S&TA input into canoe access research

The S&TA, together with colleagues from the National Angling Alliance (NAA), is in close consultation with researchers from Brighton University looking into the issue of greater access to water for canoeists.

The S&TA, together with colleagues from the National Angling Alliance (NAA), is in close consultation with researchers from Brighton University looking into the issue of greater access to water for canoeists.

The research team, led by Dr Neil Ravenscroft, has been retained by the Countryside Agency to tackle this controversial subject, and their recommendations will be taken into account in the Agency’s final report to Defra.

S&TA and colleagues have made several stipulations that would have to be met if joint agreements between anglers, riparian owners and canoeists are to work successfully. The most important include:

  • All canoeists would have to operate under the aegis of either the British Canoe Union (BCU), the Welsh Canoe Association (WCA) or some other official organisation such as a local club.
  • All canoeists must be registered, with a simple registration code clearly visible on person and canoe from the bank.

  • All canoeists must abide by a code of conduct relevant to local conditions and environment. Any offenders should be disciplined in the same way as angling club members, with the potential to deny access to water as an ultimate sanction.
  • Canoeists would be expected to pay for their access, in the same way as anglers. They would also be expected to fund relevant management charges incurred on maintaining and improving environment and infrastructure from which they benefit.
  • The Government must support any such agreements with legislation that enables canoeists to be prosecuted in the same way, for instance, as anglers can be for fishing without a licence or permission.

In separate talks, the NAA has established the Government policy on other access issues:

  • There should be no change to riparian rights.
  • Angling would be expected to benefit from any agreement involving greater access for canoeists.