In the Chair
Stella Ridgway is enjoying the summer
I hope you have all been enjoying the lovely weather; we got some painting done, although the disadvantage was that the paint was drying as we put it on. I do hope that wasn’t all of our summer ‒ we so deserve a decent summer in the north. My Mum is over from New Zealand at present; she grew up in Middlewich but as we cruised a little, she was amazed at the number and variety of boats on the Peak Forest Canal (I might be biased, but it is a very pretty canal with breathtaking views across the Peak District on the summit pound).
First, apologies for the short article; hospital visits have curtailed my ability to attend some meetings, but NABO has had representation at most user groups and, of course, the national consultation groups. CRT has an emphasis on the licensing review and the London mooring strategy, which does not seem to be addressing the issue of the extra boats moving to London each year. NABO was disappointed to see that the licensing review is not even finished but CRT has introduced a new licence for rented boats. This would not appear to address the issue, as it requires boats to have a residential mooring and doesn’t address landlords who rent out a boat without a home mooring, or the ones who ask tenants to buy a 1% share in a boat to circumvent the hire rule. I attended a meeting with CRT where we discussed the ongoing licensing review. There will be a further opportunity to give our views to CRT as we were informed that all boaters would be contacted. NABO will be represented in a further meeting in late July, so do contact me if you have views on this.
Also on the agenda was vegetation and dredging. CRT has now taken this into a national programme to ensure continuity. They are relying on boaters reporting things that are, and aren’t, working, so I would encourage everyone to phone/tweet Customer Services if you see anything wrong. We are the ones out on the system and they rely on us.
The EA/CRT merger was put on hold during the election and still no word on how the new Secretary of State, Michael Gove, will view it. I don’t expect any results in the short term, however, due to the slim majority. I am sure there will be some fed-up faces in both organisations, but it would appear that this may be more of a political football and it has been kicked into the long grass for the while.
Equality provision is something we also discussed: Sean Williams explained that they are getting referrals from both the Customer Services and Licensing Teams. I cannot emphasise enough the need to let Customer Services know if you require help; they can then contact your local Customer Service and Support Officer (i.e. Enforcement), plus, it is a record that you have contacted them. The Trust often engage local and national agencies to assist boaters in difficulty, but the emphasis is on you to contact them if you are having difficulties so that they can assist.
During this busy cruising time, we rely on our members to let CRT (and us) know if you see unpowered craft in locks. CRT has posted its guidelines again, advising that people should not be in unpowered craft in locks when they are filling or emptying. This follows a few incidents recently, after which NABO highlighted the safety aspects, particularly if children are present.
Finally; I do hope you enjoy the summer cruising and that you have a good summer. Our next Council meeting is in September and all are welcome to attend.