In the Chair Winter 17

Stella Ridgway gets ready for winter

As another year ends and Christmas approaches, the summer boaters are busy winterising their boats, liveaboards are eyeing places to get free wood and ensuring that they have organised a coal delivery from their local coal-boat. We are lucky to have fortnightly coal-boat runs; please support your coal-boats – they are the lifeblood of the canals in winter.

The winter mooring season has begun and those who don’t have a home mooring can take advantage of these, although I have to say I haven’t noticed a big uptake in our area. Where they do seem popular, I notice they are priced accordingly.

My treatment has prevented me from travelling too much and I must arrange things around it. We are still trying to get a haemodialysis machine on our boat; we seem to be caught up in the inevitable red tape that surrounds such things, but we are still hoping to get there.

CRT’s boater’s survey closed at the beginning of December. I hope you took the opportunity to express your views. We await the results with baited breath. It is interesting that they issued the London Mooring Consultation at the same time.

The next round of quarterly CRT meetings is not due to start until January, but NABO has been examining the Annual Report. The boating and licensing income was £45M and £38M was the entire maintenance budget (dredging comes out of that), so boaters paid for all the maintenance on the system ‒ so much for boaters not paying their way ‒ yet they spent £22.8M on volunteer management and training.

How to change things then?

NABO is as good as our members: please subscribe if you have liked our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. It costs £25 per year, and for this you get this excellent reference magazine and the support of experienced boaters. We are listened to by the Trust and we have NABO members on CRT’s Council and National Advisory Groups, who can influence thinking at the Trust. We want to be your voice in the Canal and River Trust, and we can only do that with your help.

There are plans submitted to remove the wharf at Marple and build houses on it. (In Marsworth, this has resulted in boaters being asked not to run their engines at all. In Macclesfield, the water point was moved and the visitor moorings are rendered useless because of the ‘No Engine Running’ rule). NABO has put in a robust submission opposing the Marple plans and I attended a Marple Area Planning meeting in December. We will publicise the outcome when it is known.

Finally, may we take this opportunity of wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Safe winter boating and we’ll see you all on the water in 2018.