Responsible Shared Access for All

Respond to the Welsh Government consultation

‘Taking Forward Wales’ Sustainable Management of Natural Resources’

Waters of Wales - WoW campaigns for legislation enshrining public rights of responsible access to inland water in Wales. People who seek recreation and relaxation in, on or beside Wales’ waters include, but are not limited to: swimmers, boaters (non-motorised), walkers, birdwatchers, riders and photographers. Our response to the consultation reflects the wide range of people and activities affected by restrictions on public access.

Waters of Wales – WoW congratulates Welsh Government on the effort it has put to date into testing alternatives to legislation, and we consider these proposals to be an enlightened step towards meeting the public’s need for access. However, we are concerned that the document does not make it entirely clear what the new rights would be, while making it clear that access to and from water would be limited.

The consultation document highlights the health benefits of ‘doorstep activities’, and the ‘bluespace antidote’ to the stresses and pressures of modern life is well documented: many people say that ‘just anywhere by the water’ is a good place to spend quality time. People seeking outdoor recreation in the locality of their own homes could be particularly disadvantaged, in terms of well-being if they are not enabled to enjoy recreation to meet their needs, in terrain suited to their ability.

We believe that much of the complexity and administrative burden that has hampered progress to date, stems from the constraints of CRoW, and that the best model for ‘Taking Forward Wales’ Sustainable Management of Natural Resources’ is comprehensive legislation based on a presumption in favour of access, underpinned by a statutory code of conduct to be followed by all.