The Council is responsible for the appointment of trustees, helping to shape policies and providing guidance and perspective to trustees. Election of 28 new Council members is now underway. Candidates and their manifestos were published on 25th November and licence holders will receive an email link to enable them to vote from 20th January to 14th February. Posts will run for four years from March.

In reality, private boaters have a chance to elect just four representatives, so only have a small voice on the Council and little real influence. But, it is a chance to interact with CRT directors and trustees and seek to get boaters’ views heard, as well as hearing about CRT’s latest strategic thinking. This, in NABO’s view, is the most important aspect and why we would urge you to vote. NABO is very disappointed to learn that the Association of Waterway Cruising Clubs (AWCC), essentially a mooring provider, was nominated to CRT Council as a ‘boaters’ representative’, which is simply not the case. The IWA and the AWCC each have a nominated seat, yet their members also get a vote. This year, roving traders have been told that, for the purpose of the election, they are now to be treated as private boaters, which is also blatantly not the case. They are no longer businesses and must vote for, and be represented by, private boaters. NABO’s view is that private boaters’ representation has been diluted by this and that the roving traders have been marginalised for no reason. It appears that all this was not consulted upon and it is regarded by boaters as a big step backwards. It has since been confirmed that these decisions were made by the Trustees and not proposed by CRT.

The Canal & River Trust has announced that headline private and business boat licence fees will rise by 2.5% from 1 April 2020.

As previously announced, in March 2018, following the Trust’s national boat licence consultation, a number of changes will be made to licence fees over five years.

From 1 April 2020, a 2.5% ‘prompt payment’ discount (reduced from 5%) will apply for those who pay on time in full, and a new 2.5% discount will apply for those who manage their payments online including, for the first time, for boaters paying by direct debit.  This means that boaters who may not be able to afford to pay in one lump sum will also be able to benefit from a small discount on the full licence fee.

In addition to the current length-based pricing, from April 2020 the Trust will start the phased introduction of additional pricing bands for boat widths over 2.16m (7ft 1”), as announced in March 2018, with a surcharge of 5% applied until March 2021 (when it will increase to 10%).  This means that boats over 2.16m wide will be subject to an increase in licence fees of 7.6% overall from 1 April 2020.

CRT have published their annual report for the period 2018 - 19

The press release summary PDF  is here

The annual meeting is set for 19 September at Austin Court, Birminham with notice here.

A report by CRT on last year’s sales of winter moorings shows the following numbers of permits sold in each price bracket:

Price per metre          No sold

£6.70                           262

£10.30                         151

£13.90                         150

£16.00                         75

£18.00                         80

Total                           718

The total number of months booked was 2305, raising a total income of £314,149.40.

- now at weekends too

From 14th July, boaters are able to get in touch with the CRT customer service team seven days a week. The team will respond to enquiries from 8am—6pm, Monday to Friday, 9am—5pm on Saturdays, and 10am—4pm on Sundays. You can get in touch with the Trust to report an incident or to let them know about any non-urgent prob­lems you have, or have come across, by calling 0303 0404040, tweeting @CRTcontactus com­pleting and emailing the web-form or chatting live at canalrivertrust.org.uk/contact-us/ways-to-contact-us. Examples include low or high water levels, damage or vandalism, fly-tipping or animal carcasses, unlicensed or speeding boats, or facility breakdowns (e.g. water point, pump out).

In an emergency, call 999 and, when you have received a response from the emergency services, inform CRT on its 24-hour emergency number (0800 47 999 47). This type of emergency is, for example, when lives are at risk (including serious injury, illness, fatality, need for rescue help, fire or explosion on a boat), or to report a crime.

Also call CRT’s emergency number when a situation is urgent (but be aware that staff will make a judgement based on the severity of the incident and do not always ask an on-duty staff member to respond directly). Examples include a seriously damaged lock, bridge or tunnel, a boat trapped in a dangerous situation (e.g. on a weir or in a lock), serious flooding or a breech that risks lives or property.

To report environmental pollution (including dead fish or fish gasping at the water surface), call the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60.