Author Topic: BREAKING: Twll Du entrance to Ogof Draenen blocked with reinforced concrete  (Read 7362 times)

Online David Rose

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On Monday of last week, the respected professional bat consultant Peter Smith, who is also the biology officer for the PDCMG, which manages access to Ogof Draenen, submitted a report to Natural Resources Wales, the Welsh heritage organisation Cadw, the Brecon Beacons National Park, and the landowner, Pwll Du Conservation Ltd. It revealed details of a survey he conducted last month showing that two protected species of bats have been roosting in Twll Du, the fourth entrance to Ogof Draenen which was opened in 2016, and in the chambers immediately below. As many readers will know, this entrance has been the subject of much previous comment, because it is, unfortunately, within the boundary of a scheduled monument, the old mine tramway, and therefore opening it or now using it may constitute a criminal offence.

At today's BCA council meeting, Stuart France, the access officer of the Cambrian Caving Council, disclosed that two days after the report was submitted, contractors engaged by Cadw began a large operation which has blocked the entrance with reinforced concrete. The police have been alerted and have begun an investigation, because this may constitute an offence under wildlife law.

There will be fuller reports in the next issues of the CCC and the BCA newsletters. Forum members ought to be aware that with two different types of potential criminal liability involved here, they should be careful what they post.

Offline Graigwen

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Was heritage grade concrete used?

Both Cadw and English Heritage take care when undertaking remedial work on ancient monuments to match their material to that in use at the time of original construction. To do otherwise might amount to damaging a scheduled site.





"As one door closes, so another opens."

Offline Huge

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There will be fuller reports in the next issues of the CCC and the BCA newsletters.

Will there also be somewhere we can go to for unbiased reporting on this?

Online David Rose

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Obvs. Dankness Below.

Offline Huge

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No David, I'm after unbiased reporting on anything to do with Draenen so that rules out Darkness Below, the CCC Newsletter ( or Stuart's personal mouthpiece, as it's apparently becoming known ) and the BCA newsletter under your editorship, as well as nearly everything that's written on this forum.

Offline Dave Tyson

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No David, I'm after unbiased reporting on anything to do with Draenen so that rules out Darkness Below, the CCC Newsletter ( or Stuart's personal mouthpiece, as it's apparently becoming known ) and the BCA newsletter under your editorship, as well as nearly everything that's written on this forum.
Well you could talk directly to Cadw and/or NRW - I am sure they will fill in the other side of the story in a completely unbiased manner.

Dave

Online 2xw

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No David, I'm after unbiased reporting on anything to do with Draenen so that rules out Darkness Below, the CCC Newsletter ( or Stuart's personal mouthpiece, as it's apparently becoming known ) and the BCA newsletter under your editorship, as well as nearly everything that's written on this forum.

He said Dankness Below, not Darkness Below. I believe they have subtlety different editorial styles.

Offline NewStuff

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Permission? Wassat den?

Offline Huge

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No David, I'm after unbiased reporting on anything to do with Draenen so that rules out Darkness Below, the CCC Newsletter ( or Stuart's personal mouthpiece, as it's apparently becoming known ) and the BCA newsletter under your editorship, as well as nearly everything that's written on this forum.
Well you could talk directly to Cadw and/or NRW - I am sure they will fill in the other side of the story in a completely unbiased manner.

Dave

Rather than compare one lot of biased reporting with another lot, ideally it would be good to see full, unbiased reporting that we can trust from the caving community. Report on the politics, of course but rise above the level of general journalism and don't let the reporting be part of the politics.

For example, it's been reported elsewhere, by a caver who was there a couple of days ago when the work was being done, that what's described above as a 'large operation', consisted of one bloke going back and fore the tram road with a wheelbarrow. A recent bat survey is mentioned, the results of which it seems, would have prevented the work from happening, if the report had been accepted. No mention is made of another recent bat survey, the results of which seem not to have raised concerns about capping the entrance. Maybe it's possible to get whatever results you want out of a bat survey?

Come on guys, let's get the party politics out of the reporting.

Offline NewStuff

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No David, I'm after unbiased reporting on anything to do with Draenen so that rules out Darkness Below, the CCC Newsletter ( or Stuart's personal mouthpiece, as it's apparently becoming known ) and the BCA newsletter under your editorship, as well as nearly everything that's written on this forum.
Well you could talk directly to Cadw and/or NRW - I am sure they will fill in the other side of the story in a completely unbiased manner.

Dave

Rather than compare one lot of biased reporting with another lot, ideally it would be good to see full, unbiased reporting that we can trust from the caving community. Report on the politics, of course but rise above the level of general journalism and don't let the reporting be part of the politics.

For example, it's been reported elsewhere, by a caver who was there a couple of days ago when the work was being done, that what's reported above as a 'large operation', consisted of one bloke going back and fore the tram road with a wheelbarrow. A recent bat survey is mentioned, the results of which it seems, would have prevented the work from happening, if the report had been accepted. No mention is made of another recent bat survey, the results of which seem not to have raised concerns about capping the entrance. Maybe it's possible to get whatever results you want out of a bat survey?

Come on guys, let's get the party politics out of the reporting.

If you've seen the picture, one bloke did not fit all that re-bar, unless he was Superman and decided to change reporting for construction. I suspect that lot going in would lead to it being described as a large operation.
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Offline Huge

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I've seen the picture. Two blokes?

Offline NewStuff

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I've seen the picture. Two blokes?

So, you want unbiased reporting, but here you are, introducing it.

I suggest going and looking at the picture again, this time without preconceptions. While I won't claim to be an expert on concreting caves, I can't fathom one, or two, blokes fitting all that re-bar, especially given it's got a hole directly under it. Or - ask CADW to ask the subby that the job was awarded to.

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Offline NewStuff

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Maybe it's possible to get whatever results you want out of a bat survey?
This is the PDCMG's bat expert - the people who would really, really like a single entrance to the system. Why on earth would they report something likely (if protocol is followed) to keep entrances open, if it wasn't actually true.
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Offline PeteHall

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Another sad chapter in the sorry tale of a remarkable cave.

Another sad chapter for British caving.  :wall:
The distance between stupidity and genius is measured only by success.

Offline droid

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Like the CRoW 'debates', this situation seems to have gone too far for those with vested interests to be capable of unbiased comment/reporting.

Even if they are published under the guise of 'unbiased reporting'.....
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline Huge

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Like the CRoW 'debates', this situation seems to have gone too far for those with vested interests to be capable of unbiased comment/reporting.

Even if they are published under the guise of 'unbiased reporting'.....

So, clear unbiased reporting from our caving institutions, is too much to ask, given that the people in charge of newsletters etc. have various vested interests? Sad.



Maybe it's possible to get whatever results you want out of a bat survey?
This is the PDCMG's bat expert - the people who would really, really like a single entrance to the system. Why on earth would they report something likely (if protocol is followed) to keep entrances open, if it wasn't actually true.

I'm not saying it's not true, just that there have been two recent bat surveys that seem to have produced conflicting results. The OP has only mentioned the one that goes along with his publicised vested interest. Was this report submitted by the PDCMG or independently by Peter Smith?

Also, I don't know the scale of the work that's been carried out, as I haven't been there, in person, while it was happening and neither have you. There has been one report from someone who was there, that he saw one bloke with a wheelbarrow (someone btw who is incensed that this is happening and seems to have been in touch with various bodies to try to get it stopped so not someone who would want to down play the scale of the work). Here it's been reported as a large operation. That information has come from someone with an intense vested interest, who recently played up the poor state of one of the old camps in Draenen for political ends. Which one is true?

Unlike what some people would have us believe and what seems to be regularly stated on this forum, the PDCMG is not a homogeneous closed shop who all think the same way (it's not the CCC!). There are people, who are part of PDCMG, who are against the single entrance policy and who would like to see Twll Du stay open. But that doesn't fit the vilification 'story' so lets not mention it!

I'm only after the truth and it would be nice to be able to trust our caving institutions to provide it.

Offline Martin Laverty

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Cambrian CC has just released its latest newsletter at http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/pdf/newsletters/2018/Oct2018.pdf

While Huge and others may well find this biased, surely that also reflects their own bias, and suggests he is well able to adjust for it and search out alternative sources to patch something approaching the 'truth' together?

The only real truth would be a timeline of events given by each of Pwlldu Conservation Ltd, Cadw, and the local subcontractor, with supplementary details from NRW, the National Park Authority (who closed a right of way), and possibly others who should have granted permission(s) for surface work to be performed on an urban common (and performed some form of public consultation or at least publication of plans?). Maybe this will be provided to the Crown Prosecution Service by the police in due course, but to what extent it will become public knowledge, I don't know.

What the newsletter does appear to show me is that cavers, and CCC, can and do help landowners, Cadw, the National Park, and NRW (not to mention Thai schoolboys) but seem to get precious little respect in return from those bodies - or even a lot of cavers. The newsletter is late because there was no response at all to a widespread request for input from other than 'the usual suspects' , but the last week's events mean it has gone through an iteration a day from Monday to Friday!

As for the CCC being "a homogeneous closed shop who all think the same way": well, it is probably a more united body than PDCMG, but it is not without its internal differences, while presenting a united front. I could go on, but won't...
« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 02:23:53 pm by Martin Laverty »

Online David Rose

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Huge, your comments are offensive and unnecessary.

Offline Rhys

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The comments are not offensive.

Offline Trig Gledhill

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Far from offensive.





But that's my biased view.

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Offline NewStuff

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Given the total refusal by the PDCMG to consider anything other than a single entrance policy, which every single caver I have met in person thinks is backwards, I'd suggest they've backed themselves into a corner. Given the amount of time this the whole entrance saga has rumbled on for, it's not surprising that people are too entrenched by this point. Unbiased reports are a lovely idea, but humans are humans, it's unlikely to happen with this level of antagonism happening. Maybe you could, I dunno, be unbiased, in your opinion about the CCC? Or are you human as well, and hold likes and dislikes?

Again, I suggest you stop and think about it before putting fingers to keyboard again.
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Online David Rose

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I have written an entirely factual report that does not take any side and I have been accused of bias. I find that offensive.

Offline Martin Laverty

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Dave, I can see two adjectives in your report which Huge may legitimately construe to introduce bias (albeit, I would say, minimal). Having said that, he doesn't explicitly say that your report was biased: he may have been asking a real, rather than rhetorical, question of where to go for in depth or on the spot reports. In that respect, he later dismissed the efforts of BCA, CCC, and Darkness Below. That leaves Descent, which few would say has an unblemished track record in respect of Draenen reports, and various Facebook pages, which are hardly ever unbiased.

So, Huge, that only seems to leave Dave's original answer: Britain's Ropiest Caving News Outlet - if only it wasn't currently unavailable. Let's wish it a speedy recovery...

Offline cavemanmike

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like it or not but the ccc is in a better place NOW than it has ever been. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
just look at the results of past and present   

Offline rich

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I have written an entirely factual report that does not take any side and I have been accused of bias. I find that offensive.

I have to say, I admire Huge's continued reasonableness in debating this issue, whilst being attacked, apparently unironically, for being "offensive" by the Multiple Entrances At Any Cost Gang.

At times this place is like the Daily Mail for hysteria and bias  ::)

I hear there is a possibility of peace breaking out in the near future. The best chance of that happening is to tone down the rhetoric and outrage.