Listening to boat owners, Speaking out for boat owners, Representing boat owners.


West Midlands

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.

South West

South West Regional report

I attended the meeting of the non-Wales part of the Wales and South West Region chaired by David Hagg, who leads the South West Regional Advisory Board. As is usual now, the concentration was on everything non-boating, but fortunately Ed Helps, a member of the Board and CEO of ABC, did point out that it was essential that the boating activities were recognized as a key source of revenue for CRT! We (about 40 attended in all) were introduced to the members of the Board and it is clear that the bulk are non-canal folk. After a brief introduction by Mark Evans, the Regional Director, covering the activities over the past year, we had lengthy presentations on the multi-million pound work to provide the River Severn with extensive fish passes and also on Gloucester as a regional hub. A useful Q&A session was held at the end with some interesting comments on the situation regarding the Bridgewater docks (where CRT does not intend to continue its lease) and also a useful input from a Claverton Pumping Station volunteer about the lack of support from CRT for the volunteers who keep the station running! There was also a quiet comment that none of the presentations had mentioned anything about CRT’s heritage responsibilities!

Mike Rodd