National inland navigation forum meeting

NINF met at the St. Pancras Cruising Club in February with all but one of the member bodies represented. This forum continues to be a useful meeting point, bringing together navigational bodies involved with CRT, EA and other navigation authorities. There was much discussion surrounding issues relating to the possibility of the EA’s navigational responsibilities being taken over by CRT. Feedback was that, within CRT, it was believed that any future funding from Government would depend on the Trust taking on the EA’s navigational responsibilities. It was felt that the best NINF could do at this stage was to use all its political contacts to attempt to ensure an acceptable outcome. It was also felt that all bodies should ensure that they were invited to future meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways, as it appeared that most had not been invited to recent meetings.

Issues relating to threats to ban boats from using various so-called polluting fuels in their stoves were discussed. It was agreed to monitor the situation closely as the consequences would be very serious for many users. Likewise, issues relating to future developments on the availability/charging for red diesel need to be monitored carefully.

One interesting point was that, as valuable as the BSS scheme is, it is often interpreted as ensuring that people buying boats with BSS certification are guaranteed that the boat is fully inspected in terms of its operation. Maybe a slightly different name for the scheme might be considered so as to truly reflect what it is?

Mike Rodd

Clean Air Strategy

David Fletcher looks at the options for boat stoves in the light of new regulations.

DEFRA has just updated its report on the Clean Air Strategy. This is all about the impact of pollution from solid-fuel stoves. DEFRA is telling us how it intends to tackle these (and other) sources of air pollution, making our air healthier to breathe, protecting nature and boosting the economy. Air quality is known to be the biggest environmental health risk in the UK, as it shortens lives and contributes to chronic illness.  Health can be affected both by short-term, high-pollution events and by long-term exposure to lower levels.

Not a good summer for boating

Despite the excellent boating weather, for much of the summer, CRT had emergency navigation closures in force. This was the situation in July, when there were seventeen:

Locks 1 – 12, Macclesfield Canal 
Lock 7, Actons Lock, Regents Canal 
Lock 2, Belan Lock, Montgomery Canal 
Teeces Bridge, Wyrley & Essington Canal 
Lock 4, Aston, Birmingham & Fazeley CanalLock 62, Pavilion Lock and Lock 67, Booth Lane Top Lock, Trent & Mersey Canal
Camp Hill Top Lock to Knowle Top Lock, Grand Union Canal 
Glasson Flight, Lancaster Canal 
Bridge 46, Bevans Lane Bridge, Mon & Brec Canal
Bridge 10, Holmes Swing Bridge to Stanley Lock Flight/ Eldonian Village, Leeds & Liverpool Canal 
Marsh Lock, Weaver Navigation/Manchester Ship Canal 
Lock 11, Marple, Peak Forest Canal
Stanthorne Lock to Wardle Lock, Middlewich Branch, Shropshire Union Canal 
Three Mills Lock, River Lee Navigation
Middlewood Locks, Manchester, Bury & Bolton Canal
Stainton Aqueduct, Lancaster
Lock 9, Huddersfield Narrow Canal

All change at CRT

with new Regional Directors


CRT’s new regional structure was put in place on 4th June and the following Regional Directors have been appointed:

  • London & South East – Ros Daniels. She has extensive experience of the heritage and tourism sector, most recently as Head of Historic Properties, London at English Heritage. She has managed a variety of historic houses, gardens and countryside for English Heritage and the National Trust. Her waterway connection is that, in her spare time, she is a keen canoeist and paddle boarder’. 
  • Wales & South West – Richard Thomas. He has had a long career in the Royal Navy, in which ‘he transited two canals’. He also says he wants to become a liveaboard boater, with ‘aspirations to live afloat on the canal in Gloucester.
  • West Midlands – Adnan Saif. He has worked in senior positions in local government, regeneration and economic development, and is currently Chief Executive of the British Muslim Heritage Centre. He has also founded and led many non-governmental and voluntary organisations at local, European and international levels and he started a social enterprise initiative that seeks to improve leadership and service delivery in local government and civil society. He has no waterway connections.
  • East Midlands – Phil Mulligan. He is a professional third sector manager with management experience in the voluntary sector, notably as Chief Executive of the Landscape Institute, Executive Director of the United Nations Association UK, and Chief Executive of Environmental Protection UK. He is also a National Trust Council member, representing the Conservation Volunteers, an organisation on whose Board he served for five years. 
    He also had a key role in the Government's involvement in the creation of CRT as Vice Chair of Defra’s Civil Society Advisory Board. He has no known waterway connections.
  • Yorkshire & North East – Sean McGinley. He is currently the East Midlands Waterway Manager, and has worked on the waterways in management and engineering posts for 16 years. H
  • North West – Daniel Greenhalgh is the interim Regional Director, (for up to 12 months). He was a site engineer for a Liverpool civil engineering contractor before joining the waterways in 2005. He is a senior manager at CRT, responsible for major canal infrastructure projects and formerly the delivery of all the Trust’s operational contracts.


Across social media and the waterways press there are regular articles and requests from those looking to 'rent' a boat to live on or use as overnight accommodation. In urban areas living on a boat is often not a lifestyle choice about going boating, but a desire for cheap accommodation in a defined area. There are real personal and legal risks in this and these are described by this quote form a boater:

“Renting a boat which doesn't comply (with the rules) is the same as someone driving a car without Tax, MOT, and Insurance. If a non-compliant rented boat explodes, catches fire etc. it is unlikely to be covered by the owners insurance which will have been declared null and void. Any third party damage or injury will also not be covered.”

In the event of disaster there is not likely to be any comeback on the boat owner, who may well have broken the rules. We should be clear that we are not talking about normally accepted hire boat companies.