Author Topic: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things  (Read 118448 times)

Offline danthecavingman

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 684
  • Don't follow too close.....
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #525 on: March 28, 2013, 03:40:43 pm »
Apart from the fact that the BCA will likely react negatively and some power-controlling bodies will scream "unfair ref!", I can't see any flaw in Dan's argument at all ....

Best post(s) to date on this issue in my opinion.

 :)

Ian

Ian,

Thank you.

The situation is simple. In the past, caving permits were negotiated for Cavers by regional Councils to allow access on to privately owned and managed land where there was no legal public right of way / right of access. Permits were required for bonafide access and conditions on their issue imposed to protect the Land Owners assets (farm land or moorland) and minimise the impact of cavers on their livelihood. (By the way, it is worth bearing in mind that as cavers, we probably had greater freedom across some areas of land than walkers did. Never heard of anyone applying for a walking permit to go wandering around on Leck Fell for example.)

The Law has now changed and access has opened up. Landowners, Farmers, Tenants, Estate Managers, Game Keepers have all had to accept the changes and make changes to the way they manage the land accordingly.

The long and short of it, as I see it, is that if we want to go caving on CROW land, we can, provided we act responsibly and avoid causing any damage / inconvenience / nuisance.

If people want to be rid of the shackles of the permit system then the regional Councils need to approach the Land Owners they have previously dealt with and inform them that they will no longer be negotiating for access permits and that under the auspices of the CROW Act, those Landowners should be prepared to expect Cavers on their land under the same umbrella as Walkers, Runners, Climbers, Wildlife Enthusiasts. There seems little point in negotiating for access when legally, access has already been granted.

Dan.
You see that Taxus baccata.........that's Yew that is........

Offline Stuart Anderson

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2024
  • Yorkshire Subterranean Society - A.N.U.S.
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #526 on: March 28, 2013, 03:43:18 pm »
Chaps, keep the thoughts coming.

There seem to be a few of us who are in agreement re: CRoW. Probably best to not espouse mass trespass type action.

Hang fire and keep your powder dry.

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

Offline kay

  • Not a
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2656
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #527 on: March 28, 2013, 05:24:01 pm »

I understand your point that people who are relatively new to the scene might not find it quite so easy to navigate through what may seem a complex situation. But there are plenty of more experienced folk who would happily help guide them, if help was sought.


But equally - if you're relatively new, you don't necessarily know who to seek help from!

Offline kay

  • Not a
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2656
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #528 on: March 28, 2013, 05:37:21 pm »

And ... why should some HAVE TO BE a BCA member to enter a cave in the Dales ?  That isn't just (prima facie) elitist but it is also "unknown" to a new adventurer beginning their life of underworld exploration ....


There are  many caves in the Dales with either no access restrictions or ones which don't require any membership of BCA. And then there area few which require membership of a BCA club (and to which a non-club DIM member of BCA can't get access either). Access requirements are easily established from the CNCC website which will be stumbled on fairly early be any new caver exploring the internet to find new caves to explore.

Offline Ian Adams

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1227
  • UCET
    • UCET Caving Club (North Wales)
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #529 on: March 28, 2013, 05:45:32 pm »

There are  many caves in the Dales with either no access restrictions or ones which don't require any membership of BCA. And then there area few which require membership of a BCA club (and to which a non-club DIM member of BCA can't get access either). Access requirements are easily established from the CNCC website which will be stumbled on fairly early be any new caver exploring the internet to find new caves to explore.

That's not easy at all Kay (sorry). I had no clue that the CNCC even existed when I started caving ....  Does anyone ?

But, why should anyone be restricted by the CNCC/BCA ?   Why should a DIM member be barred from entering a cave that a CIM member can go in ?   

Why should someone who is not in a club, who has found the CNCC website then find that they are not allowed to enter a cave ?

Sorry, it is inequitable.

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

Offline Rhys

  • Global Moderator
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1476
  • SWCC, RFDCC
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #530 on: March 28, 2013, 06:05:36 pm »
Oh, how I sometimes wish this thread was split.
We could have:
Problems with current permit systems for people not part of a club etc
Whether people want caving to be covered by CROW
Whether caving is covered by CROW
Wild accusations about North Wales

Global Moderator Comment I shan't be splitting this thread again given the complaints I had when I split it from the specific Carno issue. This was intended to be a broad topic. However, anyone is free to start a fresh topic on any of those issues above, or more, if they wish

Offline Alex

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3936
  • BRCC, UWFRA.
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #531 on: March 28, 2013, 06:09:18 pm »
Or we could ring bind it and send it to the house of commons...

Can someone summarize what I have missed spent the last week well caving...
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 Pitlamp

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 4820
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #532 on: March 28, 2013, 06:15:42 pm »
This forum is not used by anywhere near all of the British caving poulation, so it's fine for idle chat but it's not the place for big decisions to be made as it's not genuinely representative of all cavers. This comment is not meant as criticism of anybody - more as a suggestion for how to go about achieving objectives, if serious about them.

We have loads of common ground - we all enjoy our caving, for a start off. People like Badlad are clearly passionate about it. But sometimes it's useful to pause and analyse exactly what has to be done to get what you want, together with contemplating any possible unwanted side effects which might result.

In other words, keep quiet and don't rock the boat!

Sorry, Pitlamp, but you really will have to do much better than that.

Really? Why?


Because you are not being very successful are you?

21 pages and counting!

. . . but you don't seem to understand my objective NigR, so how can you assess success? I reckon I managed to articulate the above facts fairly successfully. I tried to get across the best way to "rock the boat" as you put it. Maybe you could read it again and ponder on whether the above does actually suggest that people don't rock the boat or something else.

Offline NigR

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1176
  • Grwp Ogofeydd Garimpeiros SWCC
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #533 on: March 28, 2013, 06:22:24 pm »
Probably best to not espouse mass trespass type action.

Hang fire and keep your powder dry.

Totally agree with you, Stu.

No need at all to even consider such a course of action at the present time.

It is interesting to note, however, that the last time a series of mass trespasses were organised specifically to gain access to a particular area for the purposes of outdoor recreation they were done so with the strong backing and support of the governing national body. I am, of course, referring to the action taken by climbers to secure access to Range West at Castlemartin in Pembrokeshire and the national body concerned was the BMC. This was eminently successful and the resulting access agreement (subject to modifications) is still in operation today. Although criticised in some quarters at the time, there is no doubt that had this direct action not taken place it would have been impossible for anyone to ever climb (or surf or fish) as they do now.

Alex, you really must try to improve your powers of concentration. Do you watch a lot of daytime TV by any chance?

Fine, Pitlamp. Here's a bit more rocking for you.

Offline Alex

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3936
  • BRCC, UWFRA.
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #534 on: March 28, 2013, 06:29:07 pm »
Nope just lazy, the last 12 pages that have materialised in the week I had been away is allot to trawl through.

But as I probbably said before, the only way to get this sorted is to do so if the majority of us reach an agreement, is that forthcoming? I think the difference between us and walkers and climbers is that they had no access at all, where as we have some (depending who you know etc, you may get more) So its harder to get better access unified as we are not in as bad a situation as those groups to start with. We basically do not know what we wan't where as walkers and climbers just want access.

I though agree that the current systems can be much improved.
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 Stuart Anderson

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2024
  • Yorkshire Subterranean Society - A.N.U.S.
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #535 on: March 28, 2013, 06:42:21 pm »
Nope just lazy, the last 12 pages that have materialised in the week I had been away is allot to trawl through.

But as I probbably said before, the only way to get this sorted is to do so if the majority of us reach an agreement, is that forthcoming? I think the difference between us and walkers and climbers is that they had no access at all, where as we have some (depending who you know etc, you may get more) So its harder to get better access unified as we are not in as bad a situation as those groups to start with. We basically do not know what we wan't where as walkers and climbers just want access.

I though agree that the current systems can be much improved.

http://www.kindertrespass.com/

Walkers did have some access Alex, just not that much. Probably similar to cavers back in the day. What the walkers did though was to take about ten leaps ahead of what cavers appear to have done by demanding (and getting) open access, whereas we do seem to have got left behind somewhat.

It was seen by some as not having much to do with walking and more a class war (rich v poor). The history is very interesting if you have time to read it. Plenty of analogies.
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

Offline Alex

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 3936
  • BRCC, UWFRA.
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #536 on: March 28, 2013, 06:47:02 pm »
I agree its the way forward, as for points on conservation, did walkers not have the same issues? Yet they managed to overcome those problems.
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 kay

  • Not a
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2656
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #537 on: March 28, 2013, 06:50:02 pm »

That's not easy at all Kay (sorry). I had no clue that the CNCC even existed when I started caving ....  Does anyone ?

When I started, no. That was pre-ukc. But I quickly found Northern Caves and CNCC. I joined BCA relatively quickly, and accepted that there were some caves I wouldn't be able to visit as a non-club member.

Quote

But, why should anyone be restricted by the CNCC/BCA ?   Why should a DIM member be barred from entering a cave that a CIM member can go in ?   


Because all land is owned by someone, and if the landowner needs the assurance of PL insurance arranged by BCA, and an access system managed by CNCC, then if that's what it takes to get access, that's what has to happen.

I would like CNCC to try to include DIMs in future access agreements  - is this something anyone else would like to see happen?



Offline Stuart Anderson

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2024
  • Yorkshire Subterranean Society - A.N.U.S.
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #538 on: March 28, 2013, 07:16:26 pm »
Because all land is owned by someone, and if the landowner needs the assurance of PL insurance arranged by BCA, and an access system managed by CNCC, then if that's what it takes to get access, that's what has to happen.

I would like CNCC to try to include DIMs in future access agreements  - is this something anyone else would like to see happen?

The thing is Kay, the insurance issue isn't an issue if caves that are on CRoW land, and if access to said caves is given under CRoW, then the liability as I read it, isn't there. It's no different to a walker or climber doing their thing on access land.

It's already been pointed out that insurance for liability was probably never needed but caving authorities/representatives offered it up anyway (in a way that climber and walkers never seemed to need). It seems to me what was once a laudable reason for trying to gain access is now potentially causing us a problem.

I've heard the theory/conspiracy about the BCA and insurance before and don't really subscribe to it (i.e. open access in the Dales would negate the need for people to be in BCA/clubs because there would be so much "open" caving to be done -  suddenly the financial burden becomes heavier for a few or cavers in areas where the insurance is an absolute demand). There are still plenty of caves up and down the country and in the Dales (where the focus of my argument is) that would require insurance as part of the access deal and so it will always be worth my while being insured. I presume that all the none club pirates aren't members of BCA ( :shrug:) and aren't taking their share of the financial burden by not being in a club or a direct member. Perhaps they'd see fit to put their hands in their pockets if they thought their representative body was fighting their corner  :shrug: Now there is a thought!

 
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

Offline kay

  • Not a
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2656
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #539 on: March 28, 2013, 07:27:16 pm »

The thing is Kay, the insurance issue isn't an issue if caves that are on CRoW land, and if access to said caves is given under CRoW, then the liability as I read it, isn't there. It's no different to a walker or climber doing their thing on access land.


 I accept the logic of that, but if the landowner still feels he has a liability, then either one has to convince him that he doesn't, or one has to provide evidence of insurance. It's OK dealing with facts and logic, but one also has to deal with people.

Offline Stuart Anderson

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2024
  • Yorkshire Subterranean Society - A.N.U.S.
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #540 on: March 28, 2013, 07:30:28 pm »
Alex was asking for a summary. I'm not about to give him one ( :tease:) but in the language of our venerable politicians is this a plausible "road map"?:


  • Consultation with as many individual cavers as feasible to gain some consensus (through clubs/BCA/one to one?) as to whether it's a fight worth fighting?
  • Cavers (who? BCA/CNCC/breakaway group) seek to get membership to YDNP LAF or gain representation from someone already in.
  • Through LAF representation is made to the landowners, N.E., YDNPA, any and all relevant bodies etc. to get caving included in CRoW or at least clarity sought out.
  • If an agreeable outcome is made, cavers (BCA/CNCC/breakaway body?) will consider a trust based monitoring of numbers through systems and caves (internet logging system?). (There are some examples of this in the climbing world where if for instance there are a number of cars already at a venue then you find somewhere else to climb - if you try and sneak in you get told to f*ck off! Pretty effective).


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

Offline Stuart Anderson

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2024
  • Yorkshire Subterranean Society - A.N.U.S.
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #541 on: March 28, 2013, 07:33:29 pm »

The thing is Kay, the insurance issue isn't an issue if caves that are on CRoW land, and if access to said caves is given under CRoW, then the liability as I read it, isn't there. It's no different to a walker or climber doing their thing on access land.


 I accept the logic of that, but if the landowner still feels he has a liability, then either one has to convince him that he doesn't, or one has to provide evidence of insurance. It's OK dealing with facts and logic, but one also has to deal with people.

If a landowner already has land which is CRoW they'll be aware of it anyway surely, if they weren't why are they allowing climbing and walkers on the land?  If they are not aware of it (I can't believe that after nearly 13 years) the Act is pretty clear about indemnity (if memory serves). This of course will be dealt with in my manifesto (see my last but not quite last (!) post.
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

Offline Pitlamp

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 4820
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #542 on: March 28, 2013, 07:56:49 pm »
Alex was asking for a summary. I'm not about to give him one ( :tease:) but in the language of our venerable politicians is this a plausible "road map"?:


  • Consultation with as many individual cavers as feasible to gain some consensus (through clubs/BCA/one to one?) as to whether it's a fight worth fighting?
  • Cavers (who? BCA/CNCC/breakaway group) seek to get membership to YDNP LAF or gain representation from someone already in.
  • Through LAF representation is made to the landowners, N.E., YDNPA, any and all relevant bodies etc. to get caving included in CRoW or at least clarity sought out.
  • If an agreeable outcome is made, cavers (BCA/CNCC/breakaway body?) will consider a trust based monitoring of numbers through systems and caves (internet logging system?). (There are some examples of this in the climbing world where if for instance there are a number of cars already at a venue then you find somewhere else to climb - if you try and sneak in you get told to f*ck off! Pretty effective).

Your last point sounds vaguely Orwellian Stu!

Offline danthecavingman

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 684
  • Don't follow too close.....
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #543 on: March 28, 2013, 08:12:23 pm »
Yet again, this is all straightforward.

A Land Owner / Tenant / Farmer who allows cavers access to a cave on Private land can impose whatever restrictions / limitations / pre-requisites they like. This is in lieu of permission to visit the cave. This could be in way of a trespass fee, could include insurance, could require cavers to have a permit, could be a gate (locked or otherwise). Or they can deny access altogether. That is their right as the Land Owner. Their concern in cases such as this may be their livelihood or any liability perceived, actual or otherwise.

For caves on CROW land, the land owner cannot impose any restrictions as the public has a right of access to open-air recreational activities. As I pointed out earlier, Land Owners or their agents acting to deter, intimidate, obstruct or disrupt caving on CROW land would actually be subject to prosecution under the said Act. Indeed the gating (locking) or blocking of a cave entrance on CROW land would be in contravention of the Act as it hinders, obstructs and disrupts caving. In such instances, Natural England would be bound to act in the interests of the frustrated cavers and re-open the blocked entrances. That does not mean that a Land Owner couldn't fence off around an entrance to protect livestock or even place warning signs if he felt the requirement, provided that a stile or gate was put in place to allow cavers access.

It appears to me, as said earlier, that if you want to go caving on CROW land then you can provided you cave within the spirit of the Act. Insurance, Club Membership and any other considerations will not apply.

Dan.
You see that Taxus baccata.........that's Yew that is........

Offline danthecavingman

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 684
  • Don't follow too close.....
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #544 on: March 28, 2013, 08:15:36 pm »
I would also point out that I think it would be impossible to do a mass trespass on CROW land as you cannot trespass on land where you have legal permission to be anyway.....

D.
You see that Taxus baccata.........that's Yew that is........

Online mikem

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2776
  • Mendip Caving Group
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #545 on: March 28, 2013, 08:18:06 pm »
Your problem there is that many entrances were not "naturally" open, so landowners do not necessarily have to maintain them & laws can be changed to restrict access for cavers if we're not careful...

Mike

Offline danthecavingman

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 684
  • Don't follow too close.....
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #546 on: March 28, 2013, 08:33:07 pm »
Mike,

You're right.

I wasn't implying that Land Owners could be prosecuted for allowing an artificial entrance to become blocked by time / the elements / wear and tear or lack of maintenance, and in these instances it would be up to cavers to work with Natural England and the regional Councils and the Land Owners to work together to keep these caves open. The impetus to keep an entrance open would have to come from cavers who wanted to use that entrance to gain access.... I know for example that DCA have a fund / grant scheme for exactly this sort of thing, as I suspect do other regional bodies. Imagine that, all those people working together for the benefit of cavers, agreeing that a permit and insurance were not required but arguing about what ratio of sand to cement to use in the repair of the blockwork.....

Dan.
You see that Taxus baccata.........that's Yew that is........

Offline Les W

  • Hard cavin'
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 5270
  • Wessex Cave Club, UCET
    • Wessex Cave Club
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #547 on: March 28, 2013, 08:40:20 pm »
but arguing about what ratio of sand to cement to use in the repair of the blockwork.....

5 to1  :tease:
I'm a very busy person

Offline NigR

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1176
  • Grwp Ogofeydd Garimpeiros SWCC
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #548 on: March 28, 2013, 08:43:23 pm »
It appears to me, as said earlier, that if you want to go caving on CROW land then you can provided you cave within the spirit of the Act. Insurance, Club Membership and any other considerations will not apply.

This, essentially, is my own interpretation of the Act as it stands.

Unfortunately, it is not the interpretation of our own governing body (BCA) as evidenced by David Judson's statement in Descent that I quoted earlier.

If some concensus could be reached, initially at Regional Council level, then nationally, it would most certainly help ease the way towards solving most of the current problems cavers are experiencing with regard to access on CRoW land.


I would also point out that I think it would be impossible to do a mass trespass on CROW land as you cannot trespass on land where you have legal permission to be anyway.....

That's good.



Offline Stuart Anderson

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2024
  • Yorkshire Subterranean Society - A.N.U.S.
Re: Loss of cave access, CROW and other things
« Reply #549 on: March 28, 2013, 08:43:30 pm »
Alex was asking for a summary. I'm not about to give him one ( :tease:) but in the language of our venerable politicians is this a plausible "road map"?:


  • Consultation with as many individual cavers as feasible to gain some consensus (through clubs/BCA/one to one?) as to whether it's a fight worth fighting?
  • Cavers (who? BCA/CNCC/breakaway group) seek to get membership to YDNP LAF or gain representation from someone already in.
  • Through LAF representation is made to the landowners, N.E., YDNPA, any and all relevant bodies etc. to get caving included in CRoW or at least clarity sought out.
  • If an agreeable outcome is made, cavers (BCA/CNCC/breakaway body?) will consider a trust based monitoring of numbers through systems and caves (internet logging system?). (There are some examples of this in the climbing world where if for instance there are a number of cars already at a venue then you find somewhere else to climb - if you try and sneak in you get told to f*ck off! Pretty effective).

Your last point sounds vaguely Orwellian Stu!

I hope it didn't!? Not my intention. I was citing it as an example of participants actively self monitoring. The feck off bit doesn't really happen...

Unless you're pulling my leg...
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