A Zoom-based meeting of this valuable forum brought together representatives of NABO, RBOA, CBOA, DBA, TBA, HNBC, IWA, AWCC and the General Secretary, Michael Stimpson.

The meeting agreed to reappoint Michael and thanked him for his valuable work over the past year. The finances were also reported on and with little expenditure on meetings, the financial position is sound. It was agreed to pay towards the cost of the ZOOM facilities being used.

Following the AGM, the meeting discussed key ON-GOING issues as highlighted in the previous meeting, starting with CRT’s consultation on the proposed changes to the Terms and Conditions of private boater licences. A meeting had been held with senior representatives of CRT and whilst this was most welcome, it was felt that whilst they listened patiently to our concerns, the bulk of the proposals would still go ahead. It was decided that the General Secretary would express our concern that there had been no feedback yet from CRT, which had been promised at the meeting.

It was then noted that there had been absolutely no progress relating to the issues with the appointment of District Enforcement, a car parking company, to enforce mooring overstaying on the Thames. Indeed, our request for a meeting to discuss this with the EA has been treated by an outright refusal, sent by a relatively junior member of EA’s staff. It was decided to respond with a formal complaint to EA Directors.

Other matters discussed included the forthcoming survey relating to the Boat Safety Scheme and all organisations were urged to encourage their members to participate. It was noted that the rapid rise in the use of electrical power on boats, together with proposed moves to all-electric boats, would require the BSS scheme to undertake urgent work in the inspection of the many resulting issues.

It was noted that there was a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Waterways on the Tuesday 2nd March 2021 starting at 9.50am, focusing on "Getting out on the Water" - The Health, Social and Economic benefits of boating and recreational sports on our Inland Waterways. It was noted that all organisations are invited to attend as observers at these meeting, of which the IWA acts as the secretaries.

Overall, another excellent meeting with the real opportunity to share our views on a number of key issues.

Mike Rodd