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Blog: View from the Riverbank Update

Your latest update on all things 'Clear Access, Clear Waters' and what the team have been up to over the summer, from Places to Paddle Manager, Ben Seal .

Maybe its just me, but September can sometimes appear to be the equivalent of a wet Wednesday. Summer feels like it is on the turn, being usurped by darker mornings and chillier nights. For many river paddlers, it is soon to be prime season. Water tends to be more reliable and sweaty dry suits become just that bit more bearable to wear.

Laura Macbeath

To compound the gloom that often accompanies the ebb of summer, our politicians have returned to Westminster amidst the greatest political crisis to affect our generation. The Brexit mayhem has sucked the air out of the domestic agenda – but our Clear Access, Clear Waters Campaign lobbying still continues apace!

With the tumultuous political landscape developing hourly, we have been doing what we can to seek commitment by political parties to support our cause. A General Election is inevitably on the horizon, so it is vital British Canoeing – and ALL of its members use this time to make our ask heard!

The faces of Government Ministers seem to be shifting weekly, but we have been continuing to press the current Government to address their policy toward inland waterways. That said, possibly our opportunity to gain support for the change paddlers and swimmers alike crave, rests with opposition parties.

There is a compelling case for all of the major opposition parties to support fair, shared, sustainable open access on water in England. Labour, the Liberals and Greens all have a track record for supporting policies around greater access to the countryside. Our work with Tom Watson MP (Deputy Leader of Labour) and meetings with Liberal Democrats should stand us in good stead.

Fingers crossed we will have some positive news on this effort in the very near future….

Beyond pushing our agenda with politicians, now has seemed to be a good time to pause, take stock and work on some of the other big projects linked to access and the environment.

Very soon we will be launching a really, really exciting new addition to our website. A year in development, the new ‘PaddlePoints’ will replace an already popular paddler resource. As well as places to launch, land, park, eat, the map will display hazards, incidents, photos, trails and much more. Critically it will be yours. Inspired by paddlers, grown by paddlers, developed through consultation with paddlers and maintained with your input.

PaddlePoints. Landing soon. You heard it hear first.

If you hadn’t noticed, this autumn British Canoeing is again partnering with Surfers Against Sewage on the Summit to Sea Campaign. We want to make this the biggest, most successful river clean up campaign we can – and for that we need you. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Every effort to clear plastic from our rivers helps to keep the environment healthy. Your rivers need you, so get involved and register your clean!

In a matter of weeks, we intend to launch a new campaign website for Clear access, Clear Waters. This will be the hub for information and inspiration of how to champion the cause. One of the new features will be an MP look up and email function, making it much quicker to dispatch a letter or tweet to your representative.

I have said in many blogs before, without sheer volume of support our campaign stands little chance of being taken seriously by a very distracted Government. Our job is to give you the tools and make it easy for you. Your job is to lend your support!