NINF met at the St Pancras Cruising Club on Saturday 9th February 2019 with all but 1 member bodies represented, together with the General Secretary, Michael Stimpson. This Forum continues to be a useful meeting point  bringing together navigational bodies involved in CRT, EA and other waterways.

There was naturally much discussion surrounded the issues relating to the possibility of the EA’s navigational responsibilities being taken over by CRT. Feedback was that within CRT it was believed that any future funding from Government would be dependent on CRT taking on the EA’s navigational responsibilities. It was felt that the best NINF could do at this stage was to use all its political contacts to attempt to ensure an acceptable outcome! It was also felt that all bodies should ensure that they were invited to all future meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways, as it appeared that most had not been invited to recent meetings.

Issues relating to threats to ban boats from using various so-called polluting fuels in their stoves  was discussed and it was agreed to monitor the situation very closely as the consequences would be very serious for many users, including those with historic engines. Likewise, issues relating to future developments on the availability/charging for red diesel needed to be monitored carefully.

Various other matters of interest to the various organisations were discussed – proving once again the value of this group. One interesting query raised was that as valuable as the BSS scheme was, it was often being interpreted as ensuing that buyers of boats with BSS certification were being guaranteed that the boat was fully inspected in term of its operation. Maybe a slightly different name for the scheme might be considered so as to truly reflect what it was?

Mike Rodd