Friday, February 16, 2007

Canoeists' access petition launched

Canoeists have launched an online petition in their bid for free access to Britain's rivers, canals and waterways.

An article on the website of the british Canoe Union (BCU) says: "The BCU’s Rivers Access Campaign is calling for legislation similar to the Scottish Land Reform Act 2003.

"The Act establishes and codifies a statutory right of responsible access to land and inland water for recreation and education purposes; to protect the environment, rights and activities of all canoeists, anglers, other outdoor users and landowners in relation to access. Everyone is required to adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code that supports the Act. The Act has been successfully implemented in Scotland and could be adapted to apply to England and Wales.

"Canoe and kayaking is the fastest growing watersport for the fifth year running and access to waterways would help us achieve our and the government’s objectives in many areas. Increased access would provide more recreational and sporting canoe and kayaking activities, helping the country get healthier and fitter, it also gives people of all ages and abilities opportunities to learn a skill.

"With the London 2012 Games in the not too distant future, this is the time to be opening up rivers, to give us the same prospects that Europe and the rest of the world have.

"Canoe and kayaking does not harm the environment, the canoe leaves no trace, no footprints, no noise. In fact it does quite the opposite; paddlers tend to respect and want to preserve nature. Furthermore, studies have proven that canoe and kayaking does not disturb fishing (Effects of Canoeing on Fish Stocks and Angling – Research and Development Technical Report by the Environment Agency W266).

More here.