The British Canoe Union has been actively campaigning for free, unlimited navigation access to all watercourses, at all times, which is an entirely unreasonable demand. Anglers pay billions of pounds for the rights to fish on rivers, and yet boaters are demanding free access which will have a major impact on the quality of fishing and can cause damage to spawning areas. Anglers also invest millions in the upkeep of river environments and pay a rod licence to the Environment Agency which pays for investment in fisheries protection. The BCU is proposing that boaters should have the right to paddle wherever they choose without paying a penny.
Many rivers do have an established right of navigation and voluntary agreements on other rivers are being established with some success, but this is not a universal solution by any means.
The Angling Trust will make these arguments to politicians and in the media and will help broker agreements between anglers and boaters where possible. We will also fight for enforcement action to be taken wherever unlawful navigation becomes a regular problem.