As many of you will be aware there has recently been yet another revision of the Canal and River Trust’s (CRT) 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.
NABO has written today to CRT asking them to delay the introduction of the revised terms (for private boat licences), until they have been consulted.
The letter reads:
NABO is naturally disappointed that in the six months since our submission to CRT the Trust has made no effort to respond to the detailed points raised by NABO. Our submission reflected not just the views of NABO’s Council but was prepared after consulting our membership. We are forced to conclude that the Trust finds it easier to ignore a group of its customers than engage with them.
We note that the revised terms and conditions are materially different than the 2015 terms as well as those that were consulted upon. The fact that these revised terms have not been consulted upon and were introduced with six days’ notice is insulting to boaters.
CRT have this week published their intended wording for boat licence terms and conditions. This follows a consultation in 2020. There is also a report on the consultation.
You can read the details here: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/news-and-views/news/weve-updated-our-boat-licence-terms-and-conditions
CRT unhelpfully say "After such a positive and constructive response to the consultation with respondents largely recognising the purpose and strength of the proposals, and their feedback further shaping several of them, we thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts."
This all needs detailed study to see what, if anything, they have done with our comments. It is also clear that there are controversial legal issues that have been introduced in the wording which were not covered by the consultation. NABO Council will meet in the coming days to review the new document and see what is to be done.
One aspect that NABO had recommended was that the general wording be reviewed for readability. CRT appear to have taken this on board. CRT have not published any parallel rewording of the Privacy documents.
These terms come in to play on 1st June for boaters who apply for a new or renewed licence.
CRT have taken 6 months of secret internal and legal review to come up with this. Now they produce it like 'a rabbit out af a hat'. Magic?
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!