UK Caving

TECHNICAL FORUMS => National Access Discussions => Topic started by: paul on October 23, 2014, 04:31:38 pm

Title: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: paul on October 23, 2014, 04:31:38 pm
The post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under CRoW" at http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=17182.0 (http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=17182.0) was locked and made "sticky" so that it would remain in a place where it would be avilable more easliy to refer to, and not get buried under pages and pages of unhelpful replies.

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Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: JJ on October 25, 2014, 12:21:50 pm
Please refer to this thread which is locked and stickied at the top. In many ways I wish the topic was not locked so I could post as serious reply, is it not possible for the moderators to "moderate" all posts to a particular thread before they publish them?

I think Tony and possibly also Bob have missed the point regarding landowner liability, now I am no lawyer as Tony definitely knows although I know a bit which may be dangerous.

The relevant act is the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 which basically states that the occupier (landowner/tenant) owes a duty of care towards people who are invited or permitted to be on his/her land. The Occupiers' Liability Act 1984 extends the duty of care to people who are not visitors, including trespassers eg caving pirates - but only if:

The owner or occupier knows, or ought to know, of the dangers on his or her premises:

He or she knows or suspects that people might come near that danger:

The risk is one against which he or she might  reasonably be expected to offer protection.

Importantly however this duty of care does not extend to people who willingly accept risk, eg us cavers!

CRoW Act 2000 changed this law so that that occupiers had no duty of care relating to natural features on access land eg caves. Unless the occupier deliberately created a risk or allowed it to arise. (mines are excluded and far more complex)

In other words reduced occupier liability is a red hearing in the pro/anti debate as the reduced liability already exists as caves are natural features and cavers willingly accept risk!

Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Aubrey on October 25, 2014, 12:52:26 pm
Many cave entrances have been dug and engineered by cavers in order to gain access to the natural cave below. They are therefore not natural features.
Does the CROW legislation remove the landowners liability for these entrances?
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: bograt on October 25, 2014, 01:53:05 pm
All landowners or occupiers with a public right of way on their land are advised by the NFU and the CLBA to take up third party liability insurance to cover them in case someone falls down a rabbit hole adjacent to a footpath, all of our land is excluded from CRoW, but we do have two footpaths, so have the insurance.

 The question of 'natural or not' would depend upon the specific location, was it an enlargement of a natural feature or intense rock removal (i.e. mining?), only a test case could verify this, and I hope the caving world does not include people inclined to the "litigation creed" that would take the matter that far, as has already been mentioned, cavers, by the very nature of their sport, should accept that the onus of risk is on themselves.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: JJ on October 25, 2014, 03:06:19 pm
Many cave entrances have been dug and engineered by cavers in order to gain access to the natural cave below. They are therefore not natural features.
Does the CROW legislation remove the landowners liability for these entrances?


Aubery I take your point and I don't know. However what the act actually says (section 13) is:

Regarding the reduced/removed duty of care "a risk resulting from the existence of any natural feature of the landscape, or any river, stream, ditch or pond whether or not a natural feature, or a risk of that person suffering injury when passing over, under or through any wall, fence or gate, except by proper use of the gate or of a stile." it also goes on to say "any plant, shrub or tree, of whatever origin, is to be regarded as a natural feature of the landscape"

So "natural feature" is far wider than might be at first thought - but a dug cave entrance?

Bograt I think it is fair to say, caving aside, that CRoW gives greater protection to landowners. It is one reason cited for dedication of access land.

Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: bograt on October 25, 2014, 03:35:02 pm
Many cave entrances have been dug and engineered by cavers in order to gain access to the natural cave below. They are therefore not natural features.
Does the CROW legislation remove the landowners liability for these entrances?


Aubery I take your point and I don't know. However what the act actually says (section 13) is:

Regarding the reduced/removed duty of care "a risk resulting from the existence of any natural feature of the landscape, or any river, stream, ditch or pond whether or not a natural feature, or a risk of that person suffering injury when passing over, under or through any wall, fence or gate, except by proper use of the gate or of a stile." it also goes on to say "any plant, shrub or tree, of whatever origin, is to be regarded as a natural feature of the landscape"

So "natural feature" is far wider than might be at first thought - but a dug cave entrance?

Bograt I think it is fair to say, caving aside, that CRoW gives greater protection to landowners. It is one reason cited for dedication of access land.

 :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 25, 2014, 03:37:11 pm
Please refer to this thread which is locked and stickied at the top. In many ways I wish the topic was not locked so I could post as serious reply, is it not possible for the moderators to "moderate" all posts to a particular thread before they publish them?

I think Tony and possibly also Bob have missed the point regarding landowner liability, now I am no lawyer as Tony definitely knows although I know a bit which may be dangerous.

The relevant act is the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 which basically states that the occupier (landowner/tenant) owes a duty of care towards people who are invited or permitted to be on his/her land. The Occupiers' Liability Act 1984 extends the duty of care to people who are not visitors, including trespassers eg caving pirates - but only if:

The owner or occupier knows, or ought to know, of the dangers on his or her premises:

He or she knows or suspects that people might come near that danger:

The risk is one against which he or she might  reasonably be expected to offer protection.

Importantly however this duty of care does not extend to people who willingly accept risk, eg us cavers!

CRoW Act 2000 changed this law so that that occupiers had no duty of care relating to natural features on access land eg caves. Unless the occupier deliberately created a risk or allowed it to arise. (mines are excluded and far more complex)

In other words reduced occupier liability is a red hearing in the pro/anti debate as the reduced liability already exists as caves are natural features and cavers willingly accept risk!

I disagree, and we did consider it, or at least I did and I'm sure Bob did.

In allowing digging the landowner accepts a duty of care in respect of the dig to anyone else, agreed probably not to the diggers, and possibly not to sport cavers - see below - subsequently exploring that cave, but for walkers and employees etc.

You need to think outside the box. Imagine for example the position if a group of D of E award kids who got lost in bad weather, spotted a dig, decided to shelter and one fell down a twenty metre shaft? The landowner would almost certainly be covered if it were an entirely natural entrance, but if he had allowed the entrance to be dug he would potentially be liable, as would the diggers.

When I say "possibly not to sport cavers" imagine the situation where a sport caver was entering a cave via a dug, scaffolded entrance and was seriously injured by a scaffolding collapse. We're starting to get into grey areas, and grey areas can result in legal action which may go either way.

It's not a red herring, in fact if you were correct there would be no benefit to the reduction in liability offered by CRoW to landowners.

I do agree neither JJ or I are lawyers though, but perhaps the BCA would be representing us a little better if they invested in some legal advice, prior to a ballot, in relation to issues that have arisen since Dinah Rose's opinion :-)
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: tony from suffolk on October 25, 2014, 03:55:52 pm
Unfortunately there will always be potential for confusion and doubt in these areas. A dug entrance to a feature, i.e. A cave system, that is covered by CRoW is a means of access. In the case of CRoW land, a track giving access could collapse and cause injury, so who would be liable, if the track was maintained by the landowner?

Even if the BCA paid for legal advice they'd still end up with an opinion and nothing more.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 25, 2014, 04:08:38 pm
Unfortunately there will always be potential for confusion and doubt in these areas. A dug entrance to a feature, i.e. A cave system, that is covered by CRoW is a means of access. In the case of CRoW land, a track giving access could collapse and cause injury, so who would be liable, if the track was maintained by the landowner?

If the landowner had done something really stupid, for example allowed diggers to install sub standard scaffolding, perhaps old scrap scaffold salvaged from sites, old scaffold planks, not secured sufficiently well etc etc - he could quite possibly be liable. Harder one with a track of course, but if he'd dug a new track and undermined a building in the process for example, and the building collapsed, again he could be liable.

You're right, it's not the black and white situations we should be concerned with though, it's the grey ones!

Even if the BCA paid for legal advice they'd still end up with an opinion and nothing more.

True :-)
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: bograt on October 25, 2014, 04:13:29 pm

You need to think outside the box. Imagine for example the position if a group of D of E award kids who got lost in bad weather, spotted a dig, decided to shelter and one fell down a twenty metre shaft? The landowner would almost certainly be covered if it were an entirely natural entrance, but if he had allowed the entrance to be dug he would potentially be liable, as would the diggers.


Quite frankly this is B*llSH*T, I have ferried many DoE failures to their rondezvous(sp) points And I am sufficiently experienced to say that you do not know what you are talking about!!!!!
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 25, 2014, 04:18:58 pm

You need to think outside the box. Imagine for example the position if a group of D of E award kids who got lost in bad weather, spotted a dig, decided to shelter and one fell down a twenty metre shaft? The landowner would almost certainly be covered if it were an entirely natural entrance, but if he had allowed the entrance to be dug he would potentially be liable, as would the diggers.


Quite frankly this is B*llSH*T, I have ferried many DoE failures to their rondezvous(sp) points And I am sufficiently experienced to say that you do not know what you are talking about!!!!!

And I've spotted enough sheltering from bad weather over the years, including some in cave entrances?

If you prefer think walkers instead, the point stands.

All I'm trying to get across is that landowners have duty of care for digs they permit on their land.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 25, 2014, 04:29:01 pm
Bograt,

Maybe I'm doing the wrong thing imagining potential scenarios but let's try a different one anyway.

Imagine how the Jib Tunnel case could have turned out had the lad been standing in a dug entrance on a rotten scaffold plank that gave way, instead of being in a purely natural entrance? No warning signs or barriers in place.

You don't need to answer that, neither of use can ever know for sure can we unless it happens? And that's the point.

Tony
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 25, 2014, 04:41:10 pm
I do agree neither JJ or I are lawyers though, but perhaps the BCA would be representing us a little better if they invested in some legal advice, prior to a ballot, in relation to issues that have arisen since Dinah Rose's opinion :-)

I agree. If we must have this ballot, then the BCA should be getting proper advice on what the ramifications might be. If that has to be paid for then so be it.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Mark Wright on October 25, 2014, 05:50:00 pm
While we are 'thinking outside the box', If the diggers put an appropriate security fence around the open dig or installed a suitably secured lid, e.g. with a Derbyshire key, then the diggers and the landowner would be seen to be taking reasonable precautions to protect walkers who may otherwise fall into the dig and therefore no liability if someone is stupid enough to climb over a fence, open a gate and then fall down the shaft. From my experience in an industrial environment, I'm confident taking such steps would remove the need for the landowner to hold specific  Insurance cover for this eventuality. It may well be in the landowners own interests to have such a fence in place dependent on the type of farming they carry out and I'm sure local cavers will work with the farmers and landowners to ensure everybody, well nearly everybody, is happy. This is how most of the access arrangements work in Derbyshire and on the whole they work very well. 

I believe there is a national digging fund (which could probably be better administered) that could help ensure scaffolded digs are safe with no need for substandard tubes, clips and boards. 

Mark

Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 25, 2014, 05:51:51 pm
I believe there is a national digging fund (which could probably be better administered) that could help ensure scaffolded digs are safe with no need for substandard tubes, clips and boards. 

if memory serves, that fund a) isn't that wealthy and b) gives loans, not grants.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: bograt on October 25, 2014, 06:23:20 pm
I believe there is a national digging fund (which could probably be better administered) that could help ensure scaffolded digs are safe with no need for substandard tubes, clips and boards. 

if memory serves, that fund a) isn't that wealthy and b) gives loans, not grants.

I am not aware of a 'national digging fund', I think Mark may be thinking about the DCA's 'cave discovery fund' which recompenses expenditure for finders of 'significant cave passage' (in the Peak District).
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 25, 2014, 06:26:56 pm
I think Mark was alluding to this fund. (http://bcra.org.uk/ukccef/)
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: bograt on October 25, 2014, 06:32:04 pm
I think Mark was alluding to this fund. (http://bcra.org.uk/ukccef/)

Surely, this is related to maintaining access to existing systems??
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Aubrey on October 25, 2014, 06:33:43 pm
While we are 'thinking outside the box', If the diggers put an appropriate security fence around the open dig or installed a suitably secured lid, e.g. with a Derbyshire key, then the diggers and the landowner would be seen to be taking reasonable precautions to protect walkers who may otherwise fall into the dig and therefore no liability if someone is stupid enough to climb over a fence, open a gate and then fall down the shaft. From my experience in an industrial environment, I'm confident taking such steps would remove the need for the landowner to hold specific  Insurance cover for this eventuality. It may well be in the landowners own interests to have such a fence in place dependent on the type of farming they carry out and I'm sure local cavers will work with the farmers and landowners to ensure everybody, well nearly everybody, is happy. This is how most of the access arrangements work in Derbyshire and on the whole they work very well. 


That and other posts do not answer the question of what the landowners liability for dug entrances would be under CROW.
If CROW does not absolve the landowner of liability then I do not believe free access will be available under the legislation, perhaps someone can show otherwise?
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Mark Wright on October 25, 2014, 06:34:44 pm
Graham,

I have been led to believe it is relatively wealthy and it does give grants. As far as I know those who administer the scheme require receipts for digging equipment, e.g. tubes, boards and clips. From my experience of our dig in Rowter Hole, getting a receipt for any of the digging equipment is not usually practicable unless you want to pay at least another 20%.

I have only heard 2nd or possibly 3rd hand about this so don't quote me. Does it have something to do with the Hidden Earth bar? It is definitely neither of the funds posted by Graham and Bograt. Maybe I'm just dreaming this but if I am maybe it would a good idea.

Maybe someone in the know could enlighten us.

Mark
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: mmilner on October 25, 2014, 06:45:12 pm
I believe there is a national digging fund (which could probably be better administered) that could help ensure scaffolded digs are safe with no need for substandard tubes, clips and boards. 

if memory serves, that fund a) isn't that wealthy and b) gives loans, not grants.

I am not aware of a 'national digging fund', I think Mark may be thinking about the DCA's 'cave discovery fund' which recompenses expenditure for finders of 'significant cave passage' (in the Peak District).

That is correct Terry. I have claimed from it in the past when we opened up the top entrance to Darfar Pot. The rest of the funding for my entrance works has for several years come from BCA via DCA.

If you find a dig in an unsafe condition there is funding available to make it safe. (Receipts required for materials and necessary equipment like gloves, etc.) If it is a natural collapse, then it is the landowners responsibility to at least fence it off to safeguard livestock and members of the public if on access land or near a public road or footpath.

With regards to liability, 'taking reasonable precautions', is the key phrase here. That is why the National Trust had gates fitted on all the caves & mines around Wetton Mill close to public footpaths or roads. No padlocks, just bolted shut as usual. I have dealt (or am dealing with) the other 18 entrances in river beds of the Manifold & Hamps valleys! Only 3 on NT property. I don't want to be liable for someone having an accident, but I do want the sites kept open. It is a SSSI after all.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: mmilner on October 25, 2014, 06:49:49 pm
Graham,

I have been led to believe it is relatively wealthy and it does give grants. As far as I know those who administer the scheme require receipts for digging equipment, e.g. tubes, boards and clips. From my experience of our dig in Rowter Hole, getting a receipt for any of the digging equipment is not usually practicable unless you want to pay at least another 20%.

I have only heard 2nd or possibly 3rd hand about this so don't quote me. Does it have something to do with the Hidden Earth bar? It is definitely neither of the funds posted by Graham and Bograt. Maybe I'm just dreaming this but if I am maybe it would a good idea.

Maybe someone in the know could enlighten us.

Mark

Mark, I think you might be thinking of the UK Cave Conservation Emergency Fund, it does loans and grants. Go to the grants & awards page of the wildplaces web site. There's a whole raft of funding opportunities for different purposes.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Mark Wright on October 25, 2014, 06:58:51 pm
Mel, That was the link Graham provided. As I said it is neither of those. Maybe I am just dreaming it. I bet Les would know about this.

Mark
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: TheBitterEnd on October 25, 2014, 09:06:36 pm

If the landowner had done something really stupid, for example allowed diggers to install sub standard scaffolding, perhaps old scrap scaffold salvaged from sites, old scaffold planks, not secured sufficiently well etc etc - he could quite possibly be liable.

What does "sub standard" really mean? I mean REALLY as in COURT of LAW reality. I know you gave an attempt at your view of what you think would be "sub standard" but in reality a suitably qualified structural engineer and/or geotechincal engineer would have to assess what was done. My somewhat informed opinion is that pretty much nothing that diggers install would come anywhere close to what an Engineer would regard as safe. Bolts, mesh, shotcrete, etc. would be required.

So my point is that you need to be really careful when making statements like the above because it could be very easily construed that allowing digging WHAT SO EVER is "doing something really stupid".

Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: TheBitterEnd on October 25, 2014, 09:15:13 pm
No one has discussed the liability of diggers here. Why would the digger not be part of any claim?

The land owner could argue that all but what was visible from the surface was down to the diggers as the landowner was never informed of the extent or nature of the dig.

Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: jasonbirder on October 26, 2014, 11:03:45 am
Whilst this is all very interesting...

Could someone please explain (in simple terms) how a landowners liability for works he allows to be carried out on his land will differ between now and if CRoW is interpreted to cover caving?

Presumably, currently there is a hypothetical but extremely unlikely scenario that exists where a landowner may be considered liable if someone falls down a shaft on his land that is isn't fenced off/marked with warning signs...and similarly there is a potential but unlikely scenario where he could be held to account if a capped entrance/lidded shaft/dig he allowed to be constructed on his land fails causing injury or death...

How will that scenario be any different if CRoW is interpreted to include caving?

Surely it will be EXACTLY the same?
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: paul on October 26, 2014, 07:09:52 pm
Please refer to this thread which is locked and stickied at the top. In many ways I wish the topic was not locked so I could post as serious reply, is it not possible for the moderators to "moderate" all posts to a particular thread before they publish them?
Global Moderator Comment In short: no.The posts of the vast majority of UKCaving.com members appear as soon as they press the "Post" button. A few, because of "misdemeanours" in the past, have been placed on "Moderated" status and their posts go to a "holding area" and are only then seen by everyone once a Moderator has approved the post. I don't think it would be popular with everyone of their posts didn't appear until they have been approved. We Moderators have other things to do in our lives (including caving - I have just returned from a weekend in the Dales and am on the Forum inbetween sorting out dirty caving gear and getting something to eat...) rather than spend hours reading every single post within a reasonable time and then approve them. We just expect users to abide by the Forum Acceptable Use Policy and to keep on topic and not to have slanging matches and petty personal bickering. If this were to be the case, ther would be no need for Moderation... :)
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 26, 2014, 09:08:18 pm
No one has discussed the liability of diggers here. Why would the digger not be part of any claim?

The land owner could argue that all but what was visible from the surface was down to the diggers as the landowner was never informed of the extent or nature of the dig.

Read the post I made earlier - "You need to think outside the box. Imagine for example the position if a group of D of E award kids who got lost in bad weather [sorry Bograt - walkers], spotted a dig, decided to shelter and one fell down a twenty metre shaft? The landowner would almost certainly be covered if it were an entirely natural entrance, but if he had allowed the entrance to be dug he would potentially be liable, as would the diggers."

Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: mmilner on October 26, 2014, 09:41:46 pm
No one has discussed the liability of diggers here. Why would the digger not be part of any claim?

The land owner could argue that all but what was visible from the surface was down to the diggers as the landowner was never informed of the extent or nature of the dig.

Read the post I made earlier - "You need to think outside the box. Imagine for example the position if a group of D of E award kids who got lost in bad weather [sorry Bograt - walkers], spotted a dig, decided to shelter and one fell down a twenty metre shaft? The landowner would almost certainly be covered if it were an entirely natural entrance, but if he had allowed the entrance to be dug he would potentially be liable, as would the diggers."

No the diggers would be liable. The landowner probably wouldn't know exactly what the situation was. If you are digging a 20m shaft YOU are responsible for making it safe and that means secure fencing/walling and hazard warning signs around the dig. This is  standard H&S stuff. (And common sense!)
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Mark Wright on October 26, 2014, 10:03:52 pm
Using a bit of common health and safety sense, as Mel suggests, and installing and maintaining a suitable fence around the open dig would remove the hazard completely and so there should be no worries about liability as the accident would never happen.

If the diggers didn't secure the open dig and somebody did fall down and subsequently make a claim then the diggers will deserve everything that comes their way. I think it would be more likely though that the landowner would be held responsible. Not knowing what was going on on his land would certainly be no defence in court. The landowner would likely also be a lot richer than the diggers so the landowner would be the best person to try and claim from. The landowners insurers may well come knocking on the diggers door.

A test case would be the only way of knowing for sure so best put a fence up and cover everyones arses.

Mark
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: mmilner on October 26, 2014, 10:11:12 pm
Yep, Mark is probably spot on!
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 27, 2014, 09:13:20 am
Yep, Mark is probably spot on!

Mel,

Mark is pretty much spot on, when digs on SSSI's are consented it's the landowners that receive consent to carry out work - at least according to the one's we have permission for - which makes the liability his as well as the diggers - who effectively act as "contracters" for the work carried out.

Tony

Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: grahams on October 27, 2014, 11:16:50 am
Regarding SSSIs, the landowner often receives not inconsiderable sums of money from DEFRA to maintain the land to their requirements. The maintenance is periodically inspected by DEFRA. The owner of the SSSI behind our house for example, has to ensure that glade runs are maintained for rare butterflies and that the land is not over or under grazed. It's possible that our digging activities might be at odds with those requirements. DEFRA's MAGIC map provides a wealth of information regarding SSSIs, rights of way and CRoW amongst a mass of other information.

In addition, some limestone areas are protected by Limestone Pavement Orders. This could affect digs on places such as Scales Moor where shakeholes occur adjacent to pavement. See http://www.limestone-pavements.org.uk/legal.html. (http://www.limestone-pavements.org.uk/legal.html.)
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: mmilner on October 27, 2014, 02:01:11 pm
Hmmm. Interesting points made above. Thanx. So on SSSIs diggers are effectively non paid contractors doing work for the landowner cos they consented to it...  :-\ Never thought of it like that...  :-\

Actually, that would explain why the National Trust require us to have BCA insurance before doing any work on their land...
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 27, 2014, 03:25:09 pm
Hmmm. Interesting points made above. Thanx. So on SSSIs diggers are effectively non paid contractors doing work for the landowner cos they consented to it...  :-\ Never thought of it like that...  :-\

Actually, that would explain why the National Trust require us to have BCA insurance before doing any work on their land...

Mel,

That's my understanding, but other may be able to shed more light on it.

The wording of the applications and consents I have is in the following format:

"To:
Landowner
Of:
Landowners Address
Natural England gives you consent to carry out, cause or permit to be carried out the operations as specified in the notice dated ../../...., on the land as specified in the notice :-"

I assume this is a fairly standard wording that would also be used for works carried out by a paid contracter.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 27, 2014, 03:59:23 pm
Whilst this is all very interesting...

Could someone please explain (in simple terms) how a landowners liability for works he allows to be carried out on his land will differ between now and if CRoW is interpreted to cover caving?

Presumably, currently there is a hypothetical but extremely unlikely scenario that exists where a landowner may be considered liable if someone falls down a shaft on his land that is isn't fenced off/marked with warning signs...and similarly there is a potential but unlikely scenario where he could be held to account if a capped entrance/lidded shaft/dig he allowed to be constructed on his land fails causing injury or death...

How will that scenario be any different if CRoW is interpreted to include caving?

Surely it will be EXACTLY the same?

Sorry Jasonbirder, only just spotted this.

You are right the landowners liability for digging will be the same as now.

If you have a read of the statement at http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=17182.0 (http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=17182.0) you'll see both sides accept that.

It's the implications of the reduction in liability for caving that cause concern.  Both sides also accept that the potential problems identified are real and that we could lose digging access and instructors could lose access, Bob doesn't feel this is a problem, I do (in a nutshell) be please read the statement in full - it explains it better than I am here.



Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: mmilner on October 27, 2014, 05:49:43 pm
I assume this is a fairly standard wording that would also be used for works carried out by a paid contracter.

Yep, I reckon u r probably right... Except then there would also be stuff about payment, H&S, etc. I guess.

I need to investigate this further with NE and Pete Mellors. Not on a national basis, just in my local area. It's all SSSI but no-one seems to know who 'owns' the river beds....

Oh, and I've just found out there are signed copies of DCAs access agreements, but they are not on the web site or in our access handbook. Will investigate further later this week...
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Aubrey on October 27, 2014, 07:23:05 pm
There has not been a satisfactory reply to my question of potential landowner liability under CROW where the cave entrance has been dug,  i.e. it is not a natural feature.
If the cave entrance is not a natural feature then it seems likely that the cave cannot be considered to be covered by the CROW legislation, if that legislation does apply to caves.
Furthermore if the cave has been extended by digging then theoretically the extensions will not be accessible by right under CROW.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Mark Wright on October 27, 2014, 08:13:02 pm

Aubrey,

I would imagine most digs are natural features that have been enlarged. The same goes for any extensions within the cave that have been dug. Its not vey often that tunnels or shafts are driven through solid rock, except to get to the top of Titan!

Are you assuming a natural feature that has been enlarged is no longer a natural feature?

Mark
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 27, 2014, 08:22:16 pm

Aubrey,

I would imagine most digs are natural features that have been enlarged. The same goes for any extensions within the cave that have been dug. Its not vey often that tunnels or shafts are driven through solid rock, except to get to the top of Titan!

Are you assuming a natural feature that has been enlarged is no longer a natural feature?

Mark



Mark

Firstly, any dig where naturally occurring sediment has been removed is clearly no longer a wholly natural feature. That will cover a significant proportion of British cave entrances.

Secondly, yes, a natural feature that has been enlarged is no longer a wholly natural feature. That will cover quite a few of the rest.

Oh, and Titan is by no means the only completely mined cave entrance. Manor Farm Swallet is another. The most recently used entrance to Lamb Leer is a third. I am sure there are quite a few examples around.

And here's a natural sink being enlarged and turned into a less than natural feature.

(http://etcomp.pagesperso-orange.fr/bellegarde/images/rhone/Illustation1872gravure.jpg)
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Aubrey on October 27, 2014, 08:59:19 pm
Mark

Where the landowner has given permission for a cave dig to take place the postings above (about SSSIs) imply that he  is ultimately liable. Are you suggesting that a dig reverts to being a natural feature at some point and the landowners liability ceases?

Aubrey
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Mark Wright on October 27, 2014, 10:40:31 pm
If the landowner has given permission (or not for that matter) then they will be ultimately liable for the cave dig. The liability is reduced by taking suitable and sufficient steps to remove the hazard with the installation and subsequent maintenance of a suitable and appropriate fence. If the diggers are doing their bit for landowner/caver relations they could take responsibility for the costs and erection and maintenance of the fence unless of course the landowner is a generous one or the local regional council has funds put aside for this.

I'm not suggesting that the dig 'reverts to being a natural feature', I'm suggesting (in most cases) its always been a natural feature. At some point in the past the sediments weren't there but it would still have been a natural feature. There are many cave entrances that have been heavily worn over the years by the passage of caving ropes cutting large grooves into the natural limestone feature. Does that mean those entrances are no longer wholly natural features?

Is 'Wholly Natural Feature' a term introduced to cause more confusion? Where did it come from?

Mark

 
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: mmilner on October 27, 2014, 11:41:38 pm
Is 'Wholly Natural Feature' a term introduced to cause more confusion? Where did it come from?

Mark

Blimey Mark, that is as bad as the term 'Open air recreation'! But a good point all the same. Is it in the CRoW legislation. Bob M would know, I'm sure...
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: bograt on October 28, 2014, 12:18:56 am
Someone may correct me, but isn't Garden Path incorporated into the SSSI?
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: mmilner on October 28, 2014, 12:50:25 am
Someone may correct me, but isn't Garden Path incorporated into the SSSI?

yep, indeed it is. Don't think upper entrance is though. (just outside I think.) Jenny recently sent me an email about this, maybe  to you too. can't remember atm. Too tired to check, am going bed now, will check tmrw. bysies.  :sleeping: (Just hope the neighbours keep quiet now, grrr.)
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Aubrey on October 28, 2014, 01:55:26 am
If the landowner has given permission (or not for that matter) then they will be ultimately liable for the cave dig.


If the dig is successful and vast natural cave passages are found somewhere below, the site is still a dig with landowner liability and therefore there is not open access under CROW.

Are you suggesting there is some point when this changes? If so where is that defined?


Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: tony from suffolk on October 28, 2014, 06:35:11 am
If caves are to be regarded as CRoW, then by digging into them you're creating access to that facility. And I doubt if there are many "Wholly Natural" features in the UK.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 28, 2014, 07:07:03 am
If the landowner has given permission (or not for that matter) then they will be ultimately liable for the cave dig. The liability is reduced by taking suitable and sufficient steps to remove the hazard with the installation and subsequent maintenance of a suitable and appropriate fence. If the diggers are doing their bit for landowner/caver relations they could take responsibility for the costs and erection and maintenance of the fence unless of course the landowner is a generous one or the local regional council has funds put aside for this.

None of which has anything to do with CRoW. What you are describing, as both Bottlebank and Aubrey have alluded to in the past is the situation as it is now. You seem to be agreeing that this liability will not change should CRoW be made to apply to caves.

I'm not suggesting that the dig 'reverts to being a natural feature', I'm suggesting (in most cases) its always been a natural feature. At some point in the past the sediments weren't there but it would still have been a natural feature. There are many cave entrances that have been heavily worn over the years by the passage of caving ropes cutting large grooves into the natural limestone feature. Does that mean those entrances are no longer wholly natural features?

"At some point in the past the sediments weren't there." At an earlier point the rock wasn't there, either. When do you want to draw the line?

Is 'Wholly Natural Feature' a term introduced to cause more confusion? Where did it come from?

Probably from me, in an attempt to cause less confusion. Seemingly unsuccessfully. The point was to try to point up the vast grey area between entrances such as Porth yr Ogof or Rowten Pot  which are pretty damned natural and ones such as Manor Farm Swallet and Titan which are anything but.

It would be my guess that it was the complex nature of such issues that inclined DEFRA not to include caves in CRoW in the first place.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 28, 2014, 07:09:08 am
Someone may correct me, but isn't Garden Path incorporated into the SSSI?

yep, indeed it is. Don't think upper entrance is though. (just outside I think.) Jenny recently sent me an email about this, maybe  to you too. can't remember atm. Too tired to check, am going bed now, will check tmrw. bysies.  :sleeping: (Just hope the neighbours keep quiet now, grrr.)

Mel

I checked the position of Garden Path a while ago & the entrance did seem to be well within the shaded entrance indicating access land on their map.

Edit: Yup just checked again. Assuming the grid reference SK 16508 65982 is correct then Garden Path is on access land. I got that NGR from this page. (http://ukcaving.com/wiki/index.php/Lathkill_Head_Cave)
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: bograt on October 28, 2014, 12:33:23 pm
]

Edit: Yup just checked again. Assuming the grid reference SK 16508 65982 is correct then Garden Path is on access land. I got that NGR from this page. (http://ukcaving.com/wiki/index.php/Lathkill_Head_Cave)

So, in this instance at least, NE consider an excavated entrance on SSSI and CRoW to be a natural feature?
 We have a precedent.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 28, 2014, 12:48:49 pm
]

Edit: Yup just checked again. Assuming the grid reference SK 16508 65982 is correct then Garden Path is on access land. I got that NGR from this page. (http://ukcaving.com/wiki/index.php/Lathkill_Head_Cave)

So, in this instance at least, NE consider an excavated entrance on SSSI and CRoW to be a natural feature?
 We have a precedent.

Do they? A citation would be nice.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: al on October 28, 2014, 01:58:20 pm
Not sure what Garden Path has to do with this discussion at all.
Yes it was excavated, but it doesn't constitute a danger to the public as it is locked.
Mind you, I'm surprised where the brown Crow access line is drawn here, as Garden Path is obviously in pasture - I suppose it's to do with the walls and other boundaries.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 28, 2014, 02:14:30 pm
Not sure what Garden Path has to do with this discussion at all.
Yes it was excavated, but it doesn't constitute a danger to the public as it is locked.
Mind you, I'm surprised where the brown Crow access line is drawn here, as Garden Path is obviously in pasture - I suppose it's to do with the walls and other boundaries.

Won't be locked for long if some folks get their way ...
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bob Mehew on October 29, 2014, 11:41:00 am
Apologies for the delay in response but my weekend was wiped out by a family emergency and am just recovering from the aftermath.

Re natural feature. 

Sec 13 which amends the Occupiers Liability Acts states:

6(A) ...an occupier of the land owes (subject to subsection (6C) below) no duty by virtue of this section to any person in respect of—
(a) a risk resulting from the existence of any natural feature of the landscape, or any river, stream, ditch or pond whether or not a natural feature, or
(b) a risk of that person suffering injury when passing over, under or through any wall, fence or gate, except by proper use of the gate or of a stile.

(6B) For the purposes of subsection (6A) above, any plant, shrub or tree, of whatever origin, is to be regarded as a natural feature of the landscape.

(6C) Subsection (6A) does not prevent an occupier from owing a duty by virtue of this section in respect of any risk where the danger concerned is due to anything done by the occupier—
(a) with the intention of creating that risk, or
(b) being reckless as to whether that risk is created.”

 
Re CRoW applying to dug entrances, I claim dug entrances are a means of access, see http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=17137.msg225933#msg225933 (http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=17137.msg225933#msg225933) but I fear only the courts will resolve this question which will depend upon the specific case. 

Re land owner liability re digs, my line of thinking is that it will depend upon what was agreed between the diggers and the land owner.  (And that could be either a verbal or written agreement.)  If the diggers agreed to fence the dig, then the state of the fence is the diggers liability and more importantly, their continued responsibility for keeping it in a satisfactory condition until they die or end the agreement.  My expectation is that under most casual agreements,  one might consider the diggers as 'occupiers'.  (After all they are depriving the land owner his normal right of use of that patch of land.)  And as a consequence, the SSSI PDO would apply to the diggers, as well as the land owner since W&C Sec 28E does say "The owner or occupier".  I am not sure if the diggers acting as a contractor would materially change this situation, though it would bring in other legal demands, notably H&S.  If no agreement was obtained, then the diggers could be construed as squatters and hence occupiers.  However following the squat / dig, I think the liability would then fall back onto the land owner for not removing the risk from the dig (who could then sue the diggers for the expense in doing so).     

Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 29, 2014, 11:55:11 am
Bob, here's a thing. Instead of giving us yet more of your opinions, why not ask a proper lawyer?
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: bograt on October 29, 2014, 12:30:19 pm
Bob, here's a thing. Instead of giving us yet more of your opinions, why not ask a proper lawyer?

Maybe because even a 'proper lawyer''s decision will only be poo-poo'ed as another opinion, as Bob and others have said; ' I fear only the courts will resolve this question which will depend upon the specific case.'

Mind you, I'm surprised where the brown Crow access line is drawn here, as Garden Path is obviously in pasture - I suppose it's to do with the walls and other boundaries.

The area is designated NNR SSSI on two counts ; 'Earth Heritage' i.e. the caves, and 'Calcerous Grassland' i.e. the plantlife. When drawing up the CRoW map, they used the NNR boundary.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Aubrey on October 29, 2014, 12:43:03 pm
Bob quotes the following from the CROW legislation:


6(A) ...an occupier of the land owes (subject to subsection (6C) below) no duty by virtue of this section to any person in respect of—
(a) a risk resulting from the existence of any natural feature of the landscape, or any river, stream, ditch or pond whether or not a natural feature, or
(b) a risk of that person suffering injury when passing over, under or through any wall, fence or gate, except by proper use of the gate or of a stile.

All of that was written without any consideration of many cave entrances.
It is wishful thinking that these paragraphs could encompass any but naturally open caves, whether or not they have a gate fitted.

Just imaging the reaction in a court of law if someone was suggesting a shaft dug using explosives and supported with scaffolding and pipes was a natural feature.

The legal position needs to be clarified !!

Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 29, 2014, 01:43:06 pm
Just imaging the reaction in a court of law if someone was suggesting a shaft dug using explosives and supported with scaffolding and pipes was a natural feature.

The legal position needs to be clarified !!

I quite agree, sadly some cavers don't really understand the issue.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 29, 2014, 02:20:10 pm
Stepping back from the detail, is not liability simply related to something a person has done or built, which differentiates "natural" from "not natural". So any alteration to anything that would otherwise be considered "undisturbed" involves a degree of liability.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Aubrey on October 29, 2014, 02:24:56 pm
Stepping back from the detail, is not liability simply related to something a person has done or built, which differentiates "natural" from "not natural". So any alteration to anything that would otherwise be considered "undisturbed" involves a degree of liability.

Yes, exactly so - the landowner would be liable for any cave opened by digging and not covered by the CROW legislation.


Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 29, 2014, 02:58:50 pm
Stepping back from the detail, is not liability simply related to something a person has done or built, which differentiates "natural" from "not natural". So any alteration to anything that would otherwise be considered "undisturbed" involves a degree of liability.

Yes, exactly so - the landowner would be liable for any cave opened by digging and not covered by the CROW legislation.

I think there are several separate issues here clouding this.

Does the landowner have liability in the following situations:

1. Caves that are already open - yes at the moment and probably not under CRoW

Will all caves that have been dug open prior to CRoW applying be treated as a natural feature, if not then:
 
2. Caves that have been previously dug open - does the landowner still have liability for the dug section under CRoW - I think yes but needs checking
3. Caves that have been previously dug open - does the landowner still have liability for the cave beyond the dug section under CRoW - needs checking - as Bob says the dig may be considered an entrance - but then again it may not

Then we have:

4. Digs started pre CRoW and not concluded prior to CRoW - yes
5. Digs started post CRoW - yes

And...

6. Caves that are dug open post CRoW - again does the landowner have liability for the cave beyond the dug section - possibly but needs checking - as 3.
7. Does all of this depend on the nature of the dig - i.e. if a few boulders were simply moved aside is this different to a blasted and shored shaft?

Should the BCA be getting legal advice on this sort of thing - in my view probably yes, and it should be published prior to the referendum.

Tony

Re CRoW applying to dug entrances, I claim dug entrances are a means of access, see http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=17137.msg225933#msg225933 (http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=17137.msg225933#msg225933) but I fear only the courts will resolve this question which will depend upon the specific case. 


Bob,

Would it be fair to rephrase that as you saying you suspect in certain circumstances the courts will not consider dug entrances to be simply a means of access? If so I think I'd agree.

All that said the main concern I have is that post CRoW landowners are more likely to refuse to accept liability for digs, more likely to consult their legal and insurance advisers (legal advice is free of charge to members of the CLA) and no solicitor worth his salt is going to advise his client to accept liability when there is no real benefit to him, and no need to do so. Diggers and professional cavers will almost certainly find it more difficult to get permissions.

At the same time it seems possible we'll have a drawn out Angler/Canoeist scenario which will make things even worse.

All of this to get easier access to a few areas and access to a handful of caves currently closed.

Tony
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: bograt on October 29, 2014, 03:46:42 pm
There are more situations to consider;

1. At the moment the landowner is responsible, hence liable, for everything under his land, including cave passage, if caves are incuded in the act, this liability will be lifted.

2. If a dig goes into an existing system (Garden Path, Titan etc.) it could be considered an alternative entrance and may carry different rulings to one that breaks into a completely new system.

3. If a farmer puts down hardcore in a gate entrance on CRoW land to improve access, then a rambler twists his ankle on that hardcore, who is liable?


I do wish people would stop comparing our situation to that of the anglers/canoeists, that controversy is between two bodies vying for the same resource and has no comparison with our case.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 29, 2014, 04:35:08 pm
I do wish people would stop comparing our situation to that of the anglers/canoeists, that controversy is between two bodies vying for the same resource and has no comparison with our case.

Fair enough, at the same if we're unlucky we'll beginning a long, heavily contested campaign which may last many years and lead to loss of access, do huge damage to landowner/caver relations and everything will be a right mess!

All of this to get easier access to a few areas and access to a handful of caves currently closed.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 29, 2014, 05:06:47 pm

All of this to get slightly easier access to a few areas and possible access to a handful of caves currently closed.

Fixed that for you.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 29, 2014, 05:10:07 pm
The area is designated NNR SSSI on two counts ; 'Earth Heritage' i.e. the caves, and 'Calcerous Grassland' i.e. the plantlife. When drawing up the CRoW map, they used the NNR boundary.

None of which indicates that the entrance itself is indicated as a natural feature.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 29, 2014, 05:23:12 pm

All of this to get slightly easier access to a few areas and possible access to a handful of caves currently closed.

Fixed that for you.

Much better :-)

It might be interesting to put up a poll on here to see if we can tease out an idea of how people might vote?
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: bograt on October 29, 2014, 11:35:57 pm
[Fair enough, at the same if we're unlucky we'll beginning a long, heavily contested campaign

Err, Excuse me, But as I understand it the vote is whether to continue with this approach, if the vote is no, then BCA will look for alternatives, they will not 'contest heavily', cavers are not like that!!!!
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: mmilner on October 30, 2014, 12:14:46 am
I do wish people would stop comparing our situation to that of the anglers/canoeists, that controversy is between two bodies vying for the same resource and has no comparison with our case.

Fair enough, at the same if we're unlucky we'll beginning a long, heavily contested campaign which may last many years and lead to loss of access, do huge damage to landowner/caver relations and everything will be a right mess!

All of this to get easier access to a few areas and access to a handful of caves currently closed.

With  all due respect Tony, that is is ridiculous.  Nobody  will be doing any 'heavily contested campaigns'..  It  will be done  (negotiated) with respect and  in consultation with the  landowners through the  regional councils  and their  officers.

There may be the odd 'loose cannon' if  you know what I mean, but  the vast majoriity of landowners / tenants / estates will only now deal with  with officially recognised people from   bodies such as the regional  councils or BCA, the  national caving  organisation, representing us and which includes  some very  experienced  and respected cavers.

Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: bograt on October 30, 2014, 12:43:31 am
The area is designated NNR SSSI on two counts ; 'Earth Heritage' i.e. the caves, and 'Calcerous Grassland' i.e. the plantlife. When drawing up the CRoW map, they used the NNR boundary.

None of which indicates that the entrance itself is indicated as a natural feature.

These facts were intended as an explanation to the reason for the boundary, you have turned it into a political issue, maybe you should provide us with some FACTS?????
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 30, 2014, 07:02:57 am
The area is designated NNR SSSI on two counts ; 'Earth Heritage' i.e. the caves, and 'Calcerous Grassland' i.e. the plantlife. When drawing up the CRoW map, they used the NNR boundary.

None of which indicates that the entrance itself is indicated as a natural feature.

These facts were intended as an explanation to the reason for the boundary, you have turned it into a political issue, maybe you should provide us with some FACTS?????

I'm not turning into a political issue I'm asking you to give some facts to back up this post:

]

Edit: Yup just checked again. Assuming the grid reference SK 16508 65982 is correct then Garden Path is on access land. I got that NGR from this page. (http://ukcaving.com/wiki/index.php/Lathkill_Head_Cave)

So, in this instance at least, NE consider an excavated entrance on SSSI and CRoW to be a natural feature?
 We have a precedent.

Where you stated an opinion and then scuttled away, despite my asking you to back up this opinion with a citation from NE.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: caving_fox on October 30, 2014, 09:14:59 am
Quote
Should the BCA be getting legal advice on this sort of thing - in my view probably yes, and it should be published prior to the referendum.

The referendum isn't on whether CROW applies to caving. It is on whether the BCA should investigate whether CROW applies to caving and implications that might have.

There's no point in the BCA doing vast amounts of legal research if the majority of cavers turn round and say no we're happy with the status quo. That there are potential issues with liability - sure that needs to be raised as something to bear in mind, as one of the issues the BCA will have to investigate.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 30, 2014, 09:40:57 am
[Fair enough, at the same if we're unlucky we'll beginning a long, heavily contested campaign

Err, Excuse me, But as I understand it the vote is whether to continue with this approach, if the vote is no, then BCA will look for alternatives, they will not 'contest heavily', cavers are not like that!!!!



Damian Weare has stated that the referendum question is:

"1) The question will be: "Should BCA, on your behalf, campaign for The Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) to apply to going underground?" The options will be "yes" or "no"."

We'll only find out if there will be a contested campaign if the answer is "yes" and Defra stick to their view that caving is not covered. It's at that point some landowners may decide to contest this.

Defra may change their view straight away, or we may be campaigning for years - no one knows.

I do wish people would stop comparing our situation to that of the anglers/canoeists, that controversy is between two bodies vying for the same resource and has no comparison with our case.

Fair enough, at the same if we're unlucky we'll beginning a long, heavily contested campaign which may last many years and lead to loss of access, do huge damage to landowner/caver relations and everything will be a right mess!

All of this to get easier access to a few areas and access to a handful of caves currently closed.
With  all due respect Tony, that is is ridiculous.  Nobody  will be doing any 'heavily contested campaigns'..  It  will be done  (negotiated) with respect and  in consultation with the  landowners through the  regional councils  and their  officers.

There may be the odd 'loose cannon' if  you know what I mean, but  the vast majoriity of landowners / tenants / estates will only now deal with  with officially recognised people from   bodies such as the regional  councils or BCA, the  national caving  organisation, representing us and which includes  some very  experienced  and respected cavers.

Mel,

See above, I think you've missed the point.

You seem to be detailing what would happen if Defra change their view. Actually you're describing the largely sensible process that goes on now. Telling a landowner his access agreement is toast and no longer applies isn't really negotiation at all.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 30, 2014, 09:50:36 am
Good post, Bottlebank.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: mmilner on October 30, 2014, 12:56:16 pm
Mel,

See above, I think you've missed the point.

You seem to be detailing what would happen if Defra change their view. Actually you're describing the largely sensible process that goes on now. Telling a landowner his access agreement is toast and no longer applies isn't really negotiation at all.

No, I think u r missing the point. No-one who is involved in C&A in any of the regional councils or BCA will go to a landowner and say your "access agreement is toast and no longer applies". They will continue to do what they do now and negotiate amicably and sensibly with said landowner! Most big landowners will only deal with 'officials' of those organisations, though that doesn't preclude individuals  negotiating agreements for access, digs, etc. In most places, nothing will change. Certainly not in the Peak.  :coffee:
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 30, 2014, 12:59:30 pm
Mel,

See above, I think you've missed the point.

You seem to be detailing what would happen if Defra change their view. Actually you're describing the largely sensible process that goes on now. Telling a landowner his access agreement is toast and no longer applies isn't really negotiation at all.

No, I think u r missing the point. No-one who is involved in C&A in any of the regional councils or BCA will go to a landowner and say your "access agreement is toast and no longer applies". They will continue to do what they do now and negotiate amicably and sensibly with said landowner!  :coffee:

I am willing to wager that you are wrong about that.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 30, 2014, 01:04:40 pm
Mel,

See above, I think you've missed the point.

You seem to be detailing what would happen if Defra change their view. Actually you're describing the largely sensible process that goes on now. Telling a landowner his access agreement is toast and no longer applies isn't really negotiation at all.

No, I think u r missing the point. No-one who is involved in C&A in any of the regional councils or BCA will go to a landowner and say your "access agreement is toast and no longer applies". They will continue to do what they do now and negotiate amicably and sensibly with said landowner!  :coffee:

Negotiate what? Unless they are trying to get a cave closed or gated there's little to negotiate. The regional councils will only control access on non CRoW land. They'll have no control any more over everyday access on CRoW land.

It's the pro CRoW lobby that want to tear up access agreements, not me.

The point I suggested you missed was what I meant by the campaign, which I clarified in my answer to Bograt.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: TheBitterEnd on October 30, 2014, 01:28:59 pm

It's the pro CRoW lobby that want to tear up access agreements, not me.


No, no reasonable person in the CRoW applies camp wants to "tear up access agreements". "CRoW applies" prevents the landowners tearing up the access agreements and affording cavers little more rights than dogs.

If, for conservation or other reasons there was a reasonable access agreement, even on CRoW land, then those cavers who currently abide by access agreements would do so, pro-CRoW or not.

Let's not forget (and a trawl back through this forum and Descent will provide the facts) under the current system a handful of people ignore access agreements, cut locks of gates, damage stal and generally act like idiots. But most people act responsibly, THIS WILL NOT CHANGE under a "CRoW applies" system. There will still be a few idiots and a vast majority of responsible cavers
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: mmilner on October 30, 2014, 01:50:35 pm

It's the pro CRoW lobby that want to tear up access agreements, not me.


No, no reasonable person in the CRoW applies camp wants to "tear up access agreements". "CRoW applies" prevents the landowners tearing up the access agreements and affording cavers little more rights than dogs.

If, for conservation or other reasons there was a reasonable access agreement, even on CRoW land, then those cavers who currently abide by access agreements would do so, pro-CRoW or not.

Let's not forget (and a trawl back through this forum and Descent will provide the facts) under the current system a handful of people ignore access agreements, cut locks of gates, damage stal and generally act like idiots. But most people act responsibly, THIS WILL NOT CHANGE under a "CRoW applies" system. There will still be a few idiots and a vast majority of responsible cavers

Spot on, TheBitterEnd,  :thumbsup: esp. the last sentence. Most of us are responsible, but as you say "There will still be a few idiots" This CRoW business won't change that.

Giants Hole isn't on access land, but an out of the way chamber in the upper series got trashed a few years ago by persons unknown...

If there are access restrictions on caves at the moment, it isn't a matter of how long it will take to restore them, they are there already. It's just a matter of just a matter of justifying those restrictions. If there is already an access agreement in place, then people have already got access. No problem.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 30, 2014, 02:12:39 pm
No, no reasonable person in the CRoW applies camp wants to "tear up access agreements".

In that case there must be a lot of unreasonable people in that camp, as that is exactly the effect that their campaign would have were it to be successful.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 30, 2014, 02:15:45 pm
If there are access restrictions on caves at the moment, it isn't a matter of how long it will take to restore them, they are there already. It's just a matter of just a matter of justifying those restrictions. If there is already an access agreement in place, then people have already got access. No problem.

Still missing the point, Mel. If TBE's "unreasonable people" get their way then cave access agreements on access land aren't worth anything, unless you can get someone to impose something like a section 26 notice.

Can you do that?

Do you know what the relevant criteria might be?

Do you know how long the process might take?
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 30, 2014, 02:28:26 pm
There's obviously confusion over this, Graham and I are right, the current access agreements will be void under CRoW, although individual caves (or perhaps small areas?) could eventually become subject to Section 26 notices or similar, but we don't know how long these will take to get in place and my understanding is that we can't apply for them.

Of course the CNCC, or DCA for example could reach a voluntary agreement but it would have no legal basis, i.e. anyone breaching it would be covered by CRoW.

Pinning your hopes on cavers being reasonable all the time isn't much of a basis for voting yes.




Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: ah147 on October 30, 2014, 02:36:11 pm

Quote from: Bottlebank
Pinning your hopes on cavers being reasonable all the time isn't much of a basis for voting yes.

This is a large party of why I'm voting yes.

Arbitrary restrictions, SOME of those administering access refusing trips for arbitrary reasons etc

Plenty of caves are gated simply as the discoverer convinced the land owner they should be.

I use the word a lot, but it suits perfectly, CRoW would get rid of all the arbitrary behaviour of a few administering access.


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Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 30, 2014, 02:37:19 pm

Let's not forget (and a trawl back through this forum and Descent will provide the facts) under the current system a handful of people ignore access agreements, cut locks of gates, damage stal and generally act like idiots.


So, as we cannot stop everyone behaving like this, let's just give up trying to look after anything , eh?
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: ah147 on October 30, 2014, 02:41:54 pm
Perhaps he's trying to say these cavers shall act this way regardless of access agreements in place. So should be disregarded in the CRoW argument.


Not a position I agree 100% with all the same.


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Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: TheBitterEnd on October 30, 2014, 03:21:54 pm
There's obviously confusion over this, Graham and I are right


 :bow:
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: bograt on October 30, 2014, 03:23:54 pm
Mel,

See above, I think you've missed the point.

You seem to be detailing what would happen if Defra change their view. Actually you're describing the largely sensible process that goes on now. Telling a landowner his access agreement is toast and no longer applies isn't really negotiation at all.

No, I think u r missing the point. No-one who is involved in C&A in any of the regional councils or BCA will go to a landowner and say your "access agreement is toast and no longer applies". They will continue to do what they do now and negotiate amicably and sensibly with said landowner!  :coffee:

I am willing to wager that you are wrong about that.

Now that statement reads volumes into the differences between the perceptions of the regions. Here in the Peak we have confidence in the relationship between the DCA and our landowners, it appears that the 'spokesman for Mendip' does not have that confidence, how about CNCC and Wales?
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 30, 2014, 03:49:57 pm
Mel,

See above, I think you've missed the point.

You seem to be detailing what would happen if Defra change their view. Actually you're describing the largely sensible process that goes on now. Telling a landowner his access agreement is toast and no longer applies isn't really negotiation at all.

No, I think u r missing the point. No-one who is involved in C&A in any of the regional councils or BCA will go to a landowner and say your "access agreement is toast and no longer applies". They will continue to do what they do now and negotiate amicably and sensibly with said landowner!  :coffee:

I am willing to wager that you are wrong about that.

Now that statement reads volumes into the differences between the perceptions of the regions. Here in the Peak we have confidence in the relationship between the DCA and our landowners, it appears that the 'spokesman for Mendip' does not have that confidence, how about CNCC and Wales?

Yet again Bograt fails to get the point. Here on Mendip we have extremely good and amicable relationships with landowners. However I am perfectly willing to wager that cavers, some of whom may or may not be involved in cavers' representative bodies up and down the country will indeed delight in agreements being torn up . I recall the contributor to this forum who talked about being somebody's "worst nightmare" with regard to this.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: bograt on October 30, 2014, 04:16:29 pm
Aah, I see, a case of 'selective reading';

Quote from Mel - "No-one who is involved in C&A in any of the regional councils or BCA "

Response from Graham - "I am willing to wager that you are wrong about that."

Further response from Graham - "I am perfectly willing to wager that cavers, some of whom may or may not be involved in cavers' representative bodies up and down the country"

BTW Graham, do you actually hold an 'official' post in C&A, either CSCC or BCA?
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 30, 2014, 04:33:18 pm
BTW Graham, do you actually hold an 'official' post in C&A, either CSCC or BCA?

Me? No. I resigned my CSCC & BCA roles some time ago. I'm a great believer in representative bodies not being run by the same clique for too long.

You?
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: bograt on October 30, 2014, 04:40:15 pm
Been a senior officer in my local regional body for a looong time.

Its not a case of running it, its more a case of inputting experience for the youngsters to build upon.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 30, 2014, 05:54:20 pm
QED  ;)
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: mmilner on October 30, 2014, 06:17:07 pm
Been a senior officer in my local regional body for a looong time.

Its not a case of running it, its more a case of inputting experience for the youngsters to build upon.

Absolutely  agree  Terry. Hope u r able to make the DCA meetings on Sat, erm lol the SGM is about making u chairman isn't  it, so I guess u will be there. Will be good to have a chat sometime later.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bob Mehew on October 30, 2014, 08:43:29 pm
I am probably wasting my time

There's obviously confusion over this, Graham and I are right, the current access agreements will be void under CRoW, although individual caves (or perhaps small areas?) could eventually become subject to Section 26 notices or similar, but we don't know how long these will take to get in place and my understanding is that we can't apply for them.

Only around 20 caves on Access Land have locked gates on them.  The rest (several thousand) are unlocked and therefore are already subject to the potential destructive whims of the regrettable few.  CRoW applying to caves will not change that fact or even that threat.

I have already quoted the time scales in NE's guidance material about seeking Directions for the remaining  caves but you appear to reject that.  So I am not even going to provide a link to their "Statutory guidance to relevant authorities on their functions in relation to local access restrictions". 

I will however attempt to correct your incorrect understanding in that you CAN make a representation for such a direction and NE's guidance states they should consider it.   
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 30, 2014, 09:21:17 pm


Only around 20 caves on Access Land have locked gates on them.

There's 8 or 9 in just one fairly small part of Mendip.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: ah147 on October 30, 2014, 11:27:31 pm
I am probably wasting my time




Bobs post was highly informative. Personally if 20 out of 2000+ are locked that means that >99.9% are open to any damage anybody wishes to cause anyway. So may as well let us all down and monitoring shall occur more regularly by responsible cavers.

 

Only around 20 caves on Access Land have locked gates on them.

There's 8 or 9 in just one fairly small part of Mendip.
[/quote]

Well that's unfortunate. But I highly doubt Bobs figure to be wrong, having being heavily involved in the CRoW working party.

But these 8 or 9 caves make up less than 0.05% of the caves that access would be opened up for.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 31, 2014, 06:40:08 am
You may highly doubt Bob's figure, but I don't. I haven't been involved in the CRoW working party but reckon I could reach the magic 20 just by counting caves that I know to be both locked and on access land on Mendip alone.

Are you trying to tell me that there are no other locked caves anywhere in the country? I find that hard to believe as well.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Ed W on October 31, 2014, 07:17:15 am
Graham said,
Quote

You may highly doubt Bob's figure, but I don't. I haven't been involved in the CRoW working party but reckon I could reach the magic 20 just by counting caves that I know to be both locked and on access land on Mendip alone.

Are you trying to tell me that there are no other locked caves anywhere in the country? I find that hard to believe as well.

But, it should be noted that at the last CSCC meeting, the Conservation & Access officer stated that of this set of locked caves located on access land on Mendip, that as far as he was concerned that there were only 4 of these that were of cause for concern with regard to potential increased access and subsequent impact on conservation.  Being closely involved in the access arrangements for three of these sites, I would be very confident that it will be very straightforward to justify access restrictions for conservation at these sites.  Yes there are concerns about red tape etc, but this is being worked on.

As for the rest of these locked caves on Mendip access land, should CROW be reinterpreted to allow caving as a right, it will be a case of working with the landowners to decide whether the reduced liability from CROW will ease their worries over potential danger, or whether we as cavers help them make a submission under Section 25 if the cave does really pose a danger to the public.

To my mind CROW does not mean a wholesale tearing up of the relationship between cavers and landowners.  There are many cases of voluntary access "restrictions" in place at present, such as the routes we are often asked to follow to particular entrances (Easegill from Bull Pot farms springs to mind).

Off topic about landowners liability for a second, the various threads on this show, rightly or wrongly, that there is a perception that some access restrictions are not well justified.  One outcome of CROW will be that any access restrictions on access land will be publically justified and consistent.  Surely this will be a better situation than at present?

Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: TheBitterEnd on October 31, 2014, 07:48:16 am
Well said Ed W    :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 31, 2014, 07:50:09 am
Ed

Two points:

I am sure that Les's figure of four is an underestimate, as I understand that in the absence of any change in the law, some landowners & their agents are keeping their powder dry and not bringing their sites to wider notice, as they do not feel the need to do so, whether the grounds for concern may be in terms of conservation or safety. You may regard that as misguided but that remains their prerogative.

Yes, your point about perception of access restrictions is correct. However that does not mean it is justified. Some people regard any restrictions on their activities as been unjustified. There remains the point, of course, that large numbers of caves will not be covered should this legal change occur, but if this vote does lead to a further vote and an explicit change in the constitution to exclude landowners from BCA's view then antagonism between some cavers and some landowners will undeniably occur. I do not think this will be good for caving in the longer term. It's only taken us 30 years to clear up the last mess even though the caves that took that long to reopen were specifically excluded from the scheduling that caused the problems in the first place.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 31, 2014, 08:33:58 am

To my mind CROW does not mean a wholesale tearing up of the relationship between cavers and landowners.  There are many cases of voluntary access "restrictions" in place at present, such as the routes we are often asked to follow to particular entrances (Easegill from Bull Pot farms springs to mind).


One factor not taken into account by this statement is the real (to me) likelihood that somewhere at some time, individuals with a sense of entitlement will simply say "it's only a voluntary agreement and I would prefer to execute my rights under CRoW". I think this issue has to be addressed as an unintended consequence.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Stuart Anderson on October 31, 2014, 09:18:11 am

To my mind CROW does not mean a wholesale tearing up of the relationship between cavers and landowners.  There are many cases of voluntary access "restrictions" in place at present, such as the routes we are often asked to follow to particular entrances (Easegill from Bull Pot farms springs to mind).


One factor not taken into account by this statement is the real (to me) likelihood that somewhere at some time, individuals with a sense of entitlement will simply say "it's only a voluntary agreement and I would prefer to execute my rights under CRoW". I think this issue has to be addressed as an unintended consequence.

The other day I was in a queue to pay for some shopping. A woman pushed in front, she was carrying a single item and was pleading that "she'll be quick, I'm in a hurry". There's no law against this, it's a social norm - a voluntary agreement. How do you address this? Well I said something. Did it have any effect, not in this case no, she felt justified because "she was going to be quick - in a hurry etc".

Some things can't be addressed, some things are going to be just so. Bit sad. I don't butt in a queue because I was educated that it was wrong. Some people are going to be idiots, but that isn't a justification for going to the other extreme of legislating or banning or policing with totality any or all human activities.

Best way to deal with it is to deal with it as and when it crops up.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 31, 2014, 09:34:29 am
I am probably wasting my time

There's obviously confusion over this, Graham and I are right, the current access agreements will be void under CRoW, although individual caves (or perhaps small areas?) could eventually become subject to Section 26 notices or similar, but we don't know how long these will take to get in place and my understanding is that we can't apply for them.

Only around 20 caves on Access Land have locked gates on them.  The rest (several thousand) are unlocked and therefore are already subject to the potential destructive whims of the regrettable few.  CRoW applying to caves will not change that fact or even that threat.

I have already quoted the time scales in NE's guidance material about seeking Directions for the remaining  caves but you appear to reject that.  So I am not even going to provide a link to their "Statutory guidance to relevant authorities on their functions in relation to local access restrictions". 

I will however attempt to correct your incorrect understanding in that you CAN make a representation for such a direction and NE's guidance states they should consider it.

I don't mind giving the link: http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/file/5064677780357120 (http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/file/5064677780357120)

1.1.22 The relevant authority may give a direction without application for nature conservation,
heritage preservation, public safety or fire prevention reasons. Any person may make a
representation to the relevant authority if he believes a direction may be necessary on any
of these grounds. There is no right of appeal if the authority does not act in accordance with
a representation, except for the relevant advisory body, which may refer to the Secretary of
State any decision not to act in accordance with its advice on nature conservation or heritage
preservation grounds.

OK, accepted, we could make representation, sorry.

2.1.4 The relevant authority should not restrict CROW access rights unless it is satisfied from the
supporting evidence that a restriction is necessary. It may in practice be required to consider
the need for restrictions in relation to future circumstances about which it cannot be absolutely
certain and may therefore need to weigh the available evidence carefully, giving a direction only
where it judges that the feared consequences of unrestricted CROW access rights are significantly
more likely to happen than not. Where there is reasonable doubt it should delay its decision until
it has sufficient evidence to be certain one way or the other, provided where an application has
been received that it has the agreement of the applicant – see paragraph 2.1.10. Without such
agreement it should refuse to give a direction, while making clear its willingness to reassess the
case in the future should new evidence emerge.

In other words, we do not know how long this will take.

2.1.8 It is not a responsibility of the relevant authority to assess the need for land management
restrictions on any land, unless it receives a valid application from a person with an interest in
that land. Should the relevant authority receive a representation from another person on these
grounds it may, where appropriate, suggest that the occupier (where known) be contacted by the
person making the representation and provided with any relevant information.

Would we be considered "a person with an interest in
that land"?

2.1.10 Application cases must normally be decided within six weeks of receipt unless the
relevant authority proposes a long-term restriction, in which case the application must be
decided within four months. The relevant authority may take longer where necessary to make its
decision, but only with the consent of the applicant.

Again, we do not know how long this will take, if we are not deemed to have a legal interest then it could be stalled forever.

The chart on page 20 is worth considering, it would seem an application to protect a cave could fail at almost every point.


Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: TheBitterEnd on October 31, 2014, 10:10:35 am

To my mind CROW does not mean a wholesale tearing up of the relationship between cavers and landowners.  There are many cases of voluntary access "restrictions" in place at present, such as the routes we are often asked to follow to particular entrances (Easegill from Bull Pot farms springs to mind).


One factor not taken into account by this statement is the real (to me) likelihood that somewhere at some time, individuals with a sense of entitlement will simply say "it's only a voluntary agreement and I would prefer to execute my rights under CRoW". I think this issue has to be addressed as an unintended consequence.


So exactly as it it is now. This happens with current agreements. There will be no change. Before the CRoW act even existed people caved without permits, cut off locks and caused damage. In fact since we are told there are fewer people caving now it would seem that there were more pirate trips going on before CRoW than after it's introduction. It is nothing to do with CRoW, you cannot legislate against idiots.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 31, 2014, 10:26:51 am

2.1.8 It is not a responsibility of the relevant authority to assess the need for land management
restrictions on any land, unless it receives a valid application from a person with an interest in
that land. Should the relevant authority receive a representation from another person on these
grounds it may, where appropriate, suggest that the occupier (where known) be contacted by the
person making the representation and provided with any relevant information.

Would we be considered "a person with an interest in that land"?

If they are using the term 'interest' in a legal sense, then it would mean someone like:

A freeholder

A tenant

A licencee

Someone who is party to a management agreement.

In short if you are formally involved in the management yes, if you aren't then no.

This is my opinion, of course. It would need testing by an application actually being made. That cannot happen until or unless NE accepts that the act actually covers CRoW. That's a bit late in the day to be discovering that either the application could not be made or that the timetable in which it could be decided (never forget, possibly not in the favour of the person making the application, we still have no real idea of the relevant criteria) may stretch out indefinitely. That's not a good bet in my book.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bob Mehew on October 31, 2014, 10:52:32 am
I don't mind giving the link
Thank you for doing so.  I am a bit confused as to why you dismiss the times in para 2.1.10, especially when it says 'must'.  I would like to point out the Annexes contain detail on the processes to be followed.   Annex I is possibly the most significant covering Sec 25(1)(b) re public safety and Sec 26 re conservation and preservation.  Annex I page186 states "...application for a long-term restriction within four months..." else "...in all other cases, to determine an application within six weeks...".  Also Annex K page 194 (which deal with the process for consultation for long term restrictions) states "The urgency of the circumstances giving rise to the proposal should not be factor in deciding the time allowed for consultation. Where a relevant authority believes a restriction is needed urgently, it may give a direction restricting access for less than six months, while separately consulting on a related long-term restriction proposal."

I suggest adequate restrictions can be put in place to cover the transition from 'refusing CRoW applies' to 'accepting that CRoW does apply and having the necessary long term restrictions in place'.

I have sympathy with your quoting in error para 2.1.4 which deals with Sec 24 on land management and thus irrelevant to the grounds cavers would seek to use; I did similar until being corrected  :-[ .  Chapters 2.2, 2.3 and 2.5 cover Sec 25 and 26 and specifically state at 2.2.5, 2.3.5 and 2.5.39 that any third party can make a representation.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: ah147 on October 31, 2014, 10:52:59 am

Ed

Two points:

I am sure that Les's figure of four is an underestimate, as I understand that in the absence of any change in the law, some landowners & their agents are keeping their powder dry and not bringing their sites to wider notice, as they do not feel the need to do so, whether the grounds for concern may be in terms of conservation or safety. You may regard that as misguided but that remains their prerogative.

Yes, your point about perception of access restrictions is correct. However that does not mean it is justified. Some people regard any restrictions on their activities as been unjustified.

How can 4 be an estimate? Surely the access officer can look in his access book and go "1 locked, 2 locked, 3 locked, 4 locked". If he can't then you need a better access officer. However, since I'm sure he does a good job, his figure is right.

Some people do look upon any restriction as abhorrent and against their rights. But the fact is some caves I don't believe to have fully justified reasons for the restrictions.


UFS I have never been in, but from pictures I've seen and bits I've read, it seems fully justified.

Garden Path which I have been into  from the top with a special permit and from top entrance, without a permit (which is entirely within the "rules"), locking that and restricting access into it (access is very very restricted, the trip before mine was 2 years before) is absolutely ludicrous.


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Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: ah147 on October 31, 2014, 10:56:07 am

  that any third party can make a representation.

A bit like many bird watchers make applications for different nesting sites as they change through the years for access to climbing crags and sea cliffs.




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Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 31, 2014, 11:02:47 am

To my mind CROW does not mean a wholesale tearing up of the relationship between cavers and landowners.  There are many cases of voluntary access "restrictions" in place at present, such as the routes we are often asked to follow to particular entrances (Easegill from Bull Pot farms springs to mind).


One factor not taken into account by this statement is the real (to me) likelihood that somewhere at some time, individuals with a sense of entitlement will simply say "it's only a voluntary agreement and I would prefer to execute my rights under CRoW". I think this issue has to be addressed as an unintended consequence.


So exactly as it it is now. This happens with current agreements. There will be no change. Before the CRoW act even existed people caved without permits, cut off locks and caused damage. In fact since we are told there are fewer people caving now it would seem that there were more pirate trips going on before CRoW than after it's introduction. It is nothing to do with CRoW, you cannot legislate against idiots.
No, it isn't actually. If affirmation of CRoW is forthcoming, it would provide the "excuse" for more people to ignore voluntary agreements. I don't know about you, but in all walks of life people take advantage of things if they know they can get away with it. If you provide "official" backing for "getting away with it", you simply make the situation worse. I am specifically referring to the ignoring of voluntary agreements here.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Ed W on October 31, 2014, 11:44:00 am
Peter,

As I understand it the land around Easegill is already open access, but from experience most cavers seem to follow the suggested route across the fell from Bull Pot Farm.  I know cave access currently requires a permit, but I cannot for the life of me see how the permit can enforce a route to the cave entrance across access land at the moment.  So I am not sure I agree that just because a suggested access control (such as route to the cave) is voluntary that cavers would have any less incentive to comply with it than at present.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 31, 2014, 11:46:52 am
Ed - the world is not centred on Easegill and surrounding lands. This whole sorry debate is a national one, allow me to remind everyone.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 31, 2014, 11:48:38 am
Ed - the world is not centred on Easegill and surrounding lands. This whole sorry debate is a national one, allow me to remind everyone.

  :clap2:

To add my two penn'orth. Many Mendip landowners whose land is not access land have trouble with people going where they do not have permission "because right to roam innit!". I can image those who are also cave owners getting mighty pissed off if that trend gets added to. I can also see it happening, as the inability to use agreed access routes has already been a problem in some places.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Ed W on October 31, 2014, 11:53:11 am
Peter & Graham,

I am fully aware that the world does not rotate around Easegill, neither does it around Mendip (as much as some would have us believe) or even around the Surrey mines.  I simply used the suggested path across the fell to Easegill as an example of where cavers (largely) follow a voluntary part of an access agreement on CROW land.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 31, 2014, 11:56:24 am
Peter & Graham,

I am fully aware that the world does not rotate around Easegill, neither does it around Mendip (as much as some would have us believe) or even around the Surrey mines.  I simply used the suggested path across the fell to Easegill as an example of where cavers (largely) follow a voluntary part of an access agreement on CROW land.

No, it does not revolve around Mendip. However, I do wish it was recognised that an attempt to solve perceived problems in one part of the country is very likely to have deleterious consequences in another. In the Good Old DaysTM cavers recognised this which is why regional councils are meant to be fairly autonomous. It seems that some Bobs people wish to change that.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 31, 2014, 11:59:41 am
Ed on that we agree, so please can we remember that sites right around the country are affected, that all have specific local voluntary agreements of many flavours.

Extra note - Graham - please type a little slower - that's the third time you have independently made the same point, in a different way, ahead of me!  :chair:
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: ah147 on October 31, 2014, 01:27:05 pm
Peter & Graham,

I am fully aware that the world does not rotate around Easegill, neither does it around Mendip (as much as some would have us believe) or even around the Surrey mines.  I simply used the suggested path across the fell to Easegill as an example of where cavers (largely) follow a voluntary part of an access agreement on CROW land.

No, it does not revolve around Mendip. However, I do wish it was recognised that an attempt to solve perceived problems in one part of the country is very likely to have deleterious consequences in another. In the Good Old DaysTM cavers recognised this which is why regional councils are meant to be fairly autonomous. It seems that some Bobs people wish to change that.

Please note that deleterious consequences in one area of the country are possibly exaggerated and are as a result of a general improvement across the country.

You can't please everyone, and all actions will have undesired consequences. It's whether we believe the good outweighs the bad.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 31, 2014, 01:30:27 pm
No you cannot please everyone - a simple rule of life.

Question to think about: How will things get WORSE if nothing is changed?
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 31, 2014, 01:43:59 pm
No you cannot please everyone - a simple rule of life.

Question to think about: How will things get WORSE if nothing is changed?

 :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: tony from suffolk on October 31, 2014, 01:44:18 pm
Well, nothing stays the same. For instance, at the moment a landowner can either decide to sell up or change their mind regarding allowing access to caves on their property. Or might decide they really can't be bothered with having the holes and decide to fill them in.

A vote against CRoW applying to caves won't assure the continued access that might exist now.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: ah147 on October 31, 2014, 01:45:57 pm
No you cannot please everyone - a simple rule of life.

Question to think about: How will things get WORSE if nothing is changed?

I cannot give a specific examples, but I'm these could apply somewhere.

Landowner has multiple caves on his (access) land. He allows free access to all apart from one as it's near his house/farm/favourite tree.

He allows relatively unrestricted access to this one upon the use of a logbook. Irresponsible cavers do not use logbook. Over the period of several months the landowner notices multiple lights around the cave entrance on evening trips. Looking in the logbook, nobody has made an entrance in months. Landowner gets fed up, cancels access to all caves on his land.

Another...

Cave is on access land, landowner is brilliant and allows completely free access any time day or night. Landowner sells property. New landowner refuses access.

Another...

Some of the fells in Yorkshire have access allowed in some, but not other caves by the same landowner. Gets fed up of people pirating the refused caves, refuses access to all caves.

Another...

The land owner of a very pretty Mendip cave on access land gets fed up of every Saturday seeing guided trips going across his land, like clockwork as they can't come any other time, and refuses access.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Bottlebank on October 31, 2014, 01:56:21 pm
Tony from Suffolk and Ash both make good points. These kind of access issues have cropped up occasionally and no doubt would crop up again and usually can be sorted out by regional council access officers although sometimes not. Over the years though under the present system access has actually improved, overall, we have access to more caves now then ever before.

If that trend were to reverse, especially substantially, I could be persuaded to vote for CRoW, but as things stand at the moment I feel that the single biggest risk to access could be a failed campaign for CRoW to cover caving.

Sorry, pressed send too soon there (although probably not for some), meant to press Preview!

There seems to be an assumption that if the vote is yes and the BCA campaign for change that they will succeed. There's been very little discussion as to what happens if they don't succeed. It's something we need to think about.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 31, 2014, 01:59:14 pm
Yes Ash these things can and do happen. All of which are things that are best for local cavers to resolve as they know the caves and know the owners. That's the status quo - with all its imperfections, but it has served us pretty well for a long time. If it isn't working, then look to the local set up for a solution, not the national set up. Step back a moment and ask whether striving for access, and perversely also for controlled limited access, has resulted in MORE or FEWER caves we can visit over the past 20 or 30 years? I suggest that there are more caves I can choose to visit now than at any time in my life of caving and mine exploration.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: ah147 on October 31, 2014, 02:27:12 pm
Yes Ash these things can and do happen. All of which are things that are best for local cavers to resolve as they know the caves and know the owners. That's the status quo - with all its imperfections, but it has served us pretty well for a long time. If it isn't working, then look to the local set up for a solution, not the national set up. Step back a moment and ask whether striving for access, and perversely also for controlled limited access, has resulted in MORE or FEWER caves we can visit over the past 20 or 30 years? I suggest that there are more caves I can choose to visit now than at any time in my life of caving and mine exploration.

If caving is recognised under CRoW they'll be more caves you can visit.

I'll use a specific example to prove a point, as its one I know reasonably well:
Lathkill is a cave on CRoW land with four entrances. The resurgence, top entrance, Critchlow cave and Garden Path. Its a reasonably long, very restricted cave with a few large chambers with pretties in.

From the resurgence upstream there is then top entrance, Critchlow then Garden Path. 

Top entrance leads immediately to the waiting room (large chamber).
Garden Path leads immediately to dream time (large chamber).
Between the two is the emporium (large chamber).

Now dream time isn't very pretty with a fair few straws about, a little flowstone and a few deposits.
The waiting room is quite pretty, with lots of flowstone, a few deposits, and a fair few straws, stal and curtains.
The emporium is beautiful, tons of fuzzy looking flowstone, bright white pretties everywhere. Honestly one of the most brilliant sights I've seen in caving.

Critchlow and the resurgence you need BCA insurance.
Top Entrance needs BCA insurance and the filling in of a logbook.
Garden Path needs BCA insurance and a key. This key is incredibly hard to get, despite the protestations of others, it simply is. Recreational trips are not allowed at all.

Even the cave monitoring forms list nothing on them specifically relating to Garden Path as opposed to the waiting room.



Getting rid of this arbitrary restriction, and others situations I'm sure are similar in all areas, would allow people to focus on protecting bits that actually need protecting. In this example, the emporium. Where there isn't even any tape!
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 31, 2014, 02:34:12 pm
It sounds lovely. I wonder whether local differences will provide different results however. If, let's say, Somerset ends up with problems, as is suggested by some, they may end up the poorer while other places may "benefit". As I rarely venture north these days, I feel I am entitled to fight for what affects me more i.e. access to places where things are fine at present but could be put at risk in the future. I repeat my assertion that local bodies know best and the means to resolve issues should remain firmly with them.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: ah147 on October 31, 2014, 02:42:44 pm
As I rarely venture north these days, I feel I am entitled to fight for what affects me more

And this is the crux of the issue I believe. Everybody wants the best outcome for themselves. Even those purporting one want what is best for the caves, only wants what is best for the caves because they have an interest in the caves. So what's best for the caves is best for them.

Ultimately, this is why the referendum is necessary. To figure out whether more people believe they shall benefit, or believe that they shall lose out. In this manner the BCA can continue with its constitution in acting in the interest of cavers, as a majority.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Stuart Anderson on October 31, 2014, 02:48:34 pm
Ed - the world is not centred on Easegill and surrounding lands. This whole sorry debate is a national one, allow me to remind everyone.

  :clap2:

To add my two penn'orth. Many Mendip landowners whose land is not access land have trouble with people going where they do not have permission "because right to roam innit!".

Straw man. Has nothing to do with CRoW. Stupid people are stupid.

Quote
I can image those who are also cave owners getting mighty pissed off if that trend gets added to. I can also see it happening, as the inability to use agreed access routes has already been a problem in some places.

If the caves are on CRoW they already quite probably have people wandering, quite legally, where they please. If the caves aren't on CRoW then see above.

Graham, this type of argument to my mind is neither relevant to the debate about CRoW and isn't all that persuasive. I find much more to agree with you about when you stick to the conservation of caves and consequences of CRoW applying to caves. It's not likely I'll change my mind or how I vote but it's not beyond the wit of BCA and cavers to implement additional safeguards should CRoW apply. 
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 31, 2014, 02:55:33 pm
Straw man. Has nothing to do with CRoW. Stupid people are stupid.

But it has everything to do with CRoW as these people are justifying their actions by reference to it, even though it does not apply in those places.

Graham, this type of argument to my mind is neither relevant to the debate about CRoW and isn't all that persuasive. I find much more to agree with you about when you stick to the conservation of caves and consequences of CRoW applying to caves.

When people cite the act to justify their actions, how can it not be about CRoW? Now, you may not find it persuasive, but you are not an affected landowner.

It's not likely I'll change my mind or how I vote but it's not beyond the wit of BCA and cavers to implement additional safeguards should CRoW apply. 

BCA and cavers do not have the power to implement safeguards. That's the point. They may, perhaps, have the ability to request that safeguards are implemented but that is all, if it is even the case. So, what this move is doing is removing responsibility for conservation from cavers and handing it elsewhere. Is that what you want to see?
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 31, 2014, 03:03:10 pm
To be fair to Graham, you are missing a point here. The point being that legitimising access on CRoW land through what is being promoted here, it encourages people to make a nuisance of themselves in places they shouldn't i.e. non-CRoW land. It's not a difficult concept to appreciate, even if you don't agree that it will happen. Which it will, I wager.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Stuart Anderson on October 31, 2014, 03:12:49 pm
Straw man. Has nothing to do with CRoW. Stupid people are stupid.

But it has everything to do with CRoW as these people are justifying their actions by reference to it, even though it does not apply in those places.

Who are these people? Anyone claiming a right to roam where none exists is an idiot.

Quote
Graham, this type of argument to my mind is neither relevant to the debate about CRoW and isn't all that persuasive. I find much more to agree with you about when you stick to the conservation of caves and consequences of CRoW applying to caves.

When people cite the act to justify their actions, how can it not be about CRoW? Now, you may not find it persuasive, but you are not an affected landowner.

If CRoW applies in whatever instance they are engaged in then they are justified in doing so. I'm not sure we're understanding each other here. If a landowner has land that isn't CRoW I have sympathy.

Quote
It's not likely I'll change my mind or how I vote but it's not beyond the wit of BCA and cavers to implement additional safeguards should CRoW apply.

BCA and cavers do not have the power to implement safeguards. That's the point. They may, perhaps, have the ability to request that safeguards are implemented but that is all, if it is even the case. So, what this move is doing is removing responsibility for conservation from cavers and handing it elsewhere. Is that what you want to see?

My counter would be it's up to every person engaged in caving activity to be responsible about conservation. Some humans destroy nice things. That happens. We either live with that, try to do something about it, or lock up every cave. First one doesn't sit easily with me. Things have been tried (permits, gates, education, leader systems) and none are completely successful. Arguably leader led is probably the most effective but I don't want a tour guided trip every time I go caving. Lock up every cave? HArdly necessary in the majority of cases.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Stuart Anderson on October 31, 2014, 03:17:27 pm
To be fair to Graham, you are missing a point here. The point being that legitimising access on CRoW land through what is being promoted here, it encourages people to make a nuisance of themselves in places they shouldn't i.e. non-CRoW land. It's not a difficult concept to appreciate, even if you don't agree that it will happen. Which it will, I wager.

No I'm not missing the point. People citing CRoW and being a nuisance boils down to the bigger question of should CRoW have been made an Act of Parliament. I believe it should have been.

Are there consequences? Probably but then a landowner has the right to send said people packing (be they climbers, walkers or cavers).

If we really want to go mad with bigger picture stuff why not start bringing the Enclosures Acts into it, argue the toss about that for a bit and reclaim all that common land that was taken from us peasants!
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Peter Burgess on October 31, 2014, 03:21:35 pm
Giving people a false sense of entitlement to act beyond the freedom they do have is an unintended consequence. It should not be ignored. Effort should be made to ensure cavers consciously check that land they are interested in is Access Land, and not simply assume that it is.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 31, 2014, 04:43:18 pm
Stuart:

Quote
Who are these people? Anyone claiming a right to roam where none exists is an idiot.

Yes they are, however this particular idiocy is inspired by their poor reading of the act. I don't doubt some cavers will also have a poor understanding of their rights under CRoW should they be shown to have any.

Quote
If CRoW applies in whatever instance they are engaged in then they are justified in doing so. I'm not sure we're understanding each other here. If a landowner has land that isn't CRoW I have sympathy.

Yes, I am talking about non-CRoW land.

Quote
My counter would be it's up to every person engaged in caving activity to be responsible about conservation. Some humans destroy nice things. That happens. We either live with that, try to do something about it, or lock up every cave. First one doesn't sit easily with me. Things have been tried (permits, gates, education, leader systems) and none are completely successful. Arguably leader led is probably the most effective but I don't want a tour guided trip every time I go caving. Lock up every cave? Hardly necessary in the majority of cases.

Yes, I agree, but that was not my point. I was arguing that at present cave conservation schemes are generally devised and applied by cavers. Should this move be successful, then in those areas cavers will cease to to have primary responsibility for that & will only be able to do so on the authority of non-cavers, if at all. That is what I was asking whether you wanted to see it.

As to your point about tour guides, a good conservation warden, a term possibly first used at DYO (not sure) but certainly more widely adopted since, would not act as a guide, but as a watcher, warning people when they needed to careful etc. I recall one long-standing 'leader' for one cave recounting how some trips got only a short distance into the cave as the visitors hadn't bothered doing their research on route finding (lots needed there) and had presumed he'd do that job. That was about 25 years or more ago.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 31, 2014, 04:46:46 pm
If we really want to go mad with bigger picture stuff why not start bringing the Enclosures Acts into it, argue the toss about that for a bit and reclaim all that common land that was taken from us peasants!

If we were in the pub, not on a keyboard, I'd start talking about some interesting issues in archaeology to do with 'reclaiming' material and, especially, the amazingly bonkers notion of racial copyright. I could go on for hours about that sort of stuff, I have lots of ammunition.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Stuart Anderson on October 31, 2014, 04:47:58 pm
Giving people a false sense of entitlement to act beyond the freedom they do have is an unintended consequence. It should not be ignored. Effort should be made to ensure cavers consciously check that land they are interested in is Access Land, and not simply assume that it is.

That lid got opened in 2000 and doesn't solely apply to caving - it's a fact that there is a world outside of caving  ;). That's why I see it as irrelevant to this discussion (though I'm not in any way saying it doesn't have an unwanted effects).

It could be argued that with BCA taking it to the membership then those very same members may in fact turn out to be better informed of their "rights" and further more their obligations.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: droid on October 31, 2014, 05:10:51 pm
In my experience a lot of people are far more concerned with their rights than their obligations. You said above that Leader guided trips were probably best for conservation but that you didn't want every trip to be a guided tour.

People are naturally rather selfish.
Cavers can't be excluded from that.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Stuart Anderson on October 31, 2014, 05:20:17 pm
Quote from: graham
Quote
Who are these people? Anyone claiming a right to roam where none exists is an idiot.

Yes they are, however this particular idiocy is inspired by their poor reading of the act. I don't doubt some cavers will also have a poor understanding of their rights under CRoW should they be shown to have any.

Isn't it just as viable that once BCA have put the motion to the BCA membership then that very same membership might not just become some of the most informed outdoor users? That presumes they aren't already might. Many of them climb and mountaineer already.

Quote from: graham
Quote
If CRoW applies in whatever instance they are engaged in then they are justified in doing so. I'm not sure we're understanding each other here. If a landowner has land that isn't CRoW I have sympathy.

Yes, I am talking about non-CRoW land.

Then my sympathy still stands. However for me it's not particularly illuminating. Stupid people are stupid  :shrug:


Quote from: graham
Quote
My counter would be it's up to every person engaged in caving activity to be responsible about conservation. Some humans destroy nice things. That happens. We either live with that, try to do something about it, or lock up every cave. First one doesn't sit easily with me. Things have been tried (permits, gates, education, leader systems) and none are completely successful. Arguably leader led is probably the most effective but I don't want a tour guided trip every time I go caving. Lock up every cave? Hardly necessary in the majority of cases.

Yes, I agree, but that was not my point. I was arguing that at present cave conservation schemes are generally devised and applied by cavers. Should this move be successful, then in those areas cavers will cease to to have primary responsibility for that & will only be able to do so on the authority of non-cavers, if at all. That is what I was asking whether you wanted to see it.

If such authority was granted to an outside agency isn't it just possible that they'll then seek the advice from BCA and/or the regions? Yes, it's a guess but there's form on this sort of thing isn't there - I'm thinking cave monitoring?

Quote from: graham
As to your point about tour guides, a good conservation warden, a term possibly first used at DYO (not sure) but certainly more widely adopted since, would not act as a guide, but as a watcher, warning people when they needed to careful etc. I recall one long-standing 'leader' for one cave recounting how some trips got only a short distance into the cave as the visitors hadn't bothered doing their research on route finding (lots needed there) and had presumed he'd do that job. That was about 25 years or more ago.

My hunch (yes one of those leaps of faith again) is that, from what I understand from trying to get my head round the literature and seeing evidence elsewhere (voluntary bird restrictions by climbers comes to mind), leader systems for those caves which are in situ now needn't be stopped. I realise that it's complicated this particular issue but I'm not convinced as yet, especially since nobody seems to be coming up with how many caves this could affect.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Stuart Anderson on October 31, 2014, 05:22:18 pm
In my experience a lot of people are far more concerned with their rights than their obligations. You said above that Leader guided trips were probably best for conservation but that you didn't want every trip to be a guided tour.

People are naturally rather selfish.
Cavers can't be excluded from that.

Was that aimed at me or a general point?
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: estelle on October 31, 2014, 05:28:40 pm
There seems to be an assumption that if the vote is yes and the BCA campaign for change that they will succeed. There's been very little discussion as to what happens if they don't succeed. It's something we need to think about.
that i think is a very good point...
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: graham on October 31, 2014, 05:34:51 pm
If such authority was granted to an outside agency isn't it just possible that they'll then seek the advice from BCA and/or the regions? Yes, it's a guess but there's form on this sort of thing isn't there - I'm thinking cave monitoring?

Possible, yes. Likely, who knows? Maybe they'd call upon bat groups.  :-\

My hunch (yes one of those leaps of faith again) is that, from what I understand from trying to get my head round the literature and seeing evidence elsewhere (voluntary bird restrictions by climbers comes to mind), leader systems for those caves which are in situ now needn't be stopped. I realise that it's complicated this particular issue but I'm not convinced as yet, especially since nobody seems to be coming up with how many caves this could affect.

It would be nice to have some firm information about actual effects wouldn't it. Instead we seem to be getting about as much of that as the Scots got about what currency would have been used post-independence.

And now I'll get told off for mentioning that referendum, again. Yet the parallels are clear, current knowledge against a leap of faith.

Given how little there actually to be gained - especially if CNCC does modernise its permit systems - the risks seem, to me, to outweigh any possible and uncertain advantage.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: droid on October 31, 2014, 06:27:50 pm
In my experience a lot of people are far more concerned with their rights than their obligations. You said above that Leader guided trips were probably best for conservation but that you didn't want every trip to be a guided tour.

People are naturally rather selfish.
Cavers can't be excluded from that.

Was that aimed at me or a general point?

Both. Unless you are unique.

I'd probably include myself in that too.
Title: Re: Discussion on the post "The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under"
Post by: Jenny P on November 05, 2014, 10:58:06 am
On the subject of grants for caving work, there are three which I am aware of but two are only applicable in the Peak District.

The national one is the UK Cave Conservation Emergency Fund, a charity which is administered by BCRA.  UKCCEF is exactly what it says, in that it is for "emergencies" which affect conservation and/or access.  The money is usually given in the form of a loan - in the nature of a bridging loan - to cover immediate expenditure while funds are being raised with a view to paying back the loan.  Details are on the BCRA website at ukccef.org.uk.

DCA has a Cave Discovery Fund, which grant aids cavers retrospectively for the expenses involved in work leading to discovery of substantial new cave passage in the region.  It works by reimbursing not more than 50% of the expenditure on materials, hire of equipment, etc. but does not fund caving gear.  It is easier for the Fund Panel to see what has been spent if receipts can be supplied but they are not absolutely necessary.  Details are on the DCA website at theDCA.org.uk and there are published guidelines for applicants which explain things in greater detail.  Applications, if any, are considered at 6-monthly intervals on 1st. March and 1st. September.

I understand Hitch 'n' Hike also give a prize for the greatest length of cave passage discovered in the Peak District each year.  Details will be on their website hitchnhike.co.uk.

Jenny Potts,
DCA Hon. Secretary