New Chairman for NABO
After a transformational five-year period at the helm of NABO – the National Association of Boat Owners – David Fletcher has stepped down as Chairman, and Mike Rodd has been elected to take over from him.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Mike moved with his family to the UK in 1986 when he was appointed Professor and Head of Electrical Engineering at Swansea University. He now lives with his wife, Sue (a vicar), in Aldbourne, near the K&A. Having started by hiring boats right across the system, he eventually bought a narrowboat, Faraday, on the Mon & Brec canal in 1999; he still spends a lot of time working on Faraday II. An MCA-qualified Boatmaster, he also skippers public trip boats on the Kennet & Avon for the K&A Canal Trust and the Bruce Trust. As General Manager (and later Chairman) of the K&A Canal Trust he established the first trial BW/CRT Waterways Partnership, bringing him into close contact with the emerging CRT.
Mike believes passionately that CRT has to succeed. He says: “Much of my work through the K&A Canal Trust involved advocating a better deal for CRT, and the final outcome was certainly far better than what had originally been proposed. But there are still massive shortfalls and unless we all get behind CRT, then our wonderful waterways will suffer. I am a great admirer of so much that BW/CRT does and I know from personal experience that they have extensive technical expertise and many devoted staff. However, major urgent coal-face issues still have to be addressed.
“These include not just the need to obtain additional funding for maintenance and water provision, but also pressing issues arising largely from the increased use of the waterways and a growing desire of people wishing to live on them. On the K&A, for example, we have a real issue of overcrowding on certain sections and it is essential that all users are treated fairly. However, given the very broad and ill-defined terms of the present Waterways Act(s) under which CRT is required to manage the waterways, the only way in which these issues can be resolved is for CRT (and indeed the EA) to work closely with the prime users – individual boaters, commercial operators, and local and national representative bodies. Endless court cases, often arising from the unilateral introduction of legally challengeable regulations, only deflect core funding away from the prime purpose of looking after the waterways!
“NABO, with its broad membership – which brings together a wide range of expertise and professional experience – backed by its investment in obtaining the very best in legal advice, is in a unique position to help as a “critical friend” to both CRT and the EA.
“David Fletcher will be a very hard act to follow and I am delighted that he will continue as a Council member. Through his own personal professionalism, knowledge, enthusiasm and integrity, he has led NABO to new heights, where its voice is both heard and respected. I am also very pleased to have new Council members on board, with Jane Taylor looking after membership and Mark Tizard taking responsibility for all moorings matters.”