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


Virtual news from CRT

At a short, combined CRT Council and AGM in November, last year’s annual report and accounts were accepted. Topics of particular note included:

  • Application for renewal of the Defra Grant – which accounts for about a quarter of CRT’s income – will be submitted on 6th December; whilst the Government is under no obligation to extend the grant beyond 2026/7, CRT feels that a solid case is being made for increased funding. A decision is expected in July 2022.
  • Covid-19 continues to throw up challenges but winter works should proceed unhindered and the impact on income is estimated at -10%. A special fundraising appeal, launched the previous day, drew 450 responses in the first few hours. However, Friends numbers have fallen nearly 7% over the year.
  • T&Cs consultation: CRT reports a ‘net positive’ result so far, whilst acknowledging some proposals need more clarity ..... that doesn’t seem to chime with what we see and hear!

Canals and transatlantic slavery

In spring 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement spurred CRT into commissioning Dr Jodie Matthews, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield, to undertake literature research into people who had made their wealth through the slave trade and invested the profits in canal building. She also investigated canals that were built specifically to carry goods derived from the exploitation of slaves – especially tobacco, cotton and sugar – and how these canals led to the development of cities such as Liverpool, Bristol and Manchester. Examples cited in the review are: 1) Moses Benson, a Liverpool slave-trader, who owned a ‘palace mansion’ in the city and invested in canals, leaving 230 shares in the Lancaster Canal in his will; 2) Lowbridge Bright was a wealthy Bristol West India merchant who sat on the Committee of the Thames and Severn Canal Company; 3) George Hyde Clarke, who inherited a sugar estate and 220 enslaved people, was a promoter, shareholder and committee member of the Peak Forest Canal Company; 4) Robert Milligan was a prominent Scottish merchant and slave-owner, who was the driving force behind the construction of the West India Docks in London.

The review can be found at > search ‘transatlantic slavery’.

CRT Council - Boater rep Helen Hutt reports.

This is a snapshot notes from the online CRT Council Meeting on 23 September 2020.  Complete Minutes will be available in a week or so at

Urgent: CRT licence terms and conditions

Updated 30 November 2020

You should have recently received an email from CRT with a link to a consultation for a proposal to further change the licence terms and conditions.  We encourage you to complete the consultation. If you do not have the CRT email, the web page can be found here. It is now time to have your say. The consultation closes on 21 December 2020.

Your recent AGM and Council meeting reviewed the consultation and is now drafting the Associaiton's formal response. We have the benefit of legal advice. In general whilst Council is sympathetic with CRTs needs to manage its waterways, we are concerned that wording is one sided, not proportional and attempts to take powers not granted to it in the relevant Acts.

We have the following concerns:

Toddbrook rebuild latest

The Canal and River Trust have made known details of their alternative overflow solutions to the dam construction. It was the overflow ‘spillway’ feature that failed during heavy weather in 2019. The proposals would restore the dam face to grassy slope with overflow provided in new channels to the River Goyt.

A consultation process has started on two alternative locations for the overflow. One option would be to build a new spillway to the left of the damaged dam wall which would pass through part of the Whaley Bridge Sailing Club car park. This could have an impact on the sailing club's launch slipway but the Trust - which leases land to the club - said it would make "suitable alternative arrangements".

The other option proposed would be to build a spillway through woodland to the right of the old overflow, which would go through the town's war memorial park. In a letter to residents, the trust said it would "treat this area with due sensitivity and importance".

A decision will be made in the autumn. Work will not begin until 2021, is due to be finished in 2023 and set to cost more than £10m.

You can read about is here: