Peter Braybrook reports
Since the last Council meeting, I attended the WM Regional Forum on 25th May. I have commented to Matthew Symonds about the constant spin that boaters only pay a fifth of the cost of canal upkeep. I have noticed that there are more infrastructure failures than ever - Hillmorton locks and Factory locks are closed for unplanned gate repairs, apart from other repairs due to ‘bridge strikes’, ‘vandalism’ etc., and two lift-bridge failures so far this season. Paddle defects are not being attended to in a timely fashion. Apparently it is OK to leave a lock with only one paddle working for months. The mowing trial on the Oxford canal is at option three (i.e. one cut from edge to hedge at the end of the season) and hence this is a typical towpath at the moment. I have spoken to two CCers and a leisure boater (a NABO member) who told me they have received no notice of the T&C consultation. They were surprised that display of their ‘KG’ logo was being proscribed without express consent in writing. I have been engaged as part of a BSS AC sub-group in supporting the interim review of the BSS examination checking procedures of 2015.
Anne Husar finds key issues not consulted on, which could negatively impact boaters.
As many of you will be aware, there has recently been yet another revision of CRT’s Terms and Conditions (T&C’s) for private boaters. This latest publication follows their admission of ‘errors’ in previous drafts which has now led to two of the more contentious conditions being removed. There are now, we think, three differing versions of this document in circulation with the potential to cause much confusion. For our purposes here we are referring to the document referenced by CRT as 15.6.21 v.2.
We feel that there remain four key issues some of which were not consulted on and which could impact negatively on boaters.
In mid-2020, CRT commenced a consultation on the private boat licence terms and conditions. They did not invite comment on the whole document, but limited the consultation to nine items of change.
On 24th May 2021, CRT announced the publication of the results of the consultation. This comprised a press release, a close out commentary on the consultation and a first version of the 2021 terms document. CRT said: ‘The consultation received widespread support, with 78% of respondents in agreement across all nine proposals, ranging from 63% to 88% for individual proposals. The consultation was completed by over 3,300 individuals, around 10% of our boat licence holders. The changes will come into effect from 1 June 2021 and will be applied to renewals and new licences from that date.’
On 27th May 2021 NABO Council met to review the documents and consider our immediate responses.
Mike Rodd compares and contrasts the BSS with navigation authorities.
I must be terribly naïve! In my simple mind, if I were applying to the Government to continue/extend a multimillion ongoing annual grant, I would want my most influential and committed customers to be supporting my application and giving it as much positive publicity as possible. Not so, CRT or EA, it appears.
As will be known from previous editions of NABO News, both CRT and EA will be applying for further government funding in the next five or six years. In both cases, however, they seem to be hell-bent on ignoring the views of most of the boater representative organisations.
The present situation regarding CRT’s current revisions to the Terms and Conditions for boat licences is a classic case. Yes, there was a public consultation – well, sort of, as long as you had good internet access (which of course many boaters don’t, denying them the chance to comment – but hey, they are only boaters, so why worry?).