The Countryside Alliance has today welcomed a statement from Canoe Wales which it is hoped will end the cat and mouse game over access to inland water in Wales. The statement, released on their website, has received strong support from the Minister for the Environment and Sustainability, Mr John Griffiths.
For several months the Countryside Alliance, alongside anglers from all over Wales, has been calling on the Welsh Government to encourage Canoe Wales to participate in local access agreements, agreeing areas and times that water would become available to those wishing to use it for paddle sports, based on local knowledge, goodwill and understanding, and formal agreements.
Rachel Evans, Director of the Countryside Alliance Wales said:
“I very much welcome this long awaited acknowledgement from Canoe Wales that there is no “right to paddle”. There is room for all on Wales’s rivers, but not all at the same time, and there certainly shouldn’t be free and un-fettered access to individuals who do not pay a licensing fee and make no contribution to the resource they wish to use.
“While some have sought to make this about everyone who wants to use the rivers for recreational purposes, it has become increasingly obvious that this has just been about paddle sports verses angling.
“Hopefully now, with this admission from the governing body for paddle sports in Wales that they do not have the right to roam free on our rivers, this issue can finally be put to bed.”
Minister for the Environment and Sustainability John Griffiths tweeted “Pleased Canoe Wales statement clarifies canoe clubs can negotiate local access. Should result in more recreation opportunities for Wales.”