Author Topic: VIP caving trip to GG - press release  (Read 16759 times)

Online Badlad

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VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« on: January 01, 2016, 04:26:30 pm »

MPS VISIT BRITAIN’S BIGGEST CAVERN, SUPPORTING CAMPAIGN FOR OPEN ACCESS TO CAVE SYSTEMS

Clapham, North Yorkshire, 30 December 2015


TWO Conservative MPs and a leading QC have paid a visit to Britain’s highest waterfall – the mighty cascade that tumbles down the 365-foot entrance shaft of Gaping Ghyll on Ingleborough in North Yorkshire.

The two politicians, former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis, MP for Howden and Haltemprice, and David Rutley, who sits for Macclesfield, entered the cave via Bar Pot, a ‘back door’ to the 8-mile long system that is safe even during heavy rain.

The party were joined by Richard Toon, Chairman of the Lancashire Local Access Forum and supported by experienced local cavers.  Before setting off for the cave the team enjoyed a tour of the Cave Rescue Organisation headquarters based in the village of Clapham, recognising the volunteer service who had recently been on stand-by for the wide spread flooding in the region.



To reach the cathedral-sized Main Chamber – Britain’s biggest – that contains the waterfall, they had to descend two vertical pitches of 55ft and 110ft, using lightweight caving ladders and lifelines. Beyond lay hundreds of feet of crawling and stooping passageway leading to the Chamber, where they and their companions enjoyed a festive snack of Christmas cake and hot coffee.

One purpose of the trip, led by Ingleton rope access specialist and veteran cave explorer Tim Allen, was to experience first-hand the positive benefits of caving both for participants and the wider community.

Another was to give support to a campaign by the British Caving Association (BCA) which Mr Allen is organising to extend access rights to caves. At present, the government’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) claims the ‘right to roam’ granted to walkers, climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts under the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000 does not cover caves. Some landowners have refused cavers’ permission to descend systems on their land entirely, while others have imposed onerous restrictions.

Also taking part in the trip, held on 28 December, was leading public law QC Dinah Rose, who described the experience as ‘a really brilliant and memorable day’. She has already written a formal, legal opinion for the BCA, which says that Defra’s position is not only illogical, but misinterprets the Act. Her opinion says there is no evidence that excluding caves from the law’s scope reflects the will of Parliament when it was debated.

In fact, Defra, and the agency it funds, Natural England, claim that cavers do have a right to cross open access land to cave entrances, and to descend them – but only as far as the point where daylight ceases to penetrate. ‘In legal terms,’ Ms Rose said, ‘this is simply perverse, and it could well be open to a challenge in court’.

However, Mr Allen stressed that the BCA hoped to win its campaign by persuasion. He added that caving was a large and growing source of income in rural areas, which benefited the economy while causing no damage to the environment.

Having regained the surface, the two MPs agreed. Mr Davis said: ‘The trip was a fascinating experience, and it was really great to see Britain’s highest waterfall thundering down from a circle of daylight above – it was especially impressive after so much rain. It’s clear to me that caving has nothing but a positive impact, both on its exponents and the communities where the sport takes place.

‘I cannot see for the life of me why Defra is taking the wholly illogical stance of denying that caves are covered by the open access freedoms granted by the CROW Act.’

Mr Rutley said: ‘It was truly a memorable day out, and the Main Chamber and waterfall are just an incredible spectacle. We are fortunate to have an active population of cavers in the UK, which has a hugely beneficial economic impact on areas where there are caves. I look forward to working closely with cavers in future, as part of my wider efforts to get people off the sofa and to promote outdoor activities, and to show why access to caves should be recognised under the CROW Act.’


(In Main Chamber, from left to right; Daniel, Dave, David Rutley, Dinah Rose, Tim, David Davis, Richard Toon, Jane, Di and the assistance of others)

Offline nice but damp

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2016, 04:48:00 pm »
Brilliant!  :thumbsup:

It's good to see you getting the Politicians to experience it so that they can relate that experience to others.
well done Tim and the Crew  :clap2:

Cheers,
Tim

Offline Brains

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2016, 06:37:09 pm »
Looks like you had a great day out, and a very positive view of our doings as well.
Excellent  ;D

Offline ChrisJC

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2016, 07:11:14 pm »
Amazing - a credit to whoever managed to organise a trip for such influential people. In my opinion, this kind of approach, laced with patience, is the best way forward.

Chris.
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Offline Goydenman

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2016, 10:54:28 pm »
A very useful step forward and positive influence - well done organisers

Offline richardg

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2016, 11:40:43 pm »
Fantastic...

What a great start to the new year ....

What a remarkable group of people .....

 Each one of you prepared to put your time and energies to making the world a better place for others ..... By securing free access for everyone to these wonderfull places...

Well done. !!!!

Offline droid

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2016, 09:04:25 am »
I'm normally pretty cynical about posts like this (self praise is no praise), but fair play to the politicians. If they haven't been underground in a 'wild' cave before, Bar is a pretty good achievement. As is guiding them through safely.

It might do good, it might not, but it won't do any harm.....unlike some actions recently.
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Online Cookie

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2016, 12:22:35 pm »
I have mixed feelings about this. There is a lot of good here but also a serious concern.

The more we can promote the sporting, scientific and community benefits of caving the better. Well done for that.

It must be a good thing to inform and educate our MPs about caving so that they can make sensible and informed decisions on the issues that affect our sport.  Here is the MCR doing the same thing and taking Tess Munt, the MP for Wells, caving.



The concern is that BCA is now running an active and public campaign to diminish the right of landowners.

Dave Cooke. BCA: IT Working Party Convenor, Web Services, Webmaster

Offline droid

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2016, 12:27:11 pm »
That's IF (as Peter Burgess asks) the trip was sanctioned by BCA...
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Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2016, 12:31:10 pm »
Never mind, apparently, it doesn't matter.

Online Cookie

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2016, 12:33:00 pm »
I would say the BCA CrOW Liaison Officer is acting within the terms he set out in his report to the last BCA Council Meeting. That report was approved by the meeting. So yes it is sanctioned by BCA.

Many will see that as a good thing. I have my doubts.
Dave Cooke. BCA: IT Working Party Convenor, Web Services, Webmaster

Offline mrodoc

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2016, 12:35:49 pm »
The profile of caving needs raising but also the issue of conservation. Sadly the caves in the Dales have suffered badly from fairly free access. I started caving 50 years ago and in my early days remember wondering why Easter Grotto in Easegill was so badly damaged when there was no reason for the damage to occur. Most recently I visited the areas around GG main chamber and, again, cannot understand why there is so much damage to the formations. This was the case when we also visited more remote locations in the cave, and saw  mud had been hurled at pristine stal.  Caves aren't just playgrounds, they are an unusual part of our environment. In Devon where free access to Pridhamsleigh as been the norm for many years all the formations in the system have been destroyed except those accessible by diving. So whilst free access might seem a great idea we do need to temper that with protection and respect for the caves.

Offline Brains

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2016, 12:38:34 pm »
The concern is that BCA is now running an active and public campaign to diminish the right of landowners.

Then again the BCA is a cavers organisation, run by cavers for cavers to improve caving in all respects including access. They are not an impartial group. Lobbying and pressure groups are the stuff politics - which is where the clarification process is at present!

Online Badlad

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2016, 02:18:34 pm »
The VIP trip was organised by me, in my role as BCA CRoW Liaison Officer.  I didn't write the press release but I thought it indicated that was the case.  It was a very successful day on many fronts all the same.  One of the additional benefits of the campaign is the opportunity to promote caving in a very positive light to other organisations, prominent individuals and authorities.

It is one of many approaches the BCA is taking to fulfil the mandate given by its membership regarding CRoW and these will be detailed in my report to Council next week, a copy of which I shall post on here following the meeting.  I think it is important that the membership know that BCA are taking action on their mandate and how that mandate is being implemented.  Be assured that both conservation and landowner relations are also important considerations in the campaign.  Following the poll, a lack of, or ineffective action by BCA will likely lead to worsening disputes and poorer relations and I hope all moderate cavers can get behind the sensible approach BCA are now taking.

Thank you
Tim Allen

Online Cookie

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2016, 02:34:22 pm »
Not that it makes much difference, but who is the press release attributed to? I read it again and can't see it.
Dave Cooke. BCA: IT Working Party Convenor, Web Services, Webmaster

Offline jasonbirder

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2016, 05:21:53 pm »
Quote
The concern is that BCA is now running an active and public campaign to diminish the right of landowners.

A little hyperbolic, isn't it fairer to say that its promoting the rights of its members...

Online Cookie

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2016, 05:35:39 pm »
Quote
The concern is that BCA is now running an active and public campaign to diminish the right of landowners.

A little hyperbolic, isn't it fairer to say that its promoting the rights of its members...

The two statements aren't incompatible. It's two sides of the same coin really.
Dave Cooke. BCA: IT Working Party Convenor, Web Services, Webmaster

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2016, 05:42:48 pm »
The minutes of the BCA meeting when Tim was given his current role express concern that the word "campaign" should be avoided.

Offline Alex

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2016, 09:39:55 pm »
 I think what BCA have done here is a very good step in the right direction and is definitely a better way of doing things instead of legal action at Drenen. I am glad to see that BCA are acting on what we have voted for, despite all the nay sayers who insist on trying to put a stop to open access and would probably want to gate pretty much everything making caving less popular still.

Yes there are conservation problems, but that is still the case in gated caves just on a longer time frame.

Well done all those involved.

EDIT: Oh and I like the bit about how caving is bringing in lots of money into the areas that is certainly true as I am getting poorer, the local pubs don't mind the extra business and is another interesting point on the on-going debate. I have never been thrown out the pubs despite being covered in mud but I do get a few funny looks lol.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 09:53:04 pm by Alex »
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2016, 09:53:15 pm »
...and would probably want to gate pretty much everything making caving less popular still.
For me, at least, that simply isn't true. Just so you know!  :)

Offline JasonC

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2016, 09:53:52 pm »
The VIP trip was organised by me, in my role as BCA CRoW Liaison Officer....

Well, I think that's a bloody fantastic job of liaising.  What a coup, to get two senior MPs down GG without the winch!
A gesture like this will achieve more than any amount of letter-writing, debates and argument.

Yes, conservation mustn't be forgotten, and maybe access needs managing but if the principle of a right to access is established, then that's got to be a good thing (IMHO, obviously)

Offline droid

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2016, 05:07:22 am »
Strikes me that 90% of comment on CRoW is 'opinion. And not always particularly honest....
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Offline David Rose

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2016, 03:40:34 pm »
I wrote the press release. I must say, it hasn't taken long for this thread to degenerate into the usual carping one hears on this issue - from the same few posters who always do it. Tedious really. I suppose they must see it as a bad thing that two MPs, both of them members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mountaineering, had a great day caving, spoke enthusiastically about it, and supported a policy endorsed by a BCA referendum. Maybe instead of going to all this trouble we should have just sat at our computers and traded stupid arguments, as some prefer to do.

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2016, 03:50:13 pm »
Maybe David, it's no bad thing for the people that matter to understand that there isn't unanimity on this. It's called BALANCE. That said, it is a good piece of journalism, and I am sure they had a great time, and learnt a great deal. Nobody disagrees with that. It isn't the first time this sort of event has been organised, and they always create a good impression with those who participate. The earliest example I am aware of was after a New Year rescue in the early 1980s when a few MPs were up in arms over the costs and so on. A quick trip into a cave with the CRO (probably) and it was all sweetness and light.

Offline droid

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Re: VIP caving trip to GG - press release
« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2016, 04:00:24 pm »
it is a good piece of journalism,
 

It is.

But very little 'journalism' that I've read is totally impartial: it is written, as I see it, for a target readership. This piece, though well written, is no different.

It's also a favourite tactic of journalists to put in sniping and exaggerated negative references to people that have the temerity to disagree.
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