CRT has begun the first phase of its three-stage consultation on how boats are licensed on its waterways, using the independent charity specialising in public engagement, Involve. In stage one; representatives of the main boating organisations are being interviewed to find their views on how the consultation should work and what it should cover. In the second stage, from April, a series of in-depth workshops will be held with boaters who reflect the diversity in the boating community. The final stage will consult all boat owners to find their views on the options developed during the first two stages. The aim is to find the fairest and simplest boat licensing system to address the financial contribution made by different types of boats. Ian Rogers, customer service and operations director at CRT, said: “The current licensing system has been in place for over 20 years. Boating has changed a lot in that time and the Trust wants to ensure the licensing structure is fit for purpose. Feedback from boaters suggests that many feel the current licensing is overly complex and can be perceived as unfair, and this consultation seeks to discuss these areas of concern.” See https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/national-consultations for how to get involved.
Mark Tizard adds: NABO has already been approached by Involve as part of the first stage of the consultation. The interviewer asked what I thought of this approach. I asked her to name one other organisation with an effective monopoly that went to such ridiculous lengths to work out a pricing strategy for its customers. I suggested that it was because none of the relevant staff had any experience of using the product they were selling. Instead of going through this lengthy, expensive process, it would be more honest and cheaper if CRT formed some proposals of its own (they must have some) and, if need be, just test these with either NAG or some boating group workshops. After all they are likely to pick the solutions closest to their internal proposals.