NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BOAT OWNERS

Listening to boat owners, Speaking out for boat owners, Representing boat owners.

image050.jpg

Wales & South West User Forum

I attended the virtual meeting of the above on Thursday 4th November, which concentrated on the Kennet and Avon Canal. I have to say that this was one of the very best CRT Forum meetings I have attended and the Director responsible, Mark Evans, needs to be congratulated on developing a format which really works. Little about the glorious CRT but hard canal information, led by 2 well prepared reviews of present and immediate future work on the canal given by the lead operations folk. The rest of the meeting was left open to questions from the appropriately 30 attendees. It is very clear that CRT is having much success in the involvement of volunteers into their work, some at the real engineering end. But of course this is not really surprising as they have built this approach right from the start (at least at the eastern end) on the existing K&A Canal Trust volunteers who always worked closely with BWB/CRT.

I hope Mark shares his approach with other CRT Detectors.

Mike

Winter moorings 21-21

This year, CRT’s winter moorings are divided into eight price bands that reflect each site’s relative attractiveness (location and nearby facilities), level of demand and pricing in line with long-term moorings and private mooring operators. The order has been reversed with Band 1 being the lowest priced and Band 8 the highest. Compared to last year, 64 sites have dropped a price band or have a price freeze and 42 sites have a price rise. Moorings will be available from 1st November to 28th February 2022. You can browse the available sites on the boat licensing website. Permits will be charged at a ‘per metre, per month’ rate, and you can book moorings in increments of one month. A list of sites and prices is at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/winter-moorings. Bookings start on 1st October at 6am on a first-come, first-served basis. For further information, call CRT customer services on 0303 040 4040 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

A blow-by-blow account of the terms

In mid-2020, CRT commenced a consultation on the private boat licence terms and conditions. They did not invite comment on the whole document, but limited the consultation to nine items of change.

NABO made three submissions: on the consultation; on the privacy policy and a third on the readability of the terms and privacy documents. The consultation closed in December 2020. We chased CRT on several occasions for responses to our submissions. CRT did not ask us for other assistance on revisions to the wording.

On 24th May 2021, CRT announced the publication of the results of the consultation. This comprised a press release, a close out commentary on the consultation and a first version of the 2021 terms document. CRT said: ‘The consultation received widespread support, with 78% of respondents in agreement across all nine proposals, ranging from 63% to 88% for individual proposals. The consultation was completed by over 3,300 individuals, around 10% of our boat licence holders. The changes will come into effect from 1 June 2021 and will be applied to renewals and new licences from that date.’ 

On 27th May 2021 NABO Council met to review the documents and consider our immediate responses.

On 28th May, we received a response letter from CRT covering the privacy policy issues. This successfully resolves a number of issues about the CRT documents, with a commitment to modify them. On the same day, CRT published the revised documents and some but not all licence holders have received emails. The changes could not be identified and were not reported.

Letter to members – CRT’s T&Cs

Anne Husar finds key issues not consulted on, which could negatively impact boaters.

As many of you will be aware, there has recently been yet another revision of CRT’s Terms and Conditions (T&C’s) for private boaters. This latest publication follows their admission of ‘errors’ in previous drafts which has now led to two of the more contentious conditions being removed. There are now, we think, three differing versions of this document in circulation with the potential to cause much confusion. For our purposes here we are referring to the document referenced by CRT as 15.6.21 v.2.

As many of you are also aware, NABO Council has been carefully scrutinising these developments and, as a result of NABO’s comments, significant changes were made to the readability of the Privacy policy and the corrected GDPR document. It has been reworded to make it easier to understand but there remain some parts that could be improved. Certainly many of the typos and much random use of capital letters throughout the T&Cs document that made it such an annoying read were quickly removed when we pointed out what a shoddy publication they had produced. So, where are we now?

We feel that there remain four key issues some of which were not consulted on and which could impact negatively on boaters.

Heritage and the Canal and River Trust.

During the last century, British Waterways began the sale of canalside properties, listed or otherwise, and this has been continued over the years by the Canal and River Trust (CRT). Although a recent Freedom Of Information request asking how many listed buildings have already been sold was denied, seasoned boaters and canal enthusiasts could easily compile a list of exceptional buildings that have already been sold off, to the absolute detriment of the UK’s historic and unique canal system.

So much has been sold that the reality is that only the really iconic properties are now left and so they have become threatened too. Two recent examples that illustrate CRT’s lack of care towards the heritage they are supposed to be cherishing are the Stop House at Braunston and the Toll House at Pontymoile. How shameful that the campaign group Save Britain’s Heritage felt it could add the iconic Stop House to its ‘at risk’ register. The future for this historic canalside building remains uncertain. Social media pressure was such that the equally important Toll House has been withdrawn temporarily at least from auction but again, its future has not been decided.