CRoW Access: a useful step forward

22nd September 2019

The government’s Review of national parks and AONBs led by Julian Glover has just been published:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/designated-landscapes-national-parks-and-aonbs-2018-review

Our CRoW Officer, David Rose, met with Julian and his review team at the end of last year at Defra’s HQ in London and made a strong case that the current official position on CROW access and caves is perverse and wrong. We’re pleased to say the Review report appears to accept this. See page 21 for a super photo, and then some very supportive comments on page 81.

The full context (see the report) makes clear that Glover’s view is strongly sympathetic to caver access.

Best of all is proposal 18, on page 98. This says the government should consider expanding access rights, and mentions cavers specifically:

“It feels wrong that many parts of our most beautiful places are off‐ limits to horse riders, water users, cavers, wild campers and so on. We hope that as part of the government’s commitment to connect more people with nature, it will look seriously at whether the levels of open access we have in our most special places are adequate.”

The BCA are extremely encouraged that this is a very useful step forwards, which will make it harder for Defra and Natural England to ignore the BCA’s representations that it is time to review the legal advice which has been used to deny cavers’ CRoW access since the Act was passed. It will also make it easier to drum up further political support.

The BCA will continue to work hard to capitalise on this excellent progress, hopefully enabling cavers to one day benefit from the same freedom of access on CRoW land as many other outdoor activities.