Peter Fellows outlines some important issues that are expected to feature this year.
As Mike Rodd points out in his Chairman’s column, 2022 is an important year for the future of the waterways, with the Defra review of CRT funding underway as well as the (ongoing and seemingly continuous) reorganisation within the EA navigation division. The outcomes of both are difficult to predict. But, in the wider context of Government spending, many commentators are forecasting a reduction in CRT’s grant and the transfer of the EA waterways to the Trust. Neither gives much cause for optimism. Unless the Defra review recommends sufficient funding for waterway maintenance to halt the deterioration of infrastructure assets, it is difficult to see how the current situation will improve. To achieve this, I and others have long argued for a separation of CRT’s navigation responsibilities from its wellbeing agenda. The waterways are a national asset that requires national (i.e. central Government) funding, with a ring-fenced budget that is realistic to properly maintain them. This would stop the constant (and justified) criticism of CRT for wasting money on signage, PR and other non-waterway expenditure, as described in this issue by Ian Hutson and a letter from Robert Neff.
John Devonald has some tips on a topic rarely considered.
This short article is really one I should have written before winter set in, but I am still getting queries from people about issues they are having with their cooling systems. Here are a few points and tips to, hopefully, help anyone who is unsure as to what it entails.
On most canal boats, the cooling system is a closed loop with a water pump that moves coolant through the engine to cool it and then into the skin-tank to reduce the temperature of the coolant before recirculating it back to the engine. Tap-offs are used to supply the coolant to heat a calorifier in some cases. It is basically the same as a car but with the skin-tank taking the place of the radiator.
In the Chair
Mike Rodd takes part in the Defra consultation on Government funding.
So far, a very mild winter has meant that we can all go out and do some lovely, quiet winter cruising. For my wife and me this always means – after her hectic Christmastime as our vicar – diving out straight after Christmas Day and spending a week on our boat on the beautiful Mon & Brec. Not so easy this year, though, with some major (and essential) canal re-lining work before Christmas having left the parts of the canal short of water and the towpath in a total mess – see below. But it was still wonderful.
Before Christmas, probably the most important meeting I attended on behalf of NABO was a session run by Defra, preparing the way for a review of the Government’s future funding for CRT. To help inform their deliberations, Defra ran a series of engagement sessions, not only exploring how CRT has performed since being established in 2012, but also considering possible opportunities and challenges in future years. We joined in one of these sessions, with representatives also present from across Government and from other boater organisations. CRT did not attend on the day but was able to view the recording made by the review team.
Howard Anguish reports on the situation.
There is growing concern being felt about incidents of fish mortality at Ferrybridge which seem to be caused by the passage of large barges as a direct result of the new gravel trade recently introduced into Leeds. This has led to the pausing of traffic while investigations are carried out, and the large numbers of fish mortalities has, in turn, led to expressions of concern from anglers about the future viability of the fishery in the area. It appears that there are particularly large numbers of fish in the Wash Dike area of the waterway which, it is suggested, may be attracted in large numbers by the occasional legal release of sewage into the waterway by Yorkshire Water.
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