Reply from Hannah Blythyn AC/AM

Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government

Ein cyf/Our ref DC/HB/05335/19

Mr W G Davies Chairman

Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association

12 June 2019

Dear Gary,

Thank you for your letter received on 3 June, on behalf of Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association, regarding an invitation to meet.

Access to inland water has long been a contentious issue with both user communities passionately believing that they are in the right, both legally and morally. These highly polarised views have hindered efforts to reduce the conflict between users to date. I believe that access to water now needs to be considered as part of a wider approach, not in isolation. We need to broaden the debate and ask what Wales wants from its inland waters, and the role that access rights have in delivering this.

To try to resolve this stalemate, I have asked the National Access Forum to give particular priority to laying the ground work for greater dialogue on inland waters issues that is needed. I am also seeking specialist advice from Natural Resources Wales, who are the Government’s advisers on access matters which will include possible non-legislative approaches. However, I recognise that options may be limited given that we have tried to promote VAAs (Voluntary Access Agreements) before, with little take-up.

I strongly feel that the long term answer needs to come from stakeholders and have encouraged them, through my Written Statement, to find a practical joint solution. I hope that by focussing on what we share, rather than our differences, may help to find solutions and reach some form of consensus.

Should I not be satisfied of reasonable progress within 18 months, I plan to consider future legislation on access to water. However, at this stage I do not have a set view of what any such legislation would look like.

Bae Caerdydd • Cardiff Bay

Caerdydd • Cardiff

CF99 1NA

Canolfan Cyswllt Cyntaf / First Point of Contact Centre:

0300 0604400

Rydym yn croesawu derbyn gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg. Byddwn yn ateb gohebiaeth a dderbynnir yn Gymraeg yn Gymraeg ac ni fydd gohebu yn Gymraeg yn arwain at oedi.

We welcome receiving correspondence in Welsh. Any correspondence received in Welsh will be answered in Welsh and corresponding in Welsh will not lead to a delay in responding.

Yours sincerely,

Hannah Blythyn AC/AM

Y Dirprwy Weinidog Tai a Llywodraeth Leol

Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government

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