Our Response to the Welsh Government Consultation on Improving Access for Outdoor Recreation in Wales

Canoe Wales & British Canoeing have submitted a joint response to the Welsh Government consultation “Taking Forward Wales’ Sustainable Management of Natural Resources”. Over 800 individual paddlers have also submitted their own responses in support of ours.

The Chairs of the two National Governing Bodies introduced our response by saying, “We are delighted to be able to respond to this consultation, which offers the unique opportunity to clarify the legal position regarding access to inland waterways in Wales. For decades, England and Wales have been alone in the world in the extent to which recreational access to inland waterways is restricted, despite compelling evidence that Public Rights of Navigation have existed on our rivers since time immemorial.

”While the Welsh Government’s proposals fall short of a universal Public Right of Navigation; and are not as extensive as the current access arrangements in Scotland; we believe that they represent a pragmatic approach suited specifically to Wales. With its immense range of waterways – ranging from extreme white-water rivers to tranquil canals; and from challenging tidal seas to beautiful and extensive lakes and reservoirs – Wales has the potential to be a magnet for paddlesport enthusiasts from all over the UK and abroad; as well as offering unparalleled outdoor recreation for its own citizens and communities.

“If enacted properly, taking full account of the issues we have raised in this response, these proposals have enormous potential and will set a course that we hope England might follow. We look forward to working with the Welsh Government and its agencies as you develop further and eventually implement these exciting proposals.”

You can read our full response here.

29 September 2017