Agenda Item 8: BCA policy statement on the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW)

1. The British Caving Association holds the opinion that the CRoW Act already permits access for recreational caving. (Note: this view has been verified by the legal opinion of Dinah Rose QC and supported by many external organisations and individuals as well as its own members).

2. The access principles of the CRoW Act are in accord with BCA’s own principles of improving access to caves. The BCA encourages caving bodies who have control of access to caves on ‘access land’ to renegotiate access agreements to reflect the rights provided by the CRoW Act.

3. The conservation of caves is important. The BCA Conservation Code applies to all caves regardless of the land designation. The BCA agrees with the CRoW guiding principle of the least restrictive option to meet the conservation or safety need.

4. The BCA believe that any particular conservation concerns on CRoW ‘access land’ can be adequately dealt with by those means already set out in the legislation. The BCA recognise that many of the concerns raised prior to the introduction of the Act never materialised and access to caves should be no different.

5. The BCA will support cavers in their work to develop access to caves on CRoW access land.

Proposed by: National Council