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BCA pros and cons

mikem

Well-known member
The thinking at the time was more that landowners wouldn't allow digging if they then had no choice about everyone else visiting...

The government would presumably also have a problem with how to legislate for systems that extended outside of the access areas and new holes being opened up, so I'm not convinced it would have been that straightforward, especially when only benefitting a tiny proportion of the population.
 

Jenny P

Active member
just imagine if we had a forward thinking "national body" arguing the case for cavers access when CROW was at the drafting stage.........rather than a Federation of of organisations several with their own fiefdoms and agenders.
Actually we did have a forward thinking "national body" back in the 1990's when the idea of CRoW was first put forward !

In 1998, when the government first introduced the idea of the CRoW Act and asked outdoor organisations for their comments on its proposals, the then NCA Conservation and Access Committee sent in positive recommendations in favour of the proposed Act applying to caves. The supporting paperwork exists: it's held in the British Caving Library. So we still have on record the C&A Committee's positive responses to the consultation and these responses were approved by the then NCA Council/Committee.

Unfortunately for various reasons, not least the pressure at the time for the change from NCA to BCA and the amount of work this involved, the recommendations were not followed up positively as they should have been, so cavers lost out. We did not realise at the time what had happened, plus there were also some who were still insisting as late as 2009 that cavers did NOT want the CRoW Act to apply to caves. It took further action in 2014/14 from those in favour to put the case for BCA to ask its members for backing. The resulting ballot came down in favour of CRoW applying to caves by a ratio of ~60% to 40%. Since then the matter has been on BCA's agenda and a small CRoW Working Group has been trying to move this forward. However, it requires a change in the law or the interpretation of the law and Defra, which has the final say, is resisting - so it needs government pressure before the matter can be taken further. Needless to say, the present government is not interested but the Working Group hasn't given up.
 

Fjell

Well-known member
There are a number of gated entrances on CRoW land in Wales. Presumably once I finally get a legal right to go down these caves the gates will be removed? Insurance will obviously not be required unless I personally feel the need.

My impression was that Labour wanted to extend CRoW to large areas of pasture and woodland not currently covered. That would probably cover almost all remaining cave entrances. So we can look forward to the rest of country being more like the Dales is now? Asking for a friend.

The extremely obvious thing to do is to link public utility to farm and environment payments. I am pretty sure it will happen eventually as there are lots of votes in it (albeit not cavers).
 

Fjell

Well-known member
The other thing is having clear separation between access and club membership. Some people just love being in clubs with some sort of exclusivity. In my caving lifetime we have had clubs jealously guarding access rights and even barring women from membership (and hence barring women from cave access in their own right). Many people thought all of this was just fine, indeed some of them are still undead.

I have no problem if people want to fester in others huts and have the odd orgy, but that should not be linked to cave access. We have finally got there in the Dales. The world didn’t end. It tends to be reasonably self-regulating. The number of caving incidents in the UK’s biggest region is very low. So low there is some dispute about whether CRO still does caving at all.

One improvement to safety has been not forcing people to book caves weeks or months ahead. You can decide on the day based on the weather. The partial permit system means you can see if a cave is likely to be free, so I use it. You can also see how few people really go caving.
 
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andrewmcleod

Well-known member
There are a number of gated entrances on CRoW land in Wales. Presumably once I finally get a legal right to go down these caves the gates will be removed? Insurance will obviously not be required unless I personally feel the need.

My impression was that Labour wanted to extend CRoW to large areas of pasture and woodland not currently covered. That would probably cover almost all remaining cave entrances. So we can look forward to the rest of country being more like the Dales is now? Asking for a friend.

The extremely obvious thing to do is to link public utility to farm and environment payments. I am pretty sure it will happen eventually as there are lots of votes in it (albeit not cavers).
If 'the powers that be' were convinced that CROW did apply to caving, it is likely that some of them would soon (probably after being leaned on by cavers) issue restrictions to some caves on CROW land that are currently gated. For example, I believe NRW own most of OFD (or at least the land; mineral rights are separately owned for extra complexity I believe) and are still reasonably involved in the cave and want the cave gated; they (alone) would have the power to gate the cave if CROW was held to apply.

However, NRW and Natural England will not currently issue CROW restrictions because they don't believe them to be necessary.

Incidentally insurance is not technically a requirement to enter OFD. Membership of a 'bona fide' caving club is, with 'bona fide' being defined as '
those entities affiliated to the British Caving Association (BCA) or another appropriate national or international body' (to allow foreign cavers, who may or may not have insurance). In practice, direct BCA members are also given access (I spent some time getting the word 'direct' removed from the individual member permit forms so that any individual member of the BCA, 'direct' or 'club', can get a permit in their own right without having to go through club secretaries etc. which in practice didn't happen anyway).
 

mikem

Well-known member
It also depends if they decide that open access applies to entrances that were historically always open, those known to have been dug open, mines that lead into caves, caves that lead into mines, and those that are going to be opened in the future...

There might well be a massive increase in cave rescues if OFD was unlocked for all and sundry.
 

Bob Mehew

Well-known member
It also depends if they decide that open access applies to entrances that were historically always open, those known to have been dug open, mines that lead into caves, caves that lead into mines, and those that are going to be opened in the future...
Sorry but mines are specifically covered by the Mines & Quarries Act 1954 which requires the entrances to abandoned mines to be secured so as to "prevent any person from accidentally falling down the shaft or from accidentally entering the outlet". Apart from the argument over whether a mine is 'natural', I can't see CRoW applying to mines.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
More than once in the last couple of months I've had to shoo people away from deep open holes on CROW land - and their dogs in some cases, which weren't on leads, and with sheep grazing on the same land. In that case the owner was completely uninterested in my reasoning, so I walked away and left them to it, as the climb down that they were about to unwittingly do would have been quite traumatic enough for them. Just following a map on their phones as usual. We had one woman in tears recently as she realised what she'd committed herself to, and had to go down a very dangerous wet gravel path on her arse.

Capping or grilling them all (I know of at least ten separate ones in a couple of hundred square metres in one area) would be horribly expensive, but not as expensive as someone falling down one and dying. Filling them in would also be difficult, both technically and morally, as in many cases they're historically important, and are often also within a SSSI, so permission from Natural England needs to be sought to do anything. Needless to say, nothing is happening, apart from the ones we get to work on. That said, a fence is often all that's actually required, especially with signage added - then whoever climbs over the fence is legally alone - but ideally insured!

The open crater and half-open shaft at Longcliffe Mine had a fence round it for years before we rebuilt and capped it, and nobody ever fell down that before we did it, as far as I know.
 
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hannahb

Active member
If people falling down those holes is a genuine concern (by which I mean it has happened or was genuinely about to happen) then a fence or dry stone wall seems sensible.
 

Badlad

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator comment - Folks, kind of drifted off topic a bit onto a CRoW argument. Can we please go back to the OP about the need for a BCA more generally. If you want more chat about CRoW please start a new topic or resurrect one of the many, many CRoW topics which have gone before.

Thank you
 

alastairgott

Well-known member
OP, I think you may be thinking about this the wrong way round, surely the question should be not what I can take out of the BCA/What has it done for me, but what can I give back to the BCA.

cast your mind back one week where I assisted you with some Therion things. Whilst me doing this was not directly the BCA doing something for you per se. but as it happens I probably wouldn't have started cave surveying if it weren't for the opportunities put down by the BCA/It's subsidiaries (CNCC, DCA, CSCC, Cambrian, etc) - because I have been trained by the CNCC/Black Sheep (Nidderdale cavers).

Indeed I have given back, I have volunteered several times to teach people how to cave survey and (by the BCA) on one occasion been paid travel and one nights food for doing 9-5 on both Saturday and Sunday 175miles away from where I live.

I skimmed a few posts of the Topic and note you put down the funding of the SRT facility to York University caving club, but I noted in another someone was arguing that the fees should be lower due to the fact there was money in the account. - not spending money to help clubs but simultaneously taking less from members so that the BCA is less able to help cavers of the future seems a little strange logic (at least to me anyway).

Vested interest admission - I joined caving through York University Caving Club

I would argue that York University have been paying into the BCA (and it's predecessors) for over 40 years, lets average the fees at £8 per member every year for approximately 20-30 members (call it 25). Approx total paid into BCA by YUCPC = 40x8x25 = 8,000
Cost they had to raise £2,235
Minus money put up by members £700
amount given by CNCC and then reimbursed by BCA = probably £1.5k approx

Say the club will have approx 30 members at the rate of £8 for the next 6.25 years, they will (through individual member fees) - payback the amount given to them.
There are a number of clubs who have people assisting with the Admin in caving who have come from York University - TSG, YCC and NPC.

I turned up at the CNCC meeting where both the subject of buying surveying gear for training and also the topic of the YUCPC training was broached - despite not being able to vote, I wanted to lend my support in the room (sitting between the Red rose and Leeds uni delegates).

Forgive me for the Slippery slope argument but if CNCC/BCA were to fail to pay for this, then York would lose their Training facility, then soon after have a complaint to the Student union by a well-meaning caver saying they have unsafe practices and therefore need training, then this would lead to 2 results either leading to the demise of the club or being charged by an instructor for training (and reimbursed by the BCA through the training budget - legitimate claim any club, including (dare I say it) the Chelsea caving club to allow for training of their cavers in pretty much any aspect of caving).

I did read once, that a well written proposal for a loan from the BCA, would be successful. If knowing that you'll be paid back in 6.25 years and may have fully fledged £30 BCA members popping out the other side to boot, I'm sure you could argue that the money was not spent unwisely in the case of YUCPC.
 
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marsrat

Member
OP, I think you may be thinking about this the wrong way round, surely the question should be not what I can take out of the BCA/What has it done for me, but what can I give back to the BCA.

cast your mind back one week where I assisted you with some Therion things. Whilst me doing this was not directly the BCA doing something for you per se. but as it happens I probably wouldn't have started cave surveying if it weren't for the opportunities put down by the BCA/It's subsidiaries (CNCC, DCA, CSCC, Cambrian, etc) - because I have been trained by the CNCC/Black Sheep (Nidderdale cavers).

Indeed I have given back, I have volunteered several times to teach people how to cave survey and (by the BCA) on one occasion been paid travel and one nights food for doing 9-5 on both Saturday and Sunday 175miles away from where I live.

I skimmed a few posts of the Topic and note you put down the funding of the SRT facility to York University caving club, but I noted in another someone was arguing that the fees should be lower due to the fact there was money in the account. - not spending money to help clubs but simultaneously taking less from members so that the BCA is less able to help cavers of the future seems a little strange logic (at least to me anyway).

Vested interest admission - I joined caving through York University Caving Club

I would argue that York University have been paying into the BCA (and it's predecessors) for over 40 years, lets average the fees at £8 per member every year for approximately 20-30 members (call it 25). Approx total paid into BCA by YUCPC = 40x8x25 = 8,000
Cost they had to raise £2,235
Minus money put up by members £700
amount given by CNCC and then reimbursed by BCA = probably £1.5k approx

Say the club will have approx 30 members at the rate of £8 for the next 6.25 years, they will (through individual member fees) - payback the amount given to them.
There are a number of clubs who have people assisting with the Admin in caving who have come from York University - TSG, YCC and NPC.

I turned up at the CNCC meeting where both the subject of buying surveying gear for training and also the topic of the YUCPC training was broached - despite not being able to vote, I wanted to lend my support in the room (sitting between the Red rose and Leeds uni delegates).

Forgive me for the Slippery slope argument but if CNCC/BCA were to fail to pay for this, then York would lose their Training facility, then soon after have a complaint to the Student union by a well-meaning caver saying they have unsafe practices and therefore need training, then this would lead to 2 results either leading to the demise of the club or being charged by an instructor for training (and reimbursed by the BCA through the training budget - legitimate claim any club, including (dare I say it) the Chelsea caving club to allow for training of their cavers in pretty much any aspect of caving).

I did read once, that a well written proposal for a loan from the BCA, would be successful. If knowing that you'll be paid back in 6.25 years and may have fully fledged £30 BCA members popping out the other side to boot, I'm sure you could argue that the money was not spent unwisely in the case of YUCPC.
I'm not the OP. This thread was summoned out of thin over a joke I made in memes (thanks for the post anyway). To state for what feels like the 18th time now, I am not anti-BCA; I am pro-BCA. I'm simply anti-forcing-people-to-pay-for-insurance, that's it. I'm a member of the BCA and always will be, I also contribute to regional councils and the BCA at large.
 

hannahb

Active member
I'm the OP - I thought it was worth having a separate thread because the topic was encroaching on the memes thread.

I am also anti-enforced insurance.

I don't know where I stand on the BCA because I don't what the BCA does. I have read the statements that someone shared a link to - they seem fair enough but it would be great if someone could share some detail. If not, no worries, but I am here to see what other people think.

From the little I've gathered the organisation seems to be really big, somewhat complicated, take up a lot of people's precious time, and cause angst for quite a lot of people. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I wonder about its effectiveness when we still do not have comparable access arrangements to, say, rock climbers.

I think it's at least worth considering whether it can be smaller and less of a burden for people.
 

alastairgott

Well-known member
Apologies then, didn't quite know how the internet had spawned this love child of a thread, and Apologies Hannah.

We're insured for £10Mill public liability. A quick google of public liability brought out this wiki page. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_liability

Take someone caving, They're probably deemed an "invitee" on your trip, therefore should anything happen to them, it would be you who's morally and legally responsible. Say they end up cabbaged by the trip - without insurance, their parents/partners/children/Life insurance provider could launch a claim on you as the person who took them caving. With insurance, the insurance will ensure you're not destitute for life.

We think that it would be the individual making a claim against us - but it's more likely to be their family, and in the event of death or maiming, and life insurance kicking in for the individual then it would be less likely the family and more likely the Insurer who will seek to apportion blame - even if this is against the wishes of the family.
 

hannahb

Active member
Many people have expressed this argument and I understand the logic.

What evidence do we have that it's actually something worth worrying about?
 

marsrat

Member
Apologies then, didn't quite know how the internet had spawned this love child of a thread, and Apologies Hannah.

We're insured for £10Mill public liability. A quick google of public liability brought out this wiki page. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_liability

Take someone caving, They're probably deemed an "invitee" on your trip, therefore should anything happen to them, it would be you who's morally and legally responsible. Say they end up cabbaged by the trip - without insurance, their parents/partners/children/Life insurance provider could launch a claim on you as the person who took them caving. With insurance, the insurance will ensure you're not destitute for life.

We think that it would be the individual making a claim against us - but it's more likely to be their family, and in the event of death or maiming, and life insurance kicking in for the individual then it would be less likely the family and more likely the Insurer who will seek to apportion blame - even if this is against the wishes of the family.
My main worry with enforcing insurance to be a member of the BCA (or accessing caves - yes I'm aware landowners may stipulate it, but this is only because we have created this status quo) is what happens when a claim finally occurs (or two) - leading to the BCA being unable to pay the excess and the insurance premiums rising drastically such that it becomes unaffordable?
 

alastairgott

Well-known member
Many people have expressed this argument and I understand the logic.

What evidence do we have that it's actually something worth worrying about?
The fell Runners Association have a stipulation of Public liability insurance and for good reason. https://www.fellrunner.org.uk/fra/for-organisers

Deaths have happened in fell racing, and people I know have been hauled up in front of a court to explain. Probably not the same event but there will be one or two fell races where people have died of Hypothermia. an event is described here on page 10. https://www.fellrunner.org.uk/documents/fellrunner/2002_October.pdf

Articles such as the one above rarely, if ever, denote any insurance implications - but they probably occurred in the background.
 
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hannahb

Active member
Yep I guess if there was a competitive caving league it would make sense for there to be some insurance. But there's not.

Perhaps I'm just being an interfering busybody or totally missing a crucial point, and if that's the case I'm happy to be told as much.
 
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