Canal & River Trust – the other constituencies

by Stephen Peters (NABO and TBA preferred candidate in the CRT elections)

As boat owners, our thoughts during the current CRT Council elections have understandably been centred on selecting the 4 Boater representatives who will serve on the Council for the next four years. Boaters with the appropriate licences will by now have received the ballot information listing the 33 candidates together with their election statements and have cast their votes accordingly.

Details of the boater candidates and boating business candidates can also be found on the Waterscape website. But…

 no information about the 9 Employee candidates had been publicised. In free and fair elections, one expects to know who is seeking election and, after persistent requests from yours truly, the powers-that-be have agreed to publish the information about employee candidates on the website. (See….staff-representative for details)


It seems that the 5 boating business candidates who are seeking their two Council places may have difficulty in attracting votes from some of their constituents. The rules have been drafted in such a way that a number of boating businesses are precluded from participating in the election process.

The eligibility criteria require candidates to hold a commercial agreement with BW – such as a marina connection or network access agreement, an operator agreement or a business boat or freight vessel licence. In addition, trade associations can also put forward a candidate.

However, to be eligible to vote they must hold a commercial agreement or licence from BW and this is causing some problems for businesses who discover that they are disenfranchised by the rules. Well-known and respected waterside companies have been told they cannot vote because they do not have a “licence” and are displeased at the prospect of being represented by “roving coal merchants and fender makers”. The British Marine Federation candidate may find that other BMF members are prevented from supporting him. It seems very unfair that major contributors to the waterway economy are being excluded by ill-thought out bureaucracy.