Author Topic: CROW, climbers and caving  (Read 3225 times)

Offline David Rose

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CROW, climbers and caving
« on: October 23, 2014, 12:16:32 pm »
Over at ukclimbing.com in the "rocktalk" section I have posted the following (below). It will be interesting to see what, anything, readers there say in response.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=600977

Over at ukcaving.com a debate has been raging for months over whether the CROW (Countryside and Rights of Way) Act, which provides free access to designated, open land, including many areas with crags, ought to be extended to cover caving. At the moment, the received wisdom of Natural England and Defra is that it doesn't. However, a legal opinion by my sister, the eminent public law expert Dinah Rose QC, has challenged this, saying that caving ought to be within the scope of the Act, just as climbing is. There is no public policy reason why it shouldn't be, she says, and parliament cannot have intended caving to be excepted when it passed the Act. Her opinion states the law should be re-interpreted.

Soon there is to be a referendum among members of the British Caving Association as to what its stance ought to be. On the forum, a body of opinion (which I do not at all share) suggests that a campaign to extend CROW to caving will have negative consequences, including bad relations with landowners, problems in conserving vulnerable caves with delicate formations, and the likely restriction of exploratory digging.

Are there any readers here who have noticed any bad effects when CROW first covered climbing around 2000? Does anyone see a downside in having caving covered? Was there a similar debate in climbing circles before the Act was passed in 2000? Please post here if you can contribute - and for that matter at ukcaving.com if you feel so moved.

Offline bograt

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2014, 01:13:22 pm »
Nice one David :thumbsup:
Please keep us updated with responses.
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Offline graham

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2014, 01:17:46 pm »
What are the conservation problems that climbers have to deal with?
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Offline Bottlebank

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2014, 01:24:27 pm »
Do climbers understand that not all our activities will be covered by CRoW, and that landowners may decline permission for non CRoW activities?

Is it worth asking them if professional led climbs are covered by CRoW and if not have instructors encountered problems gaining permission?
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Offline Rhys

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2014, 01:50:47 pm »
What are the conservation problems that climbers have to deal with?

Conservation of rare flora and fauna that live on crags
Erosion of crags and approach paths/descent routes
Overbolting

Probably loads more... I don't climb these days, so those are off the top of my head.

Offline JJ

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2014, 02:53:49 pm »
It should be noted that certainly in the Dales (but also elsewhere) climbers do have access restrictions/bans on some CRoW access land crags. This is for the purpose of nesting birds, primarily peregrine and raven. These bans are agreed annually between the BMC, YDNPA and other interested parties for a set period with an agreement that bans are lifted early if the birds do not nest, fledge early etc.

These are however not Section 26 restrictions under CRoW but rather voluntarily agreed. In the Dales there is a very good track record of these restrictions being adhered to. Although there is always the threat of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it an offence to disturb Schedule 1 nesting birds.

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/access-skills-bird-restrictions

Offline ah147

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2014, 07:10:58 pm »
Anyone mentioned the blowing up of a crag with dynamite yet? :P

Offline todcaver

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2016, 07:55:06 pm »
Why would you need / want to blow up a crag ?

Offline braveduck

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2016, 08:04:45 pm »
I think they call it a quarry ! ;D

Offline crickleymal

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2016, 09:34:19 pm »
As a matter of interest, can land be removed from open access or un CRoWed? I know it can be done temporarily during various breeding and shooting seasons, but can it be permanently done?
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Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2016, 09:44:20 pm »
Yes on certain grounds a 'long term' Direction can be issued and repeated.  https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/open-access-restriction-at-quarry-wood-ingleton-how-to-comment is an example where it has been excluded since the start.

Offline JJ

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2016, 10:54:05 pm »
As a matter of interest, can land be removed from open access or un CRoWed? I know it can be done temporarily during various breeding and shooting seasons, but can it be permanently done?

The answer is yes. In addition to long term restrictions as already outlined by Bob Meyhew. If the land use changes it can become "excepted land" even if mapped as open access land.

This is applies to:

buildings and their curtilage, eg courtyards
land within 20 metres of a dwelling or building containing livestock
parks and gardens
land covered by structures like electricity substations, wind turbines or telephone masts (though this does not prevent use of access land around them)
quarries and other active mineral workings
railways and tramways
golf courses and race courses
aerodromes
land being lawfully developed in one of the ways above
land ploughed for the growing of crops or trees within the past year
temporary livestock pens
racehorse training gallops – at certain times
land under Military Byelaws, eg most Ministry of Defence training areas

There is also a section in the CRoW Act for a complete statutory review of all access land. This was originally set in the Act as 10 years from the original mapping date but now has been extended by the Government to 15 years. Therefore all areas will be remapped for Open Access in 2019 and 2020.

The period for subsequent reviews has also been extended from 10 years as set out in the Act to 20 years.

Offline Madness

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2016, 11:09:25 pm »
So if the anti-crow cavers get Mendip landowners to plough around cave entrances their concerns disappear....

...and the local cavers could use them as allotments and grow organic vegetables.

It's a win/win idea. Protect the caves and get free veg.

Offline bograt

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2016, 11:11:02 pm »
'In the beginning was the consultation'.

This gave all relevant bodies (including landowners) the chance to express reasons why areas indicated on the draft map should or should not be included in CRoW, if a valid reason was given, the area was removed from the map.
 Removal is still possible but a lot more difficult, reasons for removal being more severe and strictly adhered to (i.e. - you should have told us at the time).

The majority of the reasons listed by JJ are basic reasons for excepting access, as outlined in the original consultation, many of them would be precluded by other legislation, for instance, ploughing up SSSI land is a no-no ----.

Must admit, however, I was not aware of the statutory review section....
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Offline crickleymal

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2016, 12:27:26 am »
So it would be difficult for a landowner to reverse the process. Good.
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Offline bograt

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2016, 12:36:34 am »
So it would be difficult for a landowner to reverse the process. Good.

Apparently until 2019/2020----, then it could be easier---!

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Offline droid

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Re: CROW, climbers and caving
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2016, 04:28:19 am »
I seem to recall a rather belligerent farmer at Ringinglow ploughing a 50 yard 'barrier' round hisn access land when CRoW first appeared.....
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