Author Topic: Some good news on cave access  (Read 38744 times)

Offline bog4053

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #200 on: April 07, 2014, 09:23:43 am »

2) Caves on CRoW Land where there is existing good will and a satisfactory access agreement
3) Caves on CRoW land where there is a poor relationship with Landowners and/or no or limited access

There is something missing between 1 and 2 - "Caves on CRoW land where there is existing but fragile good will, and a satisfactory access agreement"

On Leck Fell  the landowner is happy with CNCC arrangements but unhappy about cavers not using  the permit system.  On the assumption that the landowner reads Descent and perhaps UK Caving Forum he will know that not only do cavers shun the permit system they also disregard the Close Season.

As has been said many times on this forum it is a local matter for a local body.

Offline Simon Wilson

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #201 on: April 07, 2014, 09:57:35 am »

2) Caves on CRoW Land where there is existing good will and a satisfactory access agreement
3) Caves on CRoW land where there is a poor relationship with Landowners and/or no or limited access

There is something missing between 1 and 2 - "Caves on CRoW land where there is existing but fragile good will, and a satisfactory access agreement"

On Leck Fell  the landowner is happy with CNCC arrangements but unhappy about cavers not using  the permit system.  On the assumption that the landowner reads Descent and perhaps UK Caving Forum he will know that not only do cavers shun the permit system they also disregard the Close Season.

As has been said many times on this forum it is a local matter for a local body.

I might have been satisfied with an access agreement if it was being administered fairly. But you are one of the CNCC reps who have been abusing the access agreement by giving yourselves virtually unrestricted access to permits which was not available to people outside your little group.

The goodwill depends on goodwill between three sets of people; cavers, the CNCC and the landowner. The people who have done by far the most to destroy goodwill are the CNCC.

How can you say that "cavers shun the permit system they also disregard the Close Season"? Where has anybody said that in public? A few people have pointed out on this forum that most visitors to Leck Fell go there without a CNCC permit but that is not the same as saying that they shun the permit system or disregard the closed season. The CNCC access agreement includes a closed season but if someone goes to Leck Fell under the CRoW Act then there is no closed season to disregard.

Offline cavermark

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #202 on: April 07, 2014, 10:21:30 am »

As has been said many times on this forum it is a local matter for a local body.

Iniatially in the leck fell case perhaps.
Wouldn't it be nice though if the national legislation on CRoW included caving though? - so a precedent is set, and a record of good behaviour by cavers on CRow land can be built up, for when any future policy changes are considered, or problems negotiated?

Offline jasonbirder

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #203 on: April 07, 2014, 10:29:20 am »
Quote
On Leck Fell  the landowner is happy with CNCC arrangements but unhappy about cavers not using  the permit system.

Firstly I'm not sure its useful to argue the general (CRoW access for cavers to access land) to th specific (the access situation on Leck Fell)

But in this instance, there is a provision in CRoW for land to be closed at particular times or under particular circumstances so the April - June close season could be enforced under existing CRoW legislation - if the land owner is wedded to that close season it would be easy to retain...though the fact that the close season isn't stipulated for other users despite being easy to implement for Walker/Photographers/Bird Watchers etc etc...seems to imply it's not the massive stumbling block some may think it is...

Offline TheBitterEnd

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #204 on: April 07, 2014, 10:33:43 am »
The Leck closed season currently applies to dogs under CRoW.
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Offline graham

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #205 on: April 07, 2014, 11:47:07 am »
I understand that CROW does allow for protection of special features on access land, therefore we will need to identify those caves which the caving community believes warrant special protection.  My view on this is that the only really effective method of providing protection to a cave is by gating it and using warden led trips.

Is there a specific mechanism under the act that allows for a specific site to be protected by being gated and having warden-led only trips? If so, can you give me the section of the act that lays this out?
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Offline Ed W

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #206 on: April 07, 2014, 12:28:27 pm »

Graham,

The Bitter End's post above seems to cover that...

Quote
section 26 subsection 3a allows for exclusion or restriction of access for "the purpose of conserving flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features of the land in question".

Offline Cripplecreeker

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #207 on: April 07, 2014, 12:35:57 pm »
Quote
On Leck Fell  the landowner is happy with CNCC arrangements but unhappy about cavers not using  the permit system.

Firstly I'm not sure its useful to argue the general (CRoW access for cavers to access land) to th specific (the access situation on Leck Fell)

But in this instance, there is a provision in CRoW for land to be closed at particular times or under particular circumstances so the April - June close season could be enforced under existing CRoW legislation - if the land owner is wedded to that close season it would be easy to retain...though the fact that the close season isn't stipulated for other users despite being easy to implement for Walker/Photographers/Bird Watchers etc etc...seems to imply it's not the massive stumbling block some may think it is...

I agree with the general point you're making, but I believe the current 'closed season' could not be enforced under CRoW as there is a 28 day limit on the number of restricted days in any year (there are other regulations about when these restricted days can occur as well - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/37/section/22). I don't know how many restricted days there are currently on Leck Fell. From my experience climbing at crags on nearby grouse moor they tend to be at weekends during the shooting season.

Offline antmcc

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #208 on: April 07, 2014, 01:19:06 pm »
On Leck Fell  the landowner is happy with CNCC arrangements but unhappy about cavers not using  the permit system.  On the assumption that the landowner reads Descent and perhaps UK Caving Forum he will know that not only do cavers shun the permit system they also disregard the Close Season.

But not all cavers are covered by the permit system, since they'd have to be members of an affiliated club, so it may be that they're not shunning the permit system, just that they're not eligible to use it...

I prefer something that would permit accces for all, not just those in the know (or club), but I do recognise that this could cause issues for activities that definitely are outside the scope of the act (i.e. surface digs).

Until Graham gives more detail about the scenario that CRoW could cause problems for outside the 'Yorkshire' caving area, I can't judge as to whether the the pros outweigh the cons of using a national sledgehammer to crack a local nut, therefore I have to ignore it as 'unsubstantiated noise' in forming any opinion until I have enough information of which to take account (not that my opinion matters in the grand scheme of things...)

Offline TheBitterEnd

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #209 on: April 07, 2014, 01:26:18 pm »

Graham,

The Bitter End's post above seems to cover that...

Quote
section 26 subsection 3a allows for exclusion or restriction of access for "the purpose of conserving flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features of the land in question".

And to give an example of how this may work: You get an area inside and Access Land boundary designated as Excluded. You can then put a fence around it and make whatever arrangements you want with the land owner for access (including gates, leaders, etc.). The point being it is perfectly possible to exclude an area within an area of Access Land at which point it is not access land and reverts to whatever access arrangements the landowner/NE want to apply.

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Offline bog4053

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #210 on: April 07, 2014, 01:30:41 pm »
"But not all cavers are covered by the permit system, since they'd have to be members of an affiliated club, so it may be that they're not shunning the permit system, just that they're not eligible to use it..."  (I can't do that clever quote thing like you lot)

I think the people who are shunning the permit system include people from CNCC member clubs.  Some of them may not be, but as they cave in a group that includes people in CNCC member clubs it shouldn't be a problem.  I believe "shun" is the correct work to use.

Offline bog4053

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #211 on: April 07, 2014, 01:32:28 pm »
I'm not against clarifying the CRoW act which seems a sensible thing to do and could improve matters in some respects.  It might even help landowner negotiations in some instances.  What I don't like is the cavalier attitude of people seeking to assert their rights without regard for possible long term consequences.  The UCLAN debate is balanced and relevant but I may have mentioned that before.

If what were behind all this was as sensible and well thought as Tim's Descent article and his original posting that would be fine, but it isn't is it?  It started with people coming to CNCC meetings and proclaiming loudly that they didn't need the Leck Fell permit system, didn't use it and had no intention of using it.  The article on Boxhead in Descent 219 says: "...during Wimbledon fortnight in June....".  Given my understanding that the Estate Office subscribes to Descent was it really necessary to be so blatantly open about caving on Leck in the Close Season?

Can we now have a sensible discussion on how to clarify and implement CRoW; and a new one about how Regional Caving Bodies can do their work for the benefit of cavers in their regions. I suspect CNCC has some work to with the Leck Fell Estate before CRoW comes anywhere near those discussions.

Offline Cookie

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #212 on: April 07, 2014, 01:46:03 pm »

Graham,

The Bitter End's post above seems to cover that...

Quote
section 26 subsection 3a allows for exclusion or restriction of access for "the purpose of conserving flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features of the land in question".

And to give an example of how this may work: You get an area inside and Access Land boundary designated as Excluded. You can then put a fence around it and make whatever arrangements you want with the land owner for access (including gates, leaders, etc.). The point being it is perfectly possible to exclude an area within an area of Access Land at which point it is not access land and reverts to whatever access arrangements the landowner/NE want to apply.

Specifically, who makes the decision to exclude an area in these circumstances?

Do you know of an example of this occurring (obviously for some other feature than a cave)?

It seems to me this mechanism is potentially the compromise position between those who want the status quo and those who want caving as a right under CROW.
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Offline droid

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #213 on: April 07, 2014, 01:50:17 pm »
Bog: your last paragraph is sensible.

It does, however, require  people to swap their equine mounts for Shetland ponies....
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Offline graham

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #214 on: April 07, 2014, 02:20:09 pm »
Cookie raises an extremely interesting question.

One possible answer to it would be that caves carrying a SSSI schedule which includes fragile or otherwise 'at risk' sediments, including but not limited to speleothems, but come into such a category, generally. This has the advantage, from an implementation point of view, that no new and costly consultations or assessments would be required.

That being the case, then the decision has already been made in most cases and thus, if CRoW was deemed to include caves, but with a category of section 26 subsection 3a exclusions on this sort of ground, then we would immediately see a proliferation of restricted access caves with warden/leader controlled trips only all over the Dales.

Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

Alternatively, you could work on reforming CNCC and its current access agreements.
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Offline TheBitterEnd

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #215 on: April 07, 2014, 02:28:50 pm »
To answer Cookie, NE and the local access forums administer these these things so one would assume that it would be part of their remit.

There are plenty of open access SSSI caves in the Dales including the very frequently visited caves of Alum Pot inc. the Churns and Great Douk. No one has shown any intention of restricting access to these SSSIs for sport caving and commercial groups so I think you fears are unfounded Graham
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Offline Simon Wilson

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #216 on: April 07, 2014, 03:01:47 pm »
Initially in the leck fell case perhaps.
Wouldn't it be nice though if the national legislation on CRoW included caving though? - so a precedent is set, and a record of good behaviour by cavers on CRow land can be built up, for when any future policy changes are considered, or problems negotiated?
As I keep saying, the CRoW Act has been in use for nine years without causing any problems with the landowner of Leck Fell. I think a record of good behaviour by cavers on CRoW land has already been built up.
 
It started with people coming to CNCC meetings and proclaiming loudly that they didn't need the Leck Fell permit system, didn't use it and had no intention of using it. 
One person said that and that person has had the conviction and honesty to do that with consistency for over 30 years that I know of. Somebody who acts with integrity in that way gains my respect. Somebody who claims to support an access agreement and then totally abuses it for his own advantage as Tony (Bog) Brown and his CNCC chums have done does not get my respect.
 

Offline ah147

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #217 on: April 07, 2014, 03:11:40 pm »
If Yorkshire push through a study into Crow and get it on record that caving is an allowed activity across the country...how will it effect other areas?

Just because a group there start using Crow to negotiate access doesn't mean other groups/areas have to! You'd get the odd caver arguing with a land owner, but a quick phone call/visit from an access officer to say "sorry about that pr1ck, don't worry. The rest of us will continue to give you your trespass fee and come ask your permission"

If anything wouldn't that improve caver/landowner relations? That you have the sledgehammer and don't use it?


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Offline mmilner

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #218 on: April 07, 2014, 03:51:49 pm »
If Yorkshire push through a study into Crow and get it on record that caving is an allowed activity across the country...how will it effect other areas?

There is already a "study into Crow" being done by the BCA CRoW Working Group, whom I am helping for stuff in the Peak. It is already being dealt with. (With legal opinions being sought.) Just talk to the estate owners / agents and get their opinions. I don't think there will be a problem.

BUT, digging will still need specific permission from the landowner, nowt to do with CRoW.

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Offline danthecavingman

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #219 on: April 07, 2014, 03:54:22 pm »
I get what Graham is hinting at - one only has to look at the 1:25000 OS map around Charterhouse to note the boundaries of access land and you can work out yourselves what lies within those boundaries. However, as someone has already pointed out, the approaches to sensitive caves could be excluded from being access land.

Quoting TheBitterEnd

"And to give an example of how this may work: You get an area inside an Access Land boundary designated as Excluded. You can then put a fence around it and make whatever arrangements you want with the land owner for access (including gates, leaders, etc.). The point being it is perfectly possible to exclude an area within an area of Access Land at which point it is not access land and reverts to whatever access arrangements the landowner/NE want to apply."

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Offline TheBitterEnd

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #220 on: April 07, 2014, 04:00:02 pm »
And as I said in #54 and #195 exceptions are exceptions and should be treated as such. They should not be used to spread FUD and attempt to dictate national policy.
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Offline paul

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #221 on: April 07, 2014, 04:59:31 pm »
(I can't do that clever quote thing like you lot)

Just click on the "Quote" button above the message in question. Everything will then be between [ q u o t e ] and [ / q u o t e ] and will show as a quoted part of the reply.
I'm not a complete idiot: some parts are missing!

Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #222 on: April 07, 2014, 05:50:08 pm »
Is there a specific mechanism under the act that allows for a specific site to be protected by being gated and having warden-led only trips? If so, can you give me the section of the act that lays this out?
Sec 26(1) gives the power to the relevant authority to exclude or restrict access to land for a purpose as laid out in Sec 26(3)(a).  The relevant authority is defined in Sec 21(5) and (6) as National Park authority, Forestry Commissioners or the appropriate countryside body (being Natural England or Natural Resources Wales).  No doubt Local Access Forums would be part of the process.

Offline bog4053

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #223 on: April 07, 2014, 05:54:50 pm »
(I can't do that clever quote thing like you lot)

Just click on the "Quote" button above the message in question. Everything will then be between [ q u o t e ] and [ / q u o t e ] and will show as a quoted part of the reply.

Thanks Paul, looks a bit odd in this little box but here goes

Offline Badlad

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #224 on: April 07, 2014, 07:21:22 pm »
This whole debate is much larger than just a focus on Leck and Casterton Fells (or the CNCC for that matter).  If you read the part of my article that briefly covered the situation in Wales you will note that it is the Welsh Government who is suggesting a review of legislation which includes CRoW - not cavers.  They even state that the focus is on improving access for social, economic and health benefits and include caving as one of the activities which they might like to see with improved access. 

The BCA working group remit does not cover Wales so it will be up to the Cambrian CC to respond to the green paper consultation as will many other pro-access groups.  It is entirely possible that much greater access will be legally permitted to Welsh caves by lobby groups who are much more powerful than cavers or the bodies which are meant to represent them.

One of the points of my article was that we are not engaging with the debate on the bigger stage.  Our national and regional bodies may well continue to drag their feet but the risk is that much larger outside influences seal the deal without them and, quite frankly, that reflects very badly on them (our caving reps).
 

 

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