Concreting Drws Cefn

Peter Burgess

New member
Who are the CCC executive? Is that all those elected at the AGM (who are still in their post) or a subset e.g. Secretary/Chairman/Treasurer/a.n.other? The constitution doesn't make it entirely clear. Thanks.
 

Peter Burgess

New member
From what was posted a few days ago, I gather it was a democratically reached decision to block the entrance, the opinions of various clubs on the management committee being sought and acted upon.

The CCC letter reflects the opinion of the CCC executive. The opinions of all the CCC member clubs were not directly sought in this matter as far as I know. The rules state that this is not actually necessary and that the executive can act as it sees fit within the rules of the council. Had they been canvassed, the member clubs may well have provided backing for the opinion expressed in this letter, but as it stands, we have, rightly or wrongly, a decision reached democratically versus an opinion which has been reached without consultation. Fair enough - many things are done on our behalf without consultation and it would be daft for absolutely everything that has to be resolved to be done by seeking wider views.

What I think people should do very carefully, is consider the balance of on one side, a recent decision reached by discussion between various interested parties on the management committee, against on the other side, the less democratic resolve of an executive committee acting simply with the authority of having been voted onto an executive, and without the proven backing of the clubs the council represents.

The case being made in the letter would carry more weight had a wider discussion taken place within the CCC member clubs. Sadly, and I can only speak from my own observations, this did not happen. I can't say what WCMS position might be as we weren't asked to offer one, and haven't discussed it.

If the case being made in the letter is sound, then nobody should fear asking for wider opinion from the represented clubs.

So summarising, I am not making a case for or against either the blocking or gating, but do question who has the greater authority in this matter, and whether CCC could have opened up a wider discussion on this, beyond the very brief notes that appear in the 2014 AGM minutes.

It's the sort of letter that had I sent it, I would expect a "mind your own business" kind of response.

 

Ian Adams

Active member
Peter,

I appreciate what you are saying.

The PDCMG are also made up of other clubs and groups - did they also canvass all their members too ?

So far as "democracy" goes, I think both the PDCMG and the CCC have behaved in precisely the same manner in that, having been elected, they have made a decision and acted accordingly. I don't think any "body" would make much progress with any agenda if there were to be a referendum every time....

Ian
 

Peter Burgess

New member
That's part of what I said Ian, but we all know this is a very contentious issue, which, personally I think deserved a wider discussion within the member clubs. It may well have provided a stronger proven backing for the letter than it actually has. As it is, the management committee members did have an opportunity to vote as club reps, and as such their decision has a proven mandate. The decision was made 6 moths ago, I believe? That's plenty of time to send out an email to all CCC member club secretaries asking for any thoughts to be fed back over a couple of months, and for that strength of backing to be used to make the case stronger. I am not even suggesting a referendum - just for views to be sought so that they can be taken into account if relevant.
 

Ian Adams

Active member
I take your point Peter.

I think the decision to concrete the entrance was taken a number of years ago (I am sure I will be corrected if that is wrong). I understand that the timing of the concreting is to be this summer.

I think the issue and credibility of "club reps" was called into significant debate in the former thread and I am sure you will join me in believing that there would be little value re-visiting that ?

Sometimes elected bodies need to act reasonably quickly .....

Ian
 

Peter Burgess

New member
I see the Drws Cefn decision was voted on very recently - not back in November (my mistake) - but the letter says it was discussed back in November, so still plenty of time, even after the CCC AGM to put out feelers. Just because some people had reservations about how representative delegates are, doesn't take away from the fact that there was a vote, and an opportunity for views to be expressed.

And anyway, regardless of all this, is it not the job of Regional Councils, by and large, to step back from clubs and access bodies, and only get involved when invited? Did PDCMG invite CCC opinion on this?
 

Ian Adams

Active member
To address your two points;

1) An elected body (use the UK government as an example), once elected, is expected to act in the interests of those who elected it (them). Of course they should try to act in the best interests of everyone (even those who did not vote for them) but clearly (the nature of politics) you cannot please all of the people all of the time. There is no requirement nor expectation that an elected body must consult with the "electorate" after they have been elected.

The CCC considered an issue and came to a decision on a course of action that it believed to be correct. The CCC did not feel it necessary or productive (especially given the nature of the political issue surrounding this case) to solicit opinion beyond the elected committee members.

Except in very extenuating circumstances, I don't believe any other "body" would act any differently.

2) The CCC took the view that the actions of the PDCMG contravened the constitution of both the CCC and the BCA. Furthermore, it took the view that the actions of the PDCMG were wholly detrimental to cavers in general as well as detrimental to the sport of caving.

It could be argued that the CCC would be derelict in their duty if this event were allowed to pass without challenge.

In conclusion, the CCC raised various issues and suggested an alternative that was entirely practical and one which ought to have kept "all sides" happy. It did so to protect the interest of caving (as a sport) and cavers.

Ian
 
That's nice. What does the landowner want?

Not entirely convinced that's the only and ultimate point that's relevant...

Permanently destroying an important natural feature merely because you don't like people cutting across from the public footpath to look at/go into it isn't a proportionate argument...

A natural feature such as a major cave system, a crag, a river, a waterfall has a significance to everyone that extends far beyond the trivialities of what particular sheep farmer happens to control the grazing rights it stands on...by all means control access to it even forbid access to it...but permanently destroy it...an act of vandalism that is beyond the pale...and I shudder to think that there may be cavers that support such an act...

Its the equivalent of draining a lake because you don't want people cutting across your field to swim in it...





 
If we're going to reach any sensible long-term solution to this issue, both sides need to realise that this will involve compromises. Concreting the entrance isn't going to make the problem go away. Similarly, having an open entrance makes the present Draenen access arrangements nonsensical and upsets the landowner. As I see it, the only workable compromise is to arrange with the landowner to the installation of some form of gate, as the CCC proposes. This is probably the best solution on offer, particularly given the caves location on access land. Otherwise we'll just go round in circles again with the same issues coming up time and time again...

I would also say that the PDCMG is somewhat divided on this issue, by no means all are in favour of blocking Drws Cefn. Similarly divergent views are held in some of the constituent clubs.
Andy
 

zomjon

Member
As soon as I read NigRs original post, I wondered how long it would be before Graham or Peter Burgess replied! I know it was slightly provocative, but there does seem to be an element of dissatisfaction from Peter in anything to do from the recently elected committee of the CCC. I'm pretty sure that if we held a national referendum on the decision to cement a well established cave in this way, there would be a pretty strong consensus against it. So why the animosity towards anything that comes from CCC? And the immediate reference to the landowner from Graham, I think that we are all experienced enough to know how a landowner can be influenced by the 'in-group' - having just come from an evening of betting on chicken racing, how long before this thread has to be locked by moderators due to the unpleasantness that might follow?
 

RobinGriffiths

Well-known member
zomjon said:
As soon as I read NigRs original post, I wondered how long it would be before Graham or Peter Burgess replied! I know it was slightly provocative, but there does seem to be an element of dissatisfaction from Peter in anything to do from the recently elected committee of the CCC. I'm pretty sure that if we held a national referendum on the decision to cement a well established cave in this way, there would be a pretty strong consensus against it. So why the animosity towards anything that comes from CCC? And the immediate reference to the landowner from Graham, I think that we are all experienced enough to know how a landowner can be influenced by the 'in-group' - having just come from an evening of betting on chicken racing, how long before this thread has to be locked by moderators due to the unpleasantness that might follow?
Well said
 

martinm

New member
Jackalpup said:
Except in very extenuating circumstances, I don't believe any other "body" would act any differently.

2) The CCC took the view that the actions of the PDCMG contravened the constitution of both the CCC and the BCA. Furthermore, it took the view that the actions of the PDCMG were wholly detrimental to cavers in general as well as detrimental to the sport of caving.

It could be argued that the CCC would be derelict in their duty if this event were allowed to pass without challenge.

In conclusion, the CCC raised various issues and suggested an alternative that was entirely practical and one which ought to have kept "all sides" happy. It did so to protect the interest of caving (as a sport) and cavers.

Ian

I agree entirely Ian. I thought the letter was very good. We are elected officers of the regional councils as the members think we would do a good job of representing the interests of it's members and caving in general. There is no need for a lengthy consultation process. If any issues arise anyone can come along to a meeting and discuss them with us. (Or contact us by email, etc.)

The only thing I disagree with in the letter is the use of a padlock, given the low usage of the entrance. Surely a gate just bolted shut and requiring the use of a 'Derbyshire Key' (ie:- adjustable spanner) would suffice. (It is near a public footpath, that's all.) There is no need for a padlock.

If the PDCMG just want to keep track of who's in the cave in case of a rescue call-out, then a log book inside the entrance would deal with that issue. Eg:- name of group, no. in party, intended route, etc. (It's a big system.)
 
Nobody has yet mentioned that the PDCMG meeting referred to took place a fortnight ago. The draft minutes are now available via the PDCMG website ( http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/PDCMG_Minutes_140622.pdf ).

Neither has anyone yet picked up on Andy Farrant's earier mention of 'wilderness': that little-discussed concept, rather than what most would define as conservation, being the reason behind PDCMG's 'only one entrance' [lack of] access policy, as first propounded in the Conservation policy ( http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/envir.htm ).

Jasonbirder: Drws Cefn is on CRoW (common) land, but not by a path: it is in the side of a stream bed out of sight from all but a few spots. The 'landowner' is actually a Pwlldu Conservation Ltd, but the two directors do live adjacent to the land (one owns the pub, the other overlooks the Draenen entrance); whether they actually derive an income from grazing rights, I don't know.

Mel: the 'Derbyshire key' should certainly appeal - the PDCMG's main headache has always been the cost of replacing locks, whether they clog up or disappear. Also, there has always been a log book for use in Draenen - that's where the official usage figures come from...
 

martinm

New member
Martin Laverty said:
Nobody has yet mentioned that the PDCMG meeting referred to took place a fortnight ago. The draft minutes are now available via the PDCMG website ( http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/PDCMG_Minutes_140622.pdf ).

Neither has anyone yet picked up on Andy Farrant's earier mention of 'wilderness': that little-discussed concept, rather than what most would define as conservation, being the reason behind PDCMG's 'only one entrance' [lack of] access policy, as first propounded in the Conservation policy ( http://www.pdcmg.org.uk/envir.htm ).

Jasonbirder: Drws Cefn is on CRoW (common) land, but not by a path: it is in the side of a stream bed out of sight from all but a few spots. The 'landowner' is actually a Pwlldu Conservation Ltd, but the two directors do live adjacent to the land (one owns the pub, the other overlooks the Draenen entrance); whether they actually derive an income from grazing rights, I don't know.

Mel: the 'Derbyshire key' should certainly appeal - the PDCMG's main headache has always been the cost of replacing locks, whether they clog up or disappear. Also, there has always been a log book for use in Draenen - that's where the official usage figures come from...

Hi Martin. I've now had a look around their web site, minutes, access agreement, conservation policy, etc. and can see the history of all this.

Their conservation policy is very good but given the fact there has been a second entrance open for several years and no appreciable impact on the cave, maybe now is a good time to re-negotiate the single entrance policy that was written into the original access agreement (14 years ago!) with the current landowner? This seems to be similar to the situation up at Leck/Casterton with apparently no-one willing to approach the estate owners and do similar....  :sleep:

BTW, the log book is in the original entrance, I believe, not the second one. There needs to be an additional log book in there if it is to be left open, gated or not. Just so the rescue peeps know who's in there and where they might be.

I note (from the minutes) that no concreting will be done until after this CRoW clarification business is completed. Maybe it's best it never is then, lol!

TBH, I think the whole area should be scheduled as a SSSI, there are two already thereabouts, they just need joining up and extending a bit. That would protect the whole area from OLDs/PDOs such as concreting entrances shut for no need.

NB:- Responsible cavers are the best people to monitor caves and the cave environment for the good of everyone. They have the expertise, experience and appreciation of the cave features that some other people are so concerned about. In the Peak, we monitor all the caves for NE, reporting back on on any issues. If we can't get into the caves, then they become of 'unfavourable' condition, because they can't be monitored!

Food for thought.... Regards, Mel.
 
Top