Author Topic: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things  (Read 118446 times)

Online Badlad

  • Administrator
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1686
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #425 on: March 26, 2013, 07:30:31 pm »

From 2008 minutes - Cave and Crag advisory group.

"GM asked if the group would back cavers in trying to gain access to caves through the CRoW Act.  JB reiterated this and said that there is a reluctance from cavers to do anything about access in case the situation with landowners is made worse.  .........  AM asked why caving had been excluded from the CRoW act.  JB said that the BMC had rallied hard to get climbing included in the Act but that BCA, due to lack of members, hadn't got their act together."

Offline Jenny P

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 680
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #426 on: March 27, 2013, 01:29:37 pm »
Note that this is not correct strictly speaking - at the time CRoW came into existence, BCA did not exist and we were still in the transition period between NCA and BCA.

Worth noting also that CNCC (and also DCA) work in close co-operation with Natural England because almost all cave entrances are part of Scheduled Sites of Scientific Importance (SSSIs) and both regional councils work together with N.E. in monitoring cave features.  Because of the SSSI status of caves, E.N. has some say in access to them in a way which does not apply to the access enjoyed by climbers, walkers, etc.

CRoW affects the various caving regions differently because there is effectively no CRoW land involved in either the Peak District or Mendips - most of our caves are on farmland and we need to deal with farmers, landowners, and some estates which have tenant farmers. 

CNCC is unique in having a large area of interest (Leck/Casterton) owned by a landowner with shooting rights who will only deal with a regional body and not with either clubs or individuals.  (This area was completely closed to cavers until CNCC was formed to negotiate access in 1960.)  Some other estates prefer to deal with the regional council, whereas others, such as Ingleborough Estates, are happy to deal with clubs.

DCA also has to deal with Estates, such as Chatsworth, but we are lucky that, on the whole, they do not insist on a permit system or booking.  Because the Peak also has numerous mine shafts and adits of interest to cavers because they lead into natural cave, we have had to come up with a system which safeguards the public whilst still allowing access to cavers:  shaft cap lids or gates with a captive bolt closure which can be opened by anyone with a large adjustable spanner (a.k.a. Derbyshire key). 

There is more to the BCA insurance scheme than many people realise.  What has been extremely useful to DCA where a farmer has been advised by a solicitor (incorrectly) that he could be liable if there were an accident in a cave on his land, is that BCA is able to issue a P.L. Insurance 'landowner certificate' as part of its insurance scheme. This reassures the landowner that, even if someone does try to take him to court, this insurance will cover his expenses.  CNCC also uses this 'landowner certificate' scheme and it is also open to clubs or access management bodies which are members of BCA.

Another point which is true of the regional councils which deal with access themselves: CNCC, DCA, CSCC and DCUC is that they provide working parties to help farmers and landowners in various ways: building and repairing fences, stiles, walls, etc.; clearing debris dumped in shakeholes.  We also find ourselves involved in soothing irate landowners when someone (not even necessarily a caver) has behaved irresponsibly or done damage.  It is the club cavers who belong to the regional councils who provide the workforce which enables us to do this.

It is also open to any regional council to propose a caver to be a member of any local access forum which deals with a caving area.  There are certain conditions to being a member and it will take up some of your precious caving time but you could always volunteer.

BCA isn't involved directly in negotiating access but it does provide the backup to enable regional councils to do so, particularly with the BCA insurance scheme.  Things are not always ideal and there are glitches in the system but, on the whole it does seem to work reasonably well.  So, if you are unhappy with things, the way to improve it is to get involved with whichever regional council is appropriate and work from the inside.

Jenny Potts
Hon. Secretary, Derbyshire Caving Association

Offline exsumper

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 597
  • BEC , Caving Pleb!!
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #427 on: March 27, 2013, 02:46:38 pm »
I'm sorry Pete I didn't realise that these activities.....
A twisting of my words and you know it BogRat. I was replying to Exsumper's odd idea that no one outside a club was involved in furthering caving, which is of course total rubbish as shown by my personal examples.

Pete K   "Twisting of my words?" you don't understand irony do you?
The point I was quite obviously making was that the vast majority of caves in the UK have been dug open, discovered and explored by members of caving clubs!!;  I wouldn't be surprised if the their volume was more than 90 per cent of the total; and wanted to know why newstuff felt entitled to have unrestricted access to these caves when he had  contributed nothing towards their being accessible for him to cave in.

As for the other bits, we all do stuff like that. Do you want a medal??  :clap2:
Caving Pleb Power!!

Get a Life! throw your television into a skip

Offline Ian Adams

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1227
  • UCET
    • UCET Caving Club (North Wales)
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #428 on: March 27, 2013, 03:15:29 pm »
Jenny P,

Thank you for your post, the information you have posted onto the forum is very helpful.

 :)

Ian
A door, once opened, may be stepped through in either direction.

Offline blackholesun

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 223
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #429 on: March 27, 2013, 03:23:11 pm »
Jenny, could you let us know in what way do N.E. have a say over the access to caves?

I really thought (and likely others on here did too) that a cave being an SSSI meant nothing in terms of access. I'm sure that landowners have physically blocked entrances to SSSIs before. (Some pretty cave in the Mendips in a quarry, had a few blocks pushed over the entrance, I seem to recall).

Offline blackholesun

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 223
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #430 on: March 27, 2013, 03:30:16 pm »
I was thinking of Fairy Holes, which isn't in Mendips. My bad.

Offline graham

  • Retired
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 10943
  • UBSS, Speleo-Club de Perigueux, GSG, SUI
    • UBSS
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #431 on: March 27, 2013, 03:37:32 pm »
... in what way do N.E. have a say over the access to caves?

Making a cave an SSSI does not and cannot confer any rights of access, even to those who work for N.E. However, the SSSI schedule describes what are called PDOs, potentially damaging operations. Anyone carrying out a PDO in an SSSI can be subject to legal sanction. Most of these operations concern activities on the surface designed to protect natural features and can include things from chopping down trees to using inappropriate fertilizers. However caving activity could, in theory, be included as a PDO on a cave SSSI and would thus require consent from N.E. before it could be undertaken.

As Jenny says, however, Regional Councils and other access bodies do work closely with N.E. to ensure, on the one hand, that normal caving activities are not disrupted by scheduling and, on the other, to monitor the condition of the caves and their scientifically important features.
Caving is for Life not just for Christmas

Online peterk

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 228
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #432 on: March 27, 2013, 03:40:20 pm »
Jenny, could you let us know in what way do N.E. have a say over the access to caves?


There's a link here http://www.northerncavemonitoring.org.uk/frequently-asked-questions/1-general-information/1-operations-requiring-natural-englands-consent

We've had the access issue before. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 s51 there is a statutory right of access to SSSI's by any person authorised by Natural England

Offline blackholesun

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 223
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #433 on: March 27, 2013, 03:54:56 pm »
Thanks for the replies. The CNCC link mentions:
27. Recreational or other activities likely to damage features of interest.
As something that is potentially something that once was called a PDO (so to speak). So, as Graham says, in theory, caving at such a SSSI could require permission from N.E.

I might be unlikely to get an answer, but has this ever happened in practice? Has N.E. ever recommended a permit system or some sort of restricted access for a cave on CROW land?

If not, then the SSSI link is perhaps irrelevant, and I remain in the dark about why cavers cannot cave on CROW land, but climbers can climb on it.

Offline graham

  • Retired
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 10943
  • UBSS, Speleo-Club de Perigueux, GSG, SUI
    • UBSS
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #434 on: March 27, 2013, 04:07:56 pm »
We've had the access issue before. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 s51 there is a statutory right of access to SSSI's by any person authorised by Natural England

Sorry, I should have clarified. That right of access is limited only to those carrying out the specific acts listed in that section. I should have said that the designation does not confer any general right of access.
Caving is for Life not just for Christmas

Online TheBitterEnd

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1477
  • KCC
    • KCC - Join an active club
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #435 on: March 27, 2013, 04:22:43 pm »

I might be unlikely to get an answer, but has this ever happened in practice? Has N.E. ever recommended a permit system or some sort of restricted access for a cave on CROW land?

Not quite as simple as that but one related example that comes to mind is that we are asked not to use the new entrance to Southerscales pot as it lies in a Nature Reserve (which I believe is also a SSSI) which itself is in an CRoW area. See http://www.cncc.org.uk/access/details.php?id=93
'Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.' — Mark Twain

Offline Ian Adams

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1227
  • UCET
    • UCET Caving Club (North Wales)
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #436 on: March 27, 2013, 04:48:49 pm »
It would appear that the CCW (the Welsh counterpart to NE) do restrict access to caves on SSSI land.

Here is an excerpt;

3.7
The Alyn Gorge Caves, comprising three cave systems within the Carboniferous
Limestone
 
The  caves  should  continue  to  demonstrate  how  geological  structure,  lithology  and
water  flow  influence  passage  profile.  The  range  and  distribution  of  sediments
deposited  in  the  caves  should  also  continue  to  provide  evidence  of  the  solution  and
stream processes that have occurred over time. A variety of calcite formations should
occur throughout the caves, providing an insight into the history of the caves and the
contemporary  environments.  Access  to  the  three  cave  systems,  namely  Ogof  Hesp
Alyn,  Ogof  Hen  Ffynhonnau  and  Ogof  Nadolig,  should  be  available  for  legitimate
study and research.


... and here is a link to the full document;

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/17140/response/40382/attach/html/2/SSSI%200241%20SMS%20EN001.pdf.html


(No mention on recreational access)

 :blink:

Ian
A door, once opened, may be stepped through in either direction.

Offline graham

  • Retired
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 10943
  • UBSS, Speleo-Club de Perigueux, GSG, SUI
    • UBSS
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #437 on: March 27, 2013, 04:52:46 pm »
From the same document:

Quote
Though  Ogof  Nadolig  is  smaller  and  less  well  used  than  the  two  larger  caves,  it  is
more  vulnerable.  There  is  currently  no  effective  control  over  who  uses  the  cave  and
damage to calcite formations has taken place. 
 
Currently,  the  main  threat  to  the  cave  fabric  and  environment  comes  from  the  wear
and tear resulting from the movement of cavers and their activities. It is important that
the  more  delicate  and  important  formations  within  the  caves  are  taped  off  following
the baseline survey to be carried out by the NWCC.
 
Controlling  access  to  the  caves,  education  of  visitors  and  taping  off  of  the  more
sensitive  areas  will  lead  to  less  damage  of  the  cave  formations  and  conservation  of
these important cave systems.
Caving is for Life not just for Christmas

Offline jasonbirder

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 726
  • Orpheus Caving Club
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #438 on: March 27, 2013, 04:55:17 pm »
I'm sure a quote like that....made your day eh!  ;D

Offline Ian Adams

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1227
  • UCET
    • UCET Caving Club (North Wales)
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #439 on: March 27, 2013, 05:01:24 pm »
What is interesting is that CCW scheduled the three caves after liaising with NWCC. There are many other caves in the same sedimentary limestone “bank” including some much better examples further along.

These caves further along (which are much better examples) were not offered as potential sites to the CCW by NWCC as they both sit on their doorstep and the club has active digs in them (which they cannot do whilst subject to SSSI without a PDO).

By suggesting the three caves (arguably the least exciting of the caves) as “examples” to schedule, they left themselves the very best caves to play in and dig.

A master stroke ?  I am sure many will say so ....

Conservationism at it’s best ?  .....

Ian
A door, once opened, may be stepped through in either direction.

Offline Jenny P

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 680
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #440 on: March 27, 2013, 05:45:02 pm »
"I might be unlikely to get an answer, but has this ever happened in practice? Has N.E. ever recommended a permit system or some sort of restricted access for a cave on CROW land?"

N.E. has recommended a permit system for one cave and one extension to a cave in the Peak, neither of which are on CRoW land.  Both are of particular scientific importance because of deposits in the cave - not 'pretties' but delicate floor deposits which have been protected by taping done by the original discoverers.

Interestingly, N.E. are involved in the potential reopening of Fairy Caves in Weardale, closed by the quarry which effectively removed much of it many years ago before the SSSI system as we know it now came into being.  N.E. can be a very valuable ally in protecting caves from threats of dumping, pollution, quarrying, etc. but they have to fight their corner against commercial interests and they don't always win.


Offline owd git

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1389
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #441 on: March 27, 2013, 06:15:59 pm »
Hi Jenny thanks for all your efforts, not just posting.
If you reffered to Wicc. is it not  fair to say; it's only one of the 'breakthroughs' that is so vulnerable, hence protected ( not out of bounds.)


Ric'
Hen racer? 2000 world hen racing champion

Offline 4bags

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 188
  • SMCC
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #442 on: March 27, 2013, 06:49:45 pm »
wow... and who wouldn't want to protect that?

Offline NewStuff

  • Vocal proponent of Open Access
  • junky
  • ****
  • Posts: 750
  • www.dddwhcc.com
    • Deep Dark Dirty WetHoles
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #443 on: March 27, 2013, 07:24:08 pm »
And who, in their right mind, would break it?
Permission? Wassat den?

Offline droid

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2269
  • WMRG
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #444 on: March 27, 2013, 08:33:56 pm »
(No mention on recreational access)

 :blink:

Ian

It may well be that 'recreational caving' is looked upon as a trivial use of an important scientific resource.
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline graham

  • Retired
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 10943
  • UBSS, Speleo-Club de Perigueux, GSG, SUI
    • UBSS
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #445 on: March 27, 2013, 08:41:54 pm »
And who, in their right mind, would break it?

Some people just do, I remember a conversation with the management at Stump Cross not long after a punter was prevented - just - from breaking off and walking away with a quite large stalagmite boss from the show cave.

However, that notwithstanding, I suspect that you will find that most damage is accidental, not intentional, and comes about simply through a lack of care. Maybe if people had to work harder to access sites like this, maybe then they'd treat them with a bit more care and respect.

Maybe.
Caving is for Life not just for Christmas

Offline graham

  • Retired
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 10943
  • UBSS, Speleo-Club de Perigueux, GSG, SUI
    • UBSS
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #446 on: March 27, 2013, 08:43:17 pm »
(No mention on recreational access)

 :blink:

Ian

It may well be that 'recreational caving' is looked upon as a trivial use of an important scientific resource.

It is irrelevant. Recreational use is not part of Natural England's remit. Why should it be?
Caving is for Life not just for Christmas

Offline droid

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2269
  • WMRG
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #447 on: March 27, 2013, 08:47:55 pm »
(No mention on recreational access)

 :blink:

Ian

It may well be that 'recreational caving' is looked upon as a trivial use of an important scientific resource.

It is irrelevant. Recreational use is not part of Natural England's remit. Why should it be?

If it's egar astrivial it won't.  :lol:

Bloody keyboard.

Try again.

If it's regarded as trivial, it won't.  :lol:
« Last Edit: March 27, 2013, 09:06:57 pm by droid »
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline NewStuff

  • Vocal proponent of Open Access
  • junky
  • ****
  • Posts: 750
  • www.dddwhcc.com
    • Deep Dark Dirty WetHoles
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #448 on: March 27, 2013, 08:50:28 pm »
Maybe if people had to work harder to access sites like this, maybe then they'd treat them with a bit more care and respect.

And maybe, a little education would help just as much. Maybe slow down the "timed runs" through systems?  Common sense and an awareness of your surroundings would, I suspect, do far more than making You jump through hoops. There's no point in opening a system if no-one gets to see the damned thing.
Permission? Wassat den?

Offline Stuart Anderson

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2024
  • Yorkshire Subterranean Society - A.N.U.S.
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #449 on: March 27, 2013, 09:03:34 pm »

Worth noting also that CNCC (and also DCA) work in close co-operation with Natural England because almost all cave entrances are part of Scheduled Sites of Scientific Importance (SSSIs) and both regional councils work together with N.E. in monitoring cave features.  Because of the SSSI status of caves, E.N. has some say in access to them in a way which does not apply to the access enjoyed by climbers, walkers, etc.
Jenny Potts
Hon. Secretary, Derbyshire Caving Association

One for the legal eagles: if as Jenny asserts, many caves lie in (on/under) S.S.S.I. what would the penalty be if a landowner were to decide to cap/backfill/despoil a cave entrance on S.S.S.I. (or any other version of legally protected land, private or otherwise)?
I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me