Mike Rodd and Phil Goulding had their regular meeting with Richard Thomas, Director Wales and South West, on Monday 3rd December at Devizes. Richard had agreed to meet the NABO representatives on a 3-monthly basis and this again proved to be a most valuable session.

It was clear that Richard has become aware of the urgent need (and value to CRT!) to improve communications with the waterways users and said that he was pleased with the attendance at the recent User Forum. However, Mike stressed how valuable he is finding the smaller boaters’ representatives meetings which are held on the Mon & Brec and the detailed information sharing that is going on through these meetings. Richard responded that he is anxious to find ways of ensuring the knowledge and experiences of active boaters is captured by CRT. Of particular interest was his response to the serious problems which had been caused on the K&A when the winter works closures were announced without consultation with users. In fact an earlier notice had been sent around for comment, but those proposals had been radically changed by CRT’s central staff responsible for the works delivery – changes which had not been checked with Richards’ team. Mike pointed out that these changes had caused major problems for the K&A Canal Trust’s public boats.

Richard stressed CRT’s commitment to working with schools and was looking forward to a new appointment to lead for him in this area. Mike stressed that much work is going on in this area at Crofton together with industrial partners, and was sure this work can all be done in collaboration with CRT.

The NABO representatives were delighted to see that Richard was determined to work with the coalface canal users and look forward to the next meeting.