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  1. #1

    Default QC's legal advice proves there is no general public right to navigate non-tidal river

    David Hart, a leading QC, has provided unequivocal legal advice which confirms once and for all the position about the lawfulness of canoeing and other paddlesports on rivers. The advice could not be any clearer that there is no general public right.


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  2. #2
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    Default Re: QC's legal advice proves there is no general public right to navigate non-tidal r

    Sorry - but as has been pointed-out before by PJ among others - a lawyers advice does not prove anything. It takes the appropriate court's judgement to do that - together with results of subsequent appeals!

  3. #3
    binka Guest

    Default Re: QC's legal advice proves there is no general public right to navigate non-tidal r

    I welcome the announcement but expect that, as in the case of the then Sports Minister Richard Benyon announcing that PRN's cannot be assumed, it will be completely ignored by the hard core of militant paddlers who are still reoffending week in, week out, without any intervention.

    Regardless of what the Canoeing Governing Bodies advise, the individual paddlers will carry on anyway because:

    1) They want to

    2) They know there's damned little we as Anglers can do when they're paddling through our swims and disturbing spawning grounds, whilst telling us to f--k off, from the safety of mid-river when we point out their crimes

    I choose the word 'crimes' carefully as any response to an abusive effect escalates the civil offence of Trespass to a criminal offence of Aggravated Trespass as defined by the Crown Prosecution Service themselves.

    If this news is so significant in relation to defining the Law let's now see the Angling Trust and the Environment Agency (the latter especially) in joint enforcement operations, carrying out stings using motorised launches on troubled stretches of water.

    The two agencies already work together on a multitude of issues and projects so let's see this one get some priority.

    Paddlers will only change their habits if they know there is a reasonable risk of getting caught.

    I will be contacting my club secretary to request this kind of action via our membership of the Angling Trust, as the offenders are repeat offenders on a weekly basis I will expect action to be taken and wanting to know if not, then why not?

    As I say I welcome the news, it's a start but only a start which now needs to be backed up with enforcement and publicising of the consequences to those who are caught.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: QC's legal advice proves there is no general public right to navigate non-tidal r

    When will the Angling Trust stop putting out these headline publicity shots that have no substance, I bet the members of "song of the paddle" are quaking in their kayaks.

    Just because someone says something is so doesn't make it so, is this the advice commissioned by the Angling Trust that Mark Lloyd said would result in the Trust making a further public statement almost certainly by the end of November (2016) ?
    •The crow may be caged, but its thoughts are in the cornfield

  5. #5

    Default Re: QC's legal advice proves there is no general public right to navigate non-tidal r

    Very poor choice of wording from the Angling Trust. They have paid for legal advice, I assume they sought the opinion, nothing more than that. Do they expect the average paddler, or the myriad of companies who operate on many rivers, to heed that advice and cease what they're doing?

    Those companies will only be affected if a case comes to court and is proven against them. Their insurance companies might then revise their policies and stop others from following suit.

    QC opinion is not cheap! Maybe financing a full prosecution is now more likely as a next step rather than people withdrawing their case or backing down when confronted with such opinions?
    Last edited by Neil Maidment; 25-01-2017 at 10:01.

  6. #6
    binka Guest

    Default Re: QC's legal advice proves there is no general public right to navigate non-tidal r

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Maidment View Post
    They have paid for legal advice, I assume they sought the opinion, nothing more than that. Do they expect the average paddler, or the myriad of companies who operate on many rivers, to heed that advice and cease what they're doing?

    Those companies will only be affected if a case comes to court and is proven against them. Their insurance companies might then revise their policies and stop others from following suit.

    QC opinion is not cheap! Maybe financing a full prosecution is now a more likely as a next step rather than people withdrawing their case or backing down when confronted with such opinions?
    I agree completely Neil.

    I don't know what the attitude of the paddlers is like in your part of the world but if it's anything like in mine, even after a string of successful prosecutions, the whole thing will need a blitz of continual enforcement before any impact is made.

    The paddlers simply don't care, it's a quick F-You and catch me if you can!

    Without the enforcement the money may as well have been flushed down the bog but I'm hoping that some effective campaign will now be planned.

    I won't hold my breath though.

    ---------- Post added at 20:21 ---------- Previous post was at 20:08 ----------

    As an additional question...

    Will the Angling Trust now be ensuring that the Canal & River Trust acknowledge this opinion and that they advise paddlers accordingly?

  7. #7

    Default Re: QC's legal advice proves there is no general public right to navigate non-tidal r

    Whilst it said to be illegal to use a Canoe on the Rivers,stopping them is difficult, if not impossible. Some Canoe clubs have agreement with land owners to launch and recover Canoes from the land owners property.

    Those who don't have any agreement can arrive with a vehicle,unload and launch in almost less time then it takes to tell the tale.The number of places is massive that they can operate from. Once on water they do as said above, do as they like, when they want to land, again only they and the vehicle drivers know where and when. Policing this situation with the assets available to the authorities today is all but mission impossible.

    Sad to say we will be putting up with these unwanted visitors to our fishing swims for a long time to come.

  8. #8
    binka Guest

    Default Re: QC's legal advice proves there is no general public right to navigate non-tidal r

    Quote Originally Posted by floatfish View Post
    Those who don't have any agreement can arrive with a vehicle,unload and launch in almost less time then it takes to tell the tale.The number of places is massive that they can operate from. Once on water they do as said above, do as they like, when they want to land, again only they and the vehicle drivers know where and when. Policing this situation with the assets available to the authorities today is all but mission impossible.

    (
    I do agree.

    However there are certain 'hotspots' which are frequented by certain regulars and these are prime candidates for holding up and making an example of imo.

    It's as simple as the Angling Trust and the Environment Agency working together to be on site at any one of these problem locations at what are fairly narrow timeframes, along with the equipment they already have, and getting these people off the water and into court.

    We pay our way and neither organisation would likely exist in their current form were it not for Angling money.

    If the Environment Agency can check licences from a motor launch then why can't they use the same to enforce the Law and protect our fishing?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: QC's legal advice proves there is no general public right to navigate non-tidal r

    Quote Originally Posted by binka View Post
    If the Environment Agency can check licences from a motor launch then why can't they use the same to enforce the Law and protect our fishing?

    IMO Steve its all about expenditure and gain because the more they can catch fishing without a rod licence the more they can publicise it and use it as a tool to put others off fishing without paying for one.

    Its a double win for them, on the one hand they shout from the rooftops about the amount of none licence holding anglers they find therefor convincing the average angler that pays for a licence that their money is being spent well while on the other hand using it as a warning to those that would consider fishing without a licence and so collecting more in licence revenue. IMO its a case of what it costs them to gain this publicity against what they gain in kudos with anglers and the extra revenue gained

    Carrying out these well publicised operations now costs the EA even less as they now have 300 dedicated anglers that have volunteered to do the work that we pay the EA to do.

    The Angling Trust even help them in this by publishing the names of anglers that have been caught without a licence although that is not surprising though as IMO the Trust are in the financial pocket of the EA since they accepted money from them.

    Your comment about none of them existing (certainly the fisheries arm of the EA) without anglers money is spot on unfortunately self interest and pleasing political and financial masters is higher on the agenda's of both organisations otherwise they would do what you suggest, just imagine the publicity they could gain from that but then there would be no money in it would there?
    •The crow may be caged, but its thoughts are in the cornfield

  10. #10
    binka Guest

    Default Re: QC's legal advice proves there is no general public right to navigate non-tidal r

    Quote Originally Posted by thecrow View Post
    IMO Steve its all about expenditure and gain because the more they can catch fishing without a rod licence the more they can publicise it and use it as a tool to put others off fishing without paying for one.

    Its a double win for them, on the one hand they shout from the rooftops about the amount of none licence holding anglers they find therefor convincing the average angler that pays for a licence that their money is being spent well while on the other hand using it as a warning to those that would consider fishing without a licence and so collecting more in licence revenue. IMO its a case of what it costs them to gain this publicity against what they gain in kudos with anglers and the extra revenue gained

    Carrying out these well publicised operations now costs the EA even less as they now have 300 dedicated anglers that have volunteered to do the work that we pay the EA to do.

    The Angling Trust even help them in this by publishing the names of anglers that have been caught without a licence although that is not surprising though as IMO the Trust are in the financial pocket of the EA since they accepted money from them.

    Your comment about none of them existing (certainly the fisheries arm of the EA) without anglers money is spot on unfortunately self interest and pleasing political and financial masters is higher on the agenda's of both organisations otherwise they would do what you suggest, just imagine the publicity they could gain from that but then there would be no money in it would there?
    The bottom line for me Graham is that we shouldn't be subject, as paying Anglers, to the disruption and vitriol that we have to suffer on a regular basis.

    We've fished together on one such occasion and the perpetrators in that instance continued their tirade well down river and subjected other anglers, who really had nothing at all to do with the initial confrontation, to their foul mouthed tirade as well.

    I'm not only sick and tired of it, I'm sick and tired of nothing being done about it on a practical level.

    I'm struggling to think of any other part of society where it would be tolerated.

    Canal & River Trust appear to be completely upside down on it and the paddling organisations and more notably the paddlers themselves aren't going to take a blind bit of notice of this announcement unless it is enforced at ground level.

    Otherwise it's just a load of money, hot air and another Richard Benyon moment.

    ---------- Post added at 22:18 ---------- Previous post was at 21:43 ----------

    To add...

    I've sent the following request to Canal & River Trust, I have received an acknowledgment to say that they hope to reply within two days:

    Dear Canal & River Trust,

    I would like to draw your attention to the recent advice published by David Hart QC on the subject of Public Rights of Navigation on non-tidal waterways in relation to illegal paddlers using canoes and kayaks, details of which may be found here:

    QC's legal advice proves there is no general public right to navigate non-tidal rivers in England and Wales - The Angling Trust

    I will be lobbying the Angling Trust and Environment Agency with regard to carrying out actual enforcement work and prosecution of offenders.

    I would be grateful if Canal & River Trust would clarify their position on the following:

    1) Do Canal & River Trust acknowledge this advice?

    2) Will Canal & River Trust be advising canoe & kayak users accordingly and if not what advice will Canal & River Trust be issuing with regard to Public Right of Navigation?

    I appreciate your cooperation.

    Regards,


    At least this should clarify their position on the matter which in my experience has previously been at odds with the Angling Trust's stance, at least on the stretches of river which I regularly frequent.

    I think the more that we can 'weed out' agencies and organisations who appear to be at odds with each other in terms of their own policy (or interpretation/clarification of it) then the better chance we have of getting the Angling Trust and Environment Agency to take enforcement action and prosecute the offenders.

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