Since Powys County Council suspended the launching of paddle-craft at Upper Glas-y-Bont Common (‘the Bont’) at Glasbury on 1 April 2021 to conduct a Habitat Regulations Assessment, SWOAPG has been working with the Council on a Concordat Arrangement for Management of Paddlesport Operations – drawing on our experience of our Waterfall Country gorge-walking Concordat with NRW. We have now reached the point where we are able to publish some documentation associated with these proposed arrangements (which are designed to allow launching to resume while ensuring that paddlesport operations on the river don’t cause environmental harm).
The arrangements have not yet been finalised, so the documents are still in draft form, but they were endorsed by SWOAPG Members at our AGM on 24 Jan and we believe they are now ‘close enough’ to be shared publicly – and we sincerely hope that we will be able to finalise and put them into operation by Easter 2024. The proposed arrangements comprise the following elements (click on the links to view or download the draft documents):
- A Paddlers Code leaflet (and map) setting out Powys CC’s expectations for all paddlers launching at the Bont (which we anticipate will in due course be supported by signage at the Bont and user-friendly resources on our website);
- An online training ‘course’ for all Providers and leaders of groups launching craft at the Bont (we haven’t yet developed this, but it will be similar in concept to our gorge Code of Conduct training courses);
- A set of Rules and Code of Conduct setting out Powys CC’s expectations for all organised groups launching at the Bont; and
- a Memorandum of Understanding setting out how SWOAPG and Powys CC propose to work together to manage the Concordat arrangements.
Background on this ‘project’ can be found in our November 2023 Project Update Report.
We don’t have any room for manoeuvre around the conditions that the Council is imposing; they’ve been the subject of intense debate over the last 2 years and we’re convinced this is the ‘best we’re going to get’ (at least for the time being) and offers the only realistic opportunity to get paddlers back on the river at the Bont in the short term. However, we are open to feedback on the documentation if you spot anything that isn’t clear or you think we might have missed.
Our ‘next steps’ are to review any feedback received from Powys’ stakeholder consultation; to begin work on developing online training resources; to finalise sign-up arrangements for ‘umbrella organisations’ (such as Canoe Wales, ScoutsCymru and UK Armed Forces, who may choose to sign-up on behalf of multiple members or subsidiaries); and to review our membership fees to ensure that we can cover the future costs of administering the scheme. Watch this space for further updates…