Author Topic: The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under CRoW  (Read 6764 times)

Offline Bottlebank

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The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under CRoW
« on: October 22, 2014, 03:38:42 pm »
The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under CRoW

Bob Mehew and Tony Brocklebank have been debating the topic of the impact on digging of CRoW applying by PM.  We have come to a conclusion which as you may expect does not reach an agreement but at least we hope sets out clearly and simply each other’s personal views.

We both feel that it is important that so far as possible cavers understand the implications of what we are voting for, even though we disagree on the outcome.

What we both agree on is:

1.  If CRoW applies then the level of risk that the liability a land owner has relating to sport caving will almost disappear whilst the level of risk that the liability a land owner has relating to diggers, professional cavers, and other trips not covered by CRoW (non CRoW activities) will remain the same.

2.  Regardless of CRoW some landowners already decline to accept the risk arising from permitting digging or other non CRoW activities on their land.

3.  BCA’s insurance provides cover for the risk arising from permitting digging on their land, however it is accepted there is no guarantee that such cover will always be available. It has been withdrawn in the past.

4.  Landowners and/or the insurance industry may decide in due course to reduce their exposure to these risk levels, with or without CRoW by seeking further constraints on such activities or refusing to accept them.

5.  There is a need for more guidance material from BCA on what diggers & professional cavers should agree with the land owner to do in setting up a new dig / leading trips underground so as to minimise land owner's liability whatever the outcome of the CRoW debate.

Bob's argument is:

A. If risk exposure levels are being driven down, then it becomes even more important to get CRoW to remove that risk for sport cavers on Access Land.

B. It is up to the digger and pursuers of other non CRoW activities to persuade the land owner that the land owner's risks from digging are negligible no matter what his perception of the level of risk is and changes in risk comparisons which have occurred. 

C It is also up to the digger to persuade the land owner that the land owner's negligible risks are worth bearing.

Tony's argument is:

A  If CRoW applies to caving landowners will in future be accepting a return to the pre CRoW level of risk by permitting any caving activity not covered by CRoW. This includes digging both on the surface and underground as we’ll as other non CRoW activities. This risk will clearly now be much higher than that from caving activities covered by CRoW.

B  As a result some landowners may be less willing to give permission for non CRoW activities such as digging.

C  In addition some landowners may feel they need to seek advice from insurers or legal advisers.  It is easy to see either advising against accepting the risk.

D  There is no imminent danger of risk levels being driven down under the current system, in fact the opposite seems to be happening and access is slowly improving. In the event of a dramatic reversal in the access position at some point in the future we could always return to CRoW.


Bob’s view of the case for CRoW:

It would be stupid to deny that Tony’s fears will never happen.  I feel confident that it will only apply to a few land owners so many alternative sites will remain accessible.  All it does is to deny the pleasure to the current generation of finding something new at that location.  In such cases, future generations will reap that reward when the land owner's view has changed for one reason or another.  Surely no real hardship to all involved in caving in both this and future generations?

Tony’s view of the case against CRoW:
 
It is always going to be harder to persuade a landowner to accept greater risk than they have, no matter how small or whether or not it is only the same risk they had at some earlier stage. No matter how diggers or other non CRoW activities present their case the task of obtaining permission will be more difficult, possibly much more difficult in some cases post CRoW.

There is much more to caving than sport caving, there are obvious benefits to CRoW in sport caving but there are real risks to other parts of caving. Should this result in a long term campaign contested by landowners there are also risks to sport caving and access could deteriorate in one area or more for years - even if we eventually win landowner/caver relations could be set back many years.

In my view the solution to access problems is found not in CRoW but in reform of the CNCC, in other regional bodies if needed and improved landowner relations.

Conclusion

Both of us hope that this document will be of some help to cavers trying to decide which way to vote in the forthcoming BCA referendum.

Please remember these are our personal views, others may see the situation differently.

Bob Mehew
Tony Brocklebank

22nd October 2014



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Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under CRoW
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2014, 03:39:14 pm »
I agree

Bob

Offline Spike

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Re: The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under CRoW
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2014, 04:12:48 pm »
Thanks both

Online paul

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Re: The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under CRoW
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2014, 04:40:42 pm »
Global Moderator Comment I'm locking this new Topic as it there are plenty of others for discussions on the subject of CROW and this will be left for reference only.
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Online paul

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Re: The effect of changes in liability for Landowners under CRoW
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2014, 07:54:09 pm »
Global Moderator Comment A few Forum Members have asked about unlocking his Topic. I locked it as I believe its is a useful post on the CROW debate and to prevent it being buried in pages and pages of arguments following the usual I'm right/You're wrong style and personal bickering. The post remains easy to find and read. If you wish to add any comments on the post, please do so in a separate new Topic and refer to this one (copy the URL in your Browser address box and paste that in the new post).
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