done . . . .
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 28, 2013, 01:46:16 pm
Wild accusations about North Wales

Drop the Wild, and I'll happily participate in a new thread. Nothing I have read in this thread about N.Wales is in any way inaccurate. It *is* that bad here, and likely to get worse before (if?) it get's better. Drop a link to the new thread in here.

That said, the intention of this thread, unless I've managed to miss something, is about extending CRoW to cover caves on land covered by that act.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: danthecavingman on March 28, 2013, 01:47:01 pm
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/contents (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/contents)

http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/definitionopenaccess_tcm6-10166.pdf (http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/definitionopenaccess_tcm6-10166.pdf)

Rights of public in relation to access land..

(1)Any person is entitled by virtue of this subsection to enter and remain on any access land for the purposes of open-air recreation, if and so long as— .
(a)he does so without breaking or damaging any wall, fence, hedge, stile or gate, and .
(b)he observes the general restrictions in Schedule 2 and any other restrictions imposed in relation to the land under Chapter II. .

SCHEDULE 2 Restrictions to be observed by persons exercising right of access

 General restrictions

1Section 2(1) does not entitle a person to be on any land if, in or on that land, he—.
(a)drives or rides any vehicle other than an invalid carriage as defined by section 20(2) of the M1Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970,.
(b)uses a vessel or sailboard on any non-tidal water,.
(c)has with him any animal other than a dog,.
(d)commits any criminal offence,.
(e)lights or tends a fire or does any act which is likely to cause a fire,.
(f)intentionally or recklessly takes, kills, injures or disturbs any animal, bird or fish,.
(g)intentionally or recklessly takes, damages or destroys any eggs or nests,.
(h)feeds any livestock,.
(i)bathes in any non-tidal water,.
(j)engages in any operations of or connected with hunting, shooting, fishing, trapping, snaring, taking or destroying of animals, birds or fish or has with him any engine, instrument or apparatus used for hunting, shooting, fishing, trapping, snaring, taking or destroying animals, birds or fish,.
(k)uses or has with him any metal detector,.
(l)intentionally removes, damages or destroys any plant, shrub, tree or root or any part of a plant, shrub, tree or root,.
(m)obstructs the flow of any drain or watercourse, or opens, shuts or otherwise interferes with any sluice-gate or other apparatus,.
(n)without reasonable excuse, interferes with any fence, barrier or other device designed to prevent accidents to people or to enclose livestock,.
(o)neglects to shut any gate or to fasten it where any means of doing so is provided, except where it is reasonable to assume that a gate is intended to be left open,.
(p)affixes or writes any advertisement, bill, placard or notice,.
(q)in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land, does anything which is intended by him to have the effect—.
(i)of intimidating those persons so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,.
(ii)of obstructing that activity, or.
(iii)of disrupting that activity,.
(r)without reasonable excuse, does anything which (whether or not intended by him to have the effect mentioned in paragraph (q)) disturbs, annoys or obstructs any persons engaged in a lawful activity on the land,.
(s)engages in any organised games, or in camping, hang-gliding or para-gliding, or.
(t)engages in any activity which is organised or undertaken (whether by him or another) for any commercial purpose.

I would argue that caving is most definitely open air recreation. Providing that access is made on foot, I don't see that there is a restriction. It seems ridiculous that you can walk to a cave entrance anywhere on CROW land but then not be allowed to enter the cave. It is my suspiscion that the reason no-one has challenged the access agreements is for fear of losing those agreements - restrictive agreements that may not be legally enforceable. It needs a test case - someone to walk over to Lost Johns (say) and proceed to enter the cave without a permit claiming access as per the CROW Act. If the landowner were present and to object, it would appear that as things stand he couldn't stop you provided you were in compliance with Schedule 2 restrictions. It would then surely be up to the Land Owner to push for exclusion of caving on his land via legal means, and I can't imagine that anyone would be bothered to go to the cost and trouble of fighting through the courts to stop a few potholers disappearing underground out of harm's way.
It seems that fear of land owner reprisals and denial of access based on past arrangements is the problem here- if activities upset the land owner pre CROW then he could legally deny access to cavers who would be trespassing if they went onto the said land without permission.
What's the worst that could happen now? The landowner refuses to issue any more permits? Under CROW you don't need a permit.....

Apologies if I have over simplified this or missed earlier postings that may mean I'm way off the mark.

Dan.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 28, 2013, 01:54:00 pm
Excellent post Dan and very well presented.

It has also not gone un-noticed that the following issues were ignored previously which stand "side-by-side to Dan's post;



I will point out that BCA and CNCC are run by cavers and are democratic organisations.

With regards to CNCC, is that "true" ?   Could a non-northern caving club join ?   Can an individual join ?  Is there a pre-requiste (like there is with the PDCMG) before you can join ?

In any event, why is there even any resistence to the suggestion of CRoW being a mechanism for cavers to access caves in the Dales ?   Wouldn't it make life easier for the CNCC and their volunteers ?     Doesn't it (CRoW) provide automatic liability cover for landowners ?    Isn't it a Win/
Win scenario ?

And ... why should some HAVE TO BE a BCA member to enter a cave in the Dales ?  That isn't just (prima facie) elitist but it is also "unknown" to a new adventurer beginning their life of underworld exploration ....

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 28, 2013, 01:59:29 pm
This forum is not used by anywhere near all of the British caving poulation, so it's fine for idle chat but it's not the place for big decisions to be made as it's not genuinely representative of all cavers. This comment is not meant as criticism of anybody - more as a suggestion for how to go about achieving objectives, if serious about them.

We have loads of common ground - we all enjoy our caving, for a start off. People like Badlad are clearly passionate about it. But sometimes it's useful to pause and analyse exactly what has to be done to get what you want, together with contemplating any possible unwanted side effects which might result.

In other words, keep quiet and don't rock the boat!

Sorry, Pitlamp, but you really will have to do much better than that.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on March 28, 2013, 02:02:33 pm
Re. the complaints about access in North Wales:

The Cambrian Caving Council Constitution states:

4.2  That the owners and tenants of property containing caves, have the right to grant or withhold access. Where clubs, singly or jointly, have control of access delegated to them by the owners, such access should be obtained and granted as freely as possible for responsible cavers, within the terms of those agreements. When obliged to make new agreements, the appropriate body should endeavour to ensure that this freedom is maintained and improved.

CCC does not itself enter into any access agreements, instead it leaves this to clubs or to specially constituted 'cave management groups'.  If it is felt that access is being denied or obstructed in some way by the relevant organisation and you get no result from taking it up with them, then the next call should be to CCC to complain about this. 

Note that, although CRoW does apply in Wales, there is a separate body: 'Countryside Council for Wales' which takes the place of Natural England.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 28, 2013, 02:03:26 pm
I agree that it appears be open air recreation and thus covered.

Dan, am I right in thinking that you are suggesting someone should undergo an organised, deliberate, probably publicized 'trespass'?

If so, the worst case scenario is that it goes to court, caving turns out not to be covered, landowner/caver relations are destroyed and at least one area would be rendered off limits to cavers for years.

The best case is that all the relevant landowners acknowledge the CROW rights and allow us to cave in the way that they allow hikers to walk and climbers to climb.

There are certainly scenarios in between. By all means, if you do this, let us know how it works out for you. But until then, think it through as this is an act that could have huge consequences.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: estelle on March 28, 2013, 02:12:17 pm
Something that has become clear from this thread is that different access issues (or perceptions of access issues often seen from people who don't live in that region!) vary wildly based on region and it's got harder and harder to keep track of what we are talking about on such a broad thread now on 21 pages and drifting between regional issues and CRoW. I do think as someone suggested earlier, it might be better to have some split threads to specifically cover each of the regions access issues and perhaps one dedicated to just CRoW.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: ian.p on March 28, 2013, 02:14:32 pm
Quote
BCRA membership with BCA membership here?


I am not or id have looked rather silly at that particular meeting its for a different thread but the nescesity for CIM+ or DIM BCA membership to join the BCRA is realy quite counterproductive.

Pitlamp:no ive had a lot of direct conversations and smaller meetings with varios officers from CNCC, BCA and other groups yes its had some affect but i think getting anything done is best described as like trying to walk through treacle and feels like a war of attrition id very much encourage other people to get involved if i had a slightly more static life where i could attend more meetings id probably offer to take on a role however as badlad says there are other worthwhile things to do in british caving and id rather spend my time directly taking new people caving and pushing projects untill my knees stop working at which point ill probably offer to take on a council position.

I also feel that these sorts of open forums are an equaly valid place to discuss issues at all levells whilst not all cavers are represented there are more cavers represented hear than at council they all have an equal voice theres plenty of time for thought and could be better used by regional bodys/BCA to consult the caving comunity before making desicisons or releasing statements so that they do actualy represent cavers not just the veiws of a small council.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 02:14:40 pm
I can think of several clubs which would consider supporting the idea of a trespass as acting against the interests of their clubs, with all the potential consequences for those members.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 02:15:40 pm
This forum is not used by anywhere near all of the British caving poulation, so it's fine for idle chat but it's not the place for big decisions to be made as it's not genuinely representative of all cavers. This comment is not meant as criticism of anybody - more as a suggestion for how to go about achieving objectives, if serious about them.

We have loads of common ground - we all enjoy our caving, for a start off. People like Badlad are clearly passionate about it. But sometimes it's useful to pause and analyse exactly what has to be done to get what you want, together with contemplating any possible unwanted side effects which might result.

In other words, keep quiet and don't rock the boat!

Sorry, Pitlamp, but you really will have to do much better than that.

Really? Why?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: langcliffe on March 28, 2013, 02:16:46 pm
What's the worst that could happen now? The landowner refuses to issue any more permits? Under CROW you don't need a permit.....

In the case of caves included in SSSI scheduling, quite a lot. The land owner is the guy responsible for ensuring that the caves are not damaged, and if the only way he can do that is to block access to the cave then presumably that is what he'll do. I can also imagine that the land owner may be encouraged by Natural England to only allow a limited number of trips into such caves by experienced cavers.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: danthecavingman on March 28, 2013, 02:22:48 pm

Dan, am I right in thinking that you are suggesting someone should undergo an organised, deliberate, probably publicized 'trespass'?


Absolutely not. No, that would be in nobodys interests. I am suggesting that if someone were to go caving on CROW land where there was an 'access agreement' with the Land Owner - i.e. permits for caving - and that they were challenged by the Land Owner the they could claim CROW access and the Land Owner would be powerless to stop them.

I quote again the CROW Act Schedule 2 sections q and r

(q)in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land, does anything which is intended by him to have the effect—.
(i)of intimidating those persons so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,.
(ii)of obstructing that activity, or.
(iii)of disrupting that activity,.
(r)without reasonable excuse, does anything which (whether or not intended by him to have the effect mentioned in paragraph (q)) disturbs, annoys or obstructs any persons engaged in a lawful activity on the land,.

This clearly states that if persons (cavers) are carrying out lawful open-air recreation (caving) on that, or adjoining land, then the CROW Act gives them legal protection from being deterred from going caving, or in fact being disturbed, annoyed or obstructed whilst caving.


The best case is that all the relevant landowners acknowledge the CROW rights and allow us to cave in the way that they allow hikers to walk and climbers to climb.


This is what I am hanging my hat on - that Land Owners 'get over' the past and the control they had over cavers and accept that along with walking and climbing, that caving is a perfectly legitimate open air recreational activity over which they have no control. And the fact that folk may need rescuing or anything else is irrelevant as climbers and walkers would also require rescuing if they had an accident.

Caving is still lurking in the shadows of darker days gone by when there were a lot of accidents and access was granted and lost on the whim of a farmer or land owner because they felt inconvenienced by 'bloody pot-holers'.


Dan.

P.S. The issue with canoeing / kayaking should not be brought into this arguement either, as it is far more complicated and mostly not CROW related but a totally separate issue.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 02:28:01 pm
Quote
BCRA membership with BCA membership here?


I am not or id have looked rather silly at that particular meeting its for a different thread but the nescesity for CIM+ or DIM BCA membership to join the BCRA is realy quite counterproductive.

Pitlamp:no ive had a lot of direct conversations and smaller meetings with varios officers from CNCC, BCA and other groups yes its had some affect but i think getting anything done is best described as like trying to walk through treacle and feels like a war of attrition id very much encourage other people to get involved if i had a slightly more static life where i could attend more meetings id probably offer to take on a role however as badlad says there are other worthwhile things to do in british caving and id rather spend my time directly taking new people caving and pushing projects untill my knees stop working at which point ill probably offer to take on a council position.

I also feel that these sorts of open forums are an equaly valid place to discuss issues at all levells whilst not all cavers are represented there are more cavers represented hear than at council they all have an equal voice theres plenty of time for thought and could be better used by regional bodys/BCA to consult the caving comunity before making desicisons or releasing statements so that they do actualy represent cavers not just the veiws of a small council.

Of course they're a valid place to have discussions. But not "equally" because they have no mandate to act on cavers' collective behalf, unlike an organisation such as CNCC. There are many stakeholders in the outcomes of this discussion who are conspicuous by their absence from this discussion (for whatever reason) as Badlad has rightly pointed out.

If you want change you have to have solid foundations. To build those foundations usually needs a bit more effort than a few throwaway comments on an internet forum.

I'm really not criticising anyone here - I'm just trying to help some folk realise there's a right way and an unsuccessful way to try to get what they want. That's life, I'm afraid.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: danthecavingman on March 28, 2013, 02:31:33 pm
What's the worst that could happen now? The landowner refuses to issue any more permits? Under CROW you don't need a permit.....

In the case of caves included in SSSI scheduling, quite a lot. The land owner is the guy responsible for ensuring that the caves are not damaged, and if the only way he can do that is to block access to the cave then presumably that is what he'll do. I can also imagine that the land owner may be encouraged by Natural England to only allow a limited number of trips into such caves by experienced cavers.

As long as the cavers were not doing any of the restricted activities listed in Schedule 2 then they would not be conceivably damaging an SSSI. I do not believe that 'caving' in its everyday meaning means damage to an SSSI. Digging, modifying watercourses etc, yes - they are restricted by Schedule 2. But not just going on a caving trip. Does a Land owner have to stop walkers entering and walking across SSSI land. No. I don't believe so but I may be wrong. Are climbers forbidden to climb crags in an SSSI. No. I don't believe so. Are cavers forbidden to cave in an SSSI. No......

Dan.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 28, 2013, 02:36:45 pm
Lancliffe: Perhaps. As Jenny says, N.E. haven't ever recommended any restriction to any caves on CROW land. The landowner would presumably need some evidence to show the caves were being damaged, and for most SSSI caves, you need to apply to modify the cave entrance. It just seems a little unlikely that a landowner would try restrict access through SSSI legislation.

I agree with all of your post Dan. However, do cavers ever meet the landowner on a trip? It certainly isn't common. Going caving without a permit but a copy of CROW for years in the hope of bumping into the landowner seems a little inefficient.

Clarification, or a precedent or advice surely needs to be found somewhere other than chance encounters.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: danthecavingman on March 28, 2013, 02:42:52 pm
What's the worst that could happen now? The landowner refuses to issue any more permits? Under CROW you don't need a permit.....

In the case of caves included in SSSI scheduling, quite a lot. The land owner is the guy responsible for ensuring that the caves are not damaged, and if the only way he can do that is to block access to the cave then presumably that is what he'll do. I can also imagine that the land owner may be encouraged by Natural England to only allow a limited number of trips into such caves by experienced cavers.

http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/conservation/designations/sssi/owneroccupierinfo.aspx (http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/conservation/designations/sssi/owneroccupierinfo.aspx)

"What are my responsibilities as a SSSI owner/occupier?

Giving notice
 The SSSI notification package includes a list of operations requiring Natural England's consent (formerly known as operations likely to damage the special interest). None of the listed operations can be carried out without Natural England’s consent, or the consent of another public body (provided that the other body has formally consulted us).

Therefore, if operations are not already consented, you need to submit written notice: (139kb) containing the details of the operations you wish to carry out to your local Natural England office. This applies if you wish to undertake any of these operations yourself or you plan to allow others to carry them out.

What will happen if the special interest feature of my SSSI is damaged?

It is an offence for any person to intentionally or recklessly damage or destroy any of the features of special interest of an SSSI, or to disturb wildlife for which the site was notified.

It is an offence for owners and occupiers to carry out or allow to be carried out, operations listed in the notification without our consent.

If you own or manage a SSSI that is being damaged by other people, our local conservation staff will be pleased to advise you on what can be done to resolve the situation."


So, if caving is not already prohibited by the SSSI notification, then there is no issue here. Presumably the fact that the caves are already used for recreational caving means that caving is not a restricted activity therefore the Land Owner is under no obligation to stop cavers caving.

I add the following quote from the Natural England website -

http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/access/openaccess/default.aspx (http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/access/openaccess/default.aspx)

Open Access land

Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW), the public can walk freely on mapped areas of mountain, moor, heath, downland and registered common land without having to stick to paths.

People across England now have approximately 865,000 hectares of land across which they can walk, ramble, run, explore, climb and watch wildlife as they are given the freedom to access land, without having to stay on paths.

The new rights, for which people have been campaigning for over 100 years, came into effect across all of England on 31 October 2005.

Dan.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 28, 2013, 02:53:56 pm
This forum is not used by anywhere near all of the British caving poulation, so it's fine for idle chat but it's not the place for big decisions to be made as it's not genuinely representative of all cavers. This comment is not meant as criticism of anybody - more as a suggestion for how to go about achieving objectives, if serious about them.

We have loads of common ground - we all enjoy our caving, for a start off. People like Badlad are clearly passionate about it. But sometimes it's useful to pause and analyse exactly what has to be done to get what you want, together with contemplating any possible unwanted side effects which might result.

In other words, keep quiet and don't rock the boat!

Sorry, Pitlamp, but you really will have to do much better than that.

Really? Why?


Because you are not being very successful are you?

21 pages and counting!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 28, 2013, 02:54:11 pm
Re. the complaints about access in North Wales:

The Cambrian Caving Council Constitution states:

4.2  That the owners and tenants of property containing caves, have the right to grant or withhold access. Where clubs, singly or jointly, have control of access delegated to them by the owners, such access should be obtained and granted as freely as possible for responsible cavers, within the terms of those agreements. When obliged to make new agreements, the appropriate body should endeavour to ensure that this freedom is maintained and improved.

CCC does not itself enter into any access agreements, instead it leaves this to clubs or to specially constituted 'cave management groups'.  If it is felt that access is being denied or obstructed in some way by the relevant organisation and you get no result from taking it up with them, then the next call should be to CCC to complain about this. 

Note that, although CRoW does apply in Wales, there is a separate body: 'Countryside Council for Wales' which takes the place of Natural England.

Jenny,

Thanks for this ....

We are all aware of it and, further, the BCA insurance scheme (I think) requires members to allow other members access.

The "formal" routes are hopeless, these clubs are our neighbours and "telling tales to teacher" doesn't do anyone any favours (or make any progress). These clubs would not grant access even if the CCC told them to. Furthermore, a lot of people who want access are not members of any club (why should they be?) and their only recourse is to go directly to the landowner (which they have and which has caused significant trouble) or rip off gates in pure frustration (which thay also have done and which has also, obviously, caused trouble).

I wish it was as simple as "do as you are told" but it isn't.

No need to discuss North Wales (specifically) any further, it is a distraction to the main thread - but thanks for your input.

 :)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 28, 2013, 03:06:54 pm
Apart from the fact that the BCA will likely react negatively and some power-controlling bodies will scream "unfair ref!", I can't see any flaw in Dan's argument at all ....

Best post(s) to date on this issue in my opinion.

 :)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on March 28, 2013, 03:28:30 pm
.... am I right in thinking that you are suggesting someone should undergo an organised, deliberate, probably publicized 'trespass'?

If so, the worst case scenario is that it goes to court, caving turns out not to be covered, landowner/caver relations are destroyed and at least one area would be rendered off limits to cavers for years.



I have an experience that is similar to the above. 

Before the final Three Counties Connection the media got very interested in the story as you may remember.  The BBC came up to Leck Fell to film for the day.  We informed the Estate Office of what we were doing and the agent came up to the fell to visit us.  We had some pleasant exchanges and carried on.  After completing the surface stuff we took presenter Richard Westcott down Notts 2 and showed him the dig.  We did this in full view of the agent and without a CNCC permit.  A few days later the footage appeared on BBC Breakfast television in front of 2.5 million viewers, where they had repeated live interviews up to Richard and the cavers on Leck Fell.  We had no permit and received no complaints from the estate office.

There have been some great posts in recent pages and I hope this forum could initiate some wider action on the issue of open access to CRoW land.  My interest is to persuade the CNCC to be more vigorous in their dealings with the landowners and less punitive when they catch a couple of defenseless, young university cavers under Casterton Fell.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 28, 2013, 03:40:14 pm
....  My interest is to persuade the CNCC to be more vigorous in their dealings with the landowners and less punitive when they catch a couple of defenseless, young university cavers under Casterton Fell.

.... and wouldn't their job be much easier if they only had to worry about non-CRoW land ?
 
:)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: danthecavingman on March 28, 2013, 03:40:43 pm
Apart from the fact that the BCA will likely react negatively and some power-controlling bodies will scream "unfair ref!", I can't see any flaw in Dan's argument at all ....

Best post(s) to date on this issue in my opinion.

 :)

Ian

Ian,

Thank you.

The situation is simple. In the past, caving permits were negotiated for Cavers by regional Councils to allow access on to privately owned and managed land where there was no legal public right of way / right of access. Permits were required for bonafide access and conditions on their issue imposed to protect the Land Owners assets (farm land or moorland) and minimise the impact of cavers on their livelihood. (By the way, it is worth bearing in mind that as cavers, we probably had greater freedom across some areas of land than walkers did. Never heard of anyone applying for a walking permit to go wandering around on Leck Fell for example.)

The Law has now changed and access has opened up. Landowners, Farmers, Tenants, Estate Managers, Game Keepers have all had to accept the changes and make changes to the way they manage the land accordingly.

The long and short of it, as I see it, is that if we want to go caving on CROW land, we can, provided we act responsibly and avoid causing any damage / inconvenience / nuisance.

If people want to be rid of the shackles of the permit system then the regional Councils need to approach the Land Owners they have previously dealt with and inform them that they will no longer be negotiating for access permits and that under the auspices of the CROW Act, those Landowners should be prepared to expect Cavers on their land under the same umbrella as Walkers, Runners, Climbers, Wildlife Enthusiasts. There seems little point in negotiating for access when legally, access has already been granted.

Dan.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 03:43:18 pm
Chaps, keep the thoughts coming.

There seem to be a few of us who are in agreement re: CRoW. Probably best to not espouse mass trespass type action.

Hang fire and keep your powder dry.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: kay on March 28, 2013, 05:24:01 pm

I understand your point that people who are relatively new to the scene might not find it quite so easy to navigate through what may seem a complex situation. But there are plenty of more experienced folk who would happily help guide them, if help was sought.


But equally - if you're relatively new, you don't necessarily know who to seek help from!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: kay on March 28, 2013, 05:37:21 pm

And ... why should some HAVE TO BE a BCA member to enter a cave in the Dales ?  That isn't just (prima facie) elitist but it is also "unknown" to a new adventurer beginning their life of underworld exploration ....


There are  many caves in the Dales with either no access restrictions or ones which don't require any membership of BCA. And then there area few which require membership of a BCA club (and to which a non-club DIM member of BCA can't get access either). Access requirements are easily established from the CNCC website which will be stumbled on fairly early be any new caver exploring the internet to find new caves to explore.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 28, 2013, 05:45:32 pm

There are  many caves in the Dales with either no access restrictions or ones which don't require any membership of BCA. And then there area few which require membership of a BCA club (and to which a non-club DIM member of BCA can't get access either). Access requirements are easily established from the CNCC website which will be stumbled on fairly early be any new caver exploring the internet to find new caves to explore.

That's not easy at all Kay (sorry). I had no clue that the CNCC even existed when I started caving ....  Does anyone ?

But, why should anyone be restricted by the CNCC/BCA ?   Why should a DIM member be barred from entering a cave that a CIM member can go in ?   

Why should someone who is not in a club, who has found the CNCC website then find that they are not allowed to enter a cave ?

Sorry, it is inequitable.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Rhys on March 28, 2013, 06:05:36 pm
Oh, how I sometimes wish this thread was split.
We could have:
Problems with current permit systems for people not part of a club etc
Whether people want caving to be covered by CROW
Whether caving is covered by CROW
Wild accusations about North Wales

Global Moderator Comment I shan't be splitting this thread again given the complaints I had when I split it from the specific Carno issue. This was intended to be a broad topic. However, anyone is free to start a fresh topic on any of those issues above, or more, if they wish
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Alex on March 28, 2013, 06:09:18 pm
Or we could ring bind it and send it to the house of commons...

Can someone summarize what I have missed spent the last week well caving...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 06:15:42 pm
This forum is not used by anywhere near all of the British caving poulation, so it's fine for idle chat but it's not the place for big decisions to be made as it's not genuinely representative of all cavers. This comment is not meant as criticism of anybody - more as a suggestion for how to go about achieving objectives, if serious about them.

We have loads of common ground - we all enjoy our caving, for a start off. People like Badlad are clearly passionate about it. But sometimes it's useful to pause and analyse exactly what has to be done to get what you want, together with contemplating any possible unwanted side effects which might result.

In other words, keep quiet and don't rock the boat!

Sorry, Pitlamp, but you really will have to do much better than that.

Really? Why?


Because you are not being very successful are you?

21 pages and counting!

. . . but you don't seem to understand my objective NigR, so how can you assess success? I reckon I managed to articulate the above facts fairly successfully. I tried to get across the best way to "rock the boat" as you put it. Maybe you could read it again and ponder on whether the above does actually suggest that people don't rock the boat or something else.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 28, 2013, 06:22:24 pm
Probably best to not espouse mass trespass type action.

Hang fire and keep your powder dry.

Totally agree with you, Stu.

No need at all to even consider such a course of action at the present time.

It is interesting to note, however, that the last time a series of mass trespasses were organised specifically to gain access to a particular area for the purposes of outdoor recreation they were done so with the strong backing and support of the governing national body. I am, of course, referring to the action taken by climbers to secure access to Range West at Castlemartin in Pembrokeshire and the national body concerned was the BMC. This was eminently successful and the resulting access agreement (subject to modifications) is still in operation today. Although criticised in some quarters at the time, there is no doubt that had this direct action not taken place it would have been impossible for anyone to ever climb (or surf or fish) as they do now.

Alex, you really must try to improve your powers of concentration. Do you watch a lot of daytime TV by any chance?

Fine, Pitlamp. Here's a bit more rocking for you.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Alex on March 28, 2013, 06:29:07 pm
Nope just lazy, the last 12 pages that have materialised in the week I had been away is allot to trawl through.

But as I probbably said before, the only way to get this sorted is to do so if the majority of us reach an agreement, is that forthcoming? I think the difference between us and walkers and climbers is that they had no access at all, where as we have some (depending who you know etc, you may get more) So its harder to get better access unified as we are not in as bad a situation as those groups to start with. We basically do not know what we wan't where as walkers and climbers just want access.

I though agree that the current systems can be much improved.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 06:42:21 pm
Nope just lazy, the last 12 pages that have materialised in the week I had been away is allot to trawl through.

But as I probbably said before, the only way to get this sorted is to do so if the majority of us reach an agreement, is that forthcoming? I think the difference between us and walkers and climbers is that they had no access at all, where as we have some (depending who you know etc, you may get more) So its harder to get better access unified as we are not in as bad a situation as those groups to start with. We basically do not know what we wan't where as walkers and climbers just want access.

I though agree that the current systems can be much improved.

http://www.kindertrespass.com/ (http://www.kindertrespass.com/)

Walkers did have some access Alex, just not that much. Probably similar to cavers back in the day. What the walkers did though was to take about ten leaps ahead of what cavers appear to have done by demanding (and getting) open access, whereas we do seem to have got left behind somewhat.

It was seen by some as not having much to do with walking and more a class war (rich v poor). The history is very interesting if you have time to read it. Plenty of analogies.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Alex on March 28, 2013, 06:47:02 pm
I agree its the way forward, as for points on conservation, did walkers not have the same issues? Yet they managed to overcome those problems.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: kay on March 28, 2013, 06:50:02 pm

That's not easy at all Kay (sorry). I had no clue that the CNCC even existed when I started caving ....  Does anyone ?

When I started, no. That was pre-ukc. But I quickly found Northern Caves and CNCC. I joined BCA relatively quickly, and accepted that there were some caves I wouldn't be able to visit as a non-club member.

Quote

But, why should anyone be restricted by the CNCC/BCA ?   Why should a DIM member be barred from entering a cave that a CIM member can go in ?   


Because all land is owned by someone, and if the landowner needs the assurance of PL insurance arranged by BCA, and an access system managed by CNCC, then if that's what it takes to get access, that's what has to happen.

I would like CNCC to try to include DIMs in future access agreements  - is this something anyone else would like to see happen?


Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 07:16:26 pm
Because all land is owned by someone, and if the landowner needs the assurance of PL insurance arranged by BCA, and an access system managed by CNCC, then if that's what it takes to get access, that's what has to happen.

I would like CNCC to try to include DIMs in future access agreements  - is this something anyone else would like to see happen?

The thing is Kay, the insurance issue isn't an issue if caves that are on CRoW land, and if access to said caves is given under CRoW, then the liability as I read it, isn't there. It's no different to a walker or climber doing their thing on access land.

It's already been pointed out that insurance for liability was probably never needed but caving authorities/representatives offered it up anyway (in a way that climber and walkers never seemed to need). It seems to me what was once a laudable reason for trying to gain access is now potentially causing us a problem.

I've heard the theory/conspiracy about the BCA and insurance before and don't really subscribe to it (i.e. open access in the Dales would negate the need for people to be in BCA/clubs because there would be so much "open" caving to be done -  suddenly the financial burden becomes heavier for a few or cavers in areas where the insurance is an absolute demand). There are still plenty of caves up and down the country and in the Dales (where the focus of my argument is) that would require insurance as part of the access deal and so it will always be worth my while being insured. I presume that all the none club pirates aren't members of BCA ( :shrug:) and aren't taking their share of the financial burden by not being in a club or a direct member. Perhaps they'd see fit to put their hands in their pockets if they thought their representative body was fighting their corner  :shrug: Now there is a thought!

 
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: kay on March 28, 2013, 07:27:16 pm

The thing is Kay, the insurance issue isn't an issue if caves that are on CRoW land, and if access to said caves is given under CRoW, then the liability as I read it, isn't there. It's no different to a walker or climber doing their thing on access land.


 I accept the logic of that, but if the landowner still feels he has a liability, then either one has to convince him that he doesn't, or one has to provide evidence of insurance. It's OK dealing with facts and logic, but one also has to deal with people.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 07:30:28 pm
Alex was asking for a summary. I'm not about to give him one ( :tease:) but in the language of our venerable politicians is this a plausible "road map"?:




Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 07:33:29 pm

The thing is Kay, the insurance issue isn't an issue if caves that are on CRoW land, and if access to said caves is given under CRoW, then the liability as I read it, isn't there. It's no different to a walker or climber doing their thing on access land.


 I accept the logic of that, but if the landowner still feels he has a liability, then either one has to convince him that he doesn't, or one has to provide evidence of insurance. It's OK dealing with facts and logic, but one also has to deal with people.

If a landowner already has land which is CRoW they'll be aware of it anyway surely, if they weren't why are they allowing climbing and walkers on the land?  If they are not aware of it (I can't believe that after nearly 13 years) the Act is pretty clear about indemnity (if memory serves). This of course will be dealt with in my manifesto (see my last but not quite last (!) post.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 28, 2013, 07:56:49 pm
Alex was asking for a summary. I'm not about to give him one ( :tease:) but in the language of our venerable politicians is this a plausible "road map"?:


  • Consultation with as many individual cavers as feasible to gain some consensus (through clubs/BCA/one to one?) as to whether it's a fight worth fighting?
  • Cavers (who? BCA/CNCC/breakaway group) seek to get membership to YDNP LAF or gain representation from someone already in.
  • Through LAF representation is made to the landowners, N.E., YDNPA, any and all relevant bodies etc. to get caving included in CRoW or at least clarity sought out.
  • If an agreeable outcome is made, cavers (BCA/CNCC/breakaway body?) will consider a trust based monitoring of numbers through systems and caves (internet logging system?). (There are some examples of this in the climbing world where if for instance there are a number of cars already at a venue then you find somewhere else to climb - if you try and sneak in you get told to f*ck off! Pretty effective).

Your last point sounds vaguely Orwellian Stu!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: danthecavingman on March 28, 2013, 08:12:23 pm
Yet again, this is all straightforward.

A Land Owner / Tenant / Farmer who allows cavers access to a cave on Private land can impose whatever restrictions / limitations / pre-requisites they like. This is in lieu of permission to visit the cave. This could be in way of a trespass fee, could include insurance, could require cavers to have a permit, could be a gate (locked or otherwise). Or they can deny access altogether. That is their right as the Land Owner. Their concern in cases such as this may be their livelihood or any liability perceived, actual or otherwise.

For caves on CROW land, the land owner cannot impose any restrictions as the public has a right of access to open-air recreational activities. As I pointed out earlier, Land Owners or their agents acting to deter, intimidate, obstruct or disrupt caving on CROW land would actually be subject to prosecution under the said Act. Indeed the gating (locking) or blocking of a cave entrance on CROW land would be in contravention of the Act as it hinders, obstructs and disrupts caving. In such instances, Natural England would be bound to act in the interests of the frustrated cavers and re-open the blocked entrances. That does not mean that a Land Owner couldn't fence off around an entrance to protect livestock or even place warning signs if he felt the requirement, provided that a stile or gate was put in place to allow cavers access.

It appears to me, as said earlier, that if you want to go caving on CROW land then you can provided you cave within the spirit of the Act. Insurance, Club Membership and any other considerations will not apply.

Dan.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: danthecavingman on March 28, 2013, 08:15:36 pm
I would also point out that I think it would be impossible to do a mass trespass on CROW land as you cannot trespass on land where you have legal permission to be anyway.....

D.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 28, 2013, 08:18:06 pm
Your problem there is that many entrances were not "naturally" open, so landowners do not necessarily have to maintain them & laws can be changed to restrict access for cavers if we're not careful...

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: danthecavingman on March 28, 2013, 08:33:07 pm
Mike,

You're right.

I wasn't implying that Land Owners could be prosecuted for allowing an artificial entrance to become blocked by time / the elements / wear and tear or lack of maintenance, and in these instances it would be up to cavers to work with Natural England and the regional Councils and the Land Owners to work together to keep these caves open. The impetus to keep an entrance open would have to come from cavers who wanted to use that entrance to gain access.... I know for example that DCA have a fund / grant scheme for exactly this sort of thing, as I suspect do other regional bodies. Imagine that, all those people working together for the benefit of cavers, agreeing that a permit and insurance were not required but arguing about what ratio of sand to cement to use in the repair of the blockwork.....

Dan.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Les W on March 28, 2013, 08:40:20 pm
but arguing about what ratio of sand to cement to use in the repair of the blockwork.....

5 to1  :tease:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 28, 2013, 08:43:23 pm
It appears to me, as said earlier, that if you want to go caving on CROW land then you can provided you cave within the spirit of the Act. Insurance, Club Membership and any other considerations will not apply.

This, essentially, is my own interpretation of the Act as it stands.

Unfortunately, it is not the interpretation of our own governing body (BCA) as evidenced by David Judson's statement in Descent that I quoted earlier.

If some concensus could be reached, initially at Regional Council level, then nationally, it would most certainly help ease the way towards solving most of the current problems cavers are experiencing with regard to access on CRoW land.


I would also point out that I think it would be impossible to do a mass trespass on CROW land as you cannot trespass on land where you have legal permission to be anyway.....

That's good.


Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 08:43:30 pm
Alex was asking for a summary. I'm not about to give him one ( :tease:) but in the language of our venerable politicians is this a plausible "road map"?:


  • Consultation with as many individual cavers as feasible to gain some consensus (through clubs/BCA/one to one?) as to whether it's a fight worth fighting?
  • Cavers (who? BCA/CNCC/breakaway group) seek to get membership to YDNP LAF or gain representation from someone already in.
  • Through LAF representation is made to the landowners, N.E., YDNPA, any and all relevant bodies etc. to get caving included in CRoW or at least clarity sought out.
  • If an agreeable outcome is made, cavers (BCA/CNCC/breakaway body?) will consider a trust based monitoring of numbers through systems and caves (internet logging system?). (There are some examples of this in the climbing world where if for instance there are a number of cars already at a venue then you find somewhere else to climb - if you try and sneak in you get told to f*ck off! Pretty effective).

Your last point sounds vaguely Orwellian Stu!

I hope it didn't!? Not my intention. I was citing it as an example of participants actively self monitoring. The feck off bit doesn't really happen...

Unless you're pulling my leg...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 08:47:50 pm
If some concensus could be reached, initially at Regional Council level, then nationally, it would most certainly help ease the way towards solving most of the current problems cavers are experiencing with regard to access on CRoW land.

How about the putting up of one of those online surveys things (I would have no idea if such a thing is available apart from Googling)?

Facebook, Twitter, maybe this site (owners permitting of course), plus an email to all club secretaries to forward to members etc. Simple question, some background, pro's and con's.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: danthecavingman on March 28, 2013, 08:50:36 pm
Nig,

Apologies, could you please repost Dave Judson's statement to save me trawling through all 22 pages of this thread. In any case, surely the stance of BCA is irrelevant to any cavers not signed up to or affiliated with BCA. Much the same as Walkers and Climbers don't have to belong to the Ramblers Association, or the BMC.

Thanks,

Dan.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 08:57:17 pm
Nig,

Apologies, could you please repost Dave Judson's statement to save me trawling through all 22 pages of this thread. In any case, surely the stance of BCA is irrelevant to any cavers not signed up to or affiliated with BCA. Much the same as Walkers and Climbers don't have to belong to the Ramblers Association, or the BMC.

Thanks,

Dan.

Lifted from another post on this thread:

The BCA view towards access to caves on CRoW land is unequivocal.

If you look at page 29 of Descent dated June/July 2010 (No. 214), there is a short piece entitled "Cavers and the Land". Written by David Judson (who the editorial introduction says "deals with legal issues relating to caving on behalf of BCA") it says;

CRoW does not give legal access to caves.

and

The law in England and Wales is thus absolutely clear: access to caves, whether or not on CRoW land, is entirely at the discretion of the landowner.

The editorial (presumably written by Chris Howes) describes the entire piece as;

....a clear statement for cavers covering cave and land ownership.

Also, as emphasis to the main article, it advises:

It's worth a careful read: these are the laws that govern where you can cave, and when and why you require those all important permissions and landowner agreements.


It's relevant if you're a caver as you need permits and you have to be in a club to get permits - QED affiliated to BCA. Which is a particular gripe of a lot of individuals.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 28, 2013, 09:00:20 pm
Nig,
That is also my interpretation.
I agree that reaching consensus and having this discussed with the BCA would certainly be desirable. However I think the purpose that it would mainly serve is that it would help to create some cohesion and direction within the caving community on this topic.

However, to some extent, it makes no difference what BCA or CNCC or the general caving community think as this is a legal issue. We can't legislate or judge in any number. Neither can the LAF, though they may be able to suggest what those who can might say.

I think Dan is correct in saying that the situation is currently not complicated. Predictions of any future side effects are never easy though.

If someone wants to go caving in Gaping Gill tomorrow and doesn't have a permit, membership of a club or insurance, I don't think there has been a single thing said on this thread that could be told to them to conclusively convince them that they are not legally able to do this.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 28, 2013, 09:11:54 pm
CroW doesn't give legal access to caves, it also doesn't specifically prevent you entering caves, a legal decision could go either way so "not upsetting the applecart" may prove to be the best policy - unfortunately there's only one way to find out...

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 28, 2013, 09:28:01 pm
First time that's happened! I was typing out a reply to Dan only to find that someone else has done it for me, spot on!

So I'll reply to Stu instead:

Yes, it is hoped that all the things you suggest can be put into play to help persuade the caving establishment that their interpretation of the Act is not only incorrect but, more importantly, not in the best interests of British caving. If you have any thoughts as to what points any survey should include or what the precise wording should be, please do send them on to me.


Blackholesun, we appear to be on the same wavelength. However, even though it does boil down to be a legal issue, it would be nice to be in a situation where the governing bodies, whether regional or national, show a willingness to interpret the legislation as it stands in a way which would benefit their members. This is not the case at the present time and we must attempt to change their minds. As Stu has said, we now need to find the best ways to go about this. So far as legality goes, I reckon anyone could go caving tomorrow on CRoW land anywhere in Britain totally unafraid of legal comebacks from any source, landowners included. The only threat of any repercussions comes directly from the body (BCA) supposedly set up to represent (and support?) cavers and I find this a really sad state of affairs.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 09:29:42 pm
CroW doesn't give legal access to caves, it also doesn't specifically prevent you entering caves, a legal decision could go either way so "not upsetting the applecart" may prove to be the best policy - unfortunately there's only one way to find out...

Mike

The nuclear option isn't the only option Mike. Asking through the proper and relevant bodies needn't mean the apple-cart is turned upside down and torched.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 28, 2013, 09:41:28 pm
True enough, but it hasn't done canoeing much good so far, they asked & were denied (not that the story has concluded yet)...

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: danthecavingman on March 28, 2013, 09:41:55 pm
So, the BCA Statement says:

"CRoW does not give legal access to caves" - yes it does. Quite clearly.

"The law in England and Wales is thus absolutely clear: access to caves, whether or not on CRoW land, is entirely at the discretion of the landowner."

Please could somebody produce this piece of law, so that we may have some evidence on which to debate this matter further. I for one, do not believe, that is is written in English Law, that this is the case. The point I debate here is the statement "whether or not on CRoW land". Anyone can see that on private land with no public access then we have no right to cave and access is at the Land Owner's say so.

I take issue with the part of the statement in Descent that goes as follows: "Think about it: free access to caves and potholes would be quite inoperable (and dangerous) in many situations, including such popular sites as Gaping Gill, Lancaster Hole, Ogof Ffynnon Ddu and Swildon's Hole"

If you re-phrase this, it seems that BCA are deliberately upping the perceived difficulties and dangers of allowing people underground - "Think about it: people being able to walk freely over access land wherever they wanted would be quite inoperable (and dangerous) in many situations" - sounds silly doesn't it?

In regard to caving, it is not 'inoperable' as it does not need to be operated. The perceived notion of danger is irrelevant. Climbing, walking, running, whatever you are doing all carry inherent risks posed by hazards that are part of the natural environment be they cliffs, bogs, caves, potholes etc.

The examples cited are also misleading. OFD is very carefully managed by CCW in conjunction with SWCC as it is part of the OFD National Nature Reserve. Swildon's Hole is 'managed' by the charging of a trespass fee as it lies on Private Land.

Have BCA issued this 'statement' in order to try and get out of having to act on cavers' behalfs to ensure that we can cave on CROW Land? Presumably as they think the status quo is acceptable.

I will leave this debate if someone can prove to me that the right to cave or not is at the Land owners discretion. I don't believe it is.

I go back to my earlier posts that suggest that people are stuck in the olden days and are unwilling to risk perceived repurcussions. As cavers we should be pushing for the same rights as other recreational land users, not rolling over or cowering behind our beards and doing nothing....

If we push for better access and it is granted then fine. If we push for better access and it turns out we can't have it, then we are stuck with the permit system and will have to accept that.

Dan.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 09:49:55 pm
True enough, but it hasn't done canoeing much good so far, they asked & were denied (not that the story has concluded yet)...

Mike

Is the difference not that virtually all the good stuff to paddle is access or egress on private land? As in not access land.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: danthecavingman on March 28, 2013, 09:57:56 pm
Stu,

That is the case, also Private fishing rights and the conflicts of interest are very much at the heart of it.

D.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 28, 2013, 09:59:49 pm
It looks like at least some of us are willing to stick with the current system then, at least temporarily, despite having some serious misgivings with its necessity. And it seems as if there's motivation to take this up with the BCA and CNCC. I agree, it would be good to have dialogue with them. After all, they do work to secure access and have done some incredibly useful things for caving through a lot of hard work.

Whilst this is occurring has anyone thought about contacting any landowners? I know that some places only deal with national organising bodies. However, (I know I always use it as my example), the Ingleborough (Farrer) estate deals directly with cavers. Would it be useful to write to them to explain how we wish to cave on Ingleborough and understand that there is a permit system and have previously used it, but that it seems to be fundamentally at odds with the CROW act? Perhaps they disagree with its interpretation. Perhaps not. I'd be interested to know.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 28, 2013, 10:01:21 pm
They are, but a lot of the good stuff for white water paddlers is on open access land but is now specifically excluded from access rights under CRoW in England and Wales, however, paddling on rivers is not excluded under general law...

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: damian on March 28, 2013, 10:44:21 pm
I have now read most of this thread and will attempt to deal with some of the points made. Of course this is my own understanding of BCA’s position, rather than an official BCA statement, but I am fairly confident it is an accurate summary.

1) BCA is thoroughly democratic and has getting on for 6,000 individual and 150 club members. This can make it a real challenge to reflect everyone’s views and BCA is guided by the AGM and the many representatives who make up Council. Whether people like it or not, the best way to express views is to attend a meeting and have your say. This is certainly something BCA would really welcome. BCA should not be referred to as “they” but “we”.

2) The Regional Councils and Constituent Bodies of BCA (ACI, ASCT, BCRA, BCRC, CDG, CHECC, NAMHO and WPCST) are totally independent and BCA has no say in the way they choose to operate.

3) BCA’s guidance on the CRoW Act is clear: it does not cover caving. Indeed CRoW specifically allows access for “open-air recreation” and there is good reason to think that a Court may well decide caving does not fit this definition. A landowner owns everything below their land all the way to the centre of the earth and cavers therefore need to continue to seek the landowner’s permission.

4) On the whole cavers have good relations with landowners and enjoy reasonable access as a result. However, if the CRoW Act were shown to cover caving, then it is felt that cavers would find it very difficult to secure permission for digs. If it were to be the case that a newly-discovered cave on their land would instantly bring a stream of cavers every weekend walking to a part of their land that generally sees few visitors, and this would continue ad infinitum, then many landowners would have to think very hard before agreeing to the dig. Given the importance of digs to caving, and the generally good access we currently enjoy to caves, BCA doesn’t feel it is actually in cavers’ best interests to risk everything by seeking to have caving included in CRoW.

You may or may not agree with the above, but at the moment it is the accepted democratic view. If you want to try to change this, then you know what to do.

Damian Weare
BCA Secretary
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 10:58:19 pm
Thank you Damian.

Since you're here, what would the objection be to losing the off season for fells? Or losing the need for mid week permits?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on March 28, 2013, 11:08:17 pm

An enlightening post - thank you Damian.

It will be a shock to many cavers to learn that the national caving body think open access is not in their interests.  It doesn't represent a view I hear around here and one which will leave my BMC access officer friends dumbfounded!

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 28, 2013, 11:11:23 pm
Thinking on about some of the issues Damian has reminded us; how about open CRoW on what is already available and permits for new entrance/system or a fixed period of time?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Rhys on March 28, 2013, 11:15:00 pm
Now might be a good moment to re-post a link to the Dave Judson/BCA statement from 2010 on CROW. It's on this I think the mentionend Descent article was based:

 http://www.british-caving.org.uk/membership/landownership+caves_240310.pdf (http://www.british-caving.org.uk/membership/landownership+caves_240310.pdf)

We discussed it here at the time:

http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=9925.0;nowap (http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=9925.0;nowap)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Oceanrower on March 28, 2013, 11:21:54 pm

I take issue with the part of the statement in Descent that goes as follows: "Think about it: free access to caves and potholes would be quite inoperable (and dangerous) in many situations, including such popular sites as Gaping Gill, Lancaster Hole, Ogof Ffynnon Ddu and Swildon's Hole"


Unless it's changed recently (i.e. in the last week or so) access to Swildon's Hole does have free access.

That is, access is free to all rather than free of charge.

AFAIK it seems to be quite operable (and not overly dangerous)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 28, 2013, 11:25:46 pm
Thanks for the statement, Damian.

That's fine, we'll do this without your assistance.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: timwatts on March 28, 2013, 11:36:56 pm
I've been holding off this debate for some time but reading it with great interest and feel that perhaps its time to voice my opinions.

The real motive for the debate centers around access being restricted for whatever reason.

I'm sure that we all agree that in the perfect world all access would be free and open for everyone, everyone would be responsible and educated, nothing would get damaged and everything would be perfect. Obviously not the case.

There are of course times where some restriction to access may be appropriate. Be it a cave, a mine, a rock climbing cliff whatever.

The standard modus operandi to my mind with ANY underground (or above ground activity even) should be:

Open Access for all unless a VERY strong case can be argued for and agreed upon for locking something down. I.e. protect pretties from wanker kids etc. But even then make permission as 'easy as possible' for legit cavers to obtain (Obviously there will be a sliding scale based of the individual cave).

In many cases this is exactly the case and I applaud all those who work hard, with all the right intentions.

The problem arises when human nature causes things to slip slightly. We are inherently a greedy species and many of us are obsessed with possession, and lets face it, if you've busted your guts finding access to something wonderful its very very to turn round sometimes and give it all away - i know, I've been there.

Therefore in my mind the standard modus operandi with ANY underground (or above ground activity even) should be:

Open Access for all unless a VERY strong case can be argued for and agreed upon for locking something down. I.e. protect pretties from wanker kids etc. But even then make the permission as 'easy as possible' for legit cavers to obtain (Obviously there will be a sliding scale based of the individual cave).

I keep hearing the 'the' BCA isn't there to police issue but lets consider this for a moment. Indeed Damien appears to confirm this general stance above. However, the BCA DOES have a black and white defined responsibility regarding who and what it accepts as membership

Ultimately it is a primary condition of becoming a BCA member club that (taken directly from: british-caving.org.uk/?page=121):

"1) The club has a major aim or objective that is in support of the sport of caving, mine exploration, cave science, cave & mine conservation or caver training."

Clearly, a club not supporting the activities of other BCA clubs would be directly contravening this and to my mind i would expect the BCA to discipline and member/club found to be being obtuse to this concept - the final straw being withdrawn from the membership.

If you are having serious problems with other BCA clubs or access body in obtaining access (for no good reason) then I suggest in the first instance advise the said body of your intentions and then advise the BCA that the said body is contravening the conditions of membership and ask them to act as appropriate in order to reach a satisfactory outcome.

The point being that the bias for access arrangement needs to be towards 'open' and any club or access body who appears to be being awkward with regard to this concept (potentially for empire building/selfish reasons rather than for a well defined and explained 'real' reason) should of course be challenged and as I've said above, is contravening the primary condition of BCA club membership.

Perhaps the BCA needs to be a little bit more aggressive in terms of ensuring their membership adheres its existing set of 'rules'?

There is a level of responsibility at all levels and the BCA officials, Member clubs/Access Bodies and individual BCA members all need to have a think about it.

--

If you're controlling access to a hole in the ground, are you honestly acting in the right way? Have you got a very strong and honest requirement to keep people out?

If you are asking for access, are you getting a sensible reason for being denied access? If not are you going be be responsible enough to other cavers to challange things?

If you are a BCA official, are you sure that the BCA is ensuring its membership is abiding by its own rules and are you prepared to take a responsibility on behalf of other paying members to ensure they do?


These are my own personal opinions!

Tim.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Martin Laverty on March 29, 2013, 02:54:28 am
The Countryside Council for Wales (Welsh equivalent of Natural England) have packaged their views on CRoW in Wales in a Frequently Asked Questions booklet available as a PDF from this page : http://www.ccw.gov.uk/enjoying-the-country/open-access-land/restrictions-on-access-land.aspx?lang=en (http://www.ccw.gov.uk/enjoying-the-country/open-access-land/restrictions-on-access-land.aspx?lang=en)

They preface it with "The answers given are only a guide and should not be taken as a definitive statement of the law." (my emphasis) but go on to explicitly ask "Does access on foot include pot holing and caving?" and reply "No. As the CRoW Act covers access for the purposes of open-air recreation, potholing and caving are not included in the right."

Oh dear - one wonders how much influence the BCA's legal officer's view influenced that answer.

In answer to a point raised earlier: "Is land worth less because it has been mapped as access land?" they reply that "There is no evidence that land is worth less as a result of the CRoW Act." OK, it doesn't mention caving - but for such a minority interest why would it?

On the effect on landowner's liablity thy ask "How does owners’ and occupiers’ liability change because land is accessible under the CRoW Act?" and reply "Occupiers are liable for the safety of people on their land under existing legislation. However, the CRoW Act changes the law so occupiers will have no duty of care in respect of risks that arise from natural features, rivers, streams, ponds, cliffs, ditches, or misuse of walls, fences or gates on their land, unless they deliberately created the risk or recklessly allowed it to arise. ..." You can't get less liable than that, and a cave is certainly a natural feature (with natural ventilation which is surely related to the free circulation of open-air).

And what of the sanctions available if disappearing underground were judged to be outside the implicit rights?
"How is trespass dealt with under the Act?" - "People who do not observe any exclusions or restrictions imposed on access land are trespassers and may be asked to leave by the landowner, occupier or someone empowered by any byelaws that may also apply to the land (e.g a warden). Their right of access to the land in question and to any other land in the same ownership is automatically suspended for 72 hours. Trespass on access land continues to be a civil wrong. However, breach of any byelaw, which can be enforced by wardens, would be a criminal offence with small penalties." Has anyone come across byelaws applicable to caving?

It does seem perverse to me that the BCA do not declare an explicit wish to for their Access Officer to promote the mutual goodwill of cavers towards landowners so as to move towards a general presumption of minimally-fettered access to caves, except for exceptional cases where archaeological or scientific factors come into play. Without the National Body on their side, how much harder it must be for the Regional Bodies to provide authoritative backup should it be asked for? And, while those who serve to sort out access squabbles and dole out permits and keys, replace locks, gates, etc. are doubtless to be thanked for their efforts, surely some should ponder whether the effort is always justified or just fossilised tradition?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on March 29, 2013, 06:58:44 am

It would be very useful if BCA would continue to engage with this debate.

One observation I have is that BCA appears to support a restrictive access system on CRoW (Leck Fell for example) because to allow open access may diminish cavers rights to dig new caves or entrances.  However, in South Wales, around Ogof Draenan doesn't BCA support a restrictive access system which discourages cavers from digging new caves or entrances to the point of filling them in with concrete.  Not very consistant and possible to drawn the conclusion that 'supporting restrictive access' is the common theme.  I really hope this isn't the truth.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pitlamp on March 29, 2013, 07:23:22 am
Our national body has a system for having such things properly discussed.

Why not go to a meeting and ask? I'm sure you'll be made very welcome and taken seriously.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mikem on March 29, 2013, 07:50:05 am
On the effect on landowner's liablity thy ask "How does owners’ and occupiers’ liability change because land is accessible under the CRoW Act?" and reply "Occupiers are liable for the safety of people on their land under existing legislation. However, the CRoW Act changes the law so occupiers will have no duty of care in respect of risks that arise from natural features, rivers, streams, ponds, cliffs, ditches, or misuse of walls, fences or gates on their land, unless they deliberately created the risk or recklessly allowed it to arise. ..." You can't get less liable than that, and a cave is certainly a natural feature (with natural ventilation which is surely related to the free circulation of open-air).
The problem arises that many entrances were naturally blocked and have been dug out, so it's not as clear cut as that...

Mike
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jopo on March 29, 2013, 07:57:54 am
From NigR

Quote
Unfortunately, it is not the interpretation of our own governing body (BCA) as evidenced by David Judson's statement in Descent that I quoted earlier.

Surprising use of words Nig :)

I don't see the BCA as our 'governing body' - I don't see that caving has or needs one.

I accept the fact that the BCA is generally supported as the representative body for British caving but without getting into (please) the way in which we have ended up having to pay for a useless (IMHO) liability insurance it concerns me that in at least two instances cavers have been refused access to caves in South Wales because 'I have been advised to refuse access' (I believe there is a third instance but am sure about two). It seems that having BCA insurance was of no help here.

Why this should happen recently and fairly close together, altough the caves are not, makes one wonder if they are being advised by their union, insurance agents or providers.

To most we are totally inconsequential in their scheme of things and it is always easier for (most) landowners to say no.

The post from Martin Laverty referring to the CCW (which ceases to exist on April 1st) FAQ booklet - with the usual get out clause - seems to be a important document. I have no doubt that their legal department approved it and that a similar situation (regarding landowners liability) must also exist in England.

This surely must be an area, addressing and informing the NFU and the most relevant insurers, where joined up national/regional representation could be effective.

 Jopo
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: damian on March 29, 2013, 08:29:18 am
Since you're here, what would the objection be to losing the off season for fells? Or losing the need for mid week permits?
This, of course, is 100% CNCC territory and nothing to do with BCA. However, on a personal basis, I know that the agreements are renewed (and renegotiated) annually and that every year CNCC push for greater access. Last year this resulted in 3 permits per day being granted to Leck Fell (a 50% increase) for example. Casterton has traditionally had nowhere near 100% take-up of the available permits so that makes it rather difficult to explain why cavers need more. My understanding is that the closed season on Leck is actively supported by Natural England and they liaise regularly with the landowners and their agents.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 29, 2013, 09:42:04 am
From NigR

Quote
Unfortunately, it is not the interpretation of our own governing body (BCA) as evidenced by David Judson's statement in Descent that I quoted earlier.

Surprising use of words Nig :)

I don't see the BCA as our 'governing body' - I don't see that caving has or needs one.

Sorry, Jop. Call them the "representative body" then, makes no difference really.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 29, 2013, 10:05:04 am
Since you're here, what would the objection be to losing the off season for fells? Or losing the need for mid week permits?
This, of course, is 100% CNCC territory and nothing to do with BCA. However, on a personal basis, I know that the agreements are renewed (and renegotiated) annually and that every year CNCC push for greater access. Last year this resulted in 3 permits per day being granted to Leck Fell (a 50% increase) for example. Casterton has traditionally had nowhere near 100% take-up of the available permits so that makes it rather difficult to explain why cavers need more.


Thanks Damian. I know you can't speak for BCA (or CNCC) but it is useful having your knowledge base to put things in some context or different light shed on it.

It's not really about more Damian, it's about perhaps making what access is available easier to get. If I'm in the Dales (for work, as I often am) and find myself with a gap between jobs (and work can and often does come up with just a few days notice) and I want to cave, the difficulty of getting a permit (without access to the internet or a pc) makes trying to get a permit nigh on impossible. Yet I bet on any given day there isn't a permit issued to preclude me from caving in that system. But I can't go because of no permit.

Some may say tough. Go somewhere else that doesn't require a permit. Problem is you can only do those caves so many times before they become a little tiresome (not discounting the constant use these systems will no doubt find themselves under because people can't "spread" out to other caves - not very conservation minded that I guess - honey-spotting).


Quote
My understanding is that the closed season on Leck is actively supported by Natural England and they liaise regularly with the landowners and their agents.

It'd be interesting to know or find out if Leck Fell has a closed season for walkers etc? Having had a quick snoop on NE website:


http://www.natureonthemap.naturalengland.org.uk/map.aspx?map=sssi&feature=1017310,sssi-su,HYPERLINK (http://www.natureonthemap.naturalengland.org.uk/map.aspx?map=sssi&feature=1017310,sssi-su,HYPERLINK)


Condition:      
Unfavourable no change
 
Latest assessment date:    
08 June 2010
 
Reason for adverse condition:    
Inappropriate stock-feeding, overgrazing
 
Condition assessment comment:    
This small unit covers flushes slopes above Leck Fell House The communities here are species-rich and passes its target with 6 species present. Overall there was a low frequency of broadleaved species. More that 75% of vegetation coves was of these species. There were no non-natives. On average 5-10% of cover was soft rush. This is within target but of note. However significant cover of Holcus and Ranunculus .repens indicates enrichment issues probably associated with grazing, possibly historic. There were few bare ground of disturbed ground issues although there was trampling damage at one sample stop. Disturbance was not seen within tufa features. There is little evidence that recovery is in place. The 2007 visit indicated similar nature of vegetation



The reasons for closure in lots of cases seem to be overgrazing! The site near Ireby has human interference as being unfavourable (as well as... overgrazing).

In the Peak, the NT and the Park Authority are re-seeding and repairing huge areas on Kinder Scout (amongst others). A fence has been erected around the plateau. Walkers etc are asked to find alternate routes but access isn't denied. Most people I speak to (and I'm up there a lot in Summer) seem to stick to what amounts to a voluntary ban. Give people the right information (educate) and they are more willing, it would seem from my not very scientific vox pop, to adhere to "the rules".

A ban on walkers on Leck Fell doesn't appear on the site though, which is a little odd (and inconsistent).

Frantically trying to find the source, but UK tourism was of bigger benefit to UK economy than farming was.  ;)


Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 29, 2013, 10:13:12 am
Just looking through the CNCC website:

Casterton Fell

No digging or explosives are allowed on the Whelprigg Estate’s land.


The argument for not increasing access as landowners might not allow future digs seems a bit moot really...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 29, 2013, 11:15:50 am
Thank you for those links Rhys. They were very informative. The BCA/Dave Judson statement says:

"Whilst CRoW does (with limitations) give access to rock faces, (they are regarded as land that just happens to be vertical rather than horizontal), it absolutely does not give legal access to caves, potholes or abandoned mines."
"access to caves and disused mines is entirely at the discretion of the landowner and/or occupier (e.g. the farmer)."

The thread discussing it is full of statements such as:
Langcliffe: It's a pity that it's incorrect. The CROW does not give specific permission to access caves, but then nor is access to caves specifically excluded.
peterk: The phrase "open-air recreation" looks to have no legal definition
AndyF: what should be explained in this document, not stating as "law.....absolutely clear" something which in fact is "undefined and woolly"
Rhys: It should have started with words such as "It is the opinion and policy of the BCA that..."
Alex: I should go and chop my nuts off with a pair of rusty plyers

If that document was printed it would not be worth the paper that it is printed upon. If that document informs the BCA on a point of law then I am truly disappointed in it.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 29, 2013, 11:21:46 am
Damian: If I want to change this situation, I will go to a court of law or a landowner and let it CROW and caving be decided there. BCA cannot legislate! It makes no difference what they have concluded. Standing for a position in the BCA or becoming involved with it in another way, will have no bearing on a point of law.

(This is not to say that discussion with and within the BCA would not be useful, but it would certainly not be a deciding factor for the legality of access.)

It also appears that the BCA have chosen to misinform themselves on a point of law, and thus persuasion may be hopeless.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pete K on March 29, 2013, 11:25:10 am
Remember: BCA is a membership organisation. If you want to change it, join it and get involved.
Secondly, as already stated the BCA has no influence over the policy of its regional bodies, hence the massive differences in access arrangements between groups like the DCA and CNCC. Join your local regional body (about £10) and then start lobbying.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 29, 2013, 11:28:15 am
Damian: If I want to change this situation, I will go to a court of law or a landowner and let it CROW and caving be decided there. BCA cannot legislate! It makes no difference what they have concluded. Standing for a position in the BCA or becoming involved with it in another way, will have no bearing on a point of law.

(This is not to say that discussion with and within the BCA would not be useful, but it would certainly not be a deciding factor for the legality of access.)

It also appears that the BCA have chosen to misinform themselves on a point of law, and thus persuasion may be hopeless.

Blackholesun raises an interesting point. Is it incumbent on BCA to find out what the membership want rather than wait for people to approach them? The reason I ask this is if there is an ennui, a disillusionment, a feeling of they don't speak for us amongst some cavers, they're hardly likely to want to get involved. Consequence - people end up doing what they want, when they want.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 29, 2013, 11:29:21 am
Moderators:
I've been particularly enjoying the paragraph in the BCA document which includes:

Think about it, free access to caves and potholes would be quite
inoperable (and dangerous) in many situations including popular sites such as Lancaster Hole,
Gaping Gill, Ogof Fynnon Ddu, Swildons Hole, etc.

If I were to start a thread on this, would it be merged or deleted? I feel that if it were merely buried in this thread, then others may not be able to enjoy the hilarity and inanity of it in the way that I was.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 29, 2013, 11:32:28 am
I imagine, Stu, that like the government, if you don't become active in the BCA or CNCC or make enough noise, your opinion will never be known or even asked for. Could be wrong here, though, given my lack of expertise in this field.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Alex on March 29, 2013, 11:40:59 am
I see alot of points that open access will reduce or make difficult to get permission for digs, but is there any evidence for this? For example how difficult would it be to get permission to dig on West Ingleborough, or West Kingsdale, that currently enjoy open access to the caves.

Most of the points against open access do not seem to have got any supporting evidence, for example reducing the value of land was shot down as there was no evidence for this on page 23.

Quote
I should go and chop my nuts off with a pair of rusty plyers
- Only if I am forced to go down Jingling again!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 29, 2013, 11:53:43 am
Regarding the BCA/Judson statement, the most worrying aspect is that it can (and has been) used by those seeking to control (and limit) access to influence the opinion of landowners.

It is important to consider the context in which this statement was produced. Look at the date on the document then cast your mind back as to what was taking place at that time. I could easily produce a detailed chronology of events if need be but would prefer not to have to do so.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 29, 2013, 12:03:43 pm
Remember: BCA is a membership organisation. If you want to change it, join it and get involved.
Secondly, as already stated the BCA has no influence over the policy of its regional bodies, hence the massive differences in access arrangements between groups like the DCA and CNCC. Join your local regional body (about £10) and then start lobbying.

Getting myself off topic here but my 2p-worth and it's most definitely not aimed at you Peter :

I am a member of BCA. BCA seem to have a very entrenched attitude towards access and I do think that does have an affect on regional bodies in that there isn't any attempt to influence them.

If by involved you mean "get involved" on the committee I find that notion a bit ridiculous (not you for making it I hasten to add). If every time an issue came up (I don't know - the type of padlock used on gates as a silly example) a complete change of committee had to happen to get it (because of a one issue point) then nothing would ever get done! I don't want officers in my representative body to be there on a one issue basis. The officers are there to represent opinion not dictate it. It shouldn't be a private club for people "like me". The doubters over access may deny it's an issue, I might be overstating my hand, but nearly everyone I talk to is dissatisfied with CRoW and caving as it stands. Yet this doesn't appear to be represented at National level.

If there are hard facts which back up BCA policy then fair do's. Unfortunately most of the "evidence" that is brought forward is paper thin or vague at best.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 29, 2013, 12:08:18 pm
Nig: Don't bother. I'm guessing the pertinent issue about access when that was written starts with a "D" and ends in a "raenen second entrance".
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Alex on March 29, 2013, 12:10:51 pm
Yes Stu, I am sure I got a similar response when I wanted things to change a while ago. Like you say its their job to represent our opinions  at our request, not the other way around. Imagine if the government made the same statement lol.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: peterk on March 29, 2013, 12:16:12 pm
"The phrase "open-air recreation" looks to have no legal definition" .  It isn't defined in the Interpretation section of CROW or other Acts I know of. This is obviously a common situation and AFAIK the Courts then have to reach their opinion as to its meaning and Barristers start earning.

The on-line  Oxford English Dictionary shows no occurrence of "open (-) air recreation. but it defines:
Recreation
The action or fact of refreshing or entertaining oneself through a pleasurable or interesting pastime, amusement, activity, etc. (esp. habitually); amusement, entertainment. (I was amused by this reported use:  1958   Observer 10 Aug. 2/7   Our recreation was spent in back entries.)

Open air.
Free or unenclosed space outdoors, usually exposed to the weather; the unconfined atmosphere
and
 Usu. open-air. Existing, taking place in, or characteristic of the open air.

On these definitions caving is not permitted. The examples of the use of the term  open-air  reference open air preaching, concerts etc. but also include :
"1949   A. Koestler Promise & Fulfilm. iii. i. 296   A people living underground must be single-minded..; but these qualities when carried over into open-air politics, become a grave handicap." :)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pete K on March 29, 2013, 12:41:26 pm
I am a member of BCA. BCA seem to have a very entrenched attitude towards access and I do think that does have an affect on regional bodies in that there isn't any attempt to influence them......
Luckily, I'm based in Derbyshire where in comparison we seem to have a very good access situation and a regional body that encompasses the views of both club and professional cavers.
I have not had to become involved with the BCA policy wrangling outside of an observers seat at NCP meetings. I take your point on changing the guard with every hot topic, so perhaps an alteration of my statement:

Remember: BCA is a membership organisation. Cavers could start by writing or speaking to the relevant officers in their regional council to express an interest in changing the status quo or to investigate the relationship between CRoW and caving further. If enough individuals and clubs do this then the BCA/Regional Council would have to take note.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 29, 2013, 12:46:19 pm
I am a member of BCA. BCA seem to have a very entrenched attitude towards access and I do think that does have an affect on regional bodies in that there isn't any attempt to influence them......
Luckily, I'm based in Derbyshire where in comparison we seem to have a very good access situation and a regional body that encompasses the views of both club and professional cavers.
I have not had to become involved with the BCA policy wrangling outside of an observers seat at NCP meetings. I take your point on changing the guard with every hot topic, so perhaps an alteration of my statement:

Remember: BCA is a membership organisation. Cavers could start by writing or speaking to the relevant officers in their regional council to express an interest in changing the status quo or to investigate the relationship between CRoW and caving further. If enough individuals and clubs do this then the BCA/Regional Council would have to take note.

Excellent point well made.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: braveduck on March 29, 2013, 12:50:17 pm
In one of the CROW documents put up here the word "explore" was used.
You are allowed to explore CROW lands.I would have thought the word explore fitted our activaties exactly!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pete K on March 29, 2013, 12:53:27 pm
For reference, the full CRoW act is here:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/contents (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/contents)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mmilner on March 29, 2013, 03:37:00 pm
In one of the CROW documents put up here the word "explore" was used.
You are allowed to explore CROW lands.I would have thought the word explore fitted our activaties exactly!

Yes, you are allowed to explore above ground but only in permitted 'open-air' activities.

Some good discussion going on here, keep it up...  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mmilner on March 29, 2013, 03:45:23 pm
Remember: BCA is a membership organisation. Cavers could start by writing or speaking to the relevant officers in their regional council to express an interest in changing the status quo or to investigate the relationship between CRoW and caving further. If enough individuals and clubs do this then the BCA/Regional Council would have to take note.

I agree with this, if we all start getting in touch with the relevant peeps in our regional councils we might start to motivate some investigation into these issues and maybe we could try and get some, (and maybe even some funding for), court clarification...

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 29, 2013, 03:58:05 pm
There is no need for court clarification at this stage, the initial clarification needs to come from the relevant LAF, preferably via regional bodies, at the moment I am not aware of any approach made to them. If the regional body does not act in response to cavers requests, then there is nothing to stop individuals and clubs approach the LAF directly and asking them for a ruling, there are a few routes open to us before we start looking to the courts. Its called lobbying.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mmilner on March 29, 2013, 04:03:23 pm
There is no need for court clarification at this stage, the initial clarification needs to come from the relevant LAF, preferably via regional bodies, at the moment I am not aware of any approach made to them. If the regional body does not act in response to cavers requests, then there is nothing to stop individuals and clubs approach the LAF directly and asking them for a ruling, there are a few routes open to us before we start looking to the courts. Its called lobbying.

Soz, keep forgetting about the LAF's. Have we any contact details for them, hopefully the regional councils have, but it might be useful if we could also contact them directly maybe? (Soz, if this info has already been posted, it's difficult to keep track of so many pages of this thread...)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 29, 2013, 04:07:19 pm
They all have there own web sites and show secretary and members details, scroll back a bit, I researched some of them a while ago in this thread.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: zomjon on March 29, 2013, 04:10:49 pm
Apologies for my ignorance, but I just had to look up the meaning of LAFs - Love at First Sight!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mmilner on March 29, 2013, 04:12:15 pm
Apologies for my ignorance, but I just had to look up the meaning of LAFs - Love at First Sight!

Lol, nope, local access forums!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 29, 2013, 05:36:15 pm
Remember ..... the BCA has no influence over the policy of its regional bodies, hence the massive differences in access arrangements between groups like the DCA and CNCC. Join your local regional body (about £10) and then start lobbying.


Well, I have posted the following twice with no one offering any answers. Here it is the third time ....


I will point out that BCA and CNCC are run by cavers and are democratic organisations.

With regards to CNCC, is that "true" ?   Could a non-northern caving club join ?   Can an individual join ?  Is there a pre-requiste (like there is with the PDCMG) before you can join ?

In any event, why is there even any resistence to the suggestion of CRoW being a mechanism for cavers to access caves in the Dales ?   Wouldn't it make life easier for the CNCC and their volunteers ?     Doesn't it (CRoW) provide automatic liability cover for landowners ?    Isn't it a Win/
Win scenario ?

And ... why should some HAVE TO BE a BCA member to enter a cave in the Dales ?  That isn't just (prima facie) elitist but it is also "unknown" to a new adventurer beginning their life of underworld exploration ....

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Martin Laverty on March 29, 2013, 06:16:03 pm
Jopo noted (#575) that the CCW will cease to exist on the 1st April: it is to merge with the Environmental Agency for Wales and the Forestry Commission in Wales to form Natural Resources Wales. They already have a website [ http://naturalresourceswales.gov.uk/ (http://naturalresourceswales.gov.uk/) ] but it still refers out to the CCW site for Open Access matters, including LAFs [ http://www.ccw.gov.uk/enjoying-the-country/local-access-forums.aspx (http://www.ccw.gov.uk/enjoying-the-country/local-access-forums.aspx) ] of which there are 29, plus a National Access Forum.

For the Brecon Beacons Local Access Forum (the main one for caves, at least in the south, at http://www.breconbeacons.org/the-authority/planning-access-and-row/local-access-forums/members-details (http://www.breconbeacons.org/the-authority/planning-access-and-row/local-access-forums/members-details)  ), I note that its 13 members include deputy chair, Colin Woodley (who is a farmer, and also known as Bernie, the Chairman of the Cambrian Caving Council), and David Thomas (who "was an experienced rock climber and caver familiar with caves in the Upper Swansea and Neath Valleys" prior to accident in late 80's).

With regard to mikem's point (#574) about some caves having had their entrances dug out, I fail to see how that makes them any less natural. Also, it is not unknown for entrances to unblock themselves (cf. Ogof Dewi Sant, or the better-known case of Notts Pot)... As regard the diggers, the situation may be more equivocal: are they to be protected (cf. badgers) or fair game (cf. rabbits)? The holes shouldn't be filled in anyway (cf. CRoW and bat protection laws).
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Rhys on March 29, 2013, 06:49:56 pm
Moderators:
I've been particularly enjoying the paragraph in the BCA document which includes:

Think about it, free access to caves and potholes would be quite
inoperable (and dangerous) in many situations including popular sites such as Lancaster Hole,
Gaping Gill, Ogof Fynnon Ddu, Swildons Hole, etc.

If I were to start a thread on this, would it be merged or deleted? I feel that if it were merely buried in this thread, then others may not be able to enjoy the hilarity and inanity of it in the way that I was.

Global Moderator Comment Start a new specific thread if you wish - I see no reason to merge or delete it!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: AR on March 30, 2013, 11:59:12 am
Having consulted m'learned colleague Mr. Steer's treatise....

(http://www.aditnow.co.uk/cache/Personal-Album-431/Personal-Album-431-85202.jpg)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Fulk on March 30, 2013, 12:12:28 pm
With regard to Rhys's point above: There is open access to the fine set of caves in West Kingsdale; it seems that no-one cares a fig if you go there.

To the best of my knowledge cavers don't cause much, if any damage (walls knocked down, gates left open, litter spread around etc.; though in  the 'old days' there was a problem with spent-carbide dumping by the road side).

Are the WK caves any more 'dangerous' than the ones cited by Rhys. If open access can work in Kingsdale, why not elsewhere?

I remember once talking with a tenant farmer who farmed some 'CNCC-access land' at some sort of social gathering, nothing to do with caving, and he didn't know that I was a caver. I asked him about access and his reply was to the effect that (and I paraphrase, as it was a long time ago) 'We don't mind cavers at all; for the most part they know where they are going, and go straight there (though occasionally they get lost). Then they're out of harm's way for the next few hours, and when they emerge, all they want to do is make a bee-line for the pub or the chippy. It's walkers who think they have the right to go anywhere and do what they want who cause us far more problems.'

Well, that was several years ago, and things may have changed . . . but if the guy who lives there and makes a living from the land takes that attitude, it makes me wonder why there are so many problems.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on March 30, 2013, 12:40:35 pm
The answer is that he's a tenant farmer and the access depends on the landowner's say-so and not his.

We have had a similar situation in the Peak in the past but in that case it was the farmer who was unhappy and refused all access; DCA approached the Estate which owned the land and they were persuaded to allow access under certain conditions.  DCA had to agree to fence off the land around the entrance and put in a stile, to advertise the specific route across the private land to the entrance and also to put a lid over the hole in the ground - which is, as usual, kept fastened by a captive bolt requiring a 'Derbyshire key'.  We also had to use a particular patch of land nearby for parking off the road and changing and we have to maintain this patch and its gate.  No permits or keys required in this case and you don't have to call for permission or bother the farmer at all so it's worked well ever since.

It does appear that the landowner of the Leck/Casterton area insists on a permit system and created a great deal of fuss recently over cavers pirating the caves, having caught people on the land and also read accounts on club websites which recorded 'unauthorised' visits.  If this is actually CRoW land it would suggest that the estate concerned have taken legal advice and been advised that caving is not a permitted activity under the Act. 

It would probably cost quite a bit in legal fees if this were to be challenged in court, so where would the funding for this come from - BCA, CNCC?  However, it sounds as if many of the people wishing it to be challenged also refuse to belong to BCA or to a BCA member club on the grounds that it does nothing for them.  So why should BCA fund such a challenge and where would it get the funds to do so?

I'm not suggesting that there should never be a challenge - I'm just trying to be realistic about the chances of finding the funds to do so and being successful if you did.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: danthecavingman on March 30, 2013, 12:50:25 pm
I realise that some of this, I have posted previously, however, here are some interesting bits regarding the CRoW Act on the DEFRA pages. This is from a Government Department, so fairly high level stuff:

It would seem that there has been considerable thought gone into what is restricted on CRoW land:

http://archive.defra.gov.uk/rural/countryside/crow/restrict.htm (http://archive.defra.gov.uk/rural/countryside/crow/restrict.htm)

General restrictions

The right of access introduced by the CROW Act is for open air recreation on foot. Activities like bird watching, picnicking, climbing and running are included under the new right. Other activities, however, are covered by restrictions excluding them from the right of access. Unless the landowner or occupier gives their permission for these activities to be carried out, or they are included in the terms of other rights of access apart from the CROW Act, then anyone engaging in any of these activities on CROW access land will be trespassing.

The restrictions are:
•Riding a horse or bicycle
•Driving a vehicle (unless it is an invalid carriage)
•Taking an animal, other than a dog onto the land
•Camping
•Organised games
•Hang-gliding or paragliding
•Using a metal detector
•Commercially-run activities on the land
•Swimming in, or using boats or sail boards on, non-tidal rivers, lakes and so on
•Taking anything away from the land, like stones, fallen wood or plants
•Lighting, causing or risking a fire
•Damaging hedges, fences, walls, crops or anything else on the land
•Leaving gates open, that are not propped or fastened open
•Leaving litter
•Intentionally disturbing livestock, wildlife or habitats
•Posting any notices
•Committing any criminal offence

Please note - Caving is not listed as a restricted activity. It clearly states "The restrictions are" it does not say "The restrictions include"

I would direct you to the link below:

http://archive.defra.gov.uk/rural/documents/countryside/crow/general-restrict.pdf (http://archive.defra.gov.uk/rural/documents/countryside/crow/general-restrict.pdf)

Please take time to consider the following from that document:

"Section 2:
2. The foreword to the 1998 consultation document “Access to Open
Countryside in England and Wales” issued jointly by the Department of the
Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Welsh Office, set out some
broad principles underlying the Government’s desire to secure more and better
access to open countryside. In particular it stated:
• We are firmly committed to achieving our objective of securing greater
access to open countryside. This will benefit a wide range of people —
from experienced fell walkers to those who simply wish to get out into the
open air near to where they live. They will be able to improve their health;
to experience the wonders of wildlife and the beauty of fine landscapes; to
learn about countryside activities; and to refresh their spirits.
• We are determined that those who enjoy extended access should be
responsible: the countryside and people’s property and livelihoods must
continue to be respected and properly protected.
We believe that these broad principles should be kept in mind in construing the
Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 which resulted from these proposals.


Section 3:
3. This note is provided for guidance only and does not provide an authoritative
interpretation of the legislation, which is a matter for the courts
who would take
into account all the facts relevant to an individual case. However, once we have
experience of how the legislation is operating in practice we will, if appropriate,
make any necessary amendments.

Section 4:
4. The right of access is a right for the purposes of open-air recreation. People
are not entitled to use the right to carry out activities which do not constitute
open-air recreation. Examples of open-air recreation are walking, sightseeing,
bird-watching, climbing and running. Examples of activities which we consider
are not forms of open–air recreation are political rallies, filming activities and
professional dog walking. The right of access cannot in our view be relied on to
undertake such activities, so consideration of the general restrictions in Schedule
2 is not relevant."

I would imagine that Caving has more in common, in the spirit of the Act, with walking, climbing and running. The restrictions on what might be 'mis-intepreted' as open-air recreation, e.g. political rallies, filming activities and professional dog walking - are clearly a million miles from caving.

Also, please note the following:

http://archive.defra.gov.uk/rural/documents/countryside/crow/landmanagers-guide.pdf (http://archive.defra.gov.uk/rural/documents/countryside/crow/landmanagers-guide.pdf)

"What does removing or relaxing a general restriction do?
5. The effect of removing or relaxing a general restriction is to ensure that a person engaging in an activity which would not otherwise be allowed under the right of access is not regarded as a trespasser.
6. It is not necessary for a restriction to be removed or relaxed for the lawful activities that it covers to be carried out. You may, for instance, prefer to permit members of the public to engage in recreational activities on your land on an informal basis, without extending the right of access to include them (i.e. by removing one or more or the general restrictions).
7. However, because section 13 of the Act reduces an occupier’s liability towards members of the public exercising the right of access to the lower level usually owed to trespassers, removing or relaxing a general restriction means that an occupier’s liability towards a person who is engaged in an activity allowed by the removal or relaxation will also be similarly reduced."

So if it went to Court and Caving was ruled to be a restricted activity, it would far from mean the end of Caving on CRoW land. We could simply accept that Caving is restricted and requires the Land Owner's permission, as is supposed currently; the permit systems could remain and caving would continue as it does now.
More interestingly, if Caving were to be listed as a restricted activity, under the scope of the Act, the Landowner could apply to have the restrictions for that activity (Caving) removed or relaxed, thus reducing the liabilities associated with Caving, this would be a very good get around for the whole insurance / permits situation.

A bit more food for thought?

Dan.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 30, 2013, 02:19:56 pm
The answer is that he's a tenant farmer and the access depends on the landowner's say-so and not his.

We have had a similar situation in the Peak in the past but in that case it was the farmer who was unhappy and refused all access; DCA approached the Estate which owned the land and they were persuaded to allow access under certain conditions.  DCA had to agree to fence off the land around the entrance and put in a stile, to advertise the specific route across the private land to the entrance and also to put a lid over the hole in the ground - which is, as usual, kept fastened by a captive bolt requiring a 'Derbyshire key'.  We also had to use a particular patch of land nearby for parking off the road and changing and we have to maintain this patch and its gate.  No permits or keys required in this case and you don't have to call for permission or bother the farmer at all so it's worked well ever since.

DCA do seem to have a very proactive and modern view on access. Glad I live in Sheffield.

Quote
If this is actually CRoW land it would suggest that the estate concerned have taken legal advice and been advised that caving is not a permitted activity under the Act.

To be fair Jenny unless you know different it suggests nothing. It'd be like me suggesting CNCC had the word with the estate... which of course I'm not.

Quote
It would probably cost quite a bit in legal fees if this were to be challenged in court, so where would the funding for this come from - BCA, CNCC?  However, it sounds as if many of the people wishing it to be challenged also refuse to belong to BCA or to a BCA member club on the grounds that it does nothing for them.  So why should BCA fund such a challenge and where would it get the funds to do so?

Hands up who is in BCA (CIM or DIM) and unhappy with CRoW access. My hand is in the air. Again with respect Jenny, it doesn't sound like anything. The people I know who are unhappy are all club members.

Quote
I'm not suggesting that there should never be a challenge - I'm just trying to be realistic about the chances of finding the funds to do so and being successful if you did.

Fair point, but the first case scenario would be LAF, which wouldn't cost ( :shrug:).
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 30, 2013, 02:24:13 pm
A bit more food for thought?

Dan.

Good points Dan.

Interesting that at least two of the restricted activities (organised activity and camping) are pretty ubiquitous on CRoW land. Yet the landowners are either unaware of it (really?) or actually don't give two hoots and are a lot more forgiving and open to allowing things to happen on their land as long as it doesn't cause damage etc.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 30, 2013, 09:27:14 pm
However, it sounds as if many of the people wishing it to be challenged also refuse to belong to BCA or to a BCA member club on the grounds that it does nothing for them.  So why should BCA fund such a challenge and where would it get the funds to do so?

I am a member of a club, and I presume by extension, the BCA.

Hands up who is in BCA (CIM or DIM) and unhappy with CRoW access. My hand is in the air. Again with respect Jenny, it doesn't sound like anything. The people I know who are unhappy are all club members.

My hand is firmly in the air, but I think everyone gathered that already.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 30, 2013, 09:53:18 pm
ORDER, ORDER, I would like to bring to this house the facts that are in debate, based upon the situation as it now stands and the situation which we hope to acheive; viz;

1. The CRoW act was set up to allow open air recreation..Fact!
2. Is caving an open air recreation?
3. Has cave access ever been officially challenged on CRoW land by a caver, if so, by whome?
4. What was the result?
5. References to other activities, allowable or not, will not proceed our case, caving is a specialist pasttime, and should be considered as such.
6. There is an established route for querying CRoW access procedures via LAF, has anyone tried this on behalf of cavers?
7. If not, Where does the responsibily lie ?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 30, 2013, 10:00:25 pm
I think Dan was suggesting that it was incumbant on the landowner to demonstrate that he could prohibit access to cavers on CRoW land and not vice-versa. Without reading back, I am pretty sure Dan gave some examples ....

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 30, 2013, 10:13:21 pm
I think Dan was suggesting that it was incumbant on the landowner to demonstrate that he could prohibit access to cavers on CRoW land and not vice-versa. Without reading back, I am pretty sure Dan gave some examples ....

Ian

Read the act.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Les W on March 30, 2013, 11:06:12 pm
I am a member of a club, and I presume by extension, the BCA.

Not by extension.
If you have a green card (Club Individual Member) then you are an individual member of BCA. Your membership services are somewhat restricted (which is why it is a cheaper membership) but include: Insurance, the right to attend the AGM and vote on any motions so raised there and the right to raise such motions in accordance with the constitution.

The only real differences between CIM and DIM membership is that as a CIM you don't get the publications and you pay less money. All the other rights and privileges of membership are yours...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 30, 2013, 11:10:22 pm
I think Dan was suggesting that it was incumbant on the landowner to demonstrate that he could prohibit access to cavers on CRoW land and not vice-versa. Without reading back, I am pretty sure Dan gave some examples ....

Ian

Read the act.

I have read it. I have seen the arguments presented on both sides. I have seen the examples given.

I accept the "act" is silent (does not say caving is or is not covered).

I understand the reference to "open air".

I see clearly the viewpoint that is held by some that CRoW does not cover caving and I see why that viewpoint is held.

I see that that (hate double words) may well be correct (not included because it is not open air)

I would like to believe that Dan is right and the position with the climbers appears to support it. His scenario was also very logical.

That doesn't mean Dan is right - but I think it is "fair enough" that I hope he is ....

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 30, 2013, 11:29:33 pm
OK Jackal------etc, Have you taken your concerns to; 1. Regional Body?   2, LAF? there's no point in arguing unless you have a case to argue against. :)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 30, 2013, 11:30:16 pm
3. Has cave access ever been officially challenged on CRoW land by a caver, if so, by whome?
4. What was the result?

Hi Bograt,

Just want to check that I correctly understand your question before I answer it.

Do you mean has a caver ever attempted to enter a cave on CRoW land without permission whilst in the presence of the landowner and what happened as a result?

Thanks.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on March 30, 2013, 11:41:42 pm
I am a member of a club, and I presume by extension, the BCA.

Not by extension.
If you have a green card (Club Individual Member) then you are an individual member of BCA. Your membership services are somewhat restricted (which is why it is a cheaper membership) but include: Insurance, the right to attend the AGM and vote on any motions so raised there and the right to raise such motions in accordance with the constitution.

The only real differences between CIM and DIM membership is that as a CIM you don't get the publications and you pay less money. All the other rights and privileges of membership are yours...

Cheers Les.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 30, 2013, 11:44:30 pm
NigR, that is not what I specifically had in mind but if you have had experience of this it could give some more meat to the debate.
 What I really had in mind when I posted was has any caver ever claimed to have a "right to roam (underground)" under the act, if so to whome --etc.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: kay on March 31, 2013, 12:32:05 am

The only real differences between CIM and DIM membership is that as a CIM you don't get the publications and you pay less money.

And you have access to caves that you don't have access to as a DIM.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 31, 2013, 12:44:38 am
Kay, please give an example to pass on to the LAF.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 31, 2013, 12:50:53 am
3. Has cave access ever been officially challenged on CRoW land by a caver, if so, by whome?
4. What was the result?

Hi Bograt,

Just want to check that I correctly understand your question before I answer it.

Do you mean has a caver ever attempted to enter a cave on CRoW land without permission whilst in the presence of the landowner and what happened as a result?

Thanks.

NigR, that is not what I specifically had in mind but if you have had experience of this it could give
some more meat to the debate.
What I really had in mind when I posted was has any caver ever claimed to have a "right to roam (underground)" under the act, if so to whome --etc.

OK, this should answer most of what you had in mind:

There is a cave on CRoW land where the landowners will not allow access. They have been advised not to do so by the Cave Management Group for the area. Local cavers have continued to exert their "right to roam (underground)" despite this prohibition. On four different occasions cavers have been challenged by the landowners after exiting the cave, each time on the public highway whilst returning to their vehicles. The landowners made it patently clear that, in their opinion, the CRoW Act does not apply to caves. They also quoted directly from the BCA/Judson Statement on Access to help back up their arguments. There could have been other similar instances but these are the only ones of which I am aware. I was not actually present in person at any of the incidents I have described.

Is this the sort of thing you were after?


Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 31, 2013, 02:18:38 am
YES, these are the incidents we need to record, though this could be in Wales, (different  rules, different LAF's)  this could be looked at in the wider spectrum.
 I encourage everyone else to think about this way of looking at it.

 As I understand it now, anything that carries the name "Judson" is not recognised by the BCA.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on March 31, 2013, 02:32:30 am
YES, these are the incidents we need to record, though this could be in Wales, (different  rules, different LAF's)  this could be looked at in the wider spectrum.
 I encourage everyone else to think about this way of looking at it.

 As I understand it now, anything that carries the name "Judson" is not recognised by the BCA.

So you are saying that the sequence of events after incidents such as this should be:

1. Record incident

2. Pass information on to Regional Council

3. Ask that they pass it on to LAF

Is that correct?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 31, 2013, 07:02:32 am
As I understand it now, anything that carries the name "Judson" is not recognised by the BCA.

What, even the BCA's own website? (http://british-caving.org.uk/?page=8)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 31, 2013, 08:03:25 am
OK Jackal------etc, Have you taken your concerns to; 1. Regional Body?   2, LAF? there's no point in arguing unless you have a case to argue against. :)


Well, I could do but I have been waiting for answers (from anyone who knows) to the following (this is the 4th time I have posted it);



I will point out that BCA and CNCC are run by cavers and are democratic organisations.

With regards to CNCC, is that "true" ?   Could a non-northern caving club join ?   Can an individual join ?  Is there a pre-requiste (like there is with the PDCMG) before you can join ?

In any event, why is there even any resistence to the suggestion of CRoW being a mechanism for cavers to access caves in the Dales ?   Wouldn't it make life easier for the CNCC and their volunteers ?     Doesn't it (CRoW) provide automatic liability cover for landowners ?    Isn't it a Win/Win scenario ?

And ... why should some HAVE TO BE a BCA member to enter a cave in the Dales ?  That isn't just (prima facie) elitist but it is also "unknown" to a new adventurer beginning their life of underworld exploration ....

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: kay on March 31, 2013, 10:06:28 am
Kay, please give an example to pass on to the LAF.

Lancaster Hole, County Pot, anything on Leck Fell, any of the entrances to Gaping Gill, to name but a few.
All these require a request on club headed notepaper, so aren't available to DIMs unless they belong to a club.

Being a DIM in the Dales gives you the publications, and it makes it easier to join a club because you're already insured and don't have to fit in your decision to join within the 17 day temporary membership period. But it doesn't increase your access to caves.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Glenn on March 31, 2013, 10:12:34 am



I will point out that BCA and CNCC are run by cavers and are democratic organisations.

With regards to CNCC, is that "true" ?   Could a non-northern caving club join ?   Can an individual join ?  Is there a pre-requiste (like there is with the PDCMG) before you can join ?

In any event, why is there even any resistence to the suggestion of CRoW being a mechanism for cavers to access caves in the Dales ?   Wouldn't it make life easier for the CNCC and their volunteers ?     Doesn't it (CRoW) provide automatic liability cover for landowners ?    Isn't it a Win/Win scenario ?

And ... why should some HAVE TO BE a BCA member to enter a cave in the Dales ?  That isn't just (prima facie) elitist but it is also "unknown" to a new adventurer beginning their life of underworld exploration ....

Ian
[/quote]

Hi ian, I was travelling when this thread kicked off, and have had other things to do since arriving here, hence why this could be seen as a late reply. I have not followed or read through all pages of this thread. But to answer your specific question about CNCC. It does what it says on the tin. It is the Council of Northern Caving Clubs. CNCC is "managed" by its full member clubs, as set out in the CNCC Constitution, none of the officers (Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer) have a vote.  I'm surprised you asked this question 4 times as all the information you need on CNCC is on the CNCC website.

The last time this topic kicked off, I invited anyone from this forum who wanted to see change within CNCC to attend CNCC meetings - no one turned up. Currently, CNCC is, as I stated, managed by northern caving clubs who are, as confirmed at the CNCC AGM a few weeks ago, happy with the way CNCC operates.

If you belong to a northern caving club, speak to your clubs CNCC rep. or get your club to attend CNCC meetings.

I have things to do now,

Cheers,

Glenn
via the Speleo Vercors wifi LAN at La Jarjatte-en-Vercors
www.speleo-vercors.org (http://www.speleo-vercors.org)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on March 31, 2013, 10:42:17 am

The last time this topic kicked off, I invited anyone from this forum who wanted to see change within CNCC to attend CNCC meetings - no one turned up.


Won't be any different this time, Glenn, either.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on March 31, 2013, 11:38:59 am
There might be many reasons why people don't get involved. One of them might be that an organisation has such an entrenched position on a subject that joining won't make the blindest bit of difference. I wholeheartedly disagree with everything the BNP stand for - me joining that organisation is hardly going to change their viewpoints.

The BCA have laid their cards on the table (re: Judson statement and the latest Casterton response) and CNCC is there to liaise with the landowners for permit access - that is CNCC raison d'etre. Hardly conducive to what the CRoW cave access lobby want is it? What is the CNCC position for pushing CRoW access? More of the same? I know your response. But I'll bet a years worth of my wages that I know their answer already.

Just to be clear about something: when people express dissatisfaction with either BCA or CNCC on a given subject (or regional body of choice) it's not personal you know. I realise it's easy to get defensive (and some of the statements are, which is a pity) but the debate isn't an attack on the person or what they've achieved in the past. It's fair to say that the CRoW lobby would like to see less reactionary positioning and a bit more radicalism.

As for doing something, LAF is the most obvious route. Seems a shame that it'll probably end up by-passing BCA and CNCC altogether.


Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 31, 2013, 11:56:41 am
As Stu says, don't think the discussion about CROW is generally meant to discount anything CNCC has done. A huge amount of work has been done by volunteers in this group for the great benefit of cavers.

However, I think CROW gives me right of access to certain caves. That is my interpretation of it. Therefore as a citizen of the UK, I should be able to cave in caves on CROW land without first seeking the landlords permission, without being a member of a club, without being a member of BCA and without the CNCC.

Why attend a CNCC meeting and try to persuade others that it would be a good idea to be able to cave on CROW land without permits when I think that the government has passed legislation which has allowed us to this for the last 8 years?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on March 31, 2013, 12:57:11 pm

I welcome at least one reply from a CNCC member in over 600 posts.


The last time this topic kicked off, I invited anyone from this forum who wanted to see change within CNCC to attend CNCC meetings - no one turned up.


Won't be any different this time, Glenn, either.
To give one possible answer to Graham's cynicism.  Anyone with even a passing interest in CNCC will be aware of the bitter dispute which rages over the placement of anchors in caves.  The simple task of agreeing a method for installing anchors should be straight forward you would think - but no.  A drawn out battle has been going on for years between individuals of CNCC and others (BCA, E&TC, CSCC) to the point where officers have resigned, refused to work with one another and generally created a complete impasse so that even the massively talented negotiating skills of the BCA chairman have so far failed to find compromise.  This is all in the public domain through CNCC minutes and elsewhere.

I suggest that it's this sort of publicised behaviour that puts ordinary cavers from getting involved or attending CNCC meetings.  If they can't even agree who can put a bolt in then...........

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 31, 2013, 01:04:56 pm
YES, these are the incidents we need to record, though this could be in Wales, (different  rules, different LAF's)  this could be looked at in the wider spectrum.
 I encourage everyone else to think about this way of looking at it.

 As I understand it now, anything that carries the name "Judson" is not recognised by the BCA.

So you are saying that the sequence of events after incidents such as this should be:

1. Record incident

2. Pass information on to Regional Council

3. Ask that they pass it on to LAF

Is that correct?

A good starting point, if the regional council does not take action, approach the LAF yourself.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: braveduck on March 31, 2013, 01:18:43 pm
CROW  Byelaws  No.17 b.
Says LAF's have the power to protect items on and IN CROW lands!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on March 31, 2013, 01:21:48 pm
It would seem that the situation as regards access for cavers on CRoW land does warrant further investigation, given that the opinion given by Judson on behalf of BCA is being quoted by a landowner to cavers and that there are some who feel that this opinion may not be correct. 

I would suggest that the sensible way to approach this is to for a BCA member (individual or club) to put a proposal to the BCA AGM in June requesting:
That BCA investigates the position with regard to access to caves on CRoW land and reports back to BCA Council as soon as possible.

I would suggest that the investigation should start by listing all the caves known currently to be on CRoW land in England and Wales and recording whether access is currently:
1.  Administered on behalf of the landowner/tenant by some type of access organisation run by cavers and open only to clubs and, if so, by whom it is administered (i.e. regional council, management committee or club);
2.  Administered on behalf of the landowner/tenant by some type of access organisation run by cavers etc. and open to both clubs and individuals.
3.  Managed by the landowner/tenant who requires cavers ask their permission and expects them to make the request via their club;
4.  Managed by the landowner/tenant who requires cavers ask their permission and is prepared to grant it to individual cavers;
5.  Is effectively free and open to all without any permission being required from anyone.

It would also be worth recording whether either Natural England or Countryside Council for Wales is involved in any way in the arrangements listed above or has given advice on them.

Once you have a clear idea of the situation overall as it is now and, given that there may well be a number of sites covered by no. 5 above, it would then be possible to have a sensible debate on:
a)  Whether the present situation is regarded as unsatisfactory by a substantial majority of cavers and needs to be challenged in some way;
or
b)  Whether the present situation is felt to be generally satisfactory but some concerns need to be addressed.

If a) above turns out to be the case, then BCA would have a clear mandate to go about attempting to change things.

This isn’t a recipe for quick action but it should enable cavers to see whether there really is a problem which needs to be addressed or whether it is simply a few unhappy people complaining.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on March 31, 2013, 01:27:04 pm
A sensible approach, as always Jenny.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 31, 2013, 01:41:16 pm
Seems like a good idea, for the BCA side of things. Talking with BCA is only one side of the issue, and not necessarily the most important side but it would be good to have that dialogue in June.

The concern I have with that procedure is that there would be a list of caves, but no scale of their importance or popularity. Simply by looking at the numbers may not give the clear idea hoped for. For example you don't need a permit if you want to experience the horrors of Echo Pot, but you do for Lost Johns'.
 
This doesn't necessarily make it not worth doing, but I'm not sure how you'd discuss such a list at an AGM without spending a very long time reading it out.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: danthecavingman on March 31, 2013, 01:57:37 pm
Blackholesun, Stu, NigR and others,

Finally, people are getting the essence of what I have been trying to get across.

None of this is about dismissing or undoing any of the sterling work that has been done in the past by Regional Access Councils or Cave Management Comittees to secure access to caves where, without their assistance, we would have had no access at all or very limited access at best.

It is about our rights as UK citizens under UK law, to exercise our right to 'Open-air Recreation' on access land, as defined by the CRoW Act.

I came into this debate to try and be objective and get people talking about the CRoW Act using 'real' background material, not speculation, hearsay, rumour etc. I hope I have gone some way to acheiving that.

My personal slant on this is as follows:
I am no longer a club member (btw I was a club caver for over 20 years). I cave very infrequently and do not want to be a part of the club scene anymore. I don't want caving insurance. I don't want to have to jump through all those hoops to get a permit to go caving in some of the finest caves in Britain.  What I want to do is to be able to turn up, for example, at Bull Pot Farm, with a couple of mates, get changed, walk across the fell and go caving. Simple as that.

What I don't want to do, in excercising that right is upset land owners and cause untold problems within the already well established status quo, whether that be right or wrong.

I am suggesting that the BCA and Regional Councils should acknowledge the exisitence of this cross section of the caving population, and try to support our right to want to go caving on access land, rather than the other way round.

I accept, that a lot of the work that is done securing and maintaining access, is voluntary or funded by subscriptions. I have no proposed solution as to how to get around this. I might suggest however that a big tin, for example on the gate at BPF and a notice along the lines of 'Access to the Caves on Leck and Casterton Fells is free to all under the CRoW Act. Natural England, The BCA and CNCC are working with the Land Owners to maintain this open access. Much of this work is voluntary, your considered donation will go some way to help us manage this ongoing access and ensure the preservation and conservation of these precious environments for future generations to enjoy.'. I would happily put my hand in my pocket....

Open access could be such a good thing if everyone were to pull together to sort it out. I understand that Land Owners may have concerns. Natural England may have concerns given that many caves and their approaches may well be SSSIs. These sorts of things do not stop Walkers, Climbers etc. enjoying their chosen past-time. To put it into perspective, try and imagine having to join a Walking Club, pay a subscription, pay for insurance etc, simply to be allowed to walk up your local hill....

"I fancy going for a walk up Mam Tor this afternoon...", "Sharp intake of breath, sucking through teeth... well, are you in a club?", "No, do you need to be in one?", "Well there's insurance for a start, you'll need that. And only recognised clubs can get a permit for Mam Tor. You'll need to get written permission six weeks in advance. Oh, and you can't go on Wednesdays. Or Fridays."

I fully subscribe to the fact that the situation for caving on Private or non-CRoW land is entirely different and if I wish to cave in those circumstances then Club membership, insurance, permits, keys or whatever may be a pre-requisite. I will not be caving in those areas.

Dan.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: peterk on March 31, 2013, 02:02:08 pm
CROW  Byelaws  No.17 b.
Says LAF's have the power to protect items on and IN CROW lands!
That line is from Schedule 2 of CROW. It's not about access; it is the preamble to the schedule of restrictions - damage to roots, fence posts etc. in the ground.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: potholer on March 31, 2013, 02:17:22 pm
As for doing something, LAF is the most obvious route. Seems a shame that it'll probably end up by-passing BCA and CNCC altogether.
To be honest, might that not be the best way anyway?

If there was some serious approach and/or test case which failed to get caving recognised as an explicitly allowed activity, that would possibly be better done by people quite clearly not connected with the existing access arrangements?
For the BCA/CNCC to be seen as being behind a failed attempt to bypass existing access agreements might make their future negotiations with some landowners rather tricky.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on March 31, 2013, 02:23:17 pm
I think that if there is one post to read on this thread, it would be the one just written by Dan.

For those who agree with the post, it doesn't seem like any more clarification of the situation or the desired end situation is required. Making the changes should be the focus.

Does anyone know when the next meeting is for the LAF for the Yorkshire Dales?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on March 31, 2013, 02:54:12 pm
This doesn't necessarily make it not worth doing, but I'm not sure how you'd discuss such a list at an AGM without spending a very long time reading it out.

I wasn't suggesting that such a list should be read out at the AGM, rather that, if such a proposal were to be made, the list might give guidance on how to start the process of identifying the various caves and how access to them was dealt with.

Quite agree that there are caves of varying importance on CRoW land - in fact John Wilmot produced a document for NCA many years ago which was a survey of cave conservation & access in G.B. (can't recall the exact title but I have a copy somewhere).  This listed caves in all regions, separating them into those of 'national', 'regional' and 'local' importance.  You could classify the caves identified as part of your survey in a similar way.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on March 31, 2013, 03:04:02 pm
Would it not be significantly easier for the proposal at the next BCA agenda to simply be;

* The BCA to look into whether CRoW allows or precludes caving ?

If you wanted to go further, you might also ask;

* The BCA to establish with whom the onus is on (ie. Caver or landowner) ?

Ian

PS. Thank you Glenn, I think you missed the point with the question but you did say you had not been able to read through the whole thread and no one can blame you for that  ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on April 01, 2013, 12:56:27 pm
Would it not be significantly easier for the proposal at the next BCA agenda to simply be;

* The BCA to look into whether CRoW allows or precludes caving ?

If you wanted to go further, you might also ask;

* The BCA to establish with whom the onus is on (ie. Caver or landowner) ?

Ian

My reason for wording the suggested proposal in the way that I did was to ensure that it is seen as a 'neutral' investigation in the first instance.  Cavers tend to judge thing by their own experience on their 'own patch' and I believe we should aim wider than this - we need to know what the situation actually is overall, whether it differs by regions (depends on where the CRoW land is and how many caves are involved), etc.  Only when we know what the situation actually is throughout England and Wales can we have an informed discussion on it.

So, give us a year to find out the facts and then, if if it is felt there is a need for clarification and/or a change in access arrangements on CRoW land, you will have a better chance of arguing your case if you have facts to back it up.  You can always put a definite proposal to the AGM in 2014 if you feel the need.

Don't forget that it is open to any member of BCA, club or individual, to put a proposal to the AGM.  The BCA AGM is open to all members who may come along and have their say and vote - it's on 16th. June on Castleton this year - details on the BCA website.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: David Rose on April 01, 2013, 01:05:31 pm
Having helped to start this debate, I've missed much of  it through a two week business trip abroad. But Jenny's suggestions, and the idea of working through the BCA, sound very sensible to me. I endorse Dan's comments, too.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on April 01, 2013, 01:14:29 pm
Right, so it's up to someone to put a proposal to BCA AGM.

I don't feel I could do this myself because, in a sense, I'm part of the 'establishment'.  However, I'd support anyone who did make a sensible proposal because I do think this needs to be aired properly.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 01, 2013, 01:26:17 pm
So, give us a year to find out the facts and then, if if it is felt there is a need for clarification and/or a change in access arrangements on CRoW land ...

You have to be joking right ?

This "debate" was whether cavers can enter caves on CRoW land and your agenda encompasses a large number of non-CRoW scenarios which are not central (the matter of caving on CRoW land has been hijacked).

It is precisely these kind of "politics" (wait a year, then discuss etc etc) that causes so much ill-feeling because it is totally un-necessary red tape.

The only question "we" need an answer to (and I accept there is no clear answer) is whether cavers have the benefit of CRoW.

I have seen people suggest it should be taken up (in the case of the Dales) with the CNCC but NO ONE has answered the questions I asked because it is a total sham.

The most sensible point I have seen raised is that there is no apparent reason why "we" should not do it and it would be for the landowner to successfully obtain an iinjunction based on CRoW not being relevant. That would place the onus on the landowner, not the caver and avoid delays, money red tape and power crazed "bodies" trying to control everything where there is no requirement to do so.

I suppose, though, if we were to do that then the BCA would issue sanctions .....

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pete K on April 01, 2013, 02:19:17 pm
It is precisely these kind of "politics" (wait a year, then discuss etc etc) that causes so much ill-feeling because it is totally un-necessary red tape.
It is precisely these kind of politics that means the regional councils don't have to waste valuable (voluntary) resources dealing with whatever flavour of the month / hot topic is emailed to them on any given week. Find a proof that a majority of members wish something to happen yourself or allow the DCA/BCA/CNCC/whoever to investigate themselves in their way. Jenny has posted here and given you a path to try, did you approach the DCA directly with a question?

The only question "we" need an answer to (and I accept there is no clear answer) is whether cavers have the benefit of CRoW.

I have seen people suggest it should be taken up (in the case of the Dales) with the CNCC but NO ONE has answered the questions I asked because it is a total sham.

I assume you could not find the CNCC's email address to ask them yourself, if only they had a website with info on.....

Could a non-northern caving club join ?   Can an individual join ?  Is there a pre-requiste (like there is with the PDCMG) before you can join ?
•Full membership of the Council will only be granted to responsible and properly constituted clubs, which are owned and controlled by their own members, and are primarily based in the North of Britain.
•Applications for full membership must be proposed and seconded by full member clubs before being considered by the committee.
In any event, why is there even any resistence to the suggestion of CRoW being a mechanism for cavers to access caves in the Dales ?   Wouldn't it make life easier for the CNCC and their volunteers ?     Doesn't it (CRoW) provide automatic liability cover for landowners ?    Isn't it a Win/Win scenario ?
Perhaps you could attend a meeting and ask?
And ... why should some HAVE TO BE a BCA member to enter a cave in the Dales ?  That isn't just (prima facie) elitist but it is also "unknown" to a new adventurer beginning their life of underworld exploration ....
Most likely because the BCA (or more correctly their regional bodies) are probably the groups who originally negotiated most access agreements and are also seen by landowners as a representative body. I think that some of the fell owners in the Dales will only negotiate with the CNCC for access so I guess you'll have to join them to influence change.
The existence of a governing body may well be unknown to a beginner, but they must have discovered caving in some way - a forum, magazine, gear shop, friends, club, instructor etc... That will always be the case and is a great reason to campaign for simpler access open to all.

I have campaigned for access in a number of sports and I support the idea that CRoW should (& probably does) cover caving. I don't agree with the policy of some regions negotiating agreements purely for club cavers but feel very supported by my own body, the DCA.
I do find it a little bad taste to see the BCA and it's RB's flamed on a forum by people who probably haven't even tried to contact them. Does anyone really think things would change overnight? We cannot expect a system that has been established for a long time (rightly or wrongly) to be totally replaced overnight because a forum says so. That said, I am no fan of the way the CNCC deals with access.
The options are to go through the right channels and allow the BCA to deal with things (with pressure to maintain momentum) or to go and get a test case off your own back. I suggest this weekend on Leck would be a good start, don't forget your lawyer.

Right, so it's up to someone to put a proposal to BCA AGM.
Ian?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: potholer on April 01, 2013, 02:28:21 pm
The most sensible point I have seen raised is that there is no apparent reason why "we" should not do it and it would be for the landowner to successfully obtain an iinjunction based on CRoW not being relevant. That would place the onus on the landowner, not the caver and avoid delays, money red tape and power crazed "bodies" trying to control everything where there is no requirement to do so.
So if you're looking for a suitable place, presumably you want an essentially natural-entrance cave (not a mine or mine-entered cave), on access land, with a landowner likely to notice you and take legal action even if they thought there was a significant chance of losing  (or illegal action you could legally respond to), and ideally without any existing access agreements to risk fouling up.

That should narrow down your search a bit.

I suppose, though, if we were to do that then the BCA would issue sanctions .....
If you're as dissatisfied with what they're doing as you appear to be, what do you think they could take away from you?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 01, 2013, 02:56:14 pm
So if you're looking for a suitable place, presumably you want an essentially natural-entrance cave (not a mine or mine-entered cave), on access land, with a landowner likely to notice you and take legal action even if they thought there was a significant chance of losing  (or illegal action you could legally respond to), and ideally without any existing access agreements to risk fouling up.

If you're on CRoW it wouldn't be a criminal offence. They can ask you to leave and you then cannot "access" that land again for 72 hours.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 01, 2013, 02:57:36 pm

Right, so it's up to someone to put a proposal to BCA AGM.

I think watch this space is the saying...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: potholer on April 01, 2013, 03:17:11 pm
If you're on CRoW it wouldn't be a criminal offence. They can ask you to leave and you then cannot "access" that land again for 72 hours.
The suggestion I was responding to was to try and provoke a landowner into taking some kind of civil action, in the hope that that would establish some kind of precedent?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 01, 2013, 03:21:04 pm
If you're on CRoW it wouldn't be a criminal offence. They can ask you to leave and you then cannot "access" that land again for 72 hours.
The suggestion I was responding to was to try and provoke a landowner into taking some kind of civil action, in the hope that that would establish some kind of precedent?

Sorry I see that now. Shouldn't skim read.

Would a civil action set a precedent? Not a lawyer.  :shrug: I know it's been mentioned that the Act and caving might need a court test but would it actually happen - as in set a precedent if it's a civil case? As you say a landowner willing to "help"?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: potholer on April 01, 2013, 03:33:20 pm
Even if there was some kind of 'positive' decision regarding a 'right to cave', it might end up making limited difference in some places.
If the only vaguely convenient parking is off the public road, and in the control of the landowner...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 01, 2013, 04:35:29 pm
Pete K,

Thank for answerng the question(s) I asked and you have highlighted the exact problem I was alluding to.

I (as well as a great many others) do not meet the criteria laid down by the CNCC to join them. Yet, I am "required" to obtain a permit to enter systems from them and I can only do that if I am a BCA member.

I (as well as a great many others) have no power or position to effect any change to the current practice and I would therefore take great issue with the suggestion that they are a "democratic" organsition representing cavers best interests.

I fully respect the efforts they have made to obtain permission for cavers to enter land (going back a great many years) and I fully
 respect and accept the tremendous amount of (unpaid) work they have done. Before the advent of CRoW, this work was invaluable to cavers.

I do not, however, accept the argument that this thread is disturbing the status quo - I would say that happened when CRoW was enacted.

I believe that not addressing whether cavers do or do not have a right to cave under CRoW is a failing on the part of any "body" said to be representing the interests of cavers. Furthermore, I fail to see why any representative "body" would not investigate it properly as it would clearly lead to undertaking less (unpaid) work by the volunteers working on behalf of the cavers ...

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 01, 2013, 04:42:22 pm
I suppose, though, if we were to do that then the BCA would issue sanctions .....
If you're as dissatisfied with what they're doing as you appear to be, what do you think they could take away from you?

... BCA membership is a requirement for a great many "holes" - they would all be taken away.

In any event, I am not dis-satisified with the BCA per se, I simply do not understand why there appears to be a reluntance to support caving under CRoW.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on April 01, 2013, 04:44:54 pm
As I've already said:

Right, so it's up to someone to put a proposal to BCA AGM.

I don't feel I could do this myself because, in a sense, I'm part of the 'establishment'.  However, I'd support anyone who did make a sensible proposal because I do think this needs to be aired properly.

I'm sure that not everyone who is a member of BCA is totally satisfied with the status quo with regard to access on CRoW land - I'm just suggesting a way of getting this aired in a representative forum to try to get an answer and, maybe, a change.  Like it or not, for all its faults, at the moment BCA is the best representative forum we have so I'm suggesting a possible way forward.

If you yourself aren't a member of BCA either through a club or as an individual member, then persuade someone else who is dissatisfied to take it up on your behalf.

Or you can, of course, ignore my suggestion - that's your privilege - but I'm trying to help. 
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: potholer on April 01, 2013, 04:50:19 pm
In any event, I am not dis-satisified with the BCA per se, I simply do not understand why there appears to be a reluntance to support caving under CRoW.
I got the impression that you'd already decided that "power crazed "bodies" trying to control everything where there is no requirement to do so" was the reason for the current situation.

Apologies if I misinterpreted you.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 01, 2013, 04:54:10 pm
Apology accepted  ;)

I was suggesting that there are "power-crazed" bodies controlling access where there doesn't need to be any such "control". I was not suggesting that every "body" meets that criteria (they don't).

.... And, the BCA doesn't ...

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: kay on April 01, 2013, 05:08:55 pm

I (as well as a great many others) do not meet the criteria laid down by the CNCC to join them. Yet, I am "required" to obtain a permit to enter systems from them and I can only do that if I am a BCA member.


No, you can only do it if you are a member of a BCA Club

 A DIM member of BCA can't get a permit.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 01, 2013, 05:15:39 pm
Kay,

Your distinction is well made and serves to illustrate the point I was making further.

Thank you

 :)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 01, 2013, 05:42:32 pm
Ian

BCA was formed by the regional bodies & they were formed by their members, who are overwhelmingly caving clubs. If these are the bodies that negotiated access, why should they not privilege their members?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 01, 2013, 06:34:59 pm
Ian

BCA was formed by the regional bodies & they were formed by their members, who are overwhelmingly caving clubs. If these are the bodies that negotiated access, why should they not privilege their members?

Seems to me that the need for the regional bodies (at least for the Dales) was down to the historical petty and small mindedness of many of the clubs. The history is there to be read. Not many of the Dales clubs bathed themselves in glory in the early years. BSA anyone?

You forget your history at your peril.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 01, 2013, 06:41:47 pm
Ian

BCA was formed by the regional bodies & they were formed by their members, who are overwhelmingly caving clubs. If these are the bodies that negotiated access, why should they not privilege their members?



No problem with that Graham  :)


Ian


Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: potholer on April 01, 2013, 06:51:46 pm
Seems to me that the need for the regional bodies (at least for the Dales) was down to the historical petty and small mindedness of many of the clubs. The history is there to be read. Not many of the Dales clubs bathed themselves in glory in the early years. BSA anyone?
What was particularly petty, small-minded or inglorious about people forming clubs to get away from being bossed around by E.S.?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: kay on April 01, 2013, 06:53:53 pm
BCA was formed by the regional bodies & they were formed by their members, who are overwhelmingly caving clubs. If these are the bodies that negotiated access, why should they not privilege their members?

So DIMs are BCA members without caving privileges, then?

It's probably not a good idea for individual cavers to try to negotiate access for themselves and thus risk annoying landowners. So it's not necessarily such an obvious argument that "Clubs negotiated access so only club members should be allowed in the cave" any more than we regard it as a good argument that "Club X opened up Y cave, so access to Y cave should only be for members of Club X"
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 01, 2013, 07:05:02 pm
Seems to me that the need for the regional bodies (at least for the Dales) was down to the historical petty and small mindedness of many of the clubs. The history is there to be read. Not many of the Dales clubs bathed themselves in glory in the early years. BSA anyone?
What was particularly petty, small-minded or inglorious about people forming clubs to get away from being bossed around by E.S.?

A lot of what came after. However that's another thread. Nowadays it's all love and harmony in the Dales and those days are past. My possibly too subtle point was that "the clubs" brought upon themselves (or had imposed), systems of access that we are now shackled to. A shackle the walkers and climbers managed to shed years ago.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on April 01, 2013, 07:41:17 pm
The longer this goes on, the less I'm inclined to condemn those who remove gates. I had a theoretical understanding when I first entered exploration, and a decent understanding before this "debate". Now, I wholeheartedly understand why gates get cut off. I can't blame the motivation at all, but don't necessarily agree with the act itself.

I've never been exposed to "caving" politics before, but I have been warned about them, and stayed away. Something happens that I feel strongly about, and I try to do what I can to make a positive difference. Only to meet the old guard and their outdated, narrow minded attitudes. I get the distinct impression that a number of the people who currently have access (CRoW or not) will fight tooth and nail to make sure it stays that way, and fuck everybody else, they're not important, and they can join our club if they want in that bad.

I'm bowing out. I just want to go down a hole, not argue. Next time I meet a gate that has no real need to be there, I'll give it a lot more consideration than I used to. Certain elements have brought this upon themselves, as I am far from the only person that feels this.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on April 01, 2013, 07:53:53 pm
I'm bowing out. I just want to go down a hole, not argue.

Rubbish.

You've been adopting a belligerently rabble-rousing stance since you joined this forum. Bought in as cavalry for your club-mate, you've failed to sway those that disagreed with IA, now you're going.

Cue longwinded response from IA ;D
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jon on April 01, 2013, 08:04:56 pm
It'll soon be 1932 all over again. Who wants to be Benny Rothman?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: damian on April 01, 2013, 08:07:34 pm
Some of those who are posting recently may have missed the following in my earlier post (I've just added the bold):
Quote
4) On the whole cavers have good relations with landowners and enjoy reasonable access as a result. However, if the CRoW Act were shown to cover caving, then it is felt that cavers would find it very difficult to secure permission for digs. If it were to be the case that a newly-discovered cave on their land would instantly bring a stream of cavers every weekend walking to a part of their land that generally sees few visitors, and this would continue ad infinitum, then many landowners would have to think very hard before agreeing to the dig. Given the importance of digs to caving, and the generally good access we currently enjoy to caves, BCA doesn’t feel it is actually in cavers’ best interests to risk everything by seeking to have caving included in CRoW.
Relating to Jenny's suggestion that somebody should make a proposal to the BCA AGM, officially the deadline for any matters to be raised at the AGM passed on 16th March. I would suggest, though, that the AGM is unlikely to refuse to discuss sensible and appropriate things raised by members.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: potholer on April 01, 2013, 08:27:03 pm
I'm bowing out. I just want to go down a hole, not argue. Next time I meet a gate that has no real need to be there, I'll give it a lot more consideration than I used to. Certain elements have brought this upon themselves, as I am far from the only person that feels this.
So everyone has a right to judge for themselves what they think 'needs' to be there, and to act accordingly while simultaneously putting the responsibility onto other people?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 01, 2013, 08:58:43 pm
damian

I'm just waiting for one of the usual suspects to admit that they actually believe it's their god-given right to dig wherever and whenever they like.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on April 01, 2013, 09:09:02 pm
I'm bowing out. I just want to go down a hole, not argue.

Rubbish.

You've been adopting a belligerently rabble-rousing stance since you joined this forum. Bought in as cavalry for your club-mate, you've failed to sway those that disagreed with IA, now you're going.

Cue longwinded response from IA ;D

No, not rubbish. I joined the forum long before this particular set of shenanigans kicked off. Try checking your facts before You put fingers to keyboard.

I feel strongly about this subject, and what I do is entirely off my own back. The fact that I happen to be in the same club is not relevant. I am no-one's puppet, so back the fuck off with that particular line of bullshit.

As for rabble rousing, I suppose You could see it that way. Something rather obviously needs to be done about the current situation, because as it stands, it smacks of elitism and petty school ground gang wars.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on April 01, 2013, 09:20:40 pm
Facts.

First registered 12/8/11

First post 18/3/13
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on April 01, 2013, 09:25:20 pm
Sorry... try again.

You're wrong on that, shut up about it, You're looking stupid. Note the date...

http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=12104.msg159511#msg159511 (http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=12104.msg159511#msg159511)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on April 01, 2013, 09:30:24 pm
Sorry, sorry sorry.....missed ONE post.... :lol: :lol: :lol:


And you look so jovial on your club forum..... :lol:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on April 01, 2013, 09:35:47 pm
Sorry, sorry sorry.....missed ONE post.... :lol: :lol: :lol:


And you look so jovial on your club forum..... :lol:

The one post that makes You look stupid.

Don't make veiled threats, just say it as it is, If you are trying to be smart and say "I know what You look like" then please do. I'll help you by posting a far better resolution version of it if You are that interested.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: paul on April 01, 2013, 09:40:32 pm
Global Moderator Comment Can we please calm things down and get back on topic?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 01, 2013, 09:45:57 pm
damian

I'm just waiting for one of the usual suspects to come up with something more than "a hunch" that a landowner might reject all requests to dig on CRoW access land if access to CRoW caves is granted.

There you go Graham, fixed that for you...

 ;)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pete K on April 01, 2013, 09:55:30 pm
Can we please calm things down and get back on topic?
Here, here.
The access debate always seems to attract heated exchanges, no matter the sport. Despite strong feelings I'm sure it is better for all of us to behave like adults and not squabbling kids. This does us no favours when we wish to show we are responsible enough to negotiate with landowners.

I understand the fears about landowners not wishing to grant permissions for digs, that doesn't mean I agree totally. In Derbyshire a small hole called Titan was dug into on private land. Okay, not CRoW, but it still needed permission. Regardless of the legal status of the land, permission for digs always needs to be sorted. Some will be refused, as has happened since people started digging no doubt, some will be accepted. Did the 3 counties teams have permission from all concerned landowners? (Not a pop at them but they'd still have needed it even if caving was accepted as an included open-air activity).
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 01, 2013, 09:56:04 pm
damian

I'm just waiting for one of the usual suspects to come up with something more than "a hunch" that a landowner might reject all requests to dig on CRoW access land if access to CRoW caves is granted.

There you go Graham, fixed that for you...

 ;)

have you ever negotiated digging permissions on access land, stu? I have.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 01, 2013, 09:57:21 pm
Thank you Peter. My thoughts exactly.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on April 02, 2013, 03:45:13 am
Sorry for diverting the thread but I find it very difficult to take bullying proseletysing seriously.

Yes, PK is right. Access discussions DO get heated, which is why I think it's better to take a measured approach rather than go on a Crusade for Access. Quiet diplomacy, whether at club, regional or national level seems to have largely worked so far. Maybe it's the way to go with regard to CRoW. One thing I'm certain of: epithet strewn rantings won't win anyone over.


Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 02, 2013, 10:52:38 am
Can someone involved in BCA elaborate on this for me?
As the deadline for a submission of an item for the agenda of the 2013 AGM has passed, does this mean that this issue (CROW and caving) will not be discussed there? If it can be, in what detail could it be?

If it can't, then waiting until mid 2014 to discuss this, at the AGM of a body with no legal standing, who produced The Report on caving and CROW, does not seem like the best way forwards.

The facts are already out there, particularly with the new and helpful CNCC website. Granted, they could be narrowed to CROW lands and by importance, but I think anyone who caves regularly on CROW land knows where it is and has a good understanding of which caves need permits and which don't. If people really want the list in Jenny's suggestion though, then I'm happy to try to compile it.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 02, 2013, 11:00:43 am
Blackholesun, are you talking about compiling a list of caves on CRoW with permit access (or all CRoW caves)?. Do you want to divvy it up?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 02, 2013, 11:10:29 am
Was going for all caves listed on the CNCC website, according to Jenny's suggestion. By
Location
Cave name
Permit required or not, through club, or through individual application
Closed seasons or not
Importance of cave (local, regional, national, system with multiple nationally important entrances.

Think that's it. Divvying it up sounds great, cheers. Which of the sections on the website are you up for?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: TheBitterEnd on April 02, 2013, 12:04:01 pm
If you are putting together a list then SoloCaveDiver put together a GPS file of locations
see http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=12708.msg165372#msg165372 (http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=12708.msg165372#msg165372)

and from that I put together some online mapping against the OS background on Bing Maps, if you zoom into 1:25000 scale Access Land is shown - Three Counties Caves on a Map (http://cavemapping.speleologist.me.uk/SelectCavesByName.php)

Just thought it may be helpful.

Getting more sophisticated, I guess GIS shape files for Access Areas may be available for download so it may be possible to automate...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on April 02, 2013, 12:14:30 pm
Re. the official deadline of 16th. March for matters to be raised that the BCA AGM:  yes, fair enough, but I think if this issue were raised as an item under A.O.B. and notified beforehand so that folks knew it was on the agenda, that would be OK. 

IMHO what is needed is to bring the issue to people's attention this year, so that they have a chance to think about it and collate necessary information, discuss the matter at individual, club and regional level and then, if it's thought necessary, come back to next year's AGM with a definite proposal on action required.

I wasn't thinking of restricting it to one region - all regions need to be included so that we can see the difference in the approaches by various negotiating bodies and landowners in England and Wales.  One very obvious point is that some landowners insist that all bookings are done officially by clubs dealing only through an access body approved by themselves and will not entertain issuing permits to individuals - this is part of the conditions they lay down and whoever is operating the access agreement has to abide  by that.  Even on CRoW land the system runs the whole way from very restrictive, clubs only, pre-booked permits right through to no permission at all required, just help yourself.  Which is probably what's at the root of much of the ill-feeling.




Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 02, 2013, 12:37:21 pm
If you are putting together a list then SoloCaveDiver put together a GPS file of locations
see http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=12708.msg165372#msg165372 (http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=12708.msg165372#msg165372)

and from that I put together some online mapping against the OS background on Bing Maps, if you zoom into 1:25000 scale Access Land is shown - Three Counties Caves on a Map (http://cavemapping.speleologist.me.uk/SelectCavesByName.php)

Just thought it may be helpful.

Getting more sophisticated, I guess GIS shape files for Access Areas may be available for download so it may be possible to automate...

Cheers

Got the GPS files and uploaded to my map software.

Useful.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 02, 2013, 12:44:53 pm
Sorry Guys (Jenny et al;), I don’t think this is the right way to go at all.

So far as I am aware, no one is interested in disturbing access arrangements unless the cave is on CRoW. There is no need for a “list of caves” to be drawn up – it is only the basic principle of whether or not a caver can enjoy the benefit of CRoW that is at issue.

The BCA need only make a statement (which they have already done).

What is really needed is clarity, and that is unlikely to happen until there is a test case, someone stumps up for Counsel (probably give a non-committal answer) or someone figures out which government department to write to for clarification (if there even is such a place to write).

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 02, 2013, 12:51:07 pm
Agree that a full list is not worthwhile.

Would not a list of caves on CRoW be needed to find which caves enjoy a certain de facto "free open" access and are on CRoW (and perhaps why that landowner allows it so) and which caves are on CRoW and the situation needs addressing (in as much as, what I loosely call the open access lobby, want to have happen)? Then we would know which caves or areas need attention directing to.  :shrug:

I suppose it's a case of working from the top down or bottom up.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on April 02, 2013, 12:52:20 pm
Can someone involved in BCA elaborate on this for me?
As the deadline for a submission of an item for the agenda of the 2013 AGM has passed, does this mean that this issue (CROW and caving) will not be discussed there? If it can be, in what detail could it be?

If it can't, then waiting until mid 2014 to discuss this, at the AGM of a body with no legal standing, who produced The Report on caving and CROW, does not seem like the best way forwards.





Re. the official deadline of 16th. March for matters to be raised that the BCA AGM:  yes, fair enough, but I think if this issue were raised as an item under A.O.B. and notified beforehand so that folks knew it was on the agenda, that would be OK. 

IMHO what is needed is to bring the issue to people's attention this year, so that they have a chance to think about it and collate necessary information, discuss the matter at individual, club and regional level and then, if it's thought necessary, come back to next year's AGM with a definite proposal on action required.

Jenny, I value your measured input. It is certainly a step in the right direction that someone such as yourself at least acknowledges that problems do exist and are in need of addressing. Everything you say is fine and I am sure everyone will be happy to go down the route you suggest. As you said earlier, things cannot be expected to change overnight.  Conversely, you cannot seriously be expecting time to stand still and nothing to be done outside of the time scale you suggest. Can you? I really do hope not because I would hate for you to be disappointed.



Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 02, 2013, 12:54:23 pm
I would suggest doing it the other way around Stu.

There is no need for a list of CRoW caves until or unless a decision has been made that "cavers" can or will enter without permits/permission etc.

(Unless you want to  ;) )

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 02, 2013, 12:58:01 pm
Valid point Ian.

Might start if bored but probably not a priority issue then.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 02, 2013, 01:58:32 pm
Okay. As I say, I'm happy to do it if people want it done. Some may not realise how much of the Dales is on CROW, and how little of that is accessible without a permit.

I've emailed the yorkshire dales LAF to ask when their next meeting is and if a question on this could be submitted. Would be grateful if people avoid doing the same thing so that we don't flood their inboxes.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: JessopSmythe on April 02, 2013, 03:22:02 pm
If it can't, then waiting until mid 2014 to discuss this, at the AGM of a body with no legal standing, who produced The Report on caving and CROW, does not seem like the best way forwards.


Sorry if I'm being pedantic but this is a very sweeping statement. Who decides the "best way forwards"?
Perhaps BCA have discussed this and feel that what they are doing is the best way forwards.

I think it would be fairer to acknowledge that there is, perhaps, some disagreement on what is the best way forwards and we (cavers and BCA members) could benefit from some structured discussion on the matter.
The way you've written it seems to imply that there is no need for discussion as it's already decided that your plan is the best.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 02, 2013, 03:28:54 pm
You are entirely right, Jessop.
If I were writing it again, I would put " does not seem like the best way forwards to me ".
I'm not a fan of such statements either as it, as you say, implies there is consensus.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: JessopSmythe on April 02, 2013, 03:38:23 pm
If it's too late to get a proper discussion into this years AGM, could it be beneficial to set up a working group of some kind (prefferably made up with a balance of stances) to put together a proposal outlining exactly what needs to be discussed in 2014?

Perhaps we could channel some of the rhetorical rantings into something constructive
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: JessopSmythe on April 02, 2013, 03:42:57 pm
You are entirely right, Jessop.
If I were writing it again, I would put " does not seem like the best way forwards to me ".
I'm not a fan of such statements either as it, as you say, implies there is consensus.



Oops - my bad. I'd some how managed to read it as "[BCA]...... does not seem to like the best way forwards"
which, perhaps, makes my post above even more relevant. With a manageable number of people in a room discussing the issue face to face, misunderstandings and misinterpretations are less likely to happen and easier to fix when they do.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on April 02, 2013, 03:50:48 pm
I think this is what Jenny had in mind, what needs to be taken to the AGM is a suggested list of guidelines for this working group to follow.
 A definite remit would suggest retrictions and could limit the field of investigation.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 02, 2013, 03:53:33 pm
If it's too late to get a proper discussion into this years AGM, could it be beneficial to set up a working group of some kind (prefferably made up with a balance of stances) to put together a proposal outlining exactly what needs to be discussed in 2014?

Perhaps we could channel some of the rhetorical rantings into something constructive

What would the BCA discuss? Somewhere on this or blackholesun's other thread was a post about the need to clarify if CRoW covers caving or if it can be included. I think that question needs resolving (at LAF) and if it's affirmative then time to go to BCA and CNCC to see if armed with that information what they then will do about it.

My gut feeling is, I hate to say it, that at present BCA and CNCC have some vested interest for maintaining the status quo and therefore any discussion is likely to get rebuffed with the usual stuff about future access to digs, landowners insist etc etc.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 02, 2013, 03:54:53 pm
I think this is what Jenny had in mind, what needs to be taken to the AGM is a suggested list of guidelines for this working group to follow.
 A definite remit would suggest retrictions and could limit the field of investigation.

Here's your remit: is caving acceptable under CRoW? Only people who seem to have any authority to say either way are the LAF.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 02, 2013, 03:55:42 pm
Sorry for being very strident. But there is no point in a delay until 2014. It's a simple question that can be put forward on the 18th June.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on April 02, 2013, 03:55:49 pm
If it's too late to get a proper discussion into this years AGM, could it be beneficial to set up a working group of some kind (prefferably made up with a balance of stances) to put together a proposal outlining exactly what needs to be discussed in 2014?

That's exactly the lines I was thinking upon - you can't solve this in one go at this year's BCA AGM but you could start the process going so that you can make progress in 2014.   Let's be realistic, this has been going on for something like 12 years, so fixing it in a rush in June this year seems a tad optimistic.  Better to take the time to be sure of your ground and then decide on the action (if any) that you want to take.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on April 02, 2013, 04:17:15 pm
Sorry for being very strident. But there is no point in a delay until 2014. It's a simple question that can be put forward on the 18th June.

The BCA AGM is on the 16th June.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 02, 2013, 04:40:00 pm
Sorry for being very strident. But there is no point in a delay until 2014. It's a simple question that can be put forward on the 18th June.

The BCA AGM is on the 16th June.

For sure, but I was being mindful of Jenny P's post:

IMHO what is needed is to bring the issue to people's attention this year, so that they have a chance to think about it and collate necessary information, discuss the matter at individual, club and regional level and then, if it's thought necessary, come back to next year's AGM with a definite proposal on action required.

The LAF is on the 18th June and that is where I think the answer to the question of CRoW access will come. No point in discussing anything at BCA this year on a point of technicality that we don't have an answer to. Though maybe a wider debate on BCA stance would be welcome I suppose.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 02, 2013, 06:14:32 pm
If anyone would like Natural England's opinion, then it can be found here;
http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/file/94008 (http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/file/94008) . This is a document commissioned solely to look at the effects of CROW, published in 2009. The link is to a pdf 212 pages long, which is only part one!

On page 10/27 depending on your pdf reader:
" The CROW Act provides for open-air recreation, basically on foot, which would include the following activities:
Walking
Climbing
Potholing
Informal games
.... "

Obviously, N.E. do not legislate or judge and this is not a legal precedent. It may though, be considered advice on the likely legality of caving on CROW land.

"Natural England is the government’s advisor on the natural environment. We provide practical advice, grounded in science, on how best to safeguard England’s natural wealth for the benefit of everyone."

You'd think they'd have a pretty good idea.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 02, 2013, 06:32:36 pm
Blackholesun;

Isn't that the single most important statement/post made on this thread to date ?

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Pete K on April 02, 2013, 06:36:39 pm
I think you may be right there, very good find.

Game-changer? Maybe. Significant negotiating tool? Certainly.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 02, 2013, 06:45:25 pm
Outstanding find.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on April 02, 2013, 06:52:13 pm
Excellent!

And, most importantly, being published in 2009 it post dates the original advice given to NCA and BCA so would not have been taken into account when the the original statements were made in relation to caving.  This is an extremely important update!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: cavemanmike on April 02, 2013, 06:53:22 pm
 ;)clever man ;D. it was only a matter of time someone came up with the goods  :clap2: :clap2: :clap2:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: damian on April 02, 2013, 08:08:25 pm
To claify: I think it is highly likely that the BCA AGM will be happy to discuss access-related issues even though they have not been notified as an Agenda Item by the required deadline. In my experience BCA has a very good history of listening to (and often acting on) input from members at meetings and I have no doubt the same will happen here if anyone wishes to bring it up.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Les W on April 02, 2013, 08:13:46 pm
To claify: I think it is highly likely that the BCA AGM will be happy to discuss access-related issues even though they have not been notified as an Agenda Item by the required deadline. In my experience BCA has a very good history of listening to (and often acting on) input from members at meetings and I have no doubt the same will happen here if anyone wishes to bring it up.

I fully endorse Damian's view. BCA will want to do what is right and will be only too happy to hear the arguments for this.
My experience of BCA meetings is that they are generally very fair and if the point has merit it will be considered at great length.

BCA is your organisation, but cannot do your work without your input...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 02, 2013, 08:28:37 pm
To claify: I think it is highly likely that the BCA AGM will be happy to discuss access-related issues even though they have not been notified as an Agenda Item by the required deadline. In my experience BCA has a very good history of listening to (and often acting on) input from members at meetings and I have no doubt the same will happen here if anyone wishes to bring it up.

I fully endorse Damian's view. BCA will want to do what is right and will be only too happy to hear the arguments for this.
My experience of BCA meetings is that they are generally very fair and if the point has merit it will be considered at great length.

BCA is your organisation, but cannot do your work without your input...

I had to think long and hard about what to reply to both these statements. In the spirit of cordiality I didn't post what first came to mind.

If the BCA is willing to listen and in the light of the N.E. document (http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/file/94008) act in a more radical way and, should the outcome be positive in terms of pro-CRoW access, that they direct other regional bodies, (where there is viable substance (i.e. CRoW), to adopt a more "robust" approach in favour of caver access - it can only be welcomed.

I think some members and none members have shown they are willing to put some input.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on April 02, 2013, 08:38:05 pm


" The CROW Act provides for open-air recreation, basically on foot, which would include the following activities:
Walking
Climbing
Potholing
Informal games
.... "


This is great news and really lends weight to the argument.  Well done Blackholeson in 'digging' out this quote from Natural England.  Amazing that NE can come up with this interpretation yet BCA/CNCC, the representatives of caving, can only view the legislation negatively.

From reading through all references to the CRoW Act it is obvious to me that the 'open air' reference is intended to point towards health beneficial pursuits not that the recreation has to be 'open to the sky'.

I'm liking this more and more.  Keep up the good work.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: peterk on April 02, 2013, 08:45:17 pm
I don't think the Natural England report by Penny Anderson Associates (consultant ecologists) should be given publicity. I think it identified activities that could take place and then reported on their potential environmental impacts. It references caving 4 times in respect of bats, earth science, erosion and over usage (pages 113, 158, 159 & 160).

Obviously(?) CROW would have to be amended because a LAF opinion will not be recognised by landowners but I wonder if there were reasons that "open-air" was used - If it was deleted would the act, forgetting caving, be any "different"?  The only reasons I can think of are cave systems that leave CROW land and pollution to farm water supplies.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on April 02, 2013, 09:07:56 pm
I don't think the Natural England report by Penny Anderson Associates (consultant ecologists) should be given publicity.

Your post does not appear to address *why* You think this. I can't see a good reason to not publicise and use it.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on April 02, 2013, 09:10:09 pm
I don't think the Natural England report by Penny Anderson Associates (consultant ecologists) should be given publicity. I think it identified activities that could take place and then reported on their potential environmental impacts. It references caving 4 times in respect of bats, earth science, erosion and over usage (pages 113, 158, 159 & 160).

Obviously(?) CROW would have to be amended because a LAF opinion will not be recognised by landowners but I wonder if there were reasons that "open-air" was used - If it was deleted would the act, forgetting caving, be any "different"?  The only reasons I can think of are cave systems that leave CROW land and pollution to farm water supplies.

I couldn't disagree more.  We should give this every publicity.  NE are potentially major player in this debate and one of their reports clearly states that 'Potholing' is an 'included' activity under CRoW.  Look at Blackholeson's link yourself.  Potholing - included.

I still maintain that 'open air' is used in the same way as you would use 'fresh air'.  So it doesn't need to be deleted, or the Act changed in any way. 

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Les W on April 02, 2013, 09:13:52 pm
Obviously(?) CROW would have to be amended because a LAF opinion will not be recognised by landowners but I wonder if there were reasons that "open-air" was used - If it was deleted would the act, forgetting caving, be any "different"?  The only reasons I can think of are cave systems that leave CROW land and pollution to farm water supplies.

If Caving is recognised as "Open air recreation" as espoused by many on here and as appears to be the case according to Natural England's definition, then why would the CRoW act need to be amended. It states clearly that CRoW is for open air recreation, the debate is whether caving is accepted as such. If it is it is covered by CRoW, no amendment needed...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 02, 2013, 09:15:51 pm
Having briefly read the parts relevant to potholing and caving there are sentences which talk about damage and erosion from climbing and caving. The sentence that stood out to me was at the end of a passage refererincing open access to fossil sites (on the coast). It was an "as well"  phrase. On my phone so can't recall detail.

I don't know if the Act would need changing. Open air recreation is a catch all phrase. If the landowners can be persuaded that caving is, given a weight of evidence, then it might not need statutory change.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on April 02, 2013, 09:30:40 pm
If Caving is recognised as "Open air recreation" as espoused by many on here and as appears to be the case according to Natural England's definition, then why would the CRoW act need to be amended. It states clearly that CRoW is for open air recreation, the debate is whether caving is accepted as such. If it is it is covered by CRoW, no amendment needed...

I agree that no amendment would be needed if this were the case. However, in the longer term, it would be nice if caving could actually be included by name if for no other reason than to prevent this sort of debate ever having to take place again.

To echo Badlad, a big well done to Blackholesun. I come back from the beach and the world has changed!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 02, 2013, 09:40:49 pm
It states clearly that CRoW is for open air recreation, the debate is whether caving is accepted as such. If it is it is covered by CRoW, no amendment needed...

That is possibly the second most important statement/post made on this thread especially in view of the citation from NE.

 :)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: potholer on April 02, 2013, 09:41:16 pm
I don't think the Natural England report by Penny Anderson Associates (consultant ecologists) should be given publicity.

Your post does not appear to address *why* You think this. I can't see a good reason to not publicise and use it.
I'm assuming he's concerned that the activities are listed essentially in order to look at possible unwanted effects of them taking place, and that the list isn't necessarily NE's official opinion on what is definitely permitted - it could be to some extent a consultant's opinion on what things are likely to be taking place on CROW land which aren't explicitly forbidden activities, with the consultant trying to cover all the possible bases with regard to conservation rather than leaving anything out which someone could complain about the lack of mention of.

Therefore, while it's nice that it's mentioned, and ideally it might reflect an attitude present at high levels of management, it might not carry any more weight than me or you saying we'd think of caving as an open-air activity, if someone with authority in NE thought otherwise.

The report also mentions abandoned mines - is that an indication that NE officially thinks CROW gives people a right to enter mines regardless of a landowner's wishes?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 02, 2013, 09:42:00 pm
Ah balls. I hate to do this, wishing it weren't the case. On page 3:

Natural England commission a range of reports from external contractors to
provide evidence and advice to assist us in delivering our duties. The views in this
report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Natural
England.

Damn it!

I hope no one has felt that I've mislead them. This sincerely was not my intention, but I apologise if this is the case.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 02, 2013, 09:43:27 pm
.... I come back from the beach and the world has changed!

That quote is worthly of inclusion in "Time" magazine  ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 02, 2013, 09:44:12 pm
Perhaps NE wouldn't print something if they thought it was completely false.
However, the situation is not as clear as I thought it was five minutes ago.

If it's any consolation, on their website NE says:

The new right under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW) covers most recreational activities carried out on foot, including walking, sightseeing, bird watching, climbing and running, but there are some common sense restrictions in place which limit where people can walk or take a dog.

Hopefully I will receive clarification from NE soon on whether at least the report follows their opinion or not.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on April 02, 2013, 09:44:42 pm
I can't see why someone would think they were misled. It was quite clearly a report commissioned for NE. It gives a very good debating point *for* accessing caves on CRoW land.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 02, 2013, 09:45:43 pm
It's still, in my opinion, an important document by inference if nothing else.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 02, 2013, 09:48:02 pm
Ok. Perhaps for you NewStuff! Some of us aren't as observant when it comes to disclaimers. Checking back, I also did write Natural England's opinion. This isn't strictly correct and I don't wish to have given anyone the wrong idea.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on April 02, 2013, 10:12:57 pm
Don't be too downhearted.

A single mention in one document was never going to be conclusive no matter what.



Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 02, 2013, 10:20:08 pm
A few years ago I had to source and fit a gate for a (very short but wholly vertical) cave as it was next to a footpath and thus deemed a hazard by the landowners. Would you guys have the landowners remove that safety feature or would you accept the fact that keys are easy to source (for cavers) as sufficient?

Just asking.

I suspect it'd be filled in if ungated and deemed a serious hazard.

Although it might be deemed a natural feature, its natural infill was artificially removed. So is it a natural feature or an artificial hazard. If I was the landowner, I'd regard a cubic metre of gravel as much cheaper than a barrister's opinion, after the event.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on April 02, 2013, 10:24:05 pm
A few years ago I had to source and fit a gate for a (very short but wholly vertical) cave as it was next to a footpath and thus deemed a hazard by the landowners. Would you guys have the landowners remove that safety feature or would you accept the fact that keys are easy to source (for cavers) as sufficient?
Neither. A sturdy fence and some warning signs. The landowner has completed their duty of care with those.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 02, 2013, 10:26:24 pm
You're definitely some kind of hero Graham. Maybe you should offer your gating services to the GG landowner! Oh that's right they don't need a gate for the bloody big cave with a path next to it... because they won their case in a very sad and tragic accident.

Suppose a fence might do the trick though...

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on April 02, 2013, 10:28:45 pm
A sturdy fence and some warning signs. The landowner has completed their duty of care with those.

For a tiny aperture cave entrance this would be a far more expensive and insufficient landowner-protection method than a 5 ton concrete cube made to fit perfectly.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 02, 2013, 10:30:39 pm
If it's on CRoW where's their liability? Try to stick to what we're talking about chaps.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 02, 2013, 11:05:52 pm
I didn't expect it to be conclusive, but hope that I didn't get the hopes up of others with similar views on this matter and that it is still a usable document.

Graham, there are many other solutions such as the already mentioned fence, or perhaps a lid, an unlocked gate or even one that can be unlocked with some common instrument such as a Derbyshire spanner. Keys add nothing to the safety of a cave.

I'm guessing that it wasn't on CROW land though, so is perhaps not relevant to this topic.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Les W on April 02, 2013, 11:16:34 pm
I'm guessing that it wasn't on CROW land though, so is perhaps not relevant to this topic.

Although I'm not certain which cave Graham is referring to, I think there is a very good chance it is on CRoW land...
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Les W on April 02, 2013, 11:23:25 pm
I think at least one of the reasons for resistance to more open access through CRoW, is the fear that it will prevent certain caves from being protected. On Mendip, some very significant caves are on CRoW land, surprising really as there isn't that much CRoW land here.   :unsure:

Looking at the legislation however, it appears probable that sites can be protected if it is deemed necessary, so this ought not to be a reason to object to open access generally, but certainly there is a good case for exemptions to allow controlled access in certain circumstances.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on April 02, 2013, 11:24:30 pm
 :weep:
For a tiny aperture cave entrance this would be a far more expensive and insufficient landowner-protection method than a 5 ton concrete cube made to fit perfectly.

You Mendip boys really do have a fetish for concrete don't you?

Bit weird if you ask me.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on April 02, 2013, 11:29:52 pm
Now now boys, lets not get personal.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on April 02, 2013, 11:44:49 pm
 :kiss2:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: danthecavingman on April 02, 2013, 11:47:07 pm
As I wish to be objective in this debate I refer you to the following:

http://www.ccw.gov.uk/enjoying-the-country/open-access-land.aspx (http://www.ccw.gov.uk/enjoying-the-country/open-access-land.aspx)

http://www.ccw.gov.uk/enjoying-the-country/idoc.ashx?docid=3ea03ba8-b23b-4390-be3c-48b84878c66f&version=-1 (http://www.ccw.gov.uk/enjoying-the-country/idoc.ashx?docid=3ea03ba8-b23b-4390-be3c-48b84878c66f&version=-1)

"Does access on foot include pot holing and caving?
No. As the CRoW Act covers access for the purposes of open-air recreation, pot holing and caving are not included in the right."

The rights given by the CRoW Act commenced in Wales in May 2005, the guidance leaflet is dated October 2011.

It would appear that CCW have taken the opinion contrary to that of Natural England that pot holing and caving on CRoW land are restricted, as in Wales it is not considered open-air recreation.

Dan.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on April 03, 2013, 12:12:49 am
O.K. Welsh interpretation of the act, taken from Dan's link;

Does access on foot include pot holing and caving?

No. As the CRoW Act covers access for the purposes of open-air recreation, pot
holing and caving are not included in the right.

OUCH !! Scots (Apparantly) say yes, Welsh (Apparantly) say no, England (more importantly Yorkshire) have the casting vote!.

Get a good case together Blackholesun, otherwise we'll have to go to court, and that means fundraising!.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: potholer on April 03, 2013, 12:18:27 am
Not sure how relevant Scotland would be to England/Wales, given their different laws (and arguably a relative lack of caves).
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 03, 2013, 12:21:15 am
Aren't the CCW, NE and FC (Forestry Commission) all in the process of amalgamting right now ?

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on April 03, 2013, 12:26:20 am
This is the CCW's interpretation of the act and the resulting guidance is, naturally, based upon this interpretation.

However, that does not mean it is necessarily the correct interpretation.

As has been stated on several occasions already, only a test case in court can provide (dare I say it?) concrete evidence.

This is why I have felt from the start that, in the long term, it would be best to mount an intensive campaign to get the legislation in both England and Wales changed to fall more in line with that of Scotland.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 03, 2013, 07:17:15 am
You're definitely some kind of hero Graham.

True  :halo: We do have a very good relationship with this particular landowner, a relationship that has allowed quite a lot of digging to go on, over the years.


I'm guessing that it wasn't on CROW land though, so is perhaps not relevant to this topic.

It is on CroW access land, for sure. It's all about maintaining good relationships with the landowner. Much of the land that they own, which does have caves, is not access land.

I think at least one of the reasons for resistance to more open access through CRoW, is the fear that it will prevent certain caves from being protected. On Mendip, some very significant caves are on CRoW land, surprising really as there isn't that much CRoW land here.   :unsure:

Looking at the legislation however, it appears probable that sites can be protected if it is deemed necessary, so this ought not to be a reason to object to open access generally, but certainly there is a good case for exemptions to allow controlled access in certain circumstances.

This is one thing that gets me about this debate. For certain protagonists, it seems to be all about their convenience. For me, it's all about the caves. You may recall a conversation about accepting that a piece of cave would be trashed which I reported a while back. If that cave had been open access then that conversation would have been about a piece of the cave that had been trashed. Doesn't really show us as good custodians of that which we are supposed to cherish, does it.


You Mendip boys really do have a fetish for concrete don't you?


And there's me thinking that it was in South Wales that a landowner did actually fill in a newly opened entrance when the local (presumably) cavers didn't respect his wishes.  :coffee:

Not sure how relevant Scotland would be to England/Wales, given their different laws (and arguably a relative lack of caves).

It is relevant precisely because the law is different. That difference is there for all to see and shows that the law in England and Wales should not be interpreted in the same way as the Scottish law.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bob monkhouses face mole on April 03, 2013, 07:23:13 am
CCW, Forestry Commission Wales and Environment Agency Wales have merged, NE not included.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 03, 2013, 08:19:42 am
CCW, Forestry Commission Wales and Environment Agency Wales have merged, NE not included.

Thank you  :)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NewStuff on April 03, 2013, 09:02:15 am

Not sure how relevant Scotland would be to England/Wales, given their different laws (and arguably a relative lack of caves).

It is relevant precisely because the law is different. That difference is there for all to see and shows that the law in England and Wales should not be interpreted in the same way as the Scottish law.

And this, unless I am mistaken, is what we are trying to get defined. Is it simply an omission and included in the "open air" definition, or is it an omission and excluded? As has been said, the Scottish version was drafted afterwards, and had time to include omissions, give better definitions etc.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 03, 2013, 10:16:56 am
I stand corrected. I hadn't realised that there were many caves on CROW land in the Mendips, but Graham and Les have dispelled this.

With regards to conservation, I see only two reasons why restricting access to a cave may help.
1) It reduces the number of visitors.
2) It means that the visitors who do go are more likely to be careful.
Which do you think it is Graham? Or is there another reason that I've missed?

"Would you guys have the landowners remove that safety feature..."
No, simply taking the padlock off would suffice. A lid gives safety, a lock gives control. See: Much of Derbyshire.

"..would you accept the fact that keys are easy to source.."
Graham, you do have access to the UBSS tackle store which is full of keys. If we were all so fortunate, there would be fewer complaints. By and large, getting a key is easy, but takes planning and is frustrating when it goes wrong and you've travelled far.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 03, 2013, 10:25:39 am
Given the study commissioned for N.E., I think it would be useful to try to contact them to see if they hold the same views as presented in the study. How could this be done?

1) Ask the YDLAF at their meeting if they could ask N.E. (as suggested by JJ on the other thread)
2) Fire off an email to the first appropriate looking address on their website.

I've done the latter, but expect little. The former could certainly be done in a couple of months. Anyone have any other ideas? Recommendations on who to contact?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: mmilner on April 03, 2013, 11:25:42 am
"Would you guys have the landowners remove that safety feature..."
No, simply taking the padlock off would suffice. A lid gives safety, a lock gives control. See: Much of Derbyshire.

Most of the caves 'locked' in the Peak District (not just Derbyshire) just require an adjustable spanner. The 'Derbyshire Key' is a simple solution and works well. The fact that the caves are bolted shut does not imply control, if you can use a spanner you can gain access! (And the majority of the caves in the Peak do not require permits, etc.) A lid on it's own does not give safety, it needs bolting down so members of the public esp. children can't just lift it off and potentially fall to their deaths..

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 03, 2013, 11:36:30 am
Blackholesun,

I can see no reason why “you” (as an individual) should not write to N.E. and ask for clarification as to whether or not they believe it is legal for “you” to enter a cave on CRoW land (no reason why any of us can’t do it I guess).

Their answer can be made available to the various “bodies” who can they choose to either write themselves or adopt the answer you have been given…..

With regards to the Mendips and conservation, I suspect there will be caves elsewhere where there is a conservation issue too. However, I do not believe the clarification of CRoW should be molested or de-railed by “example” caves that may or may not have conservation issues. The issue of “conservationism” within CRoW caves should be addressed entirely separately.

(And mmilner has a good answer anyway)


Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 03, 2013, 11:40:25 am
mmilner; I'm in complete agreement with what you just said. If it sounds like that I wasn't in my last post, then I must have phrased it badly.

I was wondering why Graham thought that a padlock would provide additional security over the 'Derbyshire Key'.

I'm not entirely sure how many people would actually fall down an open hole, but if people are willing to volunteer to fit a method that prevents this, then that's great. If this builds relations with the landowner and stops their sheep falling down it too, then even better.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on April 03, 2013, 11:41:22 am
No, simply taking the padlock off would suffice. A lid gives safety, a lock gives control. See: Much of Derbyshire.


I think that was the point that BHS was making, Mel. And it's a bloody good point.

Seems to me that this discussion is now going round in circles.

There are 3 possible outcomes of the proposed approaches to the LAFs.

1) Caving is accepted as an 'open air' pursuit. Therefore caves are accepted under CRoW, and we can walk up to cave entrances and go caving without permits or other hindrance (apart from maybe a 'Derbyshire key')

2) Caving is NOT accepted as an open air pursuit, back to the drawing board. More lobbying, presumably.

3) No decision is made.  As 2 above.

Am I reading this right?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 03, 2013, 11:50:56 am
Ian, I emailed them last night and have got:

Your query has been escalated to our Lead Advisor for comment.  We will be in touch again once we have received a reply.

That was only 20 minutes ago, so I'll either let you know soon or wait a few days, give up and hope that someone has thought of something else.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 03, 2013, 11:54:10 am
Keep pursuing it, don't let it drop.

Also, when you get an email back, ask them to put their answer in writing to you (I suspect an email has a limited legal standing).

... I would ask them to do this whichever side of the fence they come down on (or even if they decide to sit on it)

 ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 03, 2013, 11:58:54 am
Droid, that sounds about right to me, but there may be further issues.
For example there could be varying degrees of answer depending on:

1) How much the YDLAF think caving is covered
2) How confident in their own decision the YDLAF is
3) How much influence the YDLAF think a decision by them has

I'm concerned that we might get a
1, It probably is; 2, Moderately, but not certain; 3, Not enough for a wholescale change in access arrangements

But that is purely speculation and conjecture, based on little.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 03, 2013, 12:00:53 pm
Good point Ian.
I tend to forget the need to have anything written down.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: droid on April 03, 2013, 12:27:59 pm
I'm going to risk getting told off for diverting the discussion here, but bugger it, I'll take that risk....

This is specifically to do with the Dales, but might apply top other areas, I don't know.

This is dependant on my (admittedly sometimes flaky) memory: the access arrangements in Yorkshire , so abhorrent to some, were I believe instituted after a series of high profile and environmentally damaging rescues in the '60s/early '70s. Especially the Mossdale tragedy. This led to a severe restriction on access. Which led to the formation of the CNCC.

I fear that if we DO get open access under law that memories run long and landowners may take action to try to deter such access. Like on Ringinglow (near Sheffield) where if memory serves (see above  :lol: ) the immediate response of one farmer to CRoW was to plough a 50 yard strip right next to the most convienient place to enter his land.

I'm sure that one of the Dales veterans will back up/ correct the above. If I'm wrong, apologies. :-[
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Les W on April 03, 2013, 03:10:13 pm
Good point Ian.
I tend to forget the need to have anything written down.

Email correspondence should be good enough.
http://www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=46064 (http://www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=46064)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 03, 2013, 05:31:19 pm
Natural England have spoken (electronically (by email, not like Stephen Hawking)).

On the report that was linked to:
"At that time comments were received from Countryside Agency, English Nature, Countryside Council for Wales, RSPB, National Park Authorities, National Trust and many experts in their field who were the main contributors.  Therefore it is fair to say that the consultant didn’t express solely their opinion or that of DEFRA or Natural England."

Therefore, it was perhaps not just the consulant's decision to include caving.

However, the general upshot is that:
"Ultimately the information within the reports is not the opinion of Natural England and the wording in Report NECR012 3.2.1. to include ‘potholing’ is misleading, though it would be for the legal courts to decide definitively if this activity is covered by the CROW Act."
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 03, 2013, 05:45:22 pm

With regards to conservation, I see only two reasons why restricting access to a cave may help.
1) It reduces the number of visitors.
2) It means that the visitors who do go are more likely to be careful.
Which do you think it is Graham? Or is there another reason that I've missed?

There is one significant reason that you have completely missed which is the fact that a significant number of the better conserved caves require leaders. It is generally acknowledged on Mendip and has been for a long time that route finding is not the task of these people, rather that they act as conservation wardens.

There are other reasons, too. Try to think of some.


"Would you guys have the landowners remove that safety feature..."
No, simply taking the padlock off would suffice. A lid gives safety, a lock gives control. See: Much of Derbyshire.


In the case that I mentioned, the lock was the same one as the nearest caves, where's the problem?

"..would you accept the fact that keys are easy to source.."
Graham, you do have access to the UBSS tackle store which is full of keys. If we were all so fortunate, there would be fewer complaints. By and large, getting a key is easy, but takes planning and is frustrating when it goes wrong and you've travelled far.

As you admit, sourcing keys is actually quite easy. If you can't be bothered to put in a little bit of effort, maybe you can't be bothered to take care underground, either. Just a thought.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on April 03, 2013, 05:52:47 pm
Aren't the CCW, NE and FC (Forestry Commission) all in the process of amalgamting right now ?

According to a newspaper report I read yesterday, they have just done so.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: paul on April 03, 2013, 05:54:56 pm

With regards to conservation, I see only two reasons why restricting access to a cave may help.
1) It reduces the number of visitors.
2) It means that the visitors who do go are more likely to be careful.
Which do you think it is Graham? Or is there another reason that I've missed?

There is one significant reason that you have completely missed which is the fact that a significant number of the better conserved caves require leaders. It is generally acknowledged on Mendip and has been for a long time that route finding is not the task of these people, rather that they act as conservation wardens.

There are other reasons, too. Try to think of some.


"Would you guys have the landowners remove that safety feature..."
No, simply taking the padlock off would suffice. A lid gives safety, a lock gives control. See: Much of Derbyshire.


In the case that I mentioned, the lock was the same one as the nearest caves, where's the problem?

"..would you accept the fact that keys are easy to source.."
Graham, you do have access to the UBSS tackle store which is full of keys. If we were all so fortunate, there would be fewer complaints. By and large, getting a key is easy, but takes planning and is frustrating when it goes wrong and you've travelled far.

As you admit, sourcing keys is actually quite easy. If you can't be bothered to put in a little bit of effort, maybe you can't be bothered to take care underground, either. Just a thought.

Global Moderator Comment PLEASE keep to the Subject: Access to caves on CRoW land. If you wish to discuss Conservation, which is also an important issue, then start a separate Topic.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: NigR on April 03, 2013, 06:36:38 pm
I think at least one of the reasons for resistance to more open access through CRoW, is the fear that it will prevent certain caves from being protected. On Mendip, some very significant caves are on CRoW land, surprising really as there isn't that much CRoW land here.   :unsure:

Looking at the legislation however, it appears probable that sites can be protected if it is deemed necessary, so this ought not to be a reason to object to open access generally, but certainly there is a good case for exemptions to allow controlled access in certain circumstances.

Les,

Your reservations are quite understandable, particularly with regard to Mendip where many of the more significant caves have been so well looked after over the years. Nobody, myself included, would want to see all this hard work undone overnight by suddenly making access completely open. As you point out yourself, there is room in the legislation for exemptions to be made in exceptional circumstances. This is what I would expect to happen, especially with caves where access arrangements have been in place prior to the CRoW Act being passed.

It is interesting to note that the only people who have actually postulated the "nightmare scenario" of every single cave gate having to be removed at once are the Uber-Conservationists themselves. Nobody I have spoken to expects (or wants) this to happen. It would be nice if access could be eased in some cases and made more logical in others. Sticking to Mendip, I applaud the efforts of the CSCC to get as many caves as possible on the same key. Perhaps a similar initiative could be undertaken with regard to caves on CRoW land as well?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Alex on April 03, 2013, 07:36:54 pm
Do you know if this somehow did mean that more caves ended up with locks I would be okay with that PROVIDED the keys are easily accessible in a neutral location (A climbing/caving shop for example on the day), which is how it works in Devon.  Having keys in a neutral location eliminates elitism. This would be far better then these permits that need to gotten 3 months in advance, as my crystal ball is out of batteries.

To keep the numbers down, well only have a limited number of keys. However if its a cave that does not need any real protection, Lost Johns for example I would argue that should be full open access. In-fact the only cave on Leck Fell I would say needs access control is Witches 2, not really being a sporting type cave anyway.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 03, 2013, 07:54:36 pm
Do you know if this somehow did mean that more caves ended up with locks I would be okay with that PROVIDED the keys are easily accessible in a neutral location (A climbing/caving shop for example on the day), which is how it works in Devon.  Having keys in a neutral location eliminates elitism. This would be far better then these permits that need to gotten 3 months in advance, as my crystal ball is out of batteries.

To keep the numbers down, well only have a limited number of keys. However if its a cave that does not need any real protection, Lost Johns for example I would argue that should be full open access. In-fact the only cave on Leck Fell I would say needs access control is Witches 2, not really being a sporting type cave anyway.

Apart from the fact that keys are available from a range of caving Huts and not from a climbing/caving shop, you've just described the system that operates on Mendip with both CSCC and CCC Ltd keys. Easily accessible central locations, No requirement to book months in advance and a limited number of keys (how can that be otherwise?)

If it ain't broke maybe we don't see a need to fix it.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: potholer on April 03, 2013, 08:19:00 pm
To keep the numbers down, well only have a limited number of keys. However if its a cave that does not need any real protection, Lost Johns for example I would argue that should be full open access. In-fact the only cave on Leck Fell I would say needs access control is Witches 2, not really being a sporting type cave anyway.
Surely a lot depends on what the best reason for limiting numbers in a particular case is - it could be conservation, or it could be trying to avoid a bottleneck when a significantly vertical cave is double-rigged.

There's definitely a convenience factor in knowing you [should] have Lost Johns or Notts to yourself, especially if taking a decent-sized group down there.
Arguably that's more the case for people who are travelling a long way and don't get up north very often - if a southern club comes up north rarely, it can be nice for them to know they have a fighting chance of doing some fine trips in a fairly stress-free way.
I'm in the dales at least monthly, and sometimes beyond weekends, so it'd be rather less of an issue for me - if I'm unlucky one time I can try again fairly soon.

If it's unbearably annoying to have a rare occasion when a planned key can't be obtained after a long drive to an area, how about finding a planned vertical cave already occupied, or going down and find someone has double-rigged behind you with a group of slow novices on a cave which isn't good for that?
Sure, people shouldn't double-rig like that, but some do, and the existing system (in the places where people generally abide by it) does make it somewhat less likely than in the more free-for-all areas.

On the other hand, Easegill could (and does) soak up large quantities of people, but then the main entrances aren't terrible bottlenecks - Lancs shaft itself isn't technical or particularly long, and is amenable to double-rigging, and County/WR have only short drops.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: paul on April 03, 2013, 08:20:35 pm
Global Moderator Comment Again: PLEASE keep to the Subject: Access to caves on CRoW land. If you wish to discuss Conservation, which is also an important issue, then start a separate Topic.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: John S on April 03, 2013, 09:34:03 pm
I may have missed an answer but has there been any suggestions to the Hull Pot Question, which does not allow cavers access to CRoW caves?



Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: potholer on April 03, 2013, 10:01:50 pm
I may have missed an answer but has there been any suggestions to the Hull Pot Question, which does not allow cavers access to CRoW caves?
Would that be much different to asking 'can a walker walk a few feet into into the entrance of Yordas or Victoria Cave (assuming for the sake of argument both are on access land and neither are fenced off') since walking is a permitted activity'?

If it's already agreed that caving is a not-explicitly-mentioned activity under the act, I'm not sure how much it helps looking at extreme boundary cases if what people want to know is what the official position is for regular caving.
Even if it was established that a climber could abseil down a daylight entrance if they were going to climb out, essentially 'because climbing is a permitted open-air activity', that wouldn't say anything about regular caving if the basic question is whether caving qualifies as is an open-air activity.

I can't see many people trying to argue that under the legislation a climber would be allowed to go to the bottom of King or Penyghent in order to climb back up the pitches, since that pretty obviously would be going caving.
Even climbing out of GG or Alum would seem to be stretching things a bit far.
The boundary might be slightly fuzzy, but it's not that fuzzy.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: TheBitterEnd on April 04, 2013, 08:24:38 am
The thing is that the "Hull Pot Question" emphasises the varied nature of caving.

Most people seem to think caving is a fairly horrible thing to do and wonder why anyone would want to. They imagine (probably influenced by Hollywood) that caves are full of water and rats and spiders. So of course it isn't an open air activity, it's something done by cranks who probably need saving from themselves.

In trying to convince people that it is a legitimate sport, examples that can be seen above ground are helpful to those who will never go underground. It also hints at a kind of discrimination in that there is one set of rules for one sport, a different set for another.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 04, 2013, 10:40:41 am
Whoops, sorry mods, I seem to have gone off topic a bit there.

Graham: "If you can't be bothered to put in a little bit of effort, maybe you can't be bothered to take care underground, either."
I believe the youth these days would term that "Banter".

Potholer; There is that benefit that if you have a permit then you should get the system to yourself and not have to wait for others. However, this system places pressure on other systems, such as the ones in West Kingsdale, so can introduce problems.
 
I don't like to contradict you, but I think that Lancs is a severe bottleneck. Precisely because it is so straightforward, that streams of beginners are sent down there. Cow Pot, into Fall Pot is right next door, and still pretty trivial, but is visited far less often as it has a couple of hanging rebelays. This is not really relevant though; You are correct, many can cave in Easegill.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 04, 2013, 10:56:23 am
As for the Hull Pot question, I think that it does highlight that it does seem unfair to allow climbing and not caving. You can push this even further, would this climb be allowed without permission if it were on CROW land?
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=209600 (http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=209600)

Personally, there's a climb that I would like to try in a cave on CROW land (in the name of exploration). I'd use my trad rack, so there would be no damage. Do I need a permit for something that would certainly be allowed a hundred meters up?

However, as potholer says though, the law is not really that fuzzy. It is also not mathematical in its logic; It can come down to what a 'reasonable' person may think and that could be along the lines of; If there has been a roof over your head and rock all around for 50 meters, then you are caving.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: peterk on April 04, 2013, 11:17:21 am
I don't like to contradict you, but I think that Lancs is a severe bottleneck. Precisely because it is so straightforward, that streams of beginners are sent down there. Cow Pot, into Fall Pot is right next door, and still pretty trivial, but is visited far less often as it has a couple of hanging rebelays. This is not really relevant though; You are correct, many can cave in Easegill.

But there should be no bottlenecks:
It is a condition of the access agreement with the Whelprigg Estate that novice cavers are not permitted into the Easgill system and that the system is not used for training cavers in caving techniques (other than the techniques used by experienced cavers e.g. photography, surveying, and conservation)
( http://cncc.org.uk/access/details.php?id=184 (http://cncc.org.uk/access/details.php?id=184)

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 04, 2013, 11:54:38 am
That is a good point peter.
In my personal experience though, I have certainly seem some who were not particularly fast on the pitch. Whether they classed as 'novices' or not, I wouldn't like to say as I don't really know how to define that in terms of caving. As for whether people helping them were 'training' them, I'd not like to comment on either.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 04, 2013, 12:05:49 pm
... I'd not like to comment ...

No offence, but is that because you don't want to admit that some cavers, including possibly some of our professional brethren, might perhaps sometimes play fast and loose with access conditions?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Alex on April 04, 2013, 12:26:09 pm
I would hazard a guess that, that particular clause is to prevent comercial groups from using it, not to prevent clubs training other members who already have some experaince. As debated ad-finitem on a mendip thread about charterhouse caves, its really hard to describe what is a novice. With open access though I guess Ease gill could be used for commerical purpouses but I would hazard to guess they would continue to use Long Churns as that is what they know.

Does CROW act however have any clauses about using the land for commerical purposes?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 04, 2013, 12:27:21 pm
No offence taken. The reason that I don't want to comment on it is some ratio of me not knowing the exact definitions and the observation that many advise not discussing access condition violations on a public forum. The ratio may be between 0 and 100%.

I think that with the caves in the Mendips that are administered by the CCC, the permits have a condition where you must have done 5 trips first. Is that correct? That seems like a more concrete way of defining who a novice is.

Back to CROW, does anyone have any other suggestions of who to contact other than N.E. and the YDLAF for discussion of the matter?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 04, 2013, 01:16:46 pm
I'd say landowners directly. The cynic in me would say it'd have to be someone outwith the CNCC.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on April 04, 2013, 01:43:32 pm
Does CROW act however have any clauses about using the land for commerical purposes?

Yes, its not allowed.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on April 04, 2013, 02:18:07 pm

But there should be no bottlenecks:
It is a condition of the access agreement with the Whelprigg Estate that novice cavers are not permitted into the Easgill system and that the system is not used for training cavers in caving techniques (other than the techniques used by experienced cavers e.g. photography, surveying, and conservation)
( http://cncc.org.uk/access/details.php?id=184 (http://cncc.org.uk/access/details.php?id=184)

Interesting! I can recall a few years ago meeting a school group in the entrance series of County Pot, Easegill - 12 children with two adults at front and rear of the party.  All were in normal clothes (i.e. jumpers, jeans, trainers, etc.), only a couple were wearing helmets and they had about 4 hand torches between the lot of them - the adults, of course, had the torches, as well as a couple of the youngsters.  They were not far from the first pitch in County Pot when I met them coming in.  I'd have classed them as 'novices'!
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 04, 2013, 02:19:25 pm
As bograt says it's not allowed on CRoW however that only refers to commercial outfits having "open access". It's perfectly feasible for said outfits to seek their own permission to access land that is CRoW. I know of two in the Dales who have.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 04, 2013, 02:34:39 pm
Back to CROW, does anyone have any other suggestions of who to contact other than N.E. and the YDLAF for discussion of the matter?

Well, one way would be to take legal advice (Counsel - which would likely cost a lot of money and may not provide a definitive answer).

Another would be to allow a test case to go to court ... (potentially that would cost very little if anything)

Another might be to identify the government department to whom NE are accountable and to approach them directly.

Additionally, there may be a value in approaching the Scottish counterpart to NE and asking them which can then be used as a reference (or leverage?) with NE who may, at this time, be unwilling to be definitive.

It might also be worthwhile approaching the Welsh counterpart (CCW) although they are currently enduring a transistion into another "body".

Keep up the great work  ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on April 04, 2013, 02:44:26 pm
Quote
Another might be to identify the government department to whom NE are accountable and to approach them directly.



That'll be DEFRA.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jopo on April 04, 2013, 03:04:18 pm
Quote
Ian
Well, one way would be to take legal advice (Counsel - which would likely cost a lot of money and may not provide a definitive answer).

Another would be to allow a test case to go to court ... (potentially that would cost very little if anything)

That then begs the question of who would represent all cavers, club, non club and the 'professionals' as expert witnesses.

Drawn from the BCA, the regions or trade bodies?

I don't think that any one opinion in this thread has had more than a couple of supporters and I can just see those who did not get their way or preffered rep. stomping off with their buckets and spades muttering 'Who gave them the right to represent me?'.
It is fairly obvious from this thread that 3 cavers in a room gets you 6 opinions.
The mind boggles.

Jopo
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 04, 2013, 03:33:05 pm
Jopo,

I think you are addressing an issue that will manifest later …

The focus is to determine whether or not cavers per se are able to enter caves under the CRoW act.

Once that is established (assuming we can – it is rather irrelevant if we cannot) then we can discuss the issues of conservation, digging and access control (who or which bodies might “manage” access) et al.

Your observation is perfectly valid …. One step at a time   ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on April 04, 2013, 03:38:43 pm
... then we can discuss the issues of conservation, digging and access control

Beg to differ. Conservation, digging and access control protocols should be in place before the doors open.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 04, 2013, 03:42:30 pm
Not an invalid point Chris but a lot of work for nothing if CRoW Act won't encompass caving. It can be a parallel process. The first objective of the pro lobby won't happen overnight.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 04, 2013, 04:00:29 pm
Quote
Ian
Well, one way would be to take legal advice (Counsel - which would likely cost a lot of money and may not provide a definitive answer).

Another would be to allow a test case to go to court ... (potentially that would cost very little if anything)

That then begs the question of who would represent all cavers, club, non club and the 'professionals' as expert witnesses.

Drawn from the BCA, the regions or trade bodies?

I don't think that any one opinion in this thread has had more than a couple of supporters and I can just see those who did not get their way or preffered rep. stomping off with their buckets and spades muttering 'Who gave them the right to represent me?'.
It is fairly obvious from this thread that 3 cavers in a room gets you 6 opinions.
The mind boggles.

Jopo

The mind does, indeed, boggle. Who on earth thinks that forcing a test case would cost very little? Some people on this thread need a serious reality check.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 04, 2013, 04:02:45 pm
... then we can discuss the issues of conservation, digging and access control

Beg to differ. Conservation, digging and access control protocols should be in place before the doors open.

Quite agree, you and I know the consequences of opening the door before the checks and balances are in place.

And, surely, the 'open access' lobby would have a more sympathetic hearing if they could show that they had thought through the responsibilities consequent on their actions as well as any rights that they wished to gain.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 04, 2013, 04:12:08 pm
Nice to see the hijacking and deflecting is back.

There is a basic premise of whether or not, as a British citizen, I, you or A.N.Other can legally visit a cave on land covered by CRoW. This premise is not subject to the whims and wishes of certain people/bodies but is a matter of “law” (ie. legislation). This is what we are trying to establish. Should it prove to be the case, I would suggest that the "uber-conservationists" might get a better level of tolerance from those who they have locked out for so long if they stopped being so bombastic about this issue and deliberately obstructive.

So far as a “test case” is concerned, the earlier suggestion was that the onus would lay with the landowner to prove that CRoW did not afford the privilege of caving. In such an instance, the cost to the “caver” would be very little if he/she represented themselves. It is this that I was referring to (ie. the already mooted (and multiple instances) suggestion).

Ian

PS. Additionally, no one is trying to petition to "gain" rights, we are trying to establish whether they already exist.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on April 04, 2013, 04:23:34 pm
There is a basic premise of whether or not, as a British citizen, I, you or A.N.Other can legally visit a cave on land covered by CRoW. This premise is not subject to the whims and wishes of certain people/bodies but is a matter of “law” (ie. legislation). This is what we are trying to establish.

Do you mean there is a basic premise of whether or not, as a British citizen, I, you or A.N. Other can legally visit a cave on land covered by CRoW, whether or not the legal owner of the land either directly, or via a designated access control body, wishes or whims to allow that access?

Or, put another way, you'd like to find out whether the law can be interpreted such that it allows you over-rule or ignore any wishes of the landowner.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on April 04, 2013, 04:25:39 pm
Think on this.

Most of the caves under Leck and Casterton Fells are part of the Three Counties System.  A permit is required for the entrances on these fells.  Yet easy and unpermitted access can be gained if you access this same system via Link, Pip, Boundary, Mistral, Bull Pot, Ireby, Large or Rift. 

You can park at Bull Pot Farm, get kitted up in full caving gear, walk over the CRoW open access land, walk past Lancaster Hole (but you can't go down it), continue to the entrance of Link Pot, go caving, end up underneath the entrance shaft of Lancaster Hole (but you can't go up it) and exit via Boundary Pot and walk back to the car over Casterton Fell.  This doesn't make sense.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 04, 2013, 04:29:39 pm
Chris, I can't speak for Ian, but for me;

Yes.

Just like walkers can walk without first checking the wishes of the landowner, there are cavers who desire to know if the same is possible (on CROW land)

Surely you'd at least like to know?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 04, 2013, 04:33:18 pm
There is a basic premise of whether or not, as a British citizen, I, you or A.N.Other can legally visit a cave on land covered by CRoW. This premise is not subject to the whims and wishes of certain people/bodies but is a matter of “law” (ie. legislation). This is what we are trying to establish.

Do you mean there is a basic premise of whether or not, as a British citizen, I, you or A.N. Other can legally visit a cave on land covered by CRoW, whether or not the legal owner of the land either directly, or via a designated access control body, wishes or whims to allow that access?

Or, put another way, you'd like to find out whether the law can be interpreted such that it allows you over-rule or ignore any wishes of the landowner.

You know perfectly well what was meant and it is precisely this kind of inflammatory and reprehensible attempted destruction of a serious debate that causes so much trouble on forums.

I am especially surprised by such an action from you being a moderator.

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on April 04, 2013, 04:36:45 pm
Perhaps you'll be less surprised if I was to inform you that I'm also a CRoW landowner with a cave on it, thus meaning I'm on multiple sides of the same equation. Hence my interest.

Being a moderator has NOTHING whatsoever to do with posting valid comments etc.. Please don't muddy the muddy waters.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 04, 2013, 04:38:41 pm
Think on this.

Most of the caves under Leck and Casterton Fells are part of the Three Counties System.  A permit is required for the entrances on these fells.  Yet easy and unpermitted access can be gained if you access this same system via Link, Pip, Boundary, Mistral, Bull Pot, Ireby, Large or Rift. 

You can park at Bull Pot Farm, get kitted up in full caving gear, walk over the CRoW open access land, walk past Lancaster Hole (but you can't go down it), continue to the entrance of Link Pot, go caving, end up underneath the entrance shaft of Lancaster Hole (but you can't go up it) and exit via Boundary Pot and walk back to the car over Casterton Fell.  This doesn't make sense.

Although what you describe is physically possible, what makes you believe it is legally so? What is it about accessing the cave via Link Pot that gives you the right to visit the bottom of the Lancaster Hole entrance shaft?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 04, 2013, 04:39:10 pm
Perhaps you'll be less surprised if I was to inform you that I'm also a CRoW landowner with a cave on it, thus meaning I'm on multiple sides of the same equation. Hence my interest.

 :bow: :bow: :bow:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 04, 2013, 04:45:40 pm
Chris, as such a land owner, would you have concerns about cavers going down it? If so, can I ask what they are?
We've not had any input from land owners here, AFAIK so I'd be interested.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Cap'n Chris on April 04, 2013, 04:47:37 pm
Unfettered/open access concerns? Yes, most definitely. Conservation of archaeological artefacts is hugely important.

Cavers can/do have access. But not on their own terms.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 04, 2013, 04:49:31 pm
Or, put another way, you'd like to find out whether the law can be interpreted such that it allows you over-rule or ignore any wishes of the landowner.

Yes. That's what the law is. A means with which to apply a test or run a rule over to see whether a situation or position is equatable. Climbers and walkers can access CRoW land. The caving omission at best was through lack of organisation at national level. I don't want to consider the alternative reasons.

The landowners I suspect didn't want CRoW. But they got it.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on April 04, 2013, 04:50:23 pm
Think on this.

Most of the caves under Leck and Casterton Fells are part of the Three Counties System.  A permit is required for the entrances on these fells.  Yet easy and unpermitted access can be gained if you access this same system via Link, Pip, Boundary, Mistral, Bull Pot, Ireby, Large or Rift. 

You can park at Bull Pot Farm, get kitted up in full caving gear, walk over the CRoW open access land, walk past Lancaster Hole (but you can't go down it), continue to the entrance of Link Pot, go caving, end up underneath the entrance shaft of Lancaster Hole (but you can't go up it) and exit via Boundary Pot and walk back to the car over Casterton Fell.  This doesn't make sense.

Although what you describe is physically possible, what makes you believe it is legally so? What is it about accessing the cave via Link Pot that gives you the right to visit the bottom of the Lancaster Hole entrance shaft?

Well there lies another interesting debate.  The complexities of which make a mockery of the system and one which is, of course, impossible to control or police.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 04, 2013, 04:51:48 pm
The caving omission at best was through lack of organisation at national level. I don't want to consider the alternative reasons.

Maybe you should. Maybe there were wholly valid alternative reasons. Maybe they remain valid today. To refuse to even consider this is to close down debate.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 04, 2013, 04:54:13 pm
Think on this.

Most of the caves under Leck and Casterton Fells are part of the Three Counties System.  A permit is required for the entrances on these fells.  Yet easy and unpermitted access can be gained if you access this same system via Link, Pip, Boundary, Mistral, Bull Pot, Ireby, Large or Rift. 

You can park at Bull Pot Farm, get kitted up in full caving gear, walk over the CRoW open access land, walk past Lancaster Hole (but you can't go down it), continue to the entrance of Link Pot, go caving, end up underneath the entrance shaft of Lancaster Hole (but you can't go up it) and exit via Boundary Pot and walk back to the car over Casterton Fell.  This doesn't make sense.

Although what you describe is physically possible, what makes you believe it is legally so? What is it about accessing the cave via Link Pot that gives you the right to visit the bottom of the Lancaster Hole entrance shaft?

Well there lies another interesting debate.  The complexities of which make a mockery of the system and one which is, of course, impossible to control or police.

So, you agree that you do not know that what you describe is legal. Fair enough. As to whether it can be controlled or policed, of course it can be. Whether the required methods would be considered acceptable in all quarters is another matter.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 04, 2013, 04:55:28 pm
The caving omission at best was through lack of organisation at national level. I don't want to consider the alternative reasons.

Maybe you should. Maybe there were wholly valid alternative reasons. Maybe they remain valid today. To refuse to even consider this is to close down debate.

Think you misinterpreted my meaning of not considering the alternatives.

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 04, 2013, 04:56:42 pm
As to whether it can be controlled or policed, of course it can be. Whether the required methods would be considered acceptable in all quarters is another matter.

What are the required methods Graham?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 04, 2013, 04:57:08 pm
The caving omission at best was through lack of organisation at national level. I don't want to consider the alternative reasons.

Maybe you should. Maybe there were wholly valid alternative reasons. Maybe they remain valid today. To refuse to even consider this is to close down debate.

Think you misinterpreted my meaning of not considering the alternatives.
Maybe you should express yourself with more clarity, then.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 04, 2013, 04:57:38 pm
As to whether it can be controlled or policed, of course it can be. Whether the required methods would be considered acceptable in all quarters is another matter.

What are the required methods Graham?

Use your imagination, Stu. It's not rocket science.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 04, 2013, 04:58:53 pm
The caving omission at best was through lack of organisation at national level. I don't want to consider the alternative reasons.

Maybe you should. Maybe there were wholly valid alternative reasons. Maybe they remain valid today. To refuse to even consider this is to close down debate.

Think you misinterpreted my meaning of not considering the alternatives.
Maybe you should express yourself with more clarity, then.

Pretty sure you get the drift.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 04, 2013, 05:00:46 pm
As to whether it can be controlled or policed, of course it can be. Whether the required methods would be considered acceptable in all quarters is another matter.

What are the required methods Graham?

Use your imagination, Stu. It's not rocket science.

Try and be at least a little bit constructive Graham.

Again, what do you see as required methods? Genuine, none hostile question.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on April 04, 2013, 05:01:58 pm
The landowner normally owns whatever is directly below their land as far as the centre of the earth.  (The exception might be where they have sold the mineral rights to someone else.)  However, the landowner owns the walls of the cave but it's a moot point as to whether they own the space which makes up the cave

This also applies to the designation of Scheduled Ancient Monuments where these relate to mining remains on the surface - DCA has recently had occasion to query this and the answer is that the scheduling applies to the remains below ground as well as those above ground.

Interesting case is the Giants - Oxlow connection where the former owner of Giants refused people permission to do the connection, even if they had asked permission beforehand to exit onto his land and had paid his 'trespass fee'.  Theoretically the system has 3 owners:  the Oxlow end belongs to the owners of Oxlow House Farm;  the Giants Hole end belongs to the owner of Peakshill farm;  but there's a bit in the middle which belongs to Derbyshire County Council because it goes under the B6061 Sparrowpit to Castleton road.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 04, 2013, 05:03:24 pm
The caving omission at best was through lack of organisation at national level. I don't want to consider the alternative reasons.

Maybe you should. Maybe there were wholly valid alternative reasons. Maybe they remain valid today. To refuse to even consider this is to close down debate.

Think you misinterpreted my meaning of not considering the alternatives.
Maybe you should express yourself with more clarity, then.

Pretty sure you get the drift.

In which case my previous comment stands and there is no point in continuing to debate with closed minds.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: jasonbirder on April 04, 2013, 05:05:55 pm
Quote
Use your imagination, Stu. It's not rocket science

I'm fairly certain given Graham's proclivities he's refering to Concrete ;)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 04, 2013, 05:07:18 pm
The caving omission at best was through lack of organisation at national level. I don't want to consider the alternative reasons.

Maybe you should. Maybe there were wholly valid alternative reasons. Maybe they remain valid today. To refuse to even consider this is to close down debate.

Think you misinterpreted my meaning of not considering the alternatives.
Maybe you should express yourself with more clarity, then.

Pretty sure you get the drift.

In which case my previous comment stands and there is no point in continuing to debate with closed minds.

For clarity: it's my suspicion that BCA and/or CNCC kept themselves out of the picture. Which is a pity. A useful and detailed debate at the time might have answered a lot of caver's questions and this subject might never have arisen. But maybe BCA and/or CNCC closed their minds to the possibility that cavers might understand the reasons for doing so.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 04, 2013, 05:07:43 pm
The landowner normally owns whatever is directly below their land as far as the centre of the earth.  (The exception might be where they have sold the mineral rights to someone else.)  However, the landowner owns the walls of the cave but it's a moot point as to whether they own the space which makes up the cave

This also applies to the designation of Scheduled Ancient Monuments where these relate to mining remains on the surface - DCA has recently had occasion to query this and the answer is that the scheduling applies to the remains below ground as well as those above ground.

Interesting case is the Giants - Oxlow connection where the former owner of Giants refused people permission to do the connection, even if they had asked permission beforehand to exit onto his land and had paid his 'trespass fee'.  Theoretically the system has 3 owners:  the Oxlow end belongs to the owners of Oxlow House Farm;  the Giants Hole end belongs to the owner of Peakshill farm;  but there's a bit in the middle which belongs to Derbyshire County Council because it goes under the B6061 Sparrowpit to Castleton road.

I'd be fascinated to see someone do the connection without touching those walls and floors that don't belong to them.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 04, 2013, 05:09:00 pm
Quote
Use your imagination, Stu. It's not rocket science

I'm fairly certain given Graham's proclivities he's refering to Concrete ;)

Maybe, who knows? He did earlier on on this thread invoke a memory of a caver of yore suggesting all caves become show caves.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Les W on April 04, 2013, 05:11:37 pm
Just for a point of clarification - BCA came into being in 2003.
CRoW was 2000
NCA was the body in question during he CRoW consultations.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 04, 2013, 05:12:23 pm
The YDLAF minutes state that it was through lack of organisation. Graham, if you could give us other reasons, with evidence, for its omission, then we would all be interested in them. This isn't about reasons why it could be, these would be reasons why it wasn't. Historical, rather than logical, evidence.

Chris, I agree that it is important. However, CROW lands can still be subjected to exceptions if there are reasons of conservation. This is part of the legislation. However, archaeological finds are not common, and the vast majority of caves show no signs of ancient human activity. Is this your main concern about free access?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: paul on April 04, 2013, 05:13:46 pm
Global Moderator Comment Once more we are drifting (prior to the last couple of posts) from the point in question: If cavers are allowed to cross CRoW designated land to a cave entrance, are they also legally allowed to enter the cave on a caving trip. Please stick to the subject.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 04, 2013, 05:18:16 pm
Just for a point of clarification - BCA came into being in 2003.
CRoW was 2000
NCA was the body in question during he CRoW consultations.

Yes, sorry Les.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Stuart Anderson on April 04, 2013, 05:18:44 pm
Once more we are drifting (prior to the last couple of posts) from the point in question: If cavers are allowed to cross CRoW designated land to a cave entrance, are they also legally allowed to enter the cave on a caving trip. Please stick to the subject.

http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=15045.msg195431;topicseen#new (http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=15045.msg195431;topicseen#new)

Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on April 04, 2013, 05:23:17 pm
Just for a point of clarification - BCA came into being in 2003.
CRoW was 2000
NCA was the body in question during he CRoW consultations.

I think you will find that the BCA came into existence officially in 2005/6, though 2003 was the start of the process of moving from NCA to BCA.  The fact remains that BCA, per se, had nothing to do with the original discussions on CRoW and NCA did.  However, the new booklet NECR012 Edn. 2, which appeared in 2009 appears to include caving/potholing:

3.2.1 The CROW Act provides for open-air recreation, basically on foot,
which would include the following activities:-
 Walking.
 Climbing.
 Potholing.
 Informal games.
 Scrambling.
 Scree-running.
 Picnicking.
 Ski-ing, toboganning, etc.


This appears to be a change to the original thinking and ought to be followed up.  However, it would be sensible to try to do this in a non-confrontational way since we do not want to antagonise landowners unnecessarily and risk losing the limited access we have in some areas.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on April 04, 2013, 05:30:39 pm
Think on this.

Most of the caves under Leck and Casterton Fells are part of the Three Counties System.  A permit is required for the entrances on these fells.  Yet easy and unpermitted access can be gained if you access this same system via Link, Pip, Boundary, Mistral, Bull Pot, Ireby, Large or Rift. 

You can park at Bull Pot Farm, get kitted up in full caving gear, walk over the CRoW open access land, walk past Lancaster Hole (but you can't go down it), continue to the entrance of Link Pot, go caving, end up underneath the entrance shaft of Lancaster Hole (but you can't go up it) and exit via Boundary Pot and walk back to the car over Casterton Fell.  This doesn't make sense.

Although what you describe is physically possible, what makes you believe it is legally so? What is it about accessing the cave via Link Pot that gives you the right to visit the bottom of the Lancaster Hole entrance shaft?

Well there lies another interesting debate.  The complexities of which make a mockery of the system and one which is, of course, impossible to control or police.

So, you agree that you do not know that what you describe is legal. Fair enough. As to whether it can be controlled or policed, of course it can be. Whether the required methods would be considered acceptable in all quarters is another matter.

Should I say, "in practice this would be impossible to control or police", as is the case up there now.  I don't know about the legalities of passing underground borders but I suspect it will be well disputed.  This thread has demonstrated to me that no one really knows the legalities of access to CRoW land anyway, and below it will likely be more so.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: paul on April 04, 2013, 05:31:48 pm
You can find a link to the dcoument Jenny is referring to above at http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/41007 (http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/41007)
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 04, 2013, 05:33:04 pm
Jenny, despite linking to that document, I'm cautious about it and may not have described it originally correctly. N.E. have replied to me to say that:
"Therefore it is fair to say that the consultant [who wrote it] didn’t express solely their opinion or that of DEFRA or Natural England."
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on April 04, 2013, 05:37:10 pm
Jenny, despite linking to that document, I'm cautious about it and may not have described it originally correctly. N.E. have replied to me to say that:
"Therefore it is fair to say that the consultant [who wrote it] didn’t express solely their opinion or that of DEFRA or Natural England."

Agreed, but it is at least a small chink of light and worth following up if it's part of a document that NE commissioned.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Ian Adams on April 04, 2013, 05:38:04 pm
.... it would be sensible to try to do this in a non-confrontational way since we do not want to antagonise landowners unnecessarily and risk losing the limited access we have in some areas.


Completely agree. All we want is clarity as to whether we "can" or "cannot".

 :)

Ian
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: blackholesun on April 04, 2013, 05:41:15 pm
Jenny, despite linking to that document, I'm cautious about it and may not have described it originally correctly. N.E. have replied to me to say that:
"Therefore it is fair to say that the consultant [who wrote it] didn’t express solely their opinion or that of DEFRA or Natural England."

Agreed, but it is at least a small chink of light and worth following up if it's part of a document that NE commissioned.

I certainly agree with this. Just feel that after linking to the doc, that I should probably check that people have not got the wrong idea.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: bograt on April 04, 2013, 06:00:09 pm
Wow Jenny, thats one hell of a missive!
Caving is referred to significantly in the Earth Heritage Sites section, page 175 on, there is some suggestion that NE could apply some form of access control to caves on conservation grounds.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Jenny P on April 04, 2013, 06:03:43 pm
Wow Jenny, thats one hell of a missive!
Caving is referred to significantly in the Earth Heritage Sites section, page 175 on, there is some suggestion that NE could apply some form of access control to caves on conservation grounds.

Yes, they already do on some sites anyway.  At other sites, even though they are SSSIs as are most caves, no attempt at control of access is made by anyone, neither landowner nor NE.  This does seem inconsistent.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Andyj23UK on April 04, 2013, 06:57:14 pm
Or, put another way, you'd like to find out whether the law can be interpreted such that it allows you over-rule or ignore any wishes of the landowner.

the CROW act - with one fell swoop removed the landowners wishes with respect to climbing , having a picnic . etc etc etc

what is so special about the landowners right to restrict caving - or delagate that restriction to an acess body ?

i have to wonder why you are so oposed to CROW act allowing caving ?

the only people who seem to benefit are those who " manage " caving access - which begs a question ... or 3
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 04, 2013, 07:05:38 pm
the only people who seem to benefit are those who " manage " caving access - which begs a question ... or 3

I am directly involved in the management of a cave or two. What, pray tell, are the benefits that I get from this? Please take into account the fact that my current state of health means that I don't actually get underground very often these days.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Brains on April 04, 2013, 07:24:53 pm
We dont know - but can guess, having the control and authority is a motive well known in many walks of life, as is being part of an elite. Being a big fish in a small pond is a role that is assumed by many, far too many people.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Andyj23UK on April 04, 2013, 07:26:41 pm
I am directly involved in the management of a cave or two. What, pray tell, are the benefits that I get from this? Please take into account the fact that my current state of health means that I don't actually get underground very often these days.

if you dont get anything out of it - why do you do it ? [ PS - i consider the ` warm fuzzy ` of knowing i have helped someone else - a benefit to me ]

PPS - your health and fact you no longer cave are an irrelevant appeal to emotion

EDIT  to add : screw decorum - some people thrive on " power " real or imagined - however petty - you are not " one of those people " - are you ?
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: khakipuce on April 04, 2013, 07:27:44 pm
I am directly involved in the management of a cave or two. What, pray tell, are the benefits that I get from this? Please take into account the fact that my current state of health means that I don't actually get underground very often these days.

You get to tell people how marvellous you are on Internet Forums
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 04, 2013, 07:45:47 pm
Right so now I know what the benefits are. To quote a very good friend of mine super smashing, great.  :blink:

Oh and Andy, my health is wholly relevant as it means I'm not involved simply to secure easy access for myself, that's why I pointed it out.  :coffee:
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: Badlad on April 04, 2013, 09:05:22 pm

Graham - if you had been around a hundred years ago would you have upheld the landowners right to prevent access to all members of the public to open country?  This was the position in much of the country until the 1932 mass trepass of Kinder Scout.  Landowners clearly didn't want anyone on their land and it took militant action, mostly by ramblers to set in motion change.  Some went to jail for it, not for trepass, but for brawling with the gamekeepers which the landlord sent to try and stop them.  Since then the ramblers have led a campaign for open access to fells and the like culminating in the CRoW Act of 2000.  One of the main reasons the 'right to roam' gained favour with governments was because being able to freely access certain land for recreational purposes was likely to improved the nations health. It wasn't very popular with the big landowners though.   Social change requires that more people have greater access to the countryside and I welcome it, the more free the better, and it that causes problems then educate, don't control and restrict. 

Basically, I am suggesting that if we just did what the landowner wanted we wouldn't enjoy much access to open countryside at all. 

By the way I am also a landowner myself but take a very different view to the controlled and restricted position you seem to favour.
Title: Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
Post by: graham on April 04, 2013, 09:36:30 pm
Badlad

Am I the only one that sees the distinct ecological difference between people wandering freely over reasonably robust fellsides and remembering that spreading them all out over the fell minimises the energy impact previously limited to narrow footpaths, which them needed constant repair and comparing this with most of our caves where there are not many different routes through one passage and where energy inputs from visitors are disproportionately high compared with the normal background levels.

Caves is different to f