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UK River Access
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Uploaded By: SimonMW. Added on: 16 March 2012.
In this video:
I put together this short video to help raise awareness of the totally absurd situation regarding the ability to use UK rivers for recreational navigation. Unlike the rest of the developed (and undeveloped!) world, in England & Wales canoeists, kayakers, wild swimmers etc do not have transparent use of around 98% of our rivers. The Government states that it is 96%, however that figure does not take into account the many rivers and brooks that are less than 3m wide, so the real figure is closer to 98%. Despite rivers having a historical use of navigation as a peoples common right, originally enshrined in Magna Carta, and despite virutally every other country in the world, including Scotland, having open access to their rivers, the Governments for England & Wales, the landowners, and of course the angling associations, stand firm in their belief that no right exists. In the process, in this age of austerity where rural economies could do with all the income they can possibly get, the Government's refusal to confirm navigation rights on our rivers means that many rural economies are losing potentially millions of Pounds per year in potential tourism, not only from people in the UK, but also from those overseas who refuse to come to the UK because of the situation with the rivers here. So strong is the feeling against open rivers use that in many places vandalisation of cars belonging to canoeists and kayakers occurs. Verbal abuse is common, and physical intimidation is not unknown. The Government's current interpretation of the law is morally wrong, and their policy of seeing Voluntary Access Agreements as the way forward is totally unworkable for far more reasons than I have time to list here, and has in fact failed for the last 60 years or so. Most members of the public in the UK are totally unaware of this situation because, morally, they would assume that they could take a canoe or go for a swim on any river that they liked. Most are absolutely astounded to learn that this is not the case. Most people from outside the UK cannot believe that we put up with the situation, because this is a problem unique to England & Wales. When the UK Government proposed a sell off of the forests there was public outcry. The rivers are similarly part of our heritage and are natural navigational paths, but there is no public outcry simply because most people are completely unaware that there is a problem! I will be making more videos about this situation in the future, but in the meantime please spread this video around to friends who are probably unaware of the situation. For more information please visit: http://www.riversaccess.org http://38degrees.uservoice.com/forums/78585-campaign-suggestions/suggestions/1265611-access-rights-in-england http://access.canoedaysout.com http://www.caffynonrivers.co.uk