Author Topic: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW  (Read 75377 times)

Offline graham

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BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« on: October 13, 2014, 11:42:27 am »
I am very disappointed in BCA Council.

I gather that this referendum will be a vote for all BCA members (good) but it will not be an informed vote (bad).

I am told:

Quote
The paperwork accompanying the referendum ballot will be minimal, since it will be assumed that all members of the BCA are aware of the potential benefits and possible drawbacks of including caving within the permitted activities under the CRoW act. The latest Descent contains a fairly good summary of these.

I am sorry but this is simply not the case. The pros and cons may well have been extensively been discussed by cavers but these discussions have not been (and it seems will not be) informed by any real hard detail of exactly what this might mean for our caves, especially those fragile caves that almost everybody agrees do need protection.

Prior to such a ballot the BCA should carry out an extensive consultation process with Natural England and other such bodies to discover exactly what measures would be available to protect our caves, how they might be implemented and how long these processes might take. They should have been consulting with affected landowners to gain some sort of view on how new exploration, such as digging, might be viewed by them; what might be possible and what would no longer be allowed (if anything). There should be answers to questions like if the rights granted under CRoW are extended, will those landowners who have voluntarily declared their land as access land then be able to rescind or limit that grant?

Without this hard information - not just the partially informed opinions of some cavers - this referendum will be a bit like asking the Scots if they wanted independence without giving important details like quite what currency their salaries and pensions would be paid in.

i.e. useless.

There is no point in posters to this Board going over and over the same ground yet again. We do not have sufficient information and it seems we are not going to get it.

« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 11:56:33 am by graham »
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Offline Bottlebank

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2014, 11:56:24 am »
I am very disappointed in BCA Council.

I gather that this referendum will be a vote for all BCA members (good) but it will not be an informed vote (bad).

I am told:

Quote
The paperwork accompanying the referendum ballot will be minimal, since it will be assumed that all members of the BCA are aware of the potential benefits and possible drawbacks of including caving within the permitted activities under the CRoW act. The latest Descent contains a fairly good summary of these.

I am sorry but this is simply not the case. The pros and cons may well have been extensively been discussed by cavers but these discussions have not been (and it seems will not be) informed by any real hard detail of exactly what this might mean for our caves, especially those fragile caves that almost everybody agrees do need protection.

Prior to such a ballot the BCA should carry out an extensive consultation process with Natural England and other such bodies to discover exactly what measures would be available to protect our caves, how the might be implemented and how long these processes might take. They should have been consulting with affected landowners to gain some sort of view on how new exploration, such as digging, might be viewed by them; what might be possible and what would no longer be allowed (if anything). There should be answers to questions like if the rights granted under CRoW are extended, will those landowners who have voluntarily declared their land as access land then be able to rescind or limit that grant?

Without this hard information - not just the partially informed opinions of some cavers - this referendum will be a bit like asking the Scots if they wanted independence without giving important details like quite what currency their salaries and pensions would be paid in.

i.e. useless.

There is no point in posters to this Board going over and over the same ground yet again. We do not have sufficient information and it seems we are not going to get it.

What referendum? I've obviously missed something here. Where does the quote come from? There doesn't seem to be anything on the BCA site?



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Offline graham

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2014, 11:57:41 am »
What referendum? I've obviously missed something here. Where does the quote come from? There doesn't seem to be anything on the BCA site?

Last weekend's council meeting. I got this from the CSCC rep this morning.
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Offline Bottlebank

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2014, 12:03:14 pm »
Thanks Graham, mind you whilst I was looking I did come across this - https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/350698/response_8_July_2014_as_redacted_for_the_website__2__amended.pdf - which seems pretty clear cut, it's probably been on here before but I hadn't spotted it.

Presumably it'll be up to the various factions involved to try and inform everyone as best as possible then, perhaps not too different to the Scottish referendum after all - which seemed to be basically an argument from the one side based largely on known facts and common sense, against a conviction by the other side that it might be better to vote for independence based on very little other than guesswork and hope?
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Offline graham

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2014, 12:42:46 pm »
That's exactly my point, Tony.

In the Scot's referendum, the 'yes' party were making promises about staying in the EU, for example. No one officially asked the EU & the answers that did come from Europe were doubtful to say the least. The same applies here, some cavers have made bold pronouncements about what may, or may not, be possible but no-one has officially asked, on behalf of the BCA, the pertinent questions of the pertinent authorities.

And when questions have been asked, such as the one that brought the letter you quote as a response, the content is simply dismissed by those who did not want to hear it. I have a letter just like that one, also from DEFRA and yet when I quoted from it on here, that was dismissed because it was me doing so.  :shrug:
« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 12:58:45 pm by graham »
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Offline TheBitterEnd

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2014, 12:51:30 pm »



'ere we go!


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Offline jasonbirder

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2014, 04:51:46 pm »
Quote
Prior to such a ballot the BCA should carry out an extensive consultation process with Natural England

Wouldn't it make more sense after the ballot?

Offline NewStuff

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2014, 05:44:43 pm »
Quote
Prior to such a ballot the BCA should carry out an extensive consultation process with Natural England

Wouldn't it make more sense after the ballot?

This. It seems counter-intuitive to do it beforehand.
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Offline ah147

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2014, 06:02:46 pm »
http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/restrictions1_tcm6-10340.pdf

"Relevant authorities may also give directions excluding or restricting access in the interests of nature, conservation or to protect sites of historical or archaeological importance. "

"There is no application system for these restrictions. "

There. You don't even need to fill out a form or read anything. Put across a good enough case to whomever the relevant authority is deemed to be (BCA?) and they can lock it straight away as there is no formal process. Job done.

Whilst that seems a little too easy to me, it should still stop a lot of the arbitrary restrictions currently in place.

Offline graham

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2014, 06:03:51 pm »
Quote
Prior to such a ballot the BCA should carry out an extensive consultation process with Natural England

Wouldn't it make more sense after the ballot?

No, Surely people want to know what the effects of a decision are before they take it, rather than afterwards.
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Offline graham

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2014, 06:05:26 pm »
http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/restrictions1_tcm6-10340.pdf

"Relevant authorities may also give directions excluding or restricting access in the interests of nature, conservation or to protect sites of historical or archaeological importance. "

"There is no application system for these restrictions. "

There. You don't even need to fill out a form or read anything. Put across a good enough case to whomever the relevant authority is deemed to be (BCA?) and they can lock it straight away as there is no formal process. Job done.

Whilst that seems a little too easy to me, it should still stop a lot of the arbitrary restrictions currently in place.

So, how do you put that case, who do you put it to & how long does it take for a decision to be made?

I do not expect you to know the answers to this, but these are the questions that BCA should have been asking.
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Offline Spike

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2014, 06:06:04 pm »
Quote
Prior to such a ballot the BCA should carry out an extensive consultation process with Natural England

Wouldn't it make more sense after the ballot?

This. It seems counter-intuitive to do it beforehand.

Or it could seem counter-intuitive to hold a ballot without those being balloted knowing as many facts as possible - I'd like to think that the result of a ballot would have more weight then.

There are many folk who are suspicious of interpreting CRoW to cover caves because there is little known about how the protection necessary for certain sites can be applied - particularly with reference to timescales. More information here could in fact strengthen a positive response to any ballot. There are other areas, but I don't profess to be an expert.

In general, I reckon people are nervous about wholesale change/re-evaluation where the consequences have not been completely worked through to their satisfaction. Working through these potential stumbling blocks (which must surely involve NE/DEFRA) can only be for the better, can't it?


Offline jasonbirder

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2014, 06:07:32 pm »
It comes across as a delaying tactic...trying to insert a time-consuming and pointless bureaucratic process into events in the hope of slowing things down and taking the momentum out of the process...

Offline graham

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2014, 06:20:01 pm »
It comes across as a delaying tactic...trying to insert a time-consuming and pointless bureaucratic process into events in the hope of slowing things down and taking the momentum out of the process...
See the Scottish referendum for details. The losing side was the one that failed to answer serious questions. If you think you should win then make a serious case, based on facts and not wishful thinking and emotion.

If you can.
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Offline ah147

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2014, 06:22:51 pm »
http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/restrictions1_tcm6-10340.pdf

"Relevant authorities may also give directions excluding or restricting access in the interests of nature, conservation or to protect sites of historical or archaeological importance. "

"There is no application system for these restrictions. "

There. You don't even need to fill out a form or read anything. Put across a good enough case to whomever the relevant authority is deemed to be (BCA?) and they can lock it straight away as there is no formal process. Job done.

Whilst that seems a little too easy to me, it should still stop a lot of the arbitrary restrictions currently in place.

So, how do you put that case, who do you put it to & how long does it take for a decision to be made?

I do not expect you to know the answers to this, but these are the questions that BCA should have been asking.

I wrote a very long winded, logical answer that I genuinely believed just solved the entire CRoW issue! But it got slightly off topic so I deleted it  :ang:

Essentially the BCA are asking whether cavers would like to carry on with the "status CRoW"  :clap2: or if they'd like the BCA to pursue it further. Rather than taking up a pro-CRoW or anti-CRoW stance at this point. I hate to sound condescending but is this possibly where your dislike of the "referendum" is coming from?

Offline graham

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2014, 06:26:53 pm »
http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/restrictions1_tcm6-10340.pdf

"Relevant authorities may also give directions excluding or restricting access in the interests of nature, conservation or to protect sites of historical or archaeological importance. "

"There is no application system for these restrictions. "

There. You don't even need to fill out a form or read anything. Put across a good enough case to whomever the relevant authority is deemed to be (BCA?) and they can lock it straight away as there is no formal process. Job done.

Whilst that seems a little too easy to me, it should still stop a lot of the arbitrary restrictions currently in place.

So, how do you put that case, who do you put it to & how long does it take for a decision to be made?

I do not expect you to know the answers to this, but these are the questions that BCA should have been asking.

I wrote a very long winded, logical answer that I genuinely believed just solved the entire CRoW issue! But it got slightly off topic so I deleted it  :ang:

Essentially the BCA are asking whether cavers would like to carry on with the "status CRoW"  :clap2: or if they'd like the BCA to pursue it further. Rather than taking up a pro-CRoW or anti-CRoW stance at this point. I hate to sound condescending but is this possibly where your dislike of the "referendum" is coming from?

I like voters to make informed decisions, do you?
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Offline Spike

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2014, 06:35:09 pm »
Talking of informed decisions/discussions, does anyone have any official wording from BCA as to what the question is for this referendum?

Offline ah147

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2014, 06:35:49 pm »
I agree entirely with your sentiment Graham.

In a perfect world the BCA would know who the relevant authority were to restrict access to caves on conservation grounds. They could then approach this relevant authority and find out the mechanisms and likely timescales to do so BUT for anybody to acknowledge a relevant authority they would need to acknowledge Cavings right of access under CRoW and that's what the BCA are asking if people would like to pursue under the knowledge that:

Restriction for conservation WILL happen in some shape or form (section 26)

Gating (not locking) for public safety WILL happen (how many gates exist on CRoW land?)

For me? That's all I need to hear.



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Offline graham

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2014, 06:39:49 pm »
I agree entirely with your sentiment Graham.

In a perfect world the BCA would know who the relevant authority were to restrict access to caves on conservation grounds. They could then approach this relevant authority and find out the mechanisms and likely timescales to do so BUT for anybody to acknowledge a relevant authority they would need to acknowledge Cavings right of access under CRoW and that's what the BCA are asking if people would like to pursue under the knowledge that:

Restriction for conservation WILL happen in some shape or form (section 26)

Gating (not locking) for public safety WILL happen (how many gates exist on CRoW land?)

For me? That's all I need to hear.



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We know who the relevant authorities are, why not ask them what the effects would be? The only reason that I can think of is that the answers may not help your case. I am willing to take that risk, are you?
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Offline ah147

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2014, 06:47:34 pm »
I agree entirely with your sentiment Graham.

In a perfect world the BCA would know who the relevant authority were to restrict access to caves on conservation grounds. They could then approach this relevant authority and find out the mechanisms and likely timescales to do so BUT for anybody to acknowledge a relevant authority they would need to acknowledge Cavings right of access under CRoW and that's what the BCA are asking if people would like to pursue under the knowledge that:

Restriction for conservation WILL happen in some shape or form (section 26)

Gating (not locking) for public safety WILL happen (how many gates exist on CRoW land?)

For me? That's all I need to hear.



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We know who the relevant authorities are, why not ask them what the effects would be? The only reason that I can think of is that the answers may not help your case. I am willing to take that risk, are you?


As someone who is only *just* pro-CRoW I don't really have a case. I've very recently placed myself in the pro-CRoW camp and could quite easily be swayed. Hence why I stay out of CRoW discussions.

I do believe BCA should be acting in the interests of cavers. If cavers wish BCA to pursue CRoW then this "referendum" will acknowledge that and influence them to do so. If cavers as a whole wish BCA not to pursue CRoW then alot of time shall stop being wasted.

As a matter of interest, who is/are the relevant authority/s? How can there be a relevant authority to restrict access when caving doesn't have a right to be there in the first place?

Offline graham

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2014, 07:11:26 pm »

As a matter of interest, who is/are the relevant authority/s? How can there be a relevant authority to restrict access when caving doesn't have a right to be there in the first place?

You have already said, in this thread that "Restriction for conservation WILL happen..." yet you do not know the answer to this question.

I think you make my case for me quite eloquently. Thank you.
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Offline ah147

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2014, 07:14:09 pm »

As a matter of interest, who is/are the relevant authority/s? How can there be a relevant authority to restrict access when caving doesn't have a right to be there in the first place?

You have already said, in this thread that "Restriction for conservation WILL happen..." yet you do not know the answer to this question.

I think you make my case for me quite eloquently. Thank you.

I disagree. There IS provision for restriction of access for conservation grounds under section 26 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

The mechanisms of this provision are not known to me, you or anyone yet as for there to be a mechanism to prevent access under CRoW it has to be accepted that there is access under CRoW.

What part of that is wrong?

Offline jasonbirder

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2014, 08:07:54 pm »
It seems straightforward, there is already a mechanism for restricting disturbance to sensitive sites under the CRoW act as stated above...
One which every other organisation was comfortable with...which covers everything from from protection of Archaeological sites to conservation of rare nesting birds...
How much more information is required?
If you're looking for someone to supply you with contact details, decision time and an outcome for every possible instance then we'll all be waiting a long, long time...
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Offline graham

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2014, 08:19:50 pm »
It seems straightforward ...

Seems? But is it, actually? Hard facts please, not woolly opinions.

You do have some facts don't you?

Oh!
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Offline jasonbirder

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Re: BCA 'referendum' on CRoW
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2014, 08:29:32 pm »
If you're looking at facts...then maybe you could explain why Caving would require a substantively different mechanism for protecting sites than that which applies to Archaeological sites, landscape features and rare wildlife?

If existing protections are enough for those...then why do you consider caving to differ massively?

Or are you simply opposed to freer caver access and looking for any mechanism by which you can delay/derail moves to facilitate it?