All-Party Parliamentary Waterways Group

In March, the group called a meeting between waterway organisations and Thérèse Coffey MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment with responsibility for the waterways, and Richard Parry. However, it gave NABO only four days’ notice, so the Council was unable to find a member who could attend. Instead NABO was offered a chance to submit a question to the minister and we sent the following: ‘The primary charitable objective of the Canal and River Trust is to preserve, protect, operate and manage Inland Waterways for public benefit. The first item listed under this charitable objective is ‘for navigation’. However, there would appear to have been a deliberate change of language and focus recently and to many boaters it would appear that the Trust is now primarily interested in the ‘wellbeing’ of towpath users rather than the ‘wellbeing’ of the navigation and those that use it, thus causing many boaters to feel marginalised by the Trust. Does the Minister have a view on how different users can be fairly accommodated?’

Am I missing something?

As a fairly recent member of NABO, I fail to understand the objection to CRT stating that all boaters should obey the same rules when cruising whether they have a home mooring or not. Am I missing something here?

Rodney Hardwick

Mark Tizard, NABO Vice Chair, replied:

The reason why NABO objects is a simple legal one and it refers to the Act of Parliament that governs CRT’s management of its waterways. The Act is very clear in that to obtain a licence, it requires boaters who do not have a home mooring to satisfy CRT that they are using their boats ‘bona fide’ for navigation. However, there is no such requirement for boaters that declare they have a home mooring. Thus, boaters without a home mooring are required to continuously cruise in accordance with CRTs guidelines, if they do not wish to fall foul of CRT’s interpretation of ‘bona fide’ navigation and those with a legitimate home mooring are not. This is, in fact, reflected in CRT’s enforcement strategy.

The scheme is known as East West Rail Western Section Phase 2

Network Rail's plan is to develop a proposal to upgrade and reconstruct existing, and mothballed (no longer in use) sections of track linking Bedford-Bicester and Milton Keynes-Princes Risborough. 

What will the scheme deliver?

New journey opportunities for passengers between Bedford and Bicester, new passenger services between Milton Keynes and London via Aylesbury, improved regional links to help boost local economies and increased capacity for freight trains, helping to support the UK economy and take vehicles off local roads

The East West Rail Western Section Phase 2 project is part of East West Rail which aims to establish a strategic railway connecting East Anglia with Central, Southern and Western England. It has been promoted and developed since 1995 by the East West Rail Consortium, a group of local authorities and strategic partners.

The East West Rail Western Section Phase 2 project is funded by the Department for Transport with a contribution from the East West Rail Consortium.

The consultation can be viewed here:

The NABO response is here

NABO comments  on the recent legal action between NBTA and CRT

We ask has this muddied the waters further or has CRT succeeded in getting formal legal support for their ‘guidance for boaters without a home mooring’ ?

The extreme weather that we’ve all been subject to this year has had a severe impact across our historic network of canals and rivers. CRT’s teams are battling to protect our waterways from damage. However, they urgently need our support to permanent damage to any of our precious canals and river navigations.

NABO’s Council has agreed to immediately contribute £250 to this appeal and urges all our members to contribute whatever they can.