Following feedback from a series of meetings held with disabled boaters over the last year, CRT will now provide ‘Trust Aware’ permits to boaters who have been given reasonable adjustments to their cruising requirements under the Equality Act 2010. On a case-by-case basis, this could involve overstays on visitor or towpath moorings or adjusting their cruising range. The permits are intended to let other people know that the Trust is aware of the situation and that there is permission to overstay or move in a limited range. Boaters can choose whether they want to display them; it is not a CRT requirement. There are around 240 boaters with approved adjustments and another 140 adjustments in the process of being arranged. The permits will be the size of a licence disc, but will be printed on yellow paper to clearly distinguish between the two.

CRT have said that they are starting a winter tree and hedge manangement programme. They say that the works will focus on preserving navigation and ensuring sightlines are kept clear, rather than cutting back every metre of overgrowth. We actively manages vegetation all year round, but large-scale activities are best suited to winter when the waterways are quieter and disturbance to wildlife is minimised..

We have a list of the target areas and you can see it here, with the accomanying qualifications. If you know of other places, pleas elet us know and we can follow up.

Dont forget that all towpaths should be cut to edge and woody growth removed by the end of March 2020.

The Canal & River Trust has announced that headline private and business boat licence fees will rise by 2.5% from 1 April 2020.

As previously announced, in March 2018, following the Trust’s national boat licence consultation, a number of changes will be made to licence fees over five years.

From 1 April 2020, a 2.5% ‘prompt payment’ discount (reduced from 5%) will apply for those who pay on time in full, and a new 2.5% discount will apply for those who manage their payments online including, for the first time, for boaters paying by direct debit.  This means that boaters who may not be able to afford to pay in one lump sum will also be able to benefit from a small discount on the full licence fee.

In addition to the current length-based pricing, from April 2020 the Trust will start the phased introduction of additional pricing bands for boat widths over 2.16m (7ft 1”), as announced in March 2018, with a surcharge of 5% applied until March 2021 (when it will increase to 10%).  This means that boats over 2.16m wide will be subject to an increase in licence fees of 7.6% overall from 1 April 2020.

The Council is responsible for the appointment of trustees, helping to shape policies and providing guidance and perspective to trustees. Election of 28 new Council members is now underway. Candidates and their manifestos were published on 25th November and licence holders will receive an email link to enable them to vote from 20th January to 14th February. Posts will run for four years from March.

In reality, private boaters have a chance to elect just four representatives, so only have a small voice on the Council and little real influence. But, it is a chance to interact with CRT directors and trustees and seek to get boaters’ views heard, as well as hearing about CRT’s latest strategic thinking. This, in NABO’s view, is the most important aspect and why we would urge you to vote. NABO is very disappointed to learn that the Association of Waterway Cruising Clubs (AWCC), essentially a mooring provider, was nominated to CRT Council as a ‘boaters’ representative’, which is simply not the case. The IWA and the AWCC each have a nominated seat, yet their members also get a vote. This year, roving traders have been told that, for the purpose of the election, they are now to be treated as private boaters, which is also blatantly not the case. They are no longer businesses and must vote for, and be represented by, private boaters. NABO’s view is that private boaters’ representation has been diluted by this and that the roving traders have been marginalised for no reason. It appears that all this was not consulted upon and it is regarded by boaters as a big step backwards. It has since been confirmed that these decisions were made by the Trustees and not proposed by CRT.

A report by CRT on last year’s sales of winter moorings shows the following numbers of permits sold in each price bracket:

Price per metre          No sold

£6.70                           262

£10.30                         151

£13.90                         150

£16.00                         75

£18.00                         80

Total                           718

The total number of months booked was 2305, raising a total income of £314,149.40.