Posts Tagged ‘code’

CROWDED WATERS

The Avon (Aune) Estuary is a priceless environmental asset. It is a County Wildlife Site and Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) with its shallow waters, extensive mudflats, and saltmarshes.  All of these features are of exceptional ecological value to important populations of fish, invertebrates, migratory birds and waterfowl.

It is vital these habitats remain undisturbed; educating all estuary users is a first step in managing these areas for the benefit of all.  Historically, the Avon Estuary has always been highly valued as a place for quiet contemplation and reflection on natural beauty.   We would ask all users of the estuary to respect these values: in these difficult times, they are more priceless than ever.

Thanks to COVID-19 and the imposition of Lockdowns restricting some forms of exercise, there has been an explosion in the popularity both of outdoor swimming and in the use of SUPs, canoes and kayaks.    Whilst it is good to see the estuary being enjoyed and appreciated by more of the public,  the unusual intensity of the recreational traffic on the water has highlighted the need for Codes of Conduct because the waters are becoming increasingly crowded with users of varying degrees of experience – some are complete novices and may pose a nuisance or even a danger to themselves, others and the environment.    Biosecurity is an ever present concern with the threat of the import of invasive species from other waterways on contaminated craft or wetsuits.    Suitable Codes are suggested on the following pages (see Navigation Bar on homepage: >CODES OF CONDUCT>WALKERS or >OUTDOOR SWIMMING or >BOATERS (SUPs, CANOES & KAYAKS) or >BIOSECURITY

 

A WATERWAY CODE FOR THE AVON

PLEASE KEEP DOGS ON A SHORT LEAD

From 1 March to 31 July  

To protect ground nesting birds,

dogs must be kept on a short lead (i.e. <2m) on

open access land.

The countryside around the Avon  is a great place to exercise dogs, but it’s every owner’s duty to make sure their dog is not a danger or nuisance to farm animals, wildlife or other people.  Recently, we have received reports of dogs worrying birds around the estuary.

  • By law, you must control your dog so that it does not disturb or scare farm animals or wildlife.  On most areas of open country and common land, known as ‘access land’ you must keep your dog on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July, and all year round near farm animals.

 

  • You do not have to put your dog on a lead on public paths, as long as it is under close control. But as a general rule, keep your dog on a lead if you cannot rely on its obedience. By law, farmers are entitled to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals.

 

As the weather improves and use of the river and its estuary grows during the holiday season, the ACA Committee offers the following commonsense reminder for looking after your waterway, its flora and fauna, taken from Natural England’s publications and based on the Waterways Code (http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/listening-to-you/waterways-code/for-all-users), the Countryside Code (http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/enjoying/countrysidecode/default.aspx) and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) which has the force of law behind it:-

  1. protect the waterway environment – keep noise to a minimum and don’t damage the vegetation or banks
  2. take home everything that you brought with you, and leave the site as you found it
  3. never dump rubbish, sewage or oily bilge water into the water or onto the bank
  4. clean up after your dog and keep it under control i.e. on a 2m lead from 1st March-31st July – please avoid frightening any wildlife, especially ground nesting birds or chicks (many people exercise their dogs on the Avon Estuary at low tide).  Click here for the official sign! –  Keep dogs on leads
  5. don’t light fires
  6. report pollution, fly tipping or fish in distress to the Environment Agency  0800 807060 (24 hrs)
  7. report birds or animals in distress to the RSPCA 0990 555 999 (24 hrs)

I’ve also been asked to add some nautical advice i.e. “pass oncoming boats port to port” with the comment that this has nothing to do with the stuff that comes in a bottle!  If in doubt, keep right!

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