Author Topic: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside  (Read 984 times)

Offline Martin Laverty

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CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« on: March 20, 2020, 01:25:36 pm »
Cross posting link to a comprehensive post from Cambrian Caving Council's Conservation and Access officer, for all in Wales: https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=26176.msg319654#msg319654

or refer directly to

 http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/corona%20virus.html 


Offline Tony_B

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2020, 01:02:41 pm »
The link to the CCC post mentions that replies are awaited with regard to Dan-yr-Ogof. I have today sent the following email to all DYO Wardens:

Dear Wardens,
In the light of the Government policy announced at 20:30 on 23 March 2020 it has been decided that cavers must not visit Dan-yr-Ogof whether to cave or to park for access to the Black Mountain.  Access to the cave is physically blocked and the gates to the site are locked. It is considered that local people are likely to be very unhappy at cavers coming to the area from outside and that it could damage the relationship between the local community and cavers.

Thanks for your understanding and co-operation.

With best wishes to all at this difficult time.
Tony Baker, DYO CAP Wardens’ Sec.


This decision has been made by the DYO CAP at the behest of the showcave management, who last weekend had to put up with members of the public opening the gates to 'see the dinosaurs' despite the big signs that said the complex was closed. Yes, really. 




Offline Martin Laverty

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2020, 06:04:42 pm »
A comprehensive update by the CCC today [ http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/corona%20virus.html ], including notice of closure of many car parks, paths, and access areas by the BBNPA [ https://www.beacons-npa.gov.uk/the-authority/press-and-news/press-releases/march-2020/covid-19-emergency-measures-to-footpaths-and-car-parks/ ]

Offline Jopo

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2020, 11:52:12 pm »
The police were moving on dog walkers using the Cwm Dwr and Craig yr Nos Station parking areas today. It appears that you cannot drive to your chosen exercise - beit dog walking or just walking without the risk of a fine.


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Offline Jenny P

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2020, 12:37:22 pm »
Check 2 days ago by a friend of mine - she was told that any exercise MUST start from your own home.  You may not drive to somewhere and then start your exercise from there.

In the Peak District the local fuzz are now using drones to check and enforce this after car parking spots, even isolated lay-bys, near popular climbing and walking venues were found to be crowded.  Car reg. nos. are being recorded and there are now fines if you are found out and about like this.


Offline darren

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2020, 12:55:18 pm »
If anyone is interested (sad enough) in a legal view on the enabling legislation for this @davidallengreenon Twitter is very good.

The legislation is of course "secondary legislation" rather than "primary legislation". Primary legislation, as we all know is an act of Parliament whereas secondary legislation is via a Statutory Instrument and therefore challengeable in court. All you have to do is prove your journey is both necessary and reasonable. The list of reasons to leave you home given by the government is worded carefully and uses the the phrase " reasons include" this is significant as it admits it is not an exclusive list. It follows that you can challenge any fines given by the police for traveling for exercise.

Just saying.  It is really academic as only an idiot is not staying home

There is a parallel discussion amount legal types about over zealous use of the law risking bringing the law into disrepute. I.e little old lady 70+ driving 2 miles so she can walk her dog safe in the knowledge she won't meet anybody.
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Offline Stuart France

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2020, 01:41:17 pm »
Breaking news from BBC Radio 4 World At One …  Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock both have Coronavirus.

Question from 80-year old listener:  I want to drive to a remote spot in the countryside, stay in my car to eat a sandwich and coffee, then drive home.  Is this dangerous?  Is this legal?

Answer from National Police Chief’s Association spokesman:  “It’s fine.  People should use their common sense.    Going for a drive in the country [to walk on your own] is fine.  But don’t do high risk activities where you might have an accident [like mountaineering] which will then involve others.”

Answer from Avon & Somerset Police:  “We are leafleting cars parked in honeypot areas only and want people to use common sense to avoid contact with others.”

It seems everyone, including the government and the police are just making it all up as they go along.

I can see now that a weekly access update to the Cambrian Caving Council website is not going to be enough.

Offline Speleotron

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2020, 02:03:17 pm »
Apparently the police round York are stopping random drivers and asking why they are travelling so I'm assuming the NYPD (lol) have decided that driving for a walk is off limits. This is annoying, as for me to get to the empty fields I have to walk along a 200 yard stretch of pavement with other people on it and they often just march down the middle without thinking about leaving a gap for people. I could hop in the car and park next to the fields to cut this bit out.

But I do understand why they have the rule, it has to be a blanket rule for everyone even if it's counter-productive for a few people. If you allow people room to make common sense exceptions then everyone will think they are special which is why the national parks were absolutely rammed the weekend before the lockdown.
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Offline CatM

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2020, 02:21:00 pm »

Question from 80-year old listener:  I want to drive to a remote spot in the countryside, stay in my car to eat a sandwich and coffee, then drive home.  Is this dangerous?  Is this legal?

Answer from National Police Chief’s Association spokesman:  “It’s fine.  People should use their common sense.    Going for a drive in the country [to walk on your own] is fine.  But don’t do high risk activities where you might have an accident [like mountaineering] which will then involve others.”


Surely the driving is the most dangerous part...

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Offline Stuart France

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2020, 02:26:11 pm »
The reasons the countryside was "rammed" last weekend were:
1) the schools closed down on Friday until further notice
2) the weather was fantastic with an indefinite blue-skies forecast which followed months of back-to-back storms and extreme flooding
3) people were told not to go into work from the following week onwards if it can be avoided
4) people were also told they can go on the sick for a precautionary week or two if they have a cough etc.

It's the law of unintended consequences at work after not joining up the dots:  both the people doing the ramming and the other people who didn't see this coming down the line.

Offline Speleotron

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2020, 02:28:15 pm »
I'm not sure I buy the whole 'driving is more dangerous than mountaineering' thing. If there were as many mountaineering-hours as there were driving hours then I think the stats would look very different.

I think they have to just come up with one rule for everyone whether or not there are instances where it doesn't make sense, it's just easier for everyone. I don't think they have time for everyone making an exception for themselves and going over the finer points of it.
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Offline CatM

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2020, 03:08:24 pm »


I'm not sure I buy the whole 'driving is more dangerous than mountaineering' thing. If there were as many mountaineering-hours as there were driving hours then I think the stats would look very different.

Arguably more dangerous than walking though, and almost certainly more dangerous than eating your sandwich and coffee at home....


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Offline Speleotron

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2020, 03:22:46 pm »
Agreed.
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Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2020, 03:45:08 pm »
Breaking news from BBC Radio 4 World At One …  Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock both have Coronavirus.

Question from 80-year old listener:  I want to drive to a remote spot in the countryside, stay in my car to eat a sandwich and coffee, then drive home.  Is this dangerous?  Is this legal?

Answer from National Police Chief’s Association spokesman:  “It’s fine.  People should use their common sense.    Going for a drive in the country [to walk on your own] is fine.  But don’t do high risk activities where you might have an accident [like mountaineering] which will then involve others.”

Answer from Avon & Somerset Police:  “We are leafleting cars parked in honeypot areas only and want people to use common sense to avoid contact with others.”

It seems everyone, including the government and the police are just making it all up as they go along.

I can see now that a weekly access update to the Cambrian Caving Council website is not going to be enough.
Yesterday the World at One and the PM program on BBC Radio 4 carried interviews with two other Chief Police Officers who said driving to a spot for exercise was not acceptable in law.  One even cited the concern of a road or walking accident causing an additional burden on the emergency services.

Reg 6 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 SI No 350 see http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/350/made states:

During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.

and goes onto define reasonable excuse as including

to take exercise either alone or with other members of their household;

and also

to travel for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible for that person to work, or to provide those services, from the place where they are living;

I suggest to travel to a place where one takes exercise is not a reasonable excuse.

Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2020, 03:49:20 pm »
Sorry forgot to state that the SI only applies to England, no doubt the Werlsh and Scottish governments will produce something similar PDQ.

Offline Stuart France

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2020, 04:07:08 pm »
As I said, one policeman says one thing and another says another.  And tomorrow the policemen may say something quite different.

The Welsh Government has done two Statutory Instruments this week (the later one replacing the earlier one) so even they were saying one thing about access on Monday and by Friday, hey, it's different.

The Welsh Government has just emailed out, less than one hour ago, this countryside access statement via NRW which can now be downloaded from here:
http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/pdf/WGstatement200327.pdf

As you will see, it cautions about gates and stiles as possible sources of contamination and carries a request to respect the needs and safety of farmers that you might encounter on proper countryside walks.  It also says countryside excursions should be close to home and countryside walking is good for you, or words to that effect, presumably in part to deter over-zealous policemen as well as ecourage common sense by the public.  This was attached to an email sent to the chairs of all the local access forums in Wales and all the members of the NRW National Access Forum for Wales, which includes me.  Here is their original email:

"Good Afternoon,

Due to queries from landowners/ managers and the concerns that Covid19 is raising, with regards to the general public accessing tourist areas within Wales, Welsh Government has issued new legislation to help reduce the spread of the disease.

Please see the attached information, which is currently only in English, for your information. I am currently in the process of having this document translated into Welsh to send out to you early next week.

Any queries, please let me know.

Regards

Jayne Carter
Cynghorydd 2, Diwygio Mynediad / Advisor 2, Access Reform
Tîm Mynediad a Hamdden Awyr Agored / Outdoor Access & Recreation Team
Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru / Natural Resources Wales"


Online mikem

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2020, 04:20:31 pm »
I'm not sure I buy the whole 'driving is more dangerous than mountaineering' thing. If there were as many mountaineering-hours as there were driving hours then I think the stats would look very different.
Pretty sure it's that you are more likely to have an accident driving to the location, than you are doing the activity - which isn't quite the same thing - you'll need this issue of Descent to calculate it (the Oxford uni & HSE links on p.2 no longer work):
https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=11647.0

Offline Speleotron

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2020, 04:28:05 pm »
All the links are dead but it seems I was wrong, for caving at least. I wonder if it's partly to do with concentration and how seriously people take an activity? If people drove as carefully as they did SRT then would driving be still be more dangerous? Anyway this will probably derail the thread too much sorry.
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Online mikem

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2020, 04:33:45 pm »
It does depend what you include as mountaineering - some would say walking up Catbells & others only alpine routes - so your statement is probably true at the upper end of that - but as you say, we are getting rather offtrack (then again, that's half the interest of forums & I think you're right about attention span).

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2020, 04:36:59 pm »
Without getting into complicated stats, it seems reasonably obvious that driving and then going for a walk is probably more hazardous than merely going for a walk. This may not apply in absolutely all cases; as mentioned above the avoidance of a crowded street to park a short distance down the road (to remove possibility of coming into contact with infected people) may be one example.

But put yourself in the governments shoes - it's very difficult to draw the line. I wasn't a fan of Johnson throughout the election campaign (or beforehand for that matter) but I don't think he's done that bad a balancing act to deal with the Coronavirus crisis optimally over recent weeks.
I think it's fairly well known that he found the idea of limiting freedom idealogically abhorrent.

I gather he's just tested positive; even if I dislike his political style, I hope he gets well soon.

Offline pwhole

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Re: CCC and others on access to Welsh caves and countryside
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2020, 05:17:38 pm »
I'm not surprised he's got it - watching the news yesterday, about ten of them all piled through the front door of 10 Downing Street, rubbing shoulders and everything. I was a little surprised, given the contents of the previous few minutes conversations. I know it's difficult - we are a tactile species after all - but if they're not on top of this very obvious stuff, it does make me worry a little. On the upside, my relatively impoverished and generally solo lifestyle is beginning to feel quite luxurious relatively now, but I know it shouldn't. I'll enjoy it while it lasts. And think where to go for my daily walk, as it's due!

 

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