CLA Wales the rural economy experts warned at the Denbigh and Flint Show that a Right to Roam on the rivers of Wales would have severe implications.
North Wales Assistant Director Dawn Harding Maddocks said there were serious concerns about fish stocks, wildlife, and the general wellbeing of waterways as well as access to rivers.
She explained that the Sustainability Committee of the National Assembly for Wales is currently preparing to examine the current position on access to inland water in Wales. It follows a submission by the Welsh Canoeing Association to the Petitions Committee calling on the Welsh Assembly Government to consider and implement a Bill to provide and permit access to and along non-tidal water.
She said:“The canoeists are lobbying for unrestricted access and say there is ‘a massive lack of legal clarity and restrictions’, but in fact the law is perfectly clear and until recently canoeists were allowed access by agreement with landowners.
“It is the canoeists who have refused to continue with these agreements which allowed canoeists to use rivers at specified times of the year which didn’t conflict with fishing, or spawning. Landowners who comprise individuals, fishing clubs, and others are concerned about the prospects for stretches of water on which huge sums of money are spent.
“Fishing contributes huge sums to the Welsh rural economy the environmental issues are also very important. There is also the question of property rights and investment made by riparian owners.”
Ms Harding Maddocks said CLA Wales would be giving evidence to the Sustainability Committee.
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