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British Canoeing statement regarding the River Wye

British Canoeing has been made aware of concerns raised by paddlers about the proposal of a charging scheme for paddlers passing through a fishery located at Llowes, between Glasbury and Hay-On-Wye.

There is considerable evidence of a Public Right of Navigation (PRN) for the entire River Wye and we are working with Canoe Wales, local partners and access volunteers to collate this information which would support the case.

We fully support the principles of paddling in a responsible and sustainable manner and working in cooperation with other water users, but we are wholly opposed to any measures which seek to charge canoeists to paddle down rivers. 

A charge to pass through a stretch of a river would not only damage canoeing interests, but would have a serious knock on effect to the local economy. Concerns regarding this proposed scheme are not only being voiced by paddlers, but also by local businesses. 

British Canoeing strongly supports the principles of fair, shared and sustainable access to rivers; which was advocated strongly by ourselves, Canoe Wales and more than 1500 paddlers in our responses to the Welsh Government’s consultation Taking Wales Forward in 2017.

Clearly it would be preferable to find a way to work with the fishery to tackle the practical concerns that they have and to agree sensible ways to share the space, but British Canoeing and Canoe Wales are firmly committed to protecting canoeing on the River Wye. We will work alongside the local stakeholders to try to resolve the situation but we will strongly resist attempts to restrict access or to impose charges on people journeying along the river.

In the meantime, it is essential that paddlers are made aware of the developing situation on the Upper Wye and if challenged, we recommend following the guidance provided by British Canoeing.