Annual General Meeting. The NABO AGM was held by teleconference on Saturday 14 November. The Chair and Treasurer delivered their reports. Nominations had been received from the following for Council: Peter Fellows, David Fletcher, Phil Goulding, Helen Hutt, Mike Rodd, Mark Tizard, Ken Hylins, John Devonald, Anne Husar and Peter Braybrook. There being no need for an individual election, the Council members were elected en bloc. Subsequently Matt Thompson and Peter Braley volunteered, and were co-opted to Council. Alison Tuck stood down, and we thank her for her input and work over the years. In the following Council meeting, the senior officers were elected unchanged. Full details are in the next NABO News. The Chair's report can be seen here.
Covid 19 situation. The four-week lockdown ends in the early hours of Wednesday 2 Dec. and we go back to the tiers. These will remain in place for the foreseeable future, but maybe counties will change tiers in two weeks’ time.
CRT website says: ‘As of 2 December 2020 our navigations will be open for you to cruise – and stay on board overnight – subject to ongoing government guidance. The Government advises that people should specifically try to avoid leaving or entering very high alert level areas (tier 3), other than for things like work or education, so we would strongly advise against travelling to or from your boat, or boating for any distance, in these areas.
From the 2nd, everyone’s mooring clock will ‘reset’ so the majority will have 14 days until they need to move on. We’re again asking anyone with specific needs or issues to contact their LSO [Licence Support Officer,] and we’ll be as sensitive as we can to issues whilst trying to ensure the sharing of access and adherence to government guidance.
For boaters within or currently bordering Tier 3 areas, in line with Government advice to avoid travelling into or out of these areas, we are advising boaters to boat within their area and we will take this into account when reviewing movement patterns.
Hopefully this steady approach, which will allow people to move immediately if they want to on the 2nd, will mean that no facilities are over-subscribed as movement begins. Of course, we’ll be asking boaters to use common sense and be considerate but hopefully we will have a similarly successful return to cruising as last time
We have to look forward to the time when we can get this vaccine to protect us. If you are not linked to a GP, time to find a friendly one. Then get ready to stand in line. In the meantime, stay safe out there.
CRT Licence terms. The big issue at the moment is CRT’s proposed changes to the licence Terms and Conditions. Your Council has been active. We have made a formal complaint to the MPs of the APPGW that CRT is, in our view, proposing to exceed its legal powers. The full letter is available on our website here. We have also sent out a press release to Towpath Talk, Waterways World, Canal Boat and Narrowboat World. The latter has just published a pro-NABO comment encouraging readers to invest £25 in joining - well done our new publicity officer, Anne. We are also active on the social media forums. We now have submission documents in draft as we get ready to make our formal response. We will also be tackling some wider concerns on CRT’s data protection policies and the readability of its wider terms and policies. If you have not done so, please do make a response.Our briefing note is here. Please use your own words or it is likely CRT will discard the response as a dulpicate.
The nature of the web response page is such that you are best prepared by writing your responses on a text editor, and cutting and pasting them in. It will be quite hard to make a response on a mobile device. You have received our email sent in November outlining your Council’s concerns, but these are updated and repeated here. The consultation can be found here https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/news-and-views/news/we-are-seeking-boaters-views-on-license-t-and-cs The closing data is 21 December.
If you have experience with writing or operating GDPR systems, we could use your help to review what we have written. Please email David at email@example.com.
APPGW. On 10 November, Mike Rodd attended (as an observer - the norm for such meetings) a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways that discussed "Waterways and Net Zero - Sustainable Propulsion". Most of the group's MPs attended and there was a really good presentation by IWA's Bowman Bradley. Then followed a presentation with some really good engineering from Warwick University, a report from a company looking into alterative power sources, and finally a report on an Oxford Council-led project on their work. It was a well chaired meeting, led by a very battery-sceptic and well-informed Michael Fabricant. NABO will now be taking a special interest in this area, led by our new Council member, John Devonald.
Middle Level. In November, the Middle Level Commissioners notified the licence fees for the period commencing 1 April 2021. These fees are fixed and cover the period up to and including 31 March 2022. This covers the services and facilities available to boats for recreational activities. The charges set for the year are to be the same as those for Environment Agency Anglian Waterways for the full 2020/21 year. See this link for details:
There is a 25% discount promised for 21/22 for those with a licence for 20/21, paid for before 31 December 2020.
Canoes in lockdown. We have written to the Head of Boating querying why CRT has authorised canoeists and paddle boarders to use their waterways for a trip out, but not allow boaters to use their boats for a day. Our view was either navigation should be permitted or not.
CRT Water Resources. CRT has just published the latest annual review of their Water Resources Strategy. This is a well written document. You can find the document here:
North East region. Howard Anguish reports that he has been invited to take part in a virtual forum for the Yorkshire and the North East Region, on 12 January. Other local societies have set up Zoom meetings, including a local Branch AGM shortly. Otherwise there is very little happening on local waterways. A fundraising appeal has gone out for the Pocklington Canal to continue with lock restoration work, which would enable work to resume on the last unrestored stretch of the canal. PCAS - the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society – has been unable to run its trip boat New Horizons all season, which has deprived the society of much needed funds. Lack of weed cutting work by EA on the Driffield Canal has caused issues for small craft - especially the local sailing boats.
NAG Vegetation. David Fletcher attended a video meeting of the group on 14 November. We understand that CRT is to undertake an assessment of offside vegetation over the winter, so it can better plan the long-term requirements. There is a promise to ring-fence the offside cutting budget so that it is not raided for other ‘priorities’. It would appear that the barrage of complaints is having some impact. Keep it up! Also, they have allocated some additional funding for the South Oxford to address the problems there. CRT continues to work on mapping the mowing needs. This must be finished by the end of March 2021, to be ready for the retender of the Fountains contract. This is a one-off chance to get your views into CRT.
Hammersmith Bridge. This west London bridge over the Thames remains closed to navigation. The annual Boat Race for 2021 has been transferred to Ely. There is no view on when the river might reopen for navigation. All the London reports talk about foot and vehicle traffic. What about the boats? You can read about it here: here
BSS AC. Alison Tuck and David Fletcher attended a virtual meeting of the Advisory Committee on 3 November. We understand that examinations are proceeding in the Covid situation. No issues are reported. Please let us know if you know differently. The gas retraining for examiners is now complete except for a couple of examiners who are shielding. We explained the new testing in the last NN. These new procedures now apply. It is a good thing.
BSS TC. Mike Rodd and David Fletcher attended a virtual meeting of the Technical Committee on 14 November. We are continuing the long-running review of the BSS requirements. The timetable for the launch of this package continues to slip for all sorts of reasons and it now set for the 3rd quarter of 2021. We understand that MAIB will shortly report on the consultation for the Hire Boat Code.
CRT Council boaters reps. Helen Hutt will attend a virtual meeting on 7 December, mainly to talk about T&Cs.
BSS TC Mike Rodd and David Fletcher will attend a virtual meeting of the Technical Committee on 8 December. This meeting is to review four technical appeals made by boat owners.
BSS MC. David Fletcher will attend a virtual meeting of the Management Committee on 15 December. This meeting is a periodic review of budget and progress.
APPGW. The next APPGW meeting will be held on the 8 December, looking at the important contribution that the inland waterways can make to ‘building back better’ in terms of our economic prosperity and health & wellbeing. NABO will be represented by our treasurer, Helen Hutt.
NINF. On 12 December, Mike Rodd will attend a meeting of the National Inland Navigation Forum, which will be largely targeted at discussions of CRT's proposed changes to private boaters' licence Terms and Conditions.
CRT Forums. This would normally be the time of year for these. We have seen announcements for the NW region on 10 Dec and Howard mentions the 12 January for the NE. Have you got one for your area?
The December issue of NABO News is with the printers now and will be on the mat before Christmas. It is already on the web-site if you sign in.
The next NABO Council will be a teleconference on Saturday 16 January at 10.15. Members are very welcome to take part, in fact we really need you to take part. Please let us know so that we can make arrangements.
The first 2021 edition of NABO News will be prepared after the Council meeting with a copy date of 23 January. Please get your items and some happy towpath stories and pictures in to the editor.
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