PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON MOORINGS POLICY 2009
This is what NABO sent in to BW
Paper copies should be posted to:
The Consultation Team, British Waterways, 64 Clarendon Road, Watford WD17 1DA
If you have any questions about the consultation, please contact us:
Your name and contact details
Please provide email or postal address, depending on how you would prefer to be contacted. Note, we will not be able to acknowledge individual contributions, but will contact you with a copy of the final report when available. Exceptionally, we may contact you if we need to clarify any aspect of your feedback. Unless you specify otherwise, we may quote, but not attribute, your views
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In what capacity are you responding to this consultation? (please delete those that don’t apply)
X As a representative of a company, organisation or local authority (please state which and include your position within the organisation) ______________________Vice Chairman, National Association of Boatowners (NABO)
Which part(s) of the waterway network do you have most experience of? __NABO Members have experience of most if not all parts of the waterway network____________________
It helps us to analyse your comments if you use the headings and prompts listed on the next page
Please use the question number when documenting your comments
Moorings along the line of the waterway
Balancing demand with capacity (page 5-6
Do you share our view that developing better policies and management of moorings along the line of the waterway is a pressing challenge resulting from continued growth in boating on BW waters?
Yes. The challenge of increased popularity and finite facilities is becoming more acute and needs to be addressed urgently. Increasing shortfalls in maintenance and repairs to existing structures can also lead challenges in the efficient running of the waterways including the provision of sufficient and suitable mooring facilities.
Legal framework (Page 6 and Appendix 2)
How familiar were you with BW’s legal framework before reading this document? Did you find the explanations helpful?
NABO is very familiar with BW’s legal framework. We have taken legal advice on a number of issues relating to this and are at present challenging some aspects through the BW complaints procedure.
Do you have any suggestions for an objectively measurable threshold for congestion which could form part of our assessments of new marina applications?
Congestion issues vary in different locations. At locks, an excessive waiting time to transit can be used as a measure of congestion. At Popular mooring locations, the difficulty in finding a mooring when arriving later in the day can indicate either an abuse of the existing mooring allocations or alternatively, a shortfall in the number provided to cater for expected numbers at busy periods.. Presently, at some sites it is necessary to arrive shortly after noon to be able to find a suitable mooring.
The building of new marinas which is seen as a way of reducing congestion on the waterway can also lead to congestion if this is not carefully controlled. The rapid expansion in the provision of marinas can lead to a heavier demand to nearby facilities – locks, online moorings etc – by boats from these new marinas when using the adjacent waterways at key times.
Assessment of congestion in key locations can be monitored by local BW observers.
NABO is strongly of the opinion that there is an urgent need for BW to investigate the provision of additional visitor moorings at key locations which would go a long way to reducing the incidences of congestion. It has also been mentioned elsewhere in this reply that there is a need to provide additional low cost lay-by mooring spaces for those who do not wish to incur the expense of a formal marina but who wish to be in a more secure mooring than online.
Supplementary routes to achieving fairness in use of scarce mooring space (page 7)
Do you support our aspiration that all boaters should share the job of protecting the amenity of the waterways? Yes, all waterway users need to play their part in the responsible use of the limited waterway resources available. This should not just be limited to boaters, however. All waterway users including anglers, cyclists and walkers - should be aware of the need to protect the waterway environment and to share the limited facilities available.
Do you agree that offsetting permit fees for overstaying at popular short term moorings, subject to reasonable arrangements and detail, is a fair way of rationing scarce space? In principle, NABO is firmly against a general policy of charging for the use of facilities which we consider are paid for in the licence fee which boaters already pay. However, a strictly controlled and limited scheme for overstaying permit fees at designated areas of high congestion might be acceptable but only if they are well controlled and policed.
Statement of principles underlying BW’s boating policies (page 7)
Do you disagree with any of these principles? Why? What principles would you add? NABO does not disagree with the principles outlined in 1.18 – 1.24. However, referring to 1.21, continued growth in a limited and finite waterway resource cannot in itself be sustainable in the long term without a limit being placed on the number of boat licences and hence boats on the waterways. This is an issue which should be addressed as a primary element in the consultation process.
Local moorings strategies (page 8-9)
Do you agree that this is (a) the most sensible and (b) a feasible approach to achieving a fair balance between competing demands on scarce mooring space? If not what approach would you propose? NABO is firmly against a policy of charging for short- term moorings (section 3.8/3) since we consider that visitor moorings are paid for in the licence fee which boaters already pay. NABO are not against the principle of local mooring strategies per se but because of the potential conflicts which may arise between the local stakeholders it may be difficult to achieve a consensus about some issues.
The issue of BW’s legal framework has been touched upon in answer to question 2. To avoid any doubt, we are firmly and wholeheartedly committed to the provision of a sound legal regulatory framework under which the governance of the waterway network can function to the benefit of all users. NABO would welcome the opportunity to be involved in all local mooring strategies on behalf of its members.
Do you have suggestions for improving the proposed approach to creating local strategies? The work of these local groups should be guided by national guidelines and should be under a process of frequent review- especially in the first few years – to make sure that they are working to the advantage of all waterway users and are not seen as favouring one group of users over another. This review should include practical and time specific, measurable targets as a measure of progress.
What criteria would you suggest for determining whether a particular area of the waterways should have a local mooring strategy? The opinions of local groups should be sought – boat clubs, angling associations, waterway businesses etc – as to the need for such a strategy. It may be more difficult, however, to gather the opinions of casual waterway users. This initiative should come initially from BW who should carry out such surveys as appropriate in order to arrive at a meaningful conclusion..
Do you have any comments on BW’s standard for moorings suitable for boaters with mobility difficulties? No specific comments at this stage although suitable provision for such difficulties should be included as part of the local mooring strategy and should comply with current legislation where necessary.
Zoning short term moorings in areas of high demand (pages 10-11)
First, leaving aside the detail in this section, do you accept this in general as a valid approach to managing use of scarce mooring space? Yes, in principle, although the details will need careful consideration to avoid conflict of interests. The issue of policing will also need to be addressed in order to avoid any inconsistencies around the network. Boaters with mobility difficulties should be required to display the European Blue disability card prominently if making use of these designated stretches.
What comments do you have on the principles listed? We have some concern about the potential for a proliferation of signage unless the process is very carefully managed. Whenever possible the signs designating the zones should be combined with existing signs to avoid an increase. Any increase in detail should be printed and distributed with licences, displayed on existing notice boards and posted on the Waterscape web site. We would urge BW to consult with NABO about the exact wording before implementation.
Consideration should be given to the provision of moorings for boats in transit when there is a need to break a journey for short periods – i.e. weekending, and for strategic moorings at places where bookings are required such as Wigan flight, the Ribble Link, the Liverpool Link etc.
NABO is concerned that the implementation of two or three pilot schemes as proposed for the Kennet and Avon Canal appears to have been commenced before the end date of the consultation process. This seems to be totally at variance with the policy of British Waterways which has been to consult about a new proposal before implementation of the findings. We find this deviation from the consultation policy as set out by BW to be a step back in the management of the waterways and one which is to be regretted.
In 3.16.(a) the core zone should allow for overnight mooring. i.e. the 4 hour limit should apply between 0800 and 2000.
In 3.16 (e) it seems wrong that “leisure boaters with nearby long term moorings” should be able to block nearby visitor moorings every weekend.
How would you improve on the proposed compliance arrangements? The local agents will need to be given sufficient authority to deal fairly and impartially with moorers, especially when enforcing charges for overstaying. They must act under a standard set of national rules and they must be visible, with frequent visits to the moorings under their control. NABO is concerned that the numbers of local agents involved, including holiday and sickness cover, to provide adequate cover at all designated moorings around the network will be difficult to sustain on a year round basis and the difficulties that a failure to provide such cover will bring about can make this scheme difficult to achieve. This is considered to be one of the key points in the policy’s success or failure. NABO dislikes the idea of electronic permits without displayable tickets, because, as is the case with licences, we believe a lack of transparency can be divisive.
Controlling expansion and reducing online moorings (page 12)
Are you comfortable with this policy? If not, why not? Not everyone who presently moors online would want to berth in a marina because of a number of factors. The extra costs involved are a key issue and also the perception that the additional mooring fees are going to pay for facilities which some boaters do not want. We would suggest that there is a growing need for the provision of lay-by mooring sites, where basic facilities such as a water point can be provided at a more modest fee than that charged by a marina. There are many areas around the system where such moorings could be provided and such mooring provision may help to provide more than the 1000 reduction in online moorings proposed in 3.27.
What is your view of the suggested level of daily charge? NABO believes that the daily charge should be seen as an aid to enforcement, so it should be at least £25.00 per day although some sites may warrant different charges and these may be decided by the local mooring strategy group.
How important do you think it is that permits should be displayable (even if it costs more)? Ideally the display of such permits would be desirable. However, they need to be readable from a reasonable distance and may then be regarded by some as unsightly. The permit would need to include the time of arrival and expiry time which would then be of assistance to the local agent when enforcing the rules.
General comments on moorings along the line of the waterway
If you do not agree with much of the thrust of our proposals, but you accept that there are problems to be solved, what alternative approach would you recommend? Please try to confine your suggestions to policies that are practical and legal. NABO rejects the idea of a daily charge for overstaying in the manner set out in the consultation since it is just charging for moorings by another name and we believe that this is included in the licence fee. We would agree to charging £25 per day as an overstaying “charge” as long as it is used as an aid to enforcement. We recognise that, in some places, reducing the length of time users can use visitor moorings would increase the availability of moorings, but this should be done sensitively, flexibly and gradually, rather than, for instance, instantly changing 14 day moorings to 48 hours maximum. A major solution to the problem of scarcity of moorings is to provide more visitor moorings, not just by extending popular urban/suburban moorings, but adding new ones in adjacent rural locations as well. Encouraging (even enforcing at specific sites) and facilitating breasting-up at honey spots will also increase supply.
NABO, however, remains sceptical about BW’s seeming inability to apply such charges fairly and consistently based on the numerous examples we receive from boaters over disputes concerning the implementation of the current £25 per day overstaying scheme. Only when these charges are applied fairly and transparently can the proposed scheme hope to achieve any credibility. We would wish to be actively involved with BW and other user groups to monitor this proposal in great detail to ensure that fairness and transparency apply. We note that some boaters still question the lawfulness and reasonableness of these charges in principle.
We have serious concern, as expressed earlier, in that to work properly this scheme relies on efficient and fair monitoring and policing of the moorings policy. We have serious reservations about who carries out this work which is beyond the scope of volunteer labour. . The organisations and individuals involved in this day to day work will need to be properly trained and must be seen to be acting fairly and consistently throughout the waterway network. We consider that this is a serious obstacle which will need to be overcome at an early stage in order for the scheme to be successful and is probably the single key issue upon which the success or failure of the scheme relies.
Residential Moorings Policy
Do you support our position about boating on our network (paras R1.1 to R1.3)? Yes
Do you agree with the context that we describe in paras R1.4 to R1.10 and R1.11 to R1.17? If not, give your own observations of the issues. Yes
What are your views on unauthorised residency i.e. people living on their boat at a long-term leisure mooring without planning permission. Refer to R1.17. Please explain your views rather than simply answer ‘support / object’. As the waterways become more congested and there is an increased demand for moorings generally, the control and regulation of mooring spaces generally is necessary to make best use of what they offer, and to avoid conflict of interest with other waterway users.
Policy (page 15)
Do you support our general position in R2.1? Yes, NABO is in agreement with the sentiments and aspirations in R1.1-R1.3
Do you agree with the four factors for assessing residential mooring proposals in R2.2? Should we consider other factors? NABO agrees with the four factors in R2.2.
Do you agree with points R2.4 to R2.7 and have other comments? Yes and in addition to the requirement for boats to have a sewage holding facility, the boats should also be capable of travelling to sewage disposal facilities or should make other arrangements for the regular disposal of sewage tank contents.
Given the statement in para R2.8, do you agree with our position in relation to unauthorised residential use of long-term leisure moorings in paras R2.8 to R2.10? Yes
Do you have any comments or suggestions on communicating to customers in para R2.10? All applicable regulations, codes of practise and such must be made easily available in a variety of media. Not all boaters have access to the internet so such information should be made available in printed form. This could be distributed by the local agents described earlier.
Implementation (page 16)
This section sets out how we will turn the policy (the previous section) into action. Please comment on any point and add further comments about what you think we should be do. The points covered on page 16 are comprehensive and will provide a good starting point for the guidance of local mooring strategy groups who will be able to suggest any suitable modifications when the strategy is under review.