Editorial December 2020

Editor, Peter Fellows, looks at what might be in store for a rejuvenated NABO Council next year.

Following appeals for more members to help with NABO, the Council is delighted to welcome three new members: Anne Husar, who will take on the role of Publicity and Communications Officer; Peter Braybrook, who will also be the West Midlands Rep.; and John Devonald, who will also be the South East Rep. Additionally, we welcome Matt Thompson as the new North West Rep. and Peter Braley who will cover the East Midlands and the River Trent. I would also like to welcome Jim and Jackie Buckley who, together with Anne, will join the team of NABO News proof-readers.

The AGM was by teleconference for the first time and was attended by eight members, who made valuable contributions, with new ideas about how NABO should resist CRT’s attempt to change its licence terms and conditions. Chairman, Mike Rodd, discusses this in his AGM report and I have included a letter sent by NABO to the Parliamentary Waterways Group. Mike also reports on meetings of the EA, concerning developments on the Thames, and the Parliamentary Group discussion on alternatives to boat diesel engines. Helen Hutt reports on recent meetings of CRT Council and AGM, and the latest Boaters Reps. meeting.

Like everyone else, our boating has been curtailed again and we’ve not been allowed to visit it throughout November. If you continuously cruise, Ken Hylins describes what to do if you get an email from CRT saying you haven’t moved far enough.

CRT has issued a number of reports, including their annual report and accounts and earlier, a boater reputation survey, which must make uncomfortable reading for them. Another CRT-commissioned report on the connections between canal building and the slave trade in the 18th Century makes uncomfortable reading for all of us. Stephen Peters covers more recent history with an article on changes to his boating over the last 50 years and he also contributes to the ongoing red diesel saga. Linda French and I have written the second part of an article on shared boating and Mark Tizard looks into the cost to CRT of enforcement.

So, at the end of a very strange year, a revitalised Council is poised to take on the challenges that will no doubt arise in 2021 and develop new aspects to NABO’s work in protecting the waterways and our ability to use them. Of course, more support is always welcome, so if you feel you’d like a new challenge in the New Year, please get in touch and we’ll find you a job that suits your availability and interests. Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2021.