December Meeting of the National Inland Navigation Forum (NINF)

This meeting was held at the St Pancras Cruising Club, London, on Saturday 29th November, and attended by representatives of BMF, IWA, RBOA, AWCC, GOBA, HNBC and NABO.

The membership of NINF is broad but unfortunately the number actually attending is low: This is a huge pity as the opportunity for the representatives of many different boating organisations to exchange views is valuable.

Topics of particular interest at this meeting included continuing mooring issues on the waterways in the Cambridge and Ely areas, where the Environment Agency and local authorities appear to be unable to agree, and in places this is leading to virtually no effective enforcement. Similarly, the meeting discussed at length the issue relating to overcrowding and lack of effective enforcement in London. It was agreed that enforcement is key and the meeting supported CRT’s stated intention to get a grip on the situation: But it was agreed that with the issues resulting from poorly defined legislation, effective enforcement would require CRT to make it clear what their requirements were and then it would have to be up to the courts to determine if these were acceptable. It was acknowledged that there is a serious congestion problem in London, largely resulting from housing shortages and the perception that living on a boat is the cheap option. Sadly, the Historic Narrow Boat Club reported that they had had decided not to hold their annual rally in the London area as a direct results of the unavailability of suitable moorings.

The Commercial Boat Operators Association presented a positive  and encouraging report on increased commercial tonnage now moving on the Thames, the river Severn (for the carriage of aggregates) while carriage of grain and containers remains buoyant and, in fact, increasing, in the North West.

The NINF AGM will be held on the 21st of February 2015 at St Pancras Cruising Club.

Mike Rodd