1. Introduction

1.1 Recognising the primary aim of protecting the caves and karst of Great Britain, cavers should actively promote cave conservation and sound management practices through example, education, advice and training.

1.2 This code establishes a minimum standard of caving practice.

1.3 The 'public image' of cavers and caving is poor and whenever possible every effort should be taken to improve this by good practice and good relationships with landowners and others.

2. Surface Considerations

2.1 Landowners, tenants, managers or their representatives should be treated with courtesy and respect.

2.2 All caving parties should have specific or tacit approval from the landowner and/or manager before entering any property, must follow only agreed routes and must not enter restricted areas. There may already be a formal access procedure which must be adhered to - refer to published details.

2.3 The prevailing procedures regarding gates on properties and reserves should be followed, and care taken to cause no disturbance or damage to stock, crops, fences and walls, equipment or landscape features.

2.4 All parties should be as self-sufficient as possible and should not presume on the goodwill of landowners and others for water, supplies or assistance.

2.5 Where the cave entrance has been locked or otherwise secured it must be re-secured after use.

2.6 Gates should be installed at or in a cave where there is justification. This should only be done with the approval of the landowner or his representative, and the statutory conservation agencies if applicable.

2.7 Excavations should only be undertaken with the permission of the landowner, and only after an assessment of the environmental effects

2.8 Do not leave uncovered or unfenced any excavations which are likely to be a hazard to persons or animals.

2.9 Do not leave any litter, or cause pollution to the surface or watercourses.

3. Underground

3.1 Camping in a cave should only be considered when intending to undertake a specific speleological or conservation objective.

3.2 Caving activity must be conducted in a manner responsible to the cave environment, taking particular care to avoid damage to speleothems, sediments, biota and other features. The maximum size of any party should be limited to that which provides the best quality of experience or achieves specific aims.

3.3 Modification of cave entrances and passages, including changing water levels in sumps or ducks and diversion of streams, should only be undertaken after all possible effects are assessed and the appropriate permission obtained. Any modifications must be the minimum required. The long term impact of any work must be considered.

3.4 Established marked routes must be used. Single tracks should be followed and care taken to avoid needless deposition of mud. Mud-throwing or modeling is unacceptable.

3.5 All human introduced wastes, including carbide, foodstuffs and excreta, must be removed from the cave and disposed of properly.

3.6 Cavers should not smoke in any cave. The effect is damaging to the environment and unpleasant for others.

3.7 Caves must not be disfigured by unnecessary marking, including 'direction arrows'. Survey markers should be small and inconspicuous.

3.8 Disturbance must not be caused to any biotic community. No disturbance must be caused to bats.

3.9 The technique, agent and justification for air or water flow-tracing experiments should be chosen to minimise environmental impact and must be approved by the relevant authorities.

3.10 Collection of specimens, which should be approved by the appropriate authority, should be kept to the minimum required for study purposes only.

4. General

4.1 Recognised codes for minimum impact camping must be observed with particular emphasis on complete removal of rubbish.

4.2 Reports on speleological work and caving activities should be honest and accurate bearing in mind the detrimental effects of sensationalism or exaggeration.

4.3 Any published work must acknowledge other people's contributions to the work, either as clubs or individuals, published work or personal communication.

4.4 Consideration should be given before publishing an article on a cave, as to its intended audience, the wishes of the landowner. and the subsequent effect on the cave.

4.5 When visiting an area or cave under the protection or management of another club or group, co-operation with that club or group is essential.

4.6 A club or group may have a historic interest in a site in which case they should be fully consulted over all matters pertaining to the site and their involvement sought.