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Access & Environment Lobbying work

British Canoeing is committed to ensuring the voice of paddlers heard on the major issues affecting our sport and the environment in which we participate.

Expand Consultation Submissions

Consultation Submissions

British Canoeing is actively campaigning alongside other key organisations on a range of issues, from public access to protection of wildlife & habitats. To date, some of the key pieces of work we have been involved in are:

Environment Bill

Autumn 2018 - ongoing:

British Canoeing is working closely with Greener UK and Wildlife and Countryside Link to during the development of the new Environment Bill.

We would like to see:

  • Everyone have access to high quality natural green AND BLUE space where they live, to contribute to their wellbeing, and mental and physical health.

  • Effective controls in place to protect and enhance the natural environment.

  • Everyone receiving an inspiring environmental education and environmental matters are properly communicated to, and understood by, the public

Review of Designated Landscapes

Dec 2018:

British Canoeing submitted a detailed response to ‘Designated Landscape Review’, covering National Parks and AONB’s.

Key points:

  • National Parks are on the front line in the public’s engagement with the environment, landscapes and wildlife. The very nature of being in a named ‘Designated Landscape’ brings a unique special quality that focuses people’s attention. They provide inspirational places for us to live, work and play.

  • National Parks could and should be champions of the free right of all to enjoy the outdoors by whatever responsible means they so wish, without exception, exclusion or priority.

  • More must be done to ensure that National Parks uphold the principles on which they were founded, ensuring everyone has a free and equal right to enjoy the outdoors. This includes access on water.

  • National Parks must be properly funded in accordance with their original aims.  

  • National Parks and AONB’s should take a lead in providing innovative and creative ways of inspiring people to be responsible for the impact their activity has upon the natural landscape.

EFRA inquiry on the Agriculture Bill

October 2018:

 British Canoeing submitted written evidence to the EFRA (Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs) Select Committee.

The response can be read here

British Canoeing submitted the Wildlife & Countryside Link submission to the EFRA inquiry into the Agriculture Bill.

The response can be read here

Agriculture Bill

May 2018: 

British Canoeing submitted a response to the Government consultation on ‘Health & Harmony: the future of food, farming and the environment in a green Brexit’.

The response can be read here

May 2018: 

British Canoeing inputted and signed up to the Wildlife & Countryside link Consultation response to ‘Health & Harmony: the future of food, farming and the environment in a green Brexit’.

The joint response can be read here:

October 2018: 

British Canoeing supported Wildlife & Countryside Link/Greener UK submission to the Public Bill Committee.

The joint response can be read here

Marine licensing exemption consultation response

Nov 2018:

British Canoeing inputted into a consultation response by the Wildlife & Countryside Link on Marine Licensing Exemptions.

We supported the majority of the marine licensing exemptions but agree that in-water cleaning of lightly fouled recreational vessels is not best practice when carrying out biosecurity. We  believe that the exemption proposal fails to align with either the Convention on Biological Diversity or the GB Non-Native Species Strategy.

Blueprint for Water

Through our membership with Wildlife & Countryside Link, British Canoeing is an active member of the Blueprint for Water working group. This is a unique coalition of environmental, water efficiency, recreational users including fisheries, angling and recreational organisations, and are part of the wider environmental NGO coalition, Wildlife and Countryside Link. Blueprint members come together to form a powerful joint voice across a range of issues.

Below are a selection of initiatives we have supported or inputted into:

Shared Principles between water companies and environmental NGOs

British Canoeing signed up to support the shared principles document, which sets out how water companies and Environmental NGO’s will work together to safeguard the environment.

The Joint Principles Doc can be found here

#ProtectWater campaign

British Canoeing Supported this initiative help encourage signatories to the consultation against changes to the Water Framework Directive.

Reducing Diffuse Agriculture Pollution

British Canoeing participated in the discussion, under the Blueprint for Water initiative to help collate ideas to reduce diffuse pollution by investigating:

  • What we need from the Agriculture Bill and Environment Bill prior to Brexit

  • Managing public money under a new Environmental Land Management Scheme as well as from private investment

National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) Strategy - Blueprint for Water coalition to the Environment Agency October 2018

We agree that would like to see the strategy result in greater uptake of natural flood management (NFM) with benefits for both those at risk of flooding and aquatic, wetland and riparian habitats. A more joined up approach to flood and coastal erosion risk management which works with natural processes will help ensure public funds are spent in the best way and contribute to wellbeing.

Expand Written Questions & Answers

Written Questions & Answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments. The can be tabled by any MP and are usually (not always) answered within around 7 days.

British Canoeing is working with MP’s, Peers and through partners to regularly submit Written Questions related to our Clear Access, Clear Waters Campaign. You too can ask your MP to submit a question to the relevant Minister. Please let us know if you are intending on asking your MP to submit a question, so that we can help and advise on any which may have already been tabled.  

 A list of recent questions and answers can be found below. All written questions can be searched here 

Written Questions & Answers

MP Name Question Answer Date

Caroline Lucas MP (Brighton Pavillion)

REF:212348 To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps he has taken to support increased access for canoeists to rivers and waterways in England (Mims Davies)The Government’s sport strategy, Sporting Future, encourages and promotes outdoor recreation. Use of our waterways by all can be a creative and fun way to engage with the natural world and to stay healthy. Sport England is actively engaged with British Canoeing and the Canal and River Trust to get more people from all backgrounds active. In addition Sport England is providing £6.85m to British Canoeing for the period between 2017 to 2021. The ‘public rights of navigation’ issue around access to waterways is dealt with by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and they are currently working with British Canoeing to consider solutions to access disputes. 31.01.19

Ben Bradley MP (Mansfield)

REF: 219578 To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of access to English waterways for canoeists (Mims Davies): The Government’s sport strategy, Sporting Future, encourages and promotes outdoor recreation. Use of our waterways by all can be a creative and fun way to engage with the natural world and to stay healthy. Sport England is actively engaged with British Canoeing and the Canal and River Trust to get more people from all backgrounds active. In addition Sport England is providing £6.85m to British Canoeing for the period between 2017 to 2021. The ‘public rights of navigation’ issue around access to waterways is dealt with by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and they are currently working with British Canoeing to consider solutions to access disputes. 19.02.19

Pauline Latham MP (Mid Derbyshire)

REF: 220195 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what aspiration his department has for waterways to be open to all, (Therese Coffey)  Access to waterways, including for recreational purposes, remains subject to licence by the relevant navigation authority or to agreement with the riparian landowner where there is no navigation authority in place. The Government has not undertaken a specific assessment of what length of unmanaged waterways has a public right of navigation. Within the canal and major river navigation network in England and Wales (20,000 km), approximately 4,700 km have either public navigation rights or are available for licensed navigation as managed by a navigation authority. 19.02.19

Pauline Latham MP (Mid Derbyshire)

REF: 220195 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what aspiration his department has for waterways to be open to all. (Therese Coffey)  Access to waterways, including for recreational purposes, remains subject to licence by the relevant navigation authority or to agreement with the riparian landowner where there is no navigation authority in place. The Government has not undertaken a specific assessment of what length of unmanaged waterways has a public right of navigation. Within the canal and major river navigation network in England and Wales (20,000 km), approximately 4,700 km have either public navigation rights or are available for licensed navigation as managed by a navigation authority. 19.02.19

Will Quince MP (Colchester)

REF: 224812 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to promote open access to waterways for canoeists. (Therese Coffey) Access to waterways, including for recreational purposes, remains subject to licence by the relevant navigation authority or to agreement with the riparian landowner where there is no navigation authority in place. 28.02.19

Laura Smith MP (Crewe & Nantwich)

REF: 228656 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has plans to bring forward legislative proposals, similar to provisions in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, to improve access to inland waterways. (Therese Coffey) The Government currently has no plans to legislate on this issue. 11.03.19

Ben Bradley MP (Mansfield)

REF: 230877 To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of current access rights to water on paddlesport participation in England. (Mims Davies) The Government’s sport strategy, Sporting Future, encourages and promotes outdoor recreation. Use of our waterways by all can be a creative and fun way to engage with the natural world and to stay healthy. Sport England is actively engaged with British Canoeing and the Canal and River Trust to get more people from all backgrounds active. In addition Sport England is providing £6.85m to British Canoeing for the period between 2017 to 2021. The ‘public rights of navigation’ issue around access to waterways is dealt with by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and they are currently working with British Canoeing to consider solutions to access disputes. 11.03.19

John Grogan MP (Keighley)

REF: 243343 To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to encourage the development of the sport of canoeing. (Mims Davies) The Government’s sport strategy, Sporting Future, encourages and promotes outdoor recreation. Use of our waterways by all can be a creative and fun way to engage with the natural world and to stay healthy. Sport England is actively engaged with British Canoeing and the Canal and River Trust to get more people from all backgrounds active. In addition Sport England is providing £6.85m to British Canoeing for the period between 2017 to 2021. The ‘public rights of navigation’ issue around access to waterways is dealt with by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and they are currently working with British Canoeing to consider solutions to access disputes. 23.04.19

John Grogan MP (Keighley)

REF: 243345 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the total length of unmanaged waterways in England to which canoeists have an undisputed right of navigation. (Therese Coffey) I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Mid Derbyshire, Pauline Latham, on 19 February 2019 to PQ 220196. 15.04.19

John Grogan MP (Keighley)

REF: 243346 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what voluntary access arrangements to inland waterways for recreational purposes have been negotiated in the last 10 years; and how many additional miles of waterway have been made available to canoeists through this mechanism. (Therese Coffey) Information of this nature is not held by the department. 15.04.19

Gareth Thomas MP (Harrow West)

REF: 247567 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department last met with representatives of British Canoeing on access on Inland Waterways; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of granting canoeists the same level of access rights on inland waterways in England as is granted in Scotland. (Therese Coffey) I met British Canoeing to discuss access on inland waterways on 26 November. Government policy continues to be that access to rivers should be arranged through voluntary agreements between landowners, canoeists and those wishing to use the water for recreational purposes. 03.05.19

Gareth Thomas MP (Harrow West)

REF: 247568 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the statutory right of navigation on water in relation to shared access for recreation. (Therese Coffey) Access to waterways, including for recreational purposes, remains subject to licence by the relevant navigation authority, or subject to agreement with the riparian landowner where there is no navigation authority in place. 03.05.19

Gareth Thomas MP (Harrow West)

REF: 247569 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many square kilometres of countryside were covered by access arrangements and available to the public before the introduction of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. (Therese Coffey) The total area covered by access agreements in England before the introduction of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 was 4,890 square kilometres. 03.05.19

Gareth Thomas MP (Harrow West)

REF: 246570 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the ability to secure locally agreed access arrangements to facilitate greater public access to the countryside, before the introduction of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. (Therese Coffey) There has been no recent assessment of this nature, however access agreements were included as part of the Countryside and Rights of Way Bill research paper prior to the introduction of the Act. The full report can be viewed at: https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/RP00-31 Due to the length of time which has passed, many documents have been destroyed in line with standard retention periods and we have no information about other assessments prior to the introduction of the Act. 03.05.19

Chris Williamson MP (Derby North)

REF: 256982 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the feasibility of negotiating an equitable and practical access arrangement for canoeing with all riparian owners and stakeholders along the 106km of the River Derwent in Derbyshire. (Therese Coffey) There has been no assessment by the department into the feasibility of access agreements on the River Derwent. 21.05.19

Chris Williamson MP (Derby North)

REF: 256983 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of uncontested access on water within National Parks for canoeing; and how many successful access arrangements there are within National Parks that facilitate access on water for recreation. (Therese Coffey) There has been no departmental assessment of the adequacy of uncontested access on water within National Parks. The department does not hold information on access agreements within National Parks. 25.05.19

Gareth Thomas MP (Harrow West)

REF: 254720 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 May 2019 to Question 247567 on Canoeists, what recent voluntary agreements between landowners, canoeists and those wishing to use the water for recreational purposes have been concluded in the last three years, and if he will make a statement. (Therese Coffey) This information is not held by the Department. 23.05.19

Rosie Duffield MP (Canterbury)

REF: 255372 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 19 February 2019 to Question 220196 on Inland waterways, whether a public right of navigation is in place along the Kentish Stour between Canterbury and Fordwich. (Therese Coffey) There is no navigation authority with jurisdiction over the Kentish Stour between Canterbury and Fordwich. Rights of navigation in this stretch are subject to navigation agreements between riparian landowners and those wishing to navigate the waterway. The Department does not hold information on individual navigation agreements. 21.05.19

Lord Addington

REF: HL15946 To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the omission from the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 of provision on open access to inland water. (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) The Government has made no assessment of legislating for open access to inland water. 04.06.19

Lord Addington

REF: HL15947 To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the length of theunmanaged waterways in National Parks to which access is uncontested and which are open to the public for recreation. (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) The Government has not undertaken a specific assessment of what length of unmanaged waterways has a public right of navigation. Of the canal and major river navigation network in England and Wales approximately a quarter has either public navigation rights or are available for licensed navigation as managed by a navigation authority. 04.06.19

Tom Brake MP (Carshalton and Wallington)

REF 259825: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on his Department's policies of the conclusion of the 2011 post-legislative scrutiny of the Scottish Land Reform Act 2003 that helped formalise and clarify access rights where previously there was informality and ambiguity; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of a similar approach in relation to public access for recreation on inland waterways in England.

Tom Brake MP (Carshalton and Wallington)

REF 259827: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answers of 30 May 2018 to Question 256982 on Canoeing: River Derwent, of 23 May 2019 to Question 254720 on Canoeing and of 15 April 2019 to Question 243346 on Canoeing, if his Department will make an assessment of whether its current policy of locally negotiated access arrangements is delivering adequate public access for recreation on English waters.

Tom Brake MP (Carshalton and Wallington)

REF: 259826: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of recent efforts by canoeists to clear rubbish and plastic from inland waters; and what steps the Government is taking to ensure that such activity is encouraged and supported on all inland waterways in England. The Government has not made any specific assessments of the effectiveness of recent efforts by canoeists to clear rubbish and plastic from inland waters. We support and endorse action by volunteers and local communities to take action to address the specific litter issues in their areas, and were pleased to support Keep Britain Tidy’s recent Great British Spring Clean. The Prime Minister has also recently recognised the work of Dhruv Boruah of the Thames Project through a Points of Light Award. The Government’s Litter Strategy recognises that much‑loved features of the local environment such as rivers, canals and beaches can be used as ‘flagship’ locations for clean-up action by communities. Organisations such as the Marine Conservation Society, Thames21 and Surfers Against Sewage are represented on the Community Engagement Working Group which was established under the Litter Strategy to explore the barriers to engaging and involving citizens in tackling litter and improving local places, and to recommend steps to address them. 10.06.19