Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

No universal right to paddle on most rivers in England and Wales

by Stillwater Trout Fisheries Association on 27 Sep 2013
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal Stillwater Trout Fisheries Association
The Chief Executive Officer of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal has written to the British Canoe Union demanding that it publicly accepts the established legal position that there is no universal right to paddle on most rivers in England and Wales, and to support the government policy of local voluntary access agreements.

The BCU has in recent months suggested on its web site and elsewhere that ancient laws might give people the right to paddle or row boats wherever and whenever they like.

Confusingly, the BCU is at the same time campaigning for a change in the law to allow free unlimited and unregulated access to all rivers at all times. The Angling Trust says it has also been reliably informed that the BCU has ordered its local staff and volunteers not to sign voluntary access agreements with angling clubs and landowners unless they allow access at all times.

According to the Angling Trust, this conduct by the BCU has coincided with a spate of widespread unlawful canoeing, increased conflict on riverbanks and threatening behaviour towards law-abiding anglers and their clubs over the past year. Anglers pay rent and a rod licence to go fishing, and are subject to close seasons and a wide range of bye laws, said the Trust.

The issue has been highlighted in a recent article published by the BBC, in which the BCU's suggestion of general public rights of navigation dating back to medieval times was explained as a 'misunderstanding' of the law by highly respected and independent barrister Jonathon Karas QC, an expert in this area of law. The BCU has responded to the article, hinting that it has conflicting legal advice. Lawyers at Fish Legal, which acts as the legal arm of the Angling Trust in England, have previously confronted the BCU with the established legal position, but have never been shown the BCU's advice.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal, has now written to his counterpart at the BCU demanding that they reveal the conflicting advice, accept the law and work with anglers to promote voluntary access agreements so that paddlers and others can enjoy greater lawful access to rivers.

Mark Lloyd said: 'The BCU's position has now been independently referred to as a misunderstanding of the law, and I believe it would be irresponsible for them to risk greater confusion and conflict by denying that the law is anything other than clear: there are no general public rights of navigation above the tidal limit unless specifically acquired (usually by statute). They may not like the law, or the Government's policy, but as a national governing body they must accept both. The Angling Trust and its members are keen to increase access to waters for boats and swimmers where appropriate, but on a small island it makes sense to have agreements drawn up between local people to share access and to avoid conflict between users and potential damage to the environment.'
Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearGAC Pindar FreightEnsign 660

Related Articles

Stacer’s Ocean Rangers are now tougher than ever
The new 589 Ocean Ranger now features more freeboard at 730mm, bringing the model in line with the rest of the range. Due to customer demand Stacer has released two new models in their plate range to now include the 589 and 619 Ocean Ranger Hard Tops offering a more budget friendly option that is still packed with power and strength.
Posted on 17 Aug
Shark 'trophy' hunters land in hot water
Two young men who removed the jaws of a dead Great White Shark have found themselves in trouble with the law. Two young men who removed the jaws of a dead Great White Shark have found themselves in trouble with the law.
Posted on 16 Aug
Port Phillip Bay Fishers gather to celebrate Bay fishing
Jaala Pulford welcomed key fishing industry representatives and recreational anglers to Port Phillip Bay Conference Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford today welcomed key fishing industry representatives and recreational anglers to the first Port Phillip Bay Conference in Altona.
Posted on 13 Aug
Trout opening festival expands to include Ballarat
To welcome opening of trout fishing season Goulburn Fishing Festival will be joined by a similar event at Ballarat To welcome the opening of the 2016 trout fishing season in rivers the popular Goulburn Fishing Festival will be joined by a similar family-friendly event at Ballarat this year on Saturday 3 September.
Posted on 12 Aug
TowBoatUS Ocean City removes harmful fishing nets
Earlier this summer, three miles of open water was all that separated two efforts to protect and nurture marine life Earlier this summer, three miles of open water was all that separated two efforts to protect and nurture marine life on the Atlantic Coast.
Posted on 12 Aug
Mansfield trout conference a must for anglers
Recreational anglers can learn about Victoria’s wild trout fisheries at a free one day conference on Saturday 5 November Recreational anglers can learn more about Victoria’s wild trout fisheries at a free one day conference on Saturday 5 November at Mansfield.
Posted on 10 Aug
Angler exceeds calamari catch limit at Portarlington
A 69-year old man from Portarlington will be summons to appear in the Geelong Magistrates Court A 69-year old man from Portarlington will be summons to appear in the Geelong Magistrates Court later this year for allegedly exceeding the daily catch limit of calamari.
Posted on 9 Aug
Brook trout to be stocked in Victoria
Brook trout are being released into Lake Purrumbete near Camperdown, the first official release of the fish in Victoria. Brook trout are being released into Lake Purrumbete near Camperdown this week, the first official release of the fish in Victoria.
Posted on 8 Aug
Tasmanian trout season opens
With trout season opening next weekend, many are pondering where to go to wet a line, to try and catch a big fish With the trout season opening next weekend, many are pondering where to go to wet a line, especially to try and catch a big fish first off. Me, I’m going to local water, just in case the weather is crook or turns foul.
Posted on 4 Aug
Kids Polarised Sunglasses from Barz Optics
Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Each pair are supplied with a neoprene case and sunglass retainer.
Posted on 4 Aug