NABO has responded to DEFRA's second consultation on the NWC.
This was a short supplementary consultation covering some of the legal issues that are to be considered as part of the Transfer Order. This is required next year to set up the NWC, now know to be called Canal and River Trust (CART).
NABO's main concern is about the proposals for Freedom of Information (FOI), and as to whether CART should come under the FOI legislation.
NABO said in the response "We recommend that NWC should remain in the FOI scheme in accordance with option 3. There is considerable mistrust of BW on the part of stakeholders and we draw your attention to the web site
as evidence of this and of the sorts of issues that citizens have reason to enquire about. NABO is not unsympathetic over the arguments presented in the consultation, with a long list of commitments made by the Trustees. What they have failed to add is a list of what NWC will not do if their proposals are accepted, and a logical justification provided. The cost of such a scheme is trivial compared to the shortfall on maintenance expenditure, and is not a critical funding decision. NABO does not accept that it is an unreasonable burden.
NABO feels on balance, that the removing the transparency of FOI would be a retrograde step in the early days of NWC, and cause a good deal of scepticism amongst stakeholders just at the time when full support is needed. In due course if confidence has been achieved and demonstrated though the FOI scheme, NABO would not object to a review of this."