UK Caving

TECHNICAL FORUMS => National Access Discussions => Topic started by: Jopo on May 13, 2016, 09:29:31 am

Title: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Jopo on May 13, 2016, 09:29:31 am
Am I alone in being concerned as to why access to certain mines on Welsh FC (now NRW) land is better in private hands http://rakelane.anduin.org.uk/cal/about.html (http://rakelane.anduin.org.uk/cal/about.html) than groups like the CCC.

I wonder how these three directors managed to persuade the NRW that they represent UK cavers/mine enthusiasts  better than the CCC.

What is to stop this group seeking to control access to caves on NRW land in future?

I can, somewhat, understand a Ltd company being set up to manage access to a single mine or cave but Cave Access Ltd has given itself a wide remit with no democratic control at all.
A Ltd company is responsible only to it's directors and shareholders and unless a PLC you cannot become a shareholder, see the mins or take any part in decisions.

Quote
The company has no assets or capital and solely exists to manage the agreement signed with Natural Resources Wales, Forestry Commission Wales and other landowning bodies who may offer controlled access to other sites in the future.

The CCC is democratic and open to those who wish to partake.

Jopo
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 13, 2016, 09:47:12 am
Suggest you get your facts right and re write your forum query.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: tamarmole on May 13, 2016, 09:51:16 am
As a mine explorer the fact that I now have legitimate access to mines such as Parc is a hugely positive development; I am not too concerned about the underlying politics.

As to the motivations of CAL -  Certainly Roy Fellows (one of the CAL principals) has made a massive contribution to mine exploration and access, particularly in Wales.  Outside CAL Roy almost single handedly secured access to Cwmystwyth and spends a significant amount of his time and money on the mine.  Ask anyone in the mine exploration community - he is one of the good guys.

I genuinely don't think there are any grounds for concern.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: RobinGriffiths on May 13, 2016, 10:03:02 am
CCC Newsletter http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/pdf/newsletters/44_Feb2015.pdf (http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/pdf/newsletters/44_Feb2015.pdf) states
Quote
The nature of the risks that the landowners wished to transfer to the scheme organisers made it impossible for the Cambrian Caving Council itself or its officers to sign up to such a serious legal undertaking personally.

Sounds like a limited liability company is the only way you could sensibly do this?
In any case, I don't think the CCC controls any permits itself does it ? I think they just issue access advice for a few sites.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: ah147 on May 13, 2016, 10:04:19 am
Send em an email every year, go caving.

Access done right as far as I can tell.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 13, 2016, 10:21:46 am
It's what Charterhouse Caving Company does. Does anybody have concerns about that? They changed from a "Committee" to a "Company" a long while back, I imagine for good legal reasons.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: mch on May 13, 2016, 10:37:55 am
Am I alone in being concerned as to why access to certain mines on Welsh FC (now NRW) land is better in private hands http://rakelane.anduin.org.uk/cal/about.html (http://rakelane.anduin.org.uk/cal/about.html) than groups like the CCC.

I guess that the short answer, Jopo, is that you are indeed alone in your concerns. I can add little to the previous posts other than to say that I trust Roy 100% when it comes to access issues and to furthering the interests of mine and cave explorers.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Rhys on May 13, 2016, 11:12:04 am
If they stick to mines, in which I have limited interest, then I'm not too bothered. If they start empire building and expanding their remit to natural caves, I might then start to get a bit more concerned.

Ultimately, we're just expected to trust that these guys will do the right thing, in the interests of all of us - which is a risk. Yes, everyone says Roy is great. However, it is quite possible that at some point in the future, the attitudes or mental states of the people in charge might change and put the relatively good present access in jeopardy.

Rhys
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: droid on May 13, 2016, 11:15:16 am
CCC wouldn't pick up the task, so who else do you suggest does it, Rhys?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Rhys on May 13, 2016, 11:25:51 am
CCC wouldn't pick up the task, so who else do you suggest does it, Rhys?

I dunno. Not me.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Dave Tyson on May 13, 2016, 11:54:53 am
Ultimately, we're just expected to trust that these guys will do the right thing, in the interests of all of us - which is a risk. Yes, everyone says Roy is great. However, it is quite possible that at some point in the future, the attitudes or mental states of the people in charge might change and put the relatively good present access in jeopardy.

Rhys
Cave Access Limited was set up purely to handle the liability issues should something serious happen. If CCC had signed up to the agreement then if the shit hit the fan the CCC officers may become financially liable and I would prefer to keep my house etc.

The remit of CAL is to allow free and open access with the minimum of faff. Leaders need to register once per year stating their BCA membership number and club (if any) and they are free to go in any CAL sites. All we ask is a short email before or after each trip stating the date, site and number in party. We have to keep records for NRW and they get summary statistics (Not the records) on a yearly basis.

The scheme has worked well so far and we have had positive feedback from users. We want to add more sites in the near future - these are other mines and quarries. It is possible a landowner could approach us about a cave on their land and ask CAL to administer access, but that hasn't happened yet and it is likely we would suggest Cambrian Caving Council takes that on dependent on liability issues. 

I think the scheme runs in the spirit that the late Elsie Little (who started the detailed negotiations with NRW) intended.

Dave

CCC Secretary & CAL Director
 


 
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 13, 2016, 12:10:45 pm
I would prefer an accountable body to do such things, but a sympathetic private body is the next best thing. If it's that, or nothing, then I prefer the managed approach. I agree that the attitudes of individuals can have the potential to cause problems, but at the moment, Roy has done a "good thing".
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Brains on May 13, 2016, 12:28:14 pm
Seems the original query has been answered, however I am curious as to why the question was asked in the first place. Have there been issues of which we are not aware?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 13, 2016, 01:09:59 pm
Seems the original query has been answered, however I am curious as to why the question was asked in the first place. Have there been issues of which we are not aware?

If there has, then I am also unaware, and I am a director of CAL!
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Jopo on May 13, 2016, 01:27:51 pm
I raised the question because I have some concern about the complete and utter lack of accountability of Cave Access Ltd. Other than personal lobbying how can their aims be queried

I have no doubt that Roy has done a good job in creating or recovering access to sites but could that not have been done within a democratic group.

Am In wrong or have other access groups solved the problem of liability?

Roy asks me to get my facts right before posting. If I did get any fact wrong then I apologise Roy but please let me know what you thought I had wrong.

The reply from Dave was more reassuring than but I wonder why Cave Access Ltd was chosen when Mines Access Ltd is (at least it was 5 mins ago) still available.

Jopo
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Dave Tyson on May 13, 2016, 01:54:02 pm
The reply from Dave was more reassuring than but I wonder why Cave Access Ltd was chosen when Mines Access Ltd is (at least it was 5 mins ago) still available.

Jopo
When Stuart set up the company he tried several more suitable names but these were each rejected by companies house. So Cave Access Limited was a last ditch effort. In hindsight Mines Access Limited might have been better but could also have been rejected. We were rushing to get it set up before the start of 2015. As it happened the paperwork from NRW was delayed and so the agreement only came into effect in March 2015.

Dave
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 13, 2016, 02:15:55 pm
I will give one my best shot then.

The reason for the formation of the company rather than the scheme being operated by CCC has already been answered, but I can add that in effect the scheme is being implemented by CCC, but indirectly. The directors of CAL are all officers of CCC, but enjoy the benefit of what is known as the "corporate veil"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_veil_in_the_United_Kingdom

Public Limited Companies are democratic, as you pointed out, but are operated for profit to the benefit of their shareholders, a situation entirely unsuited to the purpose of CAL. CAL is a private company as you say, but a company limited by guarantee with no share capital, in plain speak, a 'not for profit' company.

Our aim is to make access as simple and easy as possible and I believe that we are successful in this, and struggle badly to see why anyone would want to query this?

The name was chosen by Stuart after the difficulties encountered as described by Dave above, and I understand that this was to reflect that the company was being run by cavers.

I think my initial response was possibly a bit curt on reflection, but facts wrong, well sorry yes as for one your understanding of a PLC appears to be misplaced in this particular context for one thing. So I have tried to explain everything as best I can.

Thing is here, I struggle again to see why anyone should have a problem with whats been done. If gates and padlocks and key officers etc were part of the equation then I could, but they are not.

All of the mines on our schedule were accessible before, but had to entered covertly. Now there is no need for 'midnight trips' and official trips can be arranged for events such as the annual NAMHO event.

Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: PeteHall on May 13, 2016, 08:57:15 pm
Thing is here, I struggle again to see why anyone should have a problem with whats been done.

I think the concern is not the current access you have secured (by the way, good work  :thumbsup:), but what could happen in the future, as unlike in the case of an elected committee, the directors of the company could change and could also change their ethos without the consent of those they represent. It is possible that the company directors could take advantage of their position to control access to their own advantage (whatever that might be?) and would not be accountable.

I think right now, it might seem a bit far fetched, but looking to the future, it does raise a valid point. When Roy and the other directors move on to the caverns measureless to man (or never-ending and fruitless digs) in the sky, what systems are in place to ensure the current ethos is maintained?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: bograt on May 13, 2016, 10:52:57 pm
I consider that any form of permitted access is far more preferable to no official access, also I am of the opinion that democracy is not always the best thing, as illustrated 'over the pond' at the moment ---.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 13, 2016, 10:56:56 pm
also I am of the opinion that democracy is not always the best thing

That's a quote, that is.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: bograt on May 13, 2016, 11:17:48 pm
also I am of the opinion that democracy is not always the best thing

That's a quote, that is.

 :) :) :thumbsup: :thumbsup: please feel free to use it wherever and whenever  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: mch on May 14, 2016, 09:44:18 am
I consider that any form of permitted access is far more preferable to no official access, also I am of the opinion that democracy is not always the best thing, as illustrated 'over the pond' at the moment ---.
Not just over the pond!
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: badger on May 14, 2016, 10:03:52 am
obviously at the moment we are all benefitting from the set up of CAL, and as Pete has said whilst it is as it is at present then great.
question then is how can the present situation be guaranteed moving in to the future when the 3 directors are not in charge. How is CAL set up, say when the 1st director moves on in his immortal caving journey,
is there anything which is written to how the company must operate
is there anything on how a new director is appointed
so whilst I applauded the situation at present, and happy to make use of this, the question at the start of the thread needs to be thought about, and may already have been and the necessary steps in place to continue as is at present
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Dave Tyson on May 14, 2016, 12:10:50 pm
The existing three directors of CAL can appoint others to manage and represent CAL in the same way that Roy has expanded number of the directors of the Cambrian Mines Trust.

I don't regard it as a job for life - I deal with the day to day allocation of permits and log the trips as well as deal with the North Wales sites. I will be happy to step down and pass on the baton to someone else in the future!

Dave
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Wayland Smith on May 14, 2016, 01:16:50 pm
I see people complaining about an organisation that has provided legal access where non was available before.

I do NOT see any suggestions how this could be improved,
only mutterings that at sometime in the future, something might change.
Therefore the set up is wrong and possibly a conspiracy.

I also can not see anyone offering to help!
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: bograt on May 14, 2016, 01:51:39 pm
I see people complaining about an organisation that has provided legal access where non was available before.

I do NOT see any suggestions how this could be improved,
only mutterings that at sometime in the future, something might change.
Therefore the set up is wrong and possibly a conspiracy.

I also can not see anyone offering to help!

 :) :) :) :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Brains on May 14, 2016, 03:03:20 pm
I see people complaining about an organisation that has provided legal access where non was available before.

I do NOT see any suggestions how this could be improved,
only mutterings that at sometime in the future, something might change.
Therefore the set up is wrong and possibly a conspiracy.

I also can not see anyone offering to help!

 :) :) :) :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Me three- well done to all of you.
had I the time and the energy I would volunteer my services on a regular basis.
I could manage the odd day here or there, especially during my rest days from work (M-Tu-W)
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: badger on May 14, 2016, 09:35:23 pm
did not think I was complaining, I think the 3 (CAL) have done a great job, asked the what if, and also suggested that CAL may have already put things in place, which from Davids reply it seems they have
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: PeteHall on May 14, 2016, 10:44:14 pm
I see people complaining about an organisation that has provided legal access where non was available before.

I do NOT see any suggestions how this could be improved,
only mutterings that at sometime in the future, something might change.
Therefore the set up is wrong and possibly a conspiracy.

I also can not see anyone offering to help!

Not complaining and thought that was clear from my post
(by the way, good work  :thumbsup:)

Just pointing out that the OP's question might not be as ludicrous as some seem to suggest, when one looks to the future.

I am sure that all those involved with CAL have considered this point, prior to reaching their decision on management structure, however for someone not party to these discussions to have concerns seems pretty legitimate.

Nobody has suggested any kind of conspiracy and surely an open discussion on what the set up is, and why, should be encouraged to reasure anybody who might have concerns.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Ian Adams on May 15, 2016, 09:51:38 am
I think the OPs question is reasonable and I think the concerns raised are reasonable. In the interests of transparency I will give a detailed account of how all this came about.

It won’t be popular and it will ruffle some feathers but in comparison to the CRoW debates, it is extremely mild.

A number of years ago, the late Elsie Little of the Cambrian Caving Council (CCC) was in liaison with the then Forestry Commission (FC) to secure unfettered access to mines and caves on FC land. From conversations and meetings I personally had with her during this period I understand that she was struggling in part because she was not well supported within the CCC and was being actively blocked by a commercial operation in North Wales. (The commercial operation wanted to control some of the mines alone). The commercial venture was headed up by an individual who wanted to set up an Access control group to manage some mines in North Wales and then extend that control across Wales (competing with Elsie Little and the CCC).

I attended a meeting of this rival group who had plans to restrict access to a “permit by permit” basis and to charge an annual subscription fee. They also wanted to gate everything and only allow entry to pre-approved applications. (for instance, I suggested that if I had a friend come up from South England, would I be able to take him into such a mine if I had a permit and my friend did not – the answer was “no”.).

There had already been a tremendous amount of posturing over access control in North Wales which had gone so far as involving the police and allegations of criminal damage and, frankly, a good number of us were sick of it.

The existence of this new Access control group was seen by some (including me) as a path to further doom and trouble especially in light of Elsie Littles (CCC) attempts to secure unrestricted and unfettered access for all. I raised this issue at the meeting and was effectively shouted down by the sitting committee and told to make my own arrangements if I were not happy about how they were handling it.

I continued to liaise with Elsie Little and Elsie proposed a solution that included commercial groups within the access agreement she was proposing with the FC (which I think was very sensible). She did not see the commercial groups as the “enemy” but rather another element to account for. The FC provisionally agreed but they wanted a list of people on those trips to be recorded and, of course, the commercial operations required their own insurance (BCA insurance does not cover commercial trips). This was met with objections from at least one commercial operation who believed that providing a list of names of people entering on the commercial trip was unreasonable (and/or breached the data protection act). This was seen as “smoke and mirrors” and was going to be addressed on Elsie’s return from holiday abroad. Sadly she died on her return and no further progress was made.

Following on, I was in communication with the CCC and it appeared she was not being replaced until at least the next AGM and all her work was shelved (and subsequently lost). I won’t speculate as to why or how that happened.

Suffice it to say, I was “peeved”, especially since so much work had been done and we had got so far already.

In advance of the next CCC AGM, a number of fairly “peeved” people put our heads together with the purpose of addressing the stagnation of permissible access (not just North Wales). We each had our own grievances with the manner in which various issues were being handled by the CCC (well, “not” handled) and as our constant and numerous requests for action had fallen on deaf ears we decided to take definitive action.

In 2014 a number of like-minded people attended the CCC AGM with a view to bringing about change. Change that would facilitate better access for everyone in Wales. Better access that would not be subject to subscriptions. Better access that would not be subject to restrictions and better access that would not be subject to an empire of gates and locks.

The move was successful and we began work.

Stuart (Access officer) picked up Elsie’s torch. I should immediately point out that this was a project that I (Treasurer) felt very strongly about as well as Dave (Secretary). Stuart was happy to do this but it was not his raison d’etre. Stuart was met with many difficulties during the process of rehabilitating Elsie’s work which included  the fact that FC had transmuted into Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and all the work and paperwork Elsie had done had “mysteriously vanished”. Essentially Stuart started again. He undertook a tremendous amount of work (and still does) that he did not bargain for.

During the process, the three of us were in unison and through Stuart’s hard work, he re-built the agreement with NRW. There were some hoops we had to jump through including undertaking some risk-assessments on certain mines as well as running a probationary period (one year which has now been completed). Additionally, NRW do still want an idea of the amount of traffic going through (but have stopped short of specific detail). After the probationary period was completed we were able to look at expanding the number of mines/caves (which is happening).

One important factor that goes to the heart of the OPs question is that NRW wanted to have an agreement with a “body” (as opposed to cavers in general). Of course that would be the CCC. However, it was felt that the officers of the CCC were at risk of liability especially since we had no intention of gating access points. We (Stuart, myself and Dave) therefore discussed the issue of a “trust” and that is precisely how it manifested. Of course, the Trust is a LTD company but it could not be any other way.

Initially, Stuart and Dave were directors of the trust and we later asked Roy Fellows to join the board of the CCC and also the Trust specifically because of his experience and expertise in the field. Roy’s input has since been, as expected, very valuable and we are very grateful to him and have no doubt he will continue to be an asset to the Trust.

Specifically, the trust exists to preserve and protect easy access to NRW owned “holes” without the need to pay a subscription, without the need to erect gates, without the need for padlocks (unless specifically required by NRW), by using Derbyshire keys (nuts) wherever possible when a gate is necessary and without the need for restrictions. No lectures are dictated to visiting parties, no leaders or guides are required and cavers are trusted to use their common sense (all of which is working just fine). Basically, there is no micro-management.

In essence, it is a benign dictatorship which (in my opinion) beats a democracy every day of the week unless it corrupts. Of course, it is possible that it might corrupt (I think that was the point being originally made) but that would not stop another party/group approaching NRW (as we did) for a new agreement.

So long as this is working for the benefit of ALL cavers (I think every entrance is “open” except one which has a combination lock on), let’s not rock the boat?  The small hoops we still jump through are required by NRW and I am fairly certain we have all agreed that we must respect landowners (lawful) wishes.

Work is continuing to extend the access to further NRW mines/caves and although this may be seen as “empire building”, I would suggest that it is precisely the opposite – we are trying to prevent anyone FROM empire building by securing unfettered access for everyone.

I hope I have been completely transparent and I hope that this is seen as a very positive move for the benefit of all cavers.

Ian Adams
(CCC Treasurer)
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Wayland Smith on May 15, 2016, 03:33:09 pm
Very well written Ian.
A clear and concise reports on the Trust's foundation.

I think that while the vast majority of people are using and enjoying the access provided.
The "Haters" are still going to hate!  :lol:
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: badger on May 15, 2016, 06:01:51 pm
Thanks Ian a detailed account.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: PeteHall on May 15, 2016, 08:02:34 pm
Brilliant report Ian. If that doesn't answer the OP's question, I'm not sure what will!

Thanks again for all the work that has gone into it  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 15, 2016, 08:04:50 pm
What about when it ceases to work just fine and cavers aren't using common sense? Will it be a model of excellence?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Jopo on May 15, 2016, 08:36:30 pm
As the OP I find Ian's open and frank posting very refreshing and informative. It also says a lot about the dark corners of the older CCC. As long as the 'Trust' (a term that is new to me which I read as Cave Access Ltd. but infers a totally different image) operates within the limits laid by Ian then all should be fine.

What a contrast to one of the earlier responses which led me to think 'What a arrogant p****.

I met Elsie the first day she arrived at Penwyllt, as neighbor first in Sutton Coldfield and then Abercrave - so pretty well. Over the years we had many conversations about access, access groups and the various shenanigans that can occur within our outwardly calm and responsible sport. She could also be very choice in her description of some she had to deal with.

It is a great shame to hear that so much of Elsie's work went walk about and had to be repeated. I know of at least one then officer in the CCC who took away "boxes of papers" from Elsie's house after she died so they should still exist but it seems, from Ian's posting, not to be the case.

Elsie herself could, and did sometimes, play her cards very close and athough not always agreeing I never doubted that she had the interests of the majority of cavers and mine enthusiasts at heart. I sincerely hope those who follow are as effective

Perhaps a reminder that if things do change and cavers sleep through it then they ultimately have no-one else to blame.
I still believe a democratic organisation would be preferable as I'm sure all dictatorships start out as benign.

Brilliant report Ian. If that doesn't answer the OP's question, I'm not sure what will!

Thanks again for all the work that has gone into it  :thumbsup:

Ian in his frank transparency has actually highlighted some other thoughts.


Jopo
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: RobinGriffiths on May 15, 2016, 11:59:55 pm
I can't see how the circle can be squared. Taking risk away from the landowner, providing free access, and in a democratic way. First two solved.  Democracy wise unless you bring in external shareholders for voting purposes I can't see how to do it. And in that case what would be the shareholder criteria?

As has been said, a benign dictatorship is probably the best result. And given the historical access problems with Forest bods, especially Gwydyr this is actually a great result.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: droid on May 16, 2016, 11:07:22 am
What a contrast to one of the earlier responses which led me to think 'What a arrogant p****.

Jopo

Perhaps the response might have been a little less 'arrogant 'if you had contacted the Directors direct, before launching a public debate?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: miles on May 16, 2016, 11:17:50 am

Ian

A PM is on its way to you.

Miles
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Jopo on May 16, 2016, 01:23:58 pm
What a contrast to one of the earlier responses which led me to think 'What a arrogant p****.

Jopo

Perhaps the response might have been a little less 'arrogant 'if you had contacted the Directors direct, before launching a public debate?

Perhaps I wanted a public debate and chose to do it through this forum. Are you saying you don't agree with public debates?

Jopo


Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: droid on May 16, 2016, 01:59:59 pm
No.

However in this case it might have put your mind at rest if you'd contacted the Directors first.

If it didn't, then the public debate could have been pursued.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Ian Adams on May 16, 2016, 02:22:48 pm

Ian

A PM is on its way to you.

Miles


Miles,

Just in case you haven't noticed the little icon next to the word "messages" (Messages(1)) - I have replied to you.

 :)

Ian
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Clive G on May 16, 2016, 03:20:33 pm
What a contrast to one of the earlier responses which led me to think 'What a arrogant p****.

Jopo

Perhaps the response might have been a little less 'arrogant 'if you had contacted the Directors direct, before launching a public debate?

Perhaps I wanted a public debate and chose to do it through this forum. Are you saying you don't agree with public debates?

Jopo

I was personally involved with the impetus to set up the Mynydd Llangattwg Cave Management (Advisory) Committee, which started on 9.4.1985 with a discussion document that I drew up with four other cavers, and proposed by two more, containing a 'Proposal for the Formation of a Daren Cilau Management Committee'. In the end, through open public discussion, it was agreed that, for the area concerned, it would be best if a combined new cave management committee, incorporating the original Agen Allwedd Cave Management Committee, the proposed new cave management committee for Daren Cilau (prompted by the extent of the recent extensions to the cave), plus bringing on board those who managed access - through a private agreement with the landowner - to Ogof Craig a Ffynnon.

Through open public debate and discussion the new constitution was drafted and amended as appropriate by Frank Baguley, as Secretary of the Cambrian Caving Council, and the MLCMAC inaugurated with an open public election on Saturday 16th April 1988. There were 23 applicants for 12 places, standing for a term of 2 years, after which a new election would be held for the subsequent two years, etc., etc.

Now, this was purely for the Llangattock area and intended to be the best solution for dealing with access to and management of a number of separate caves in the region that are in fact linked underground, although the connections still remain, to the present day, to be discovered and opened up.

What Jopo has brought to public attention is that a private limited company has been set up to manage access to mines over a non-specific area and that, in fact, the name of the limited company, Cave Access Ltd, has nothing to do with mines at all and leaves open the widest possible remit.

Has anyone studied the articles of association?

I think public discussion on this is absolutely essential and the suggestion that "it might have put your mind at rest if you'd contacted the Directors first" has all the hallmarks of secret controls and 'favours by return' being put in place behind the scenes, to the complete absence and detriment of any public accountability, apart from producing proper accounts and the usual limited company annual reporting.

For example, who owns the limited company? There must have been at least one share issued.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 16, 2016, 04:09:23 pm

For example, who owns the limited company? There must have been at least one share issued.

Its a company limited by guarantee with no share capital. Been already stated in the thread.

This type of company is usually referred to as a 'not for profit' type company, have I said this before, oh well carry on anyway. Its very popular for sports clubs and other non profit type organisations. The advantage is a robust legal frame work (1), and protection of its 'officers' from personal liability.(2)

Note 1. Any non incorporated organisation only exists in law because its members are contractually bound to a constitution. A corporate body is an independent legal entity in its own right and will continue in existence as long as it has a board of directors and submits returns to Companies House.

Note 2 Limited Liability means what it says on the tin. That is, the liability of its members is limited to the value of their guarantee or investment as the case may be, the liability of the company is therefore limited to its own assets.

Hopefully, this will add to an explanation of the methodology adopted, but I can do little else to allay any other concerns.

'Ownership' resides in the subscribers Stuart and myself, until our death, when the company will continue indefinitely as long as it has aboard and annual returns are submitted.

The company as it is is whats called a 'shell company', that is, it has no assets and does not hold a bank account.

I cant think of anything else useful to say.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 16, 2016, 04:25:56 pm
Here is another one, try this.

I would venture to suggest that a huge majority of cavers are in favour of free and open access, this was reflected in the CROW ballot and in a lot of opinion expressed on this website.

Both Stuart and myself are both committed to this principle, so I would say that we are very democratic.
 :lol:
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Wayland Smith on May 16, 2016, 04:44:45 pm
Here is another one, try this.

I would venture to suggest that a huge majority of cavers are in favour of free and open access, this was reflected in the CROW ballot and in a lot of opinion expressed on this website.
Both Stuart and myself are both committed to this principle, so I would say that we are very democratic. :lol:


Meanwhile the MYNYDD LLANGATWG CAVE MANAGEMENT /ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Established
Through open public debate and discussion the new constitution was drafted and amended as appropriate by Frank Baguley, as Secretary of the Cambrian Caving Council, and the MLCMAC inaugurated with an open public election on Saturday 16th April 1988. There were 23 applicants for 12 places, standing for a term of 2 years, after which a new election would be held for the subsequent two years, etc., etc.

Has many locked and gated caves requiring keys and access permits under it's control. :-\ :-\

Makes you wonder? :'(
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Badlad on May 16, 2016, 04:59:43 pm
I was just pondering what kind of a job Cave Access Ltd would do with Ogof Draenen whose access is run by a democratic group.  Couldn't be worse - could it? Is this what this thread is really about??
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 16, 2016, 05:03:29 pm
 :lol: :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Clive G on May 16, 2016, 05:50:40 pm
Here is another one, try this.

I would venture to suggest that a huge majority of cavers are in favour of free and open access, this was reflected in the CROW ballot and in a lot of opinion expressed on this website.
Both Stuart and myself are both committed to this principle, so I would say that we are very democratic. :lol:


Meanwhile the MYNYDD LLANGATWG CAVE MANAGEMENT /ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Established
Through open public debate and discussion the new constitution was drafted and amended as appropriate by Frank Baguley, as Secretary of the Cambrian Caving Council, and the MLCMAC inaugurated with an open public election on Saturday 16th April 1988. There were 23 applicants for 12 places, standing for a term of 2 years, after which a new election would be held for the subsequent two years, etc., etc.

Has many locked and gated caves requiring keys and access permits under it's control. :-\ :-\

Makes you wonder? :'(

Agen Allwedd/Ogof Gam
Ogof Gwaliau Gwynion/Channer's Dig
Ogof Cnwc/Price's Dig
Ogof Craig a Ffynnon
Ogof Capel

are the Llangattock and Clydach Gorge caves with gated entrances and there'd be a whole lot more stalactites, stalagmites and selenite crystals broken and missing if they didn't have proper protection, as opposed to open random access.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Ian Adams on May 16, 2016, 06:12:12 pm
With regards to the statement I made earlier (I realise we have moved on but I would like to come back to a point);

My reference to the commercial group (and person(s) associated)  that were creating difficulty was deliberately vague so as to not create a "finger pointing" problem.

However, it was so vague that I appear to have perhaps cast doubt or shadow over innocent parties for which I apologise.

I would specifically add that I was not referring to the business "Go Below", it's owner or his other interests. Miles has been a personal friend for a long time and his openness with regards to allowing access for cavers to the various mines he controls is second to none.

Having re-read my post I can see that my wording could be construed as pointing in his direction as he is very active in North Wales - that was never my intent.

I have been in communication with Miles and assured him that it was never my intention for him to be implicated.

We still hold the same friendship.

.....Sorry for the interjection, now back to the affray at hand ......   :blink:

Ian
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 16, 2016, 06:23:13 pm
We are now moving into the area of conservation and freedom of access. Not thread subject but I will still offer my pennyworth.

Those who seed to impose access restrictions for conservation reasons do so out of best of intent, however I feel that there may be the fundamental error of generalisation.
Typical is "Look at what's happening at Browns Folly"
Answer, look at what isn't happening at Cwmystwyth. No two sites are identical, each has its own possible issues. I have just spend 8 working days doing 8 hour work stints to address a problem far worse than anyone could create with a spray can. Non of the mines on the CAL schedule could be described in any way as fragile.

So moving back to thread subject, if CAL policy reflects the majority view of cavers with regard to access, where is there a problem?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Brains on May 16, 2016, 06:34:20 pm
Maybe being cynical but it seems the problem is you are upsetting the "keep it locked" people who have argued so hard to prevent a clarification of CRoW, so grasping at straws and the fact you have the word "cave" in the company title they are having a pop, the fact you are dealing with mines seems a bit inconvenient.
Or perhaps there has been an access epiphany and they are looking at your solutions to adapt them for their own locked sites?
Still, not my monkeys, not my circus so I will leave them to it
BTW, good job well done with the mines  ;D
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: droid on May 16, 2016, 06:55:56 pm
First mention of CRoW.

Which is irrelevant to mines, as has been frequently explained....
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 16, 2016, 07:44:20 pm
I have no problem with Roy's approach to mine access. I doubt Roy has ANY interest in spreading his good works to caves. That might not be same for the others however.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 16, 2016, 09:22:48 pm
I would venture to suggest that a huge majority of cavers are in favour of free and open access, this was reflected in the CROW ballot and in a lot of opinion expressed on this website.

That's not actually true though, is it?

The "huge majority" of cavers did not actively support CRoW. What we do know is that the majority didn't feel sufficiently motivated to venture registering their view on the topic.

Of the people who actually did vote, though, there was a majority. The two are very different beasts. Please do not conflate them.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: mikem on May 16, 2016, 09:47:39 pm
I think you'll find a majority of cavers are supportive of open access to MOST caves (which happen to be on access land & don't have mitigating circumstances). The reason most cavers like caving is they aren't being told what they can or cannot do all the time...

Mike
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 16, 2016, 09:50:25 pm
Nonsense. Most cavers like caving because they like exploring caves. Anyway, this topic seems to died a death as there is  nothing left to talk about except for a bit of squabbling.. :-)
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: mikem on May 16, 2016, 09:56:40 pm
Okay, one of the things they like about caving, I didn't mean the only thing  ::)

Mike
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 16, 2016, 09:59:53 pm
I think you'll find a majority of cavers are supportive of open access to MOST caves

I suspect if they were provided with a fuller picture of the potentially calamitous results of the "Jam Today" Populist Policy they might temper their enthusiastic support to a great extent. Open access has a price to pay. Presently the majority of cavers in the UK can gain access to the majority of caves in the country, nearly all without any cost penalty which is as near as dammit the equivalent of free and easy access, without any need for legislative wrangling, institutionalised antagonism of landowners, a schism in national and regional administrations, and an unstoppable flight from national bodies by the general public/cavers/people with a builder's hat, who "no longer need the BCA 'cos they can go caving wherever they like whenever they want" etc.. If the BCA wanted to commit slow suicide it's arguably doing an effective job at it by pursuing CRoW.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: mikem on May 16, 2016, 10:13:41 pm
You can't cite keeping the BCA in existence as a reason not to have open access...

Mike
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 16, 2016, 10:17:20 pm
Indeed. The BCA probably won't survive if there is open access.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 16, 2016, 10:19:44 pm
There's a heap load more things the BCA could be doing without going anywhere near the matter of cave access, should it wish to. In fact, with the likes of CAL, and other bodies specifically set up to work on matters of access, its a good reason for the BCA to simply leave things alone.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 16, 2016, 10:25:14 pm
Indeed. One of the principle functions of the BCA should be to ensure caves are conserved as well as can be reasonably and practicably achieved; cavers are not particularly good at it, per se, on the whole, so it morally behoves the national administration to actively (and I mean actively) engage in conservation in all its various guises.

It's one thing pandering to the interests of cavers, ('cos it's populist), but...

Who is looking after the interest of caves?

And square the circle of how you can protect something if the general public has a legal right to access it.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: mikem on May 16, 2016, 10:27:33 pm
One of the principal things that the BMC are involved in is access & climbers don't need to be a member to go climbing - probably one of the most respected & liked governing bodies in the country...

Mike
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 16, 2016, 10:28:08 pm
They do in Cheddar Gorge.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 16, 2016, 10:29:49 pm
Quote
Who is looking after the interest of caves?

Natural England? NRW?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 16, 2016, 10:30:25 pm
No budget, no resources, no action, no actual power. Actually that's a bit harsh. Substitute little for no. NE, certainly, not so knowledgeable about NRW's finances and legislative clout.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 16, 2016, 10:32:04 pm
Looks like cavers will have to do it then.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 16, 2016, 10:33:29 pm
They're too busy caving, having a lark; they don't want to look after caves, they want to go caving.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 16, 2016, 10:47:43 pm
Sorry but I think that this thread is going off at a tangent.

Free and easy access to mines on the CAL schedule, yes, because there are no conservation issues related to visitors, its all related to natural decay and conservation means interventionism in the form of remedial work.
Parc exploration would not get you very far without the efforts of my helper and I, 5 digs in there that will last indefinitely, 3 ladder refurbs - down to me.

Henfwlch - far reaches via my dig, actually the first use by me of steel and concrete

Talybont - a team of WMS bods including me, concrete refurb, me alone and took 12 months. No Roy = No access to deep adit. No democracy, well I am really sorry about that. Maybe I should have took opinion about the brand of cement.
 :lol:

Sorry about the rant, its late, just got in from training, food in the microwave.



Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 16, 2016, 10:55:08 pm
Sorry but I think that this thread is going off at a tangent.

Correct. Apologies!
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 16, 2016, 10:56:36 pm
No democracy, well I am really sorry about that.

Don't be. Access Control Bodies don't need to be democratic to function exceptionally well. In fact many do so because of this, not in spite of it. 
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Ian Adams on May 16, 2016, 11:24:09 pm
No democracy, well I am really sorry about that.

Don't be. Access Control Bodies don't need to be democratic to function exceptionally well. In fact many do so because of this, not in spite of it.


.... Including CAL, thank you for pointing this out  ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Oceanrower on May 16, 2016, 11:54:38 pm
They do in Cheddar Gorge.

No they don't.

Or, to be more accurate, they do in the half owned by the same people that own the caves......
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 17, 2016, 12:01:06 am
The vertical half. :-)
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 17, 2016, 08:02:07 am
I came in late last night, checked the thread, and saw a lot of bickering starting.

If you stand back and take an objective view we have a situation whereby there is now access where previously there was no access, and lot of you are bickering over it!
A person would say that it isn't difficult to see why no progress was being made before CAL.

Now grasping the bull by the horns, I ask a simple question.
As has already been stated CAL policy is that access to the mines on its schedule should be as free and easy as possible, and bearing in mind that there are no conservation issues, does anyone feel this this should be done differently?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: AR on May 17, 2016, 08:26:51 am
If you stand back and take an objective view we have a situation whereby there is now access where previously there was no access, and lot of you are bickering over it!
A person would say that it isn't difficult to see why no progress was being made before CAL.

Now grasping the bull by the horns, I ask a simple question.
As has already been stated CAL policy is that access to the mines on its schedule should be as free and easy as possible, and bearing in mind that there are no conservation issues, does anyone feel this this should be done differently?

In so many situations, it needs a few determined people with common purpose to really get things done, otherwise we see the situation where everybody mills around thinking somebody should do something with the end result that nobody does anything.

As I said a while back on Aditnow, if Roy is empire-building then I'm a flag-waving imperialist; how many sites can we now easily and legitimately get access to thanks to his hard work and that of his compatriots, all of which I might add is for the love of the mines and not for personal gain?

This whole thread has come across to me as an exercise in straw man building; I hear a lot of people banging on about democracy but how many of them can be bothered to turn out to regional or national caving body meetings? That's your democratic forum, but I suppose it takes _effort_ to attend meetings or worse still, stand for one of the posts. So much easier to gob off on the internet....
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Simon Wilson on May 17, 2016, 08:38:42 am
I think you'll find a majority of cavers are supportive of open access to MOST caves

I suspect if they were provided with a fuller picture of the potentially calamitous results of the "Jam Today" Populist Policy they might temper their enthusiastic support to a great extent. Open access has a price to pay. Presently the majority of cavers in the UK can gain access to the majority of caves in the country, nearly all without any cost penalty which is as near as dammit the equivalent of free and easy access, without any need for legislative wrangling, institutionalised antagonism of landowners, a schism in national and regional administrations, and an unstoppable flight from national bodies by the general public/cavers/people with a builder's hat, who "no longer need the BCA 'cos they can go caving wherever they like whenever they want" etc.. If the BCA wanted to commit slow suicide it's arguably doing an effective job at it by pursuing CRoW.

Your view of the access situation is narrow and South-centric. Lack of access to great parts of the karst in the North has meant that cavers have become increasingly concentrated on those limited areas where they can get access.

You are continuing with the dirty tricks when you throw in the red herring of antagonism of landowners. There is no evidence for any "antagonism of landowners"; it is an idea invented by you and the rest of your small anti-CRoW group. The CroW campaign has been an opportunity for cavers to talk with landowners and other interested people and further improve the good relations that we have.

The CRoW campaign has the potential to enhance the reputation of the BCA in the same way that access campaigns have done for the BMC.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 17, 2016, 08:49:32 am
Apologies to Roy and others but Simon Wilson's skewing comments need rebuttal.

A nice example of the divided house; on the one hand people seem genuinely convinced that BCA is enhancing its reputation and good relations by using force of law to trample on landowners' wishes to control access to caves on their land, and on the other hand people consider this a form of antagonism of landowners, and making mention of it is viewed as a red herring. There are landowners who are most definitely not impressed, to put it mildly, with the turn of events. Perhaps both views are correct, in which case it supports the posit that there is a schism and a house divided and that is another story, yet to play out.

PS Where have I stated being anti-CRoW? Why do you tar me as part of an "anti-CRoW group", as though such a thing even exists? It is possible to see both sides of something and comment thereon while still retaining neutrality, is it not?

PPS Anyone who sets out to organise access, and succeeds, should be supported (even if access has conditions attached). Roy has done wonderful work and should be example to others.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: caving_fox on May 17, 2016, 09:09:03 am
Quote
how many sites can we now easily and legitimately get access to thanks to his hard work and that of his compatriots, all of which I might add is for the love of the mines and not for personal gain?

Is there a list of which ones are now readily accessible?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 17, 2016, 09:24:05 am
Here you are:
http://rakelane.anduin.org.uk/cal/sites.html (http://rakelane.anduin.org.uk/cal/sites.html)


To lighten things up, lets all have a good laugh.
Tried to follow a link to CAL and got an error page, and this is one of the 'ads' that was on it:

Buy Caves at Amazon
Low Prices on Caves. Free UK Delivery on Eligible Orders
Sponsored by: amazon.co.uk/Caves

Now there is something to think about. Empire building, conspiracy?
I aught to follow the link and see if I can pick up a few more.
 :lol:
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: andrewmc on May 17, 2016, 09:46:32 am
They do in Cheddar Gorge.

It's very much the exception that proved the rule - one crag out of tens of thousands. One half is CROW/National Trust with a right of access and only a tiny fraction voluntarily banned (for public safety reasons). The other half would under normal circumstances be CROW but it is basically a 'show gorge' so isn't open access. What restrictions there are though are for public safety and usually seasonal - there is almost nowhere else where there is so much potential for loose rock to fall directly onto a road and a large number of visitors. The North side (the NT side) mostly doesn't nearly overhang the road.

Yes - climbers are perfectly capable of having a right of access and then adhering to a voluntary ban (whether for conservation reasons, public safety or nesting birds).
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Ian Adams on May 17, 2016, 10:56:19 am
..... people seem genuinely convinced that BCA is enhancing its reputation and good relations by using force of law to trample on landowners' wishes to control access to caves on their land, and on the other hand people consider this a form of antagonism of landowners

I think this is pretty unfair on the BCA.

At the last meeting in April, none of the committee members were using "force of law to trample on landowners' wishes".  Of course, the committee was not in unison but what was apparent was that there was respect for landowners regardless of which side of the fence each person was on.

Ian
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 17, 2016, 11:04:22 am
Time will tell.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 17, 2016, 11:09:23 am
..... people seem genuinely convinced that BCA is enhancing its reputation and good relations by using force of law to trample on landowners' wishes to control access to caves on their land, and on the other hand people consider this a form of antagonism of landowners

I think this is pretty unfair on the BCA.

At the last meeting in April, none of the committee members were using "force of law to trample on landowners' wishes".  Of course, the committee was not in unison but what was apparent was that there was respect for landowners regardless of which side of the fence each person was on.

Ian

I agree with this view. The law itself does a very good job all on its own without any help, I have said this before.

Consider the position of a landowner. Cant build anything without planning consent. Public may have rights of way, even for vehicles. Others may have rights over your land which could be mineral ownership, sporting rights, grazing rights, or 'restrictive covenants' or whatever, and then you have possible SAM and SSSI, and of course good old CROW itself.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: PeteHall on May 17, 2016, 12:38:25 pm
CAL policy is that access to the mines on its schedule should be as free and easy as possible, and bearing in mind that there are no conservation issues, does anyone feel this this should be done differently?

No  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Simon Wilson on May 17, 2016, 01:43:01 pm
There are landowners who are most definitely not impressed, to put it mildly, with the turn of events.

Name one.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 17, 2016, 02:02:07 pm
We've already been here before on another thread and names weren't mentioned then and they are not going to be mentioned now, either.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: droid on May 17, 2016, 04:15:16 pm
There are landowners who are most definitely not impressed, to put it mildly, with the turn of events.

Name one.

You first....:-)
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Simon Wilson on May 17, 2016, 05:10:43 pm
..... people seem genuinely convinced that BCA is enhancing its reputation and good relations by using force of law to trample on landowners' wishes to control access to caves on their land, and on the other hand people consider this a form of antagonism of landowners

I think this is pretty unfair on the BCA.

At the last meeting in April, none of the committee members were using "force of law to trample on landowners' wishes".  Of course, the committee was not in unison but what was apparent was that there was respect for landowners regardless of which side of the fence each person was on.

Ian

Nobody wants to trample on landowners' wishes. We know that some landowners have concerns about their liability when they give permission for caving. Hopefully we can get into a situation where one of the landowners' wishes is to see the removal of liability by the CRoW Act.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: droid on May 17, 2016, 05:18:14 pm
So is that the situation we have NOW, or some 'wish-list' aspiration?

And which landowners are *currently* happy with CRoW? because if you are not willing to name names, it is somewhat 'off' for you to demand that someone else does.....
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Wayland Smith on May 17, 2016, 05:57:25 pm
CROW CRAP!  :o

Why has the usual meaningless rubbish about Crow been dragged into this debate which began about a totally different subject.

If you want to wave your willies about Crow again do it on one of the numerous other debates.

Something for moderators to clean up?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 17, 2016, 06:17:31 pm
You mean like the moderator who thinks it's OK to make a contribution to it without resorting to ranting?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: cavemanmike on May 17, 2016, 06:18:19 pm
CROW CRAP!  :o

Why has the usual meaningless rubbish about Crow been dragged into this debate which began about a totally different subject.

If you want to wave your willies about Crow again do it on one of the numerous other debates.

Something for moderators to clean up?

unfortunately "a" moderator got in the middle of the "off topic" debate and should know better.
 moderate please and KEEP on topic
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: badger on May 17, 2016, 06:22:17 pm
yes lets keep on topic, which was a question asked about CAL and has I believe been answered.
CROW has nothing to do with CAL as it concerns access to mines, if I am correct on my understanding.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 17, 2016, 06:29:40 pm
yes lets keep on topic, which was a question asked about CAL and has I believe been answered.
CROW has nothing to do with CAL as it concerns access to mines, if I am correct on my understanding.

I would say that you are.
 :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Rhys on May 17, 2016, 06:35:11 pm
Global Moderator Comment OK everyone, put the handbags away and take the CROW talk elsewhere. This is a topic about access management groups. Any new CROW posts here will be deleted.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: cavemanmike on May 17, 2016, 07:53:50 pm
OK everyone, put the handbags away and take the CROW talk elsewhere. This is a topic about access management groups. Any new CROW posts here will be deleted.


thank you
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Rhys on May 17, 2016, 08:02:04 pm
So, back on topic; The Charterhouse Caving Company who were mentioned earlier in the thread; do they have a procedure for replacing their company directors/personnel? What do they intend to do if one goes rogue?

I could direct the query to one of the company people or look at their website, but I don't want to. I'm asking here. Does anyone know?

Rhys
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Les W on May 17, 2016, 08:15:33 pm
I believe the directors are appointed by the member clubs at the AGM so I assume those same clubs could remove a director if they wanted to.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Rhys on May 17, 2016, 08:19:33 pm
I see. Does Cave Access Ltd have an AGM or member clubs?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Ian Adams on May 17, 2016, 08:36:32 pm
I rather suspect this line of questioning was done explicitly to cause trouble and I rather expect the answer to the Charterhouse question was well known by the poster (as is the answer to the question posed about CAL) to set the organisation of CAL up for a fall and cause a bucket load more arguing.

Very mischievous.

 >:(

Ian

Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Rhys on May 17, 2016, 08:42:05 pm
You suspect wrongly. I'm merely exploring the issues raised in this topic.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: droid on May 17, 2016, 08:46:41 pm
But choosing not to ask the Directors of CCC directly. I'm with Ian on this one.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Rhys on May 17, 2016, 08:48:18 pm
Who?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 17, 2016, 08:50:45 pm
I don't think for one minute that this website needs the organisation of CAL as an excuse for a bucket load of more arguing.

Anyway, in my naive and blissful ignorance I will take the question at face value and give an honest answer.

It was decided at the outset that the ideal number of directors would be about 3, I personally favour an odd number for obvious reasons

The company was formed by Stuart France and me, who being the original subscribers and guarantors for a company limited by guarantee are the owners of company as long as we live.
Dave Tyson was asked to join us after formation.

In the event that one of us falls by the wayside there will be a need for replacement in which case the remainder of the board would ask someone of reasonable qualification and who was willing to participate in the dark conspiracy of maintaining a policy of free and open access to the mines we control.

Seconds out
 ;D

Addendum
Just advised by the website that there has been 3 postings while I was typing this out, no comment.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 17, 2016, 09:07:42 pm
Just changed my posting signature, can I have some 'Likes'
 ;D
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: droid on May 17, 2016, 09:08:56 pm
Yes.

And probably more effective.....
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Ed W on May 17, 2016, 09:21:57 pm
Not directly CAL, but recently I visited Cwmystwyth and contacted Roy through his role with CMT.  Not only did I get a reply, but the information provided was useful and allowed us to have a really great day out in the mines with only a couple of days notice and no fuss and bother whatsoever.  A performance well in excess of several "democratic" cave access bodies I have dealt with over the last few decades.

I have personal experience of keen young cavers being put of the sport/science/activity due to the perceived need to jump through hoops to visit some underground sites.  If there were more places like Cwmystwyth I have little doubt that we might be able to retain a few more of these people.  I do fear that the reduction in numbers of cavers, if it continues, will result in simply not enough of us to look after the UK's underground.  Yes there are places that need protection, but this needs to be balanced against ease of access on a case by case basis.  I have not yet used the CAL system, but I was most impressed by the CMT one that Roy is also involved with.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Aubrey on May 17, 2016, 09:37:02 pm
Both Charterhouse CC Ltd and Cave Access Ltd show what can be done to open cave access. I am not suggesting that either is the perfect answer that can be applied to all caves and mines but I believe access can be negotiated to most sites without recourse to the sledge hammer of legal threats or parliamentary lobbying.
Ownership and control of land is continually changing and sooner or later even the most intransigent landowner will retire or leave this earth. The time will come to have a new attempt at negotiating access to any site previously denied.
If a few sites are not immediately available to the masses then it could be a good thing that those sites will be conserved for future generations. There are plenty of caves and digs currently available for exploration and exploitation by current cavers. It has to be remembered that our activities are frequently destructive to the natural environment and the only sure way of conservation is total access control (denial). As long as the currently unavailable sites are in the minority then I am in favour of preserving these for the future.
Such (short term) access control will benefit future cavers and scientists.


Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: cavemanmike on May 17, 2016, 10:03:27 pm
Not directly CAL, but recently I visited Cwmystwyth and contacted Roy through his role with CMT.  Not only did I get a reply, but the information provided was useful and allowed us to have a really great day out in the mines with only a couple of days notice and no fuss and bother whatsoever.  A performance well in excess of several "democratic" cave access bodies I have dealt with over the last few decades.

I have personal experience of keen young cavers being put of the sport/science/activity due to the perceived need to jump through hoops to visit some underground sites.  If there were more places like Cwmystwyth I have little doubt that we might be able to retain a few more of these people.  I do fear that the reduction in numbers of cavers, if it continues, will result in simply not enough of us to look after the UK's underground.  Yes there are places that need protection, but this needs to be balanced against ease of access on a case by case basis.  I have not yet used the CAL system, but I was most impressed by the CMT one that Roy is also involved with.

 if only the milwr tunnel was as easily accessed
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 17, 2016, 11:21:05 pm
So, back on topic; The Charterhouse Caving Company who were mentioned earlier in the thread; do they have a procedure for replacing their company directors/personnel? What do they intend to do if one goes rogue?

I could direct the query to one of the company people or look at their website, but I don't want to. I'm asking here. Does anyone know?

Rhys
The obvious person to respond would be the CCC secretary. Don't expect a reply in the near future!
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Ian Adams on May 18, 2016, 07:55:38 am
The obvious person to respond would be the CCC secretary. Don't expect a reply in the near future!


That is bordering on libel.

The CCC Secretary has proven to be very efficient in executing his duties and certainly with attending to correspondence. He was also very quick to answer on this forum.

May I suggest a retraction?

Ian
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Rhys on May 18, 2016, 08:14:58 am
Some confusion here I think. There's numerous CCCs in caving. I wish people would spend a few seconds spelling it out rather than abbreviating.

eg:
Cambrian CC
Charterhouse CC
Croydon CC
Cheddar CC
etc
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 18, 2016, 08:43:23 am
I wish people would also spent a few seconds looking at the context of a post, which is about the Charterhouse CC - so in order to avoid confusing those with quick-draw reactions, yes, I meant the Charterhouse CC, Ian. May I also suggest a retraction? Please?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Ian Adams on May 18, 2016, 08:55:35 am
Rhys has largely saved your bacon.

"CCC" has been used to refer to Cambrian Caving Council throughout this thread and that is how I interpreted. It is certainly how I used the acronym in my reply.

I have no knowledge of the abilities of the Charterhouse Secretary to whom it now seems you are referring and you still may wish to adjust your statement (your choice and prerogative).

I don't want to retract my statement because it may still be borderline libel. However, I do apologise for mis-interpreting to whom you were referring to.

Good enough?

Ian
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: PeteHall on May 18, 2016, 09:37:29 am
I think Peter is probably fairly accurate in his assertion that the Charterhouse Caving Company secretary is unlikely to reply on here any time soon. I'm not sure where you would find a list of company officers, but the person concerned used to post frequently on this forum, but has not done so for some time...  :coffee:

I don't think this is any statement about the abilities of the secretary to do their job, just a statement about the medium of communication.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 18, 2016, 09:43:33 am
Indeed. It is a good policy to listen carefully to debates, re-read stuff you are not sure about, then consider a response before going anywhere near the "post" button. I guess is it built into some people's nature to find offence all over the place.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: estelle on May 18, 2016, 12:55:55 pm
I think Peter is probably fairly accurate in his assertion that the Charterhouse Caving Company secretary is unlikely to reply on here any time soon. I'm not sure where you would find a list of company officers, but the person concerned used to post frequently on this forum, but has not done so for some time...  :coffee:

I don't think this is any statement about the abilities of the secretary to do their job, just a statement about the medium of communication.
http://charterhouse-caving-company.ltd.uk/index.htm (http://charterhouse-caving-company.ltd.uk/index.htm) - about half way down the page is the current secretary details and a contact link should you need to contact them.
That page also has the details of the member clubs and a bit of detail about the company.
If you want to find out the company directors past and present, try companies house website - https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/03036639/officers (https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/03036639/officers)
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: droid on May 18, 2016, 03:44:26 pm
Indeed. It is a good policy to listen carefully to debates, re-read stuff you are not sure about, then consider a response before going anywhere near the "post" button. I guess is it built into some people's nature to find offence all over the place.

Taking offence at something on UKC?

Who'd have thought....lol
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Brains on May 20, 2016, 06:45:54 pm
Quote
"As has already been stated CAL policy is that access to the mines on its schedule should be as free and easy as possible, and bearing in mind that there are no conservation issues, does anyone feel this this should be done differently?"

Having seen the thread on AN, jogging our collective memories on this question, I shall respond with my twopenneth.
I feel Roy and CAL are doing the best job possible in the circumstances, and certainly a lot better than many other access bodies have managed. As the thing shows no sign of being broken, I dont feel there is a need to offer changes or reccomendations. I look forward to more mines being added to the portfolio.
Well done one and all

I am however puzzled as to the reason this thread was started in the first place
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 20, 2016, 07:18:30 pm
I want to thank everyone who has supported the work that we are trying to, but for the benefit of anyone who has misgivings, I yet again repeat my question, quoting myself:

"As has already been stated CAL policy is that access to the mines on its schedule should be as free and easy as possible, and bearing in mind that there are no conservation issues, does anyone feel this this should be done differently?"

So that I cannot be accused of Machiavellian tactics, or coming from somewhere, my thinking is that in the absence of anyone "feeling differently", then I have to assume that we have everyone's full support. True democracy.
Then I echo Brains final comment about why was the thread started.

Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: bograt on May 20, 2016, 07:45:12 pm
Quote
I am however puzzled as to the reason this thread was started in the first place



Better ask Jopo.----
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Jopo on May 21, 2016, 01:12:03 am
Roy. Yes I do believe it could, and should, be done differently and I know others (mainly cavers it is true) who are concerned. If they choose to comment on here it is their prerogative

CAL policy can be whatever the directors say - we the great unwashed have no say in the policy.
No one has explained why CAL is the only way to keep or achieve access, just a load of tosh about liability (craftily avoided by being a shell company).

Why did I ask the question? Because I know that bodies such as the NRW will always gravitate to apparent "professional" bodies than voluntary groups if offered a choice and the NRW has caves on its land as well as mines, Perhaps this is why it is CAL instead of MAL - which is still available - and the somewhat, to me, poor explanation that "we wanted it seen that cavers are in control". That, coupled with the aims stated on the CAL website still gives me cause for concern.


I find part of Roy's statement


So that I cannot be accused of Machiavellian tactics, or coming from somewhere, my thinking is that in the absence of anyone "feeling differently", then I have to assume that we have everyone's full support. True democracy.
Then I echo Brains final comment about why was the thread started.



quite revealing, and who are you (or anybody else) think you are to question my right to question you about what is a unique situation in Wales. Posing that question shows just how little understanding you have of "True democracy".

Quote

I feel Roy and CAL are doing the best job possible in the circumstances, and certainly a lot better than many other access bodies have managed. As the thing shows no sign of being broken, I dont feel there is a need to offer changes or reccomendations. I look forward to more mines being added to the portfolio.
Well done one and all

I am however puzzled as to the reason this thread was started in the first place

What mines are now accessible that were not before CAL. I suspect one or two were but talking to some mine enthusiasts find that many on the list never had a problem.

I suppose, Brains, I know who you are referring to when you mention other conservation bodies. I ask you and others to remember that there was almost no problem for the majority of cavers who gained access through them for years and that every one of those bodies can be influenced by active cavers. CAL cannot. So if cavers become disenchanted in future we only have ourselves to blame for sleeping through it.

I ask a question - you choose to answer or not. I find some answers and explanations lacking and unsatisfactory.
So what. That is democracy.

I still, after several hours thinking about it, find it incredible to be questioned about my right to question.

I find this forum seldom changes contributors minds but feel justified that at least the subject has been aired. I don't think I have anything to add, unless my democratic rights are questioned again, unless something entirely new is brought to light.

Jopo

 
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Brains on May 21, 2016, 05:04:14 am
Quote
I still, after several hours thinking about it, find it incredible to be questioned about my right to question.

I am not questioning your right to ask - ask away, only trying to understand why it was asked. Your fuller response has gone a long way to doing that.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Cap'n Chris on May 21, 2016, 07:38:32 am
... we the great unwashed have no say in the policy.

Made me sit up. Why should they?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: And on May 24, 2016, 10:43:05 pm
Interesting to note that those that set up CAL and its advocates have been the strongest critics of the PDCMG when they play exactly the same role...
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Ian Adams on May 24, 2016, 11:02:51 pm
Interesting to note that those that set up CAL and its advocates have been the strongest critics of the PDCMG when they play exactly the same role...


.... Saved to disc.

Do you have insurance indemnifying you against libel?

Ian
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: miles on May 24, 2016, 11:07:48 pm
I want to thank everyone who has supported the work that we are trying to

I don't want to get drawn into this thread, but I will express my opinion that I don't really care if CAL is a democracy or not. I do however know that the people running CAL and CCC are the very best people that "we the community" could hope for.

CAL and CCC - I thank and salute you  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 24, 2016, 11:09:47 pm
Send in the boys, Ian. You know it makes sense.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: cavemanmike on May 24, 2016, 11:25:26 pm
Fair play peter your a shit stirring twat
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 24, 2016, 11:26:57 pm
Oh dear. Silly man uses rude words to intimidate me. Quaking in my boots now. Sorry - talking about libel is silly and needs pointing out.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Pegasus on May 24, 2016, 11:36:26 pm
Administrator Comment Enough. Topic locked.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Pegasus on May 25, 2016, 11:00:43 pm
Administrator Comment Topic unlocked. Remember :hug:
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Kenilworth on May 26, 2016, 01:29:13 am
... we the great unwashed have no say in the policy.

Made me sit up. Why should they?

Me too. Why should they?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Simon Wilson on May 26, 2016, 07:43:15 am
Because "Property is Theft"?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Peter Burgess on May 26, 2016, 08:10:41 am
I've started to hum Lennon's "Imagine" in my head. Weird.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 26, 2016, 08:14:54 am
I have copied this from one of my postings on aditnow in an attempt to examine the logic of some peoples reasoning.

READS:

A funny sort of slant on this is that its OK for a private company to purchase land with mines or caves and become the 'landowner', but not a private company to be an ACB.
CMT is of course landowner and ACB.

Pity the thread on UKC is closed as I could present this as a 'dilemma' to the complainant.

ENDS

Well now the thread is open again, so here it is.

I am off to Nenthead for a week though so will probably miss a lot here, I have a sort of funny bizarre hobby of going underground, and really like to just get on and do it.
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: crickleymal on May 26, 2016, 08:35:50 am
Because "Property is Theft"?

Ok so what is proper tea?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: cavemanmike on May 26, 2016, 10:44:06 am
Because "Property is Theft"?

Ok so what is proper tea?

yorkshire tea of coarse
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 26, 2016, 11:41:56 am
I don't drink tea, prefer coffee

Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 26, 2016, 11:51:22 am

No one has explained why CAL is the only way to keep or achieve access, just a load of tosh about liability (craftily avoided by being a shell company).

Jopo

The agreement contains an indemnity clause.

Ahh, Oh
 :-\
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 26, 2016, 12:24:30 pm
Here is a bit more where I attempt to address the points raised, but I omit deliberately where he answers his own questions.

CAL policy can be whatever the directors say - we the great unwashed have no say in the policy.

.......................  when you mention other conservation bodies. I ask you and others to remember that there was almost no problem for the majority of cavers who gained access through them for years and that every one of those bodies can be influenced by active cavers. CAL cannot.


Isn't this exactly what we are doing, my logic here being based on the many posts supporting our policy against yours and one other that does not.
I still think that this is democratic, if it isn't then what is?


What mines are now accessible that were not before CAL. I suspect one or two were but talking to some mine enthusiasts find that many on the list never had a problem.


Under By Laws NRW can prosecute anyone entering mines on their land without permission, so all access prior to CAL was covert.
In 1986? a group leader was prosecuted for taking a party into Rhiwbach. This mine is now gated and fitted with combination locks which were originally accessed by outdoor groups, these are now controlled by CAL who under CAL policy of making access as free and easy as possible give out the combination on request.

Trips scheduled into Parc on the north Wales NAMHO field meet had to be cancelled due to non permission.

The CAL agreement for everywhere with the exception of Temple Mine (formally owned by CCW) is not with NRW but with the Welsh government, this logically leads to the conclusion that ownership is in the Welsh government.

Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: Kenilworth on May 26, 2016, 06:11:09 pm
Because "Property is Theft"?

Vague use of a half-baked philosophical jingle does very little to answer the question.

Quote
Under By Laws NRW can prosecute anyone entering mines on their land without permission, so all access prior to CAL was covert.
In 1986? a group leader was prosecuted for taking a party into Rhiwbach. This mine is now gated and fitted with combination locks which were originally accessed by outdoor groups, these are now controlled by CAL who under CAL policy of making access as free and easy as possible give out the combination on request.
 

Roy's comments here are interesting. And they have a connection to the "land ownership" question.
In saying that "all access... was covert," he seems to say that explorers were too lazy to negotiate with owners themselves, but in citing a single case of prosecution he seems to say that covert access was nearly the same thing as open access. I have never had much respect for ideas of land ownership as practiced in most "developed" countries, but none of us can count on the general population or especially landowners, to feel the same way. And we should respect one another as humans.

So the question is raised, how can I respect my neighbor as a man, while caring not one whit about his rights as a property owner? Often the answer is covert access. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

To an outside observer, the fact that CAL were able to negotiate in behalf of you lot should be celebrated, at least by you lot. You have more privileges and fewer (or at least less critical) responsibilities. If it all goes wrong down the road, who cares? You're getting something for nothing now, and that's what you want. Right?
Title: Re: Access in private or democratic groups.
Post by: royfellows on May 26, 2016, 07:26:35 pm
There was a whole 'history' of access issues in the Gwydir Forest with tit for tat escalation going back to the early 1980s

The chap who was prosecuted came to the attention of what was then the Forestry Commission after a lady had to be rescued because she slipped on the incline and injured her back.

Access negotiation was attempted by NAMHO I believe, but the position of the Forestry had become entrenched.

In recent years attitudes have changed and what was then Forestry Commission Wales becoming absorbed into the new body Natural Resources Wales with a new policy of opening up what was Forestry land for recreational activities. An attitude which has to be applauded.

Times change, and sometimes it is for the better.