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


Disabled boaters’ forum

Ken Hylins reports on the meeting on 12th April.

I attended this meeting for the first time with an open mind as to what to expect. There were seven people in the Zoom meeting: Matthew Symonds (Chairing) and Rachel Heywood from CRT, a waterway chaplain and other people with an interest in this matter. The following points were brought up at the meeting:

1. CRT spotters are beginning to assess towpaths and structures with regard to disability access, which will take time to complete. However, there will be a charge to get the final publication. A private boater is travelling the cut assessing the canal as regards disabled access. I raised the possibility of using boating organisations’ feedback to help with this matter.

2. CRT would like people/boaters to send a short video saying what they think is important for their staff to consider when dealing with disabled issues and the consideration needed.

3. All future work carried out by CRT will consider disabled needs.

4. CRT is looking to increase the number of marked disabled moorings.

5. The recent equality questionnaire was considered to be invasive. It was stated that this document is being rewritten for clarity and understanding (well done David Fletcher!).

6. The issue of reduced moorings fees for disabled people was brought up two years ago and CRT was criticised for having taken no action on this matter.

7. It was also stated that CRT has difficulty implementing adjustments on rivers as they often don’t own the land.

8. CRT also said that boaters should get help in getting moorings and support from their local welfare and support officer. I challenged this statement as totally incorrect as there is little or no support on this matter for a boater. Mathew Symonds requested to have a meeting with me to follow up my concerns. In conclusion, I found it of value to be able to find out what is going on and the proposed adjustments being considered. I feel there is also value in this forum in raising issues on behalf of NABO members - the shame effect. I will be attending the next meeting on behalf of NABO, but I have an open mind. It gives us another platform to work on and more contacts to work with.


Lockdown lock use

- CRT’s annual lockage report for 2020

The headline figure, comparing 2020’s lock use with the previous year, is that there was a reduction of almost 33% across 172 comparison sites. In the week before the first lockdown in March, there were some 3,500 weekly lock counts, which fell to fewer than 1,000 during lockdown. From early July, when boaters were able to cruise freely again, lockage numbers soared to more than 12,000 per week and remained at this level for most of the summer, with a peak of 13,700 in mid-August. As in previous years, the twinned Hillmorton Locks 2 and 3 on the North Oxford Canal were the busiest with 5,933 lockages, a drop of 29% on 2019. Next was Cholmondeston Lock on the Shroppie with 5,346 lockages (also down 29%), followed by Woodend Lock on the T & M at 4,450 lockages. The least-used lock was Graving Lock, which links the Shroppie to the River Dee, with 28 lockages for the year. The report can be found at

Evaluation of the Performance of the Canal & River Trust

TENDERS are being invited by DEFRA to evaluate the performance of the Canal and River Trust.  The tender notice is inviting suppliers for the evaluation of the performance of the Canal & River Trust Project, see:

The aim to undertake a 'backward looking' socio-economic evaluation, to collect and synthesise evidence in order to answer the following questions:

1. Assess the trust's performance of its obligations arising under the Grant Agreement and other founding documentation.

2. What public benefits have the trust delivered?

3. Estimate the economic value of benefits.

4. Identify a baseline and variation from the baseline.

The evaluation will focus on the period from creation of the Trust in 2012 up to the current period 2020/21. The four months contract will be at a cost of between £80,000 and £150,000.


Defra's investigation into CRT's performance not to go ahead

A response to an information request by the National Bargees and Travellers Association on the 7th of May has confirmed that the contract using a third party consultant has not been awarded. DEFRA says that it did not receive tenders of sufficient quality to progress to a contract being awarded.

NABO supports NBTA seeking to fund legal advice

NABO is supporting the National Bargee Travellers Association in its’ crowdfunding appeal to raise funds for obtaining a Legal Opinion regarding the proposed changes to the CRT Boat Licence Terms and Conditions. This appeal is now open for donations:

Mike Rodd