Postby LeeP50 » Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:17 am

Dear members

Given the current circumstances it is extremely difficult to arrange any meaningful federation meetings. Let's hope that with the easing of restrictions we can at least organise some form of meaningful committee meeting soon.

The federation has received two emails from clubs concerning the recent issues we have faced in organising channel racing for our member clubs. Your secretary has been made aware of these and I have copied the emails below and the federations response in the interests of transparency and to hopefully dispel rumours and conjecture.

Peterfield HS

The Petersfield are extremely concerned at what they see is a reluctance to resume Channel racing this year. To quote that if it is acceptable to the driver that we can race is totally unexceptable..Once and if Channel racing resumes and it already has with the BICC which I might add went without any incident, we cannot accept the reasons that the driver has given you. We feel that any decisions should be made by the member Clubs.
A Deacon on behalf of the Petersfield H.S.

Gosport RPC
Dear Lee and Member Clubs,

Following the notification that the Solent Fed will curtail Channel racing for the remainder of the 2020 season the Gosport Club held an Emergency Meeting to inform the members of this decision.

It was proposed that we inform the Federation that as a Club it is considered that this kind of decision should be made by all member clubs. Although we appreciate and sympathise with the reasons behind this decision, the detrimental effect that it could have on sending members and anticipated birdage it should be considered by all clubs and all alternative avenues are explored and voted on

Best regards
Elvin Booth
Gosport RPC - Secretary

Solent Federation response

Good afternoon Albi

Thank you for your email on behalf of the members of Petersfield H.S.

Firstly, on behalf of the President, Chairman and myself we would emphasise there is no reluctance on behalf of the federations executive committee to provide channel racing to its member clubs. I have spent a great deal of time researching what is required to get the transporter on the ferry and across the channel, reviewing government regulations, Freight Haulage Association recommendations and RPRA circulars, and all clubs were provide with details of our first choice channel race programme which was submitted to the RPRA.

As you know, I have been involved in lengthy and in depth discussions with our conyoyer, Ian, with regards to his position on taking our birds on the ferry to France. I have provided him with the protocols on board ferry as distributed by the RPRA. I have also explained to him, and I believe I discussed this with you also, the need to complete the Public Health Passenger Locator form as required by the UK Government prior to departure, for track and trace purposes, should a case of Covid19 be identified on board a sailing. The FHA also recommends that the attached Professional Drivers Exemption form is carried with the usual documentation (a copy of which is attached).

Ian's position is this, in the current environment he is not prepared to put in jeopardy his family life (being able only recently able to see his grandson - which we can all relate to) or loosing his main income should he be required to self isolate in the event of Covid being identified on board a sailing. The Government website does not clarify if this would relate solely to the sailing which Ian is on or whether they may look to back date on previous manifests. In this respect the President, Chairman and myself fully understand and support his position.

We believe this situation amounts to more than the "let's just get another driver" attitude which has been expressed to us. Ian (and Reub) have been nothing short of 150% reliable, loyal and trustworthy to the Solent Fed, undertaking many tasks for which they have not sought reward and made themselves available at short notice whenever called upon outside of their normally convoying duties (not forgetting we will still need to get our new lorry to the test station once an IVA appointment becomes available). This is in stark contrast to their immediate predecessors who, we would remind members, caused extensive and costly damage to, and showed little respect for, our federation property/transporter.

I am not privy to steps that other organisations are taking in order to crossing the channel, but as secretary of this federation, it falls on me to ensure that our officers (and drivers of course) are advised on, and not directly exposed to, any healthy/safety and compliance issues that could have a direct effect on our personal liabilities (at least as best I can as a layman). In this respect I will also be contacting our insurance company on Monday for guidance on whether the cover we have is compliant with the current Government stance on essential travel abroad.

Having given CAREFUL CONSIDERATION to the above, if it is the member clubs decision to press on with a channel race programme then there are further points which must also be take in to account.

We would require an experienced HGV driver who is also pigeon fancier (Racing Rule 4). In the event this is not possible then we would also need an experienced pigeon fancier to travel on board for the welfare of the birds (I believe this is acceptable on animal welfare grounds).

We will need a volunteer to source and arrange the above and obtain costings as I have enough on my plate with the additional tasks placed on me at this time.

The current situation

We are working on a compromise where Albi Deacon has kindly offered his support in approaching the BICC drivers to see if they would help us out by driving the transporter every other weekend when the BICC does not have a race. This would at least provide the federation member clubs with some channel racing.

Should this not come off or is not acceptable to the majority of member clubs and your wish is still to race across the channel then we would need someone to organise/arrange a driver and/or convoyer to allow the federation to race across the channel. If it is not already in place, an Application for an RPRA Convoyers Licence (which can be found on the RPRA website under Downloads) would need to be completed and signed by the individual confirming their understanding and compliance with RPRA rules Appendix C, Code of Conduct for Licenced Convoyers/Liberators. We would then need time to properly train them to carry out the convoyers duties, as an officer of the federation would be required to sign and confirm this has been done.

If you have any queries on this matter then please put them to your club secretary who can them contact me to discuss.

Kind regards
On behalf of the Solent Federation executive committee
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