On Tuesday 29th October 2019 I represented NABO at the well-attended meeting of the above Forum which brings together representatives of a wide cross section of users of the Thames, largely through the 8 River User Groups (the RUGs) and representative user groups, together with relevant EA personnel.  Chaired by EA's Thames Waterways Director, Julia Simpson, and the Waterway Manager, Barry Russell, this 5-hour meeting proved to be most valuable and it is clear that the new-look EA is making every effort to consult with to its key river users and so move its navigational responsibilities forward over the next 5 years.

On Monday 21st October Mike Rodd represented NABO at the first of a series of workshops run by the EA to get input from users before finalising charging proposals for consultation in spring 2020. The aim of the exercise is to simplify the charging, introduce consistency (where possible) across EA’s waterways and (of special interest to NABO) to look at adopting similar principles uses by other Navigation Authorities.

This was held yesterday, 10th October 2019, at the Henley River and Rowing Museum. The first issue was the approval of the proposed RTA Annual Report for the previous year. It was felt, however, that this concentrated too much on the problems RTA had been experiencing and failed to highlight some of the positive work undertaken, especially that relating to moorings and the Thames All Party Parliamentary Group. The latter, chaired by John Howell OBE the MP for Henley is well supported by the relevant MPS and is sponsored and serviced by RTA. The meeting agreed to ask for the annual report to be re-drafted by the RTA Directors and sent around RTA members present at the AGM for approval.

Held in London, this meeting was well-attended and proved to be most intriguing. Chaired by Robert Gould, a member of the EA Board, the main purpose was to provide an update on the significant changes taking place within EA in terms of support for their navigational responsibilities. The underlying driving factor was the Government’s decision not, at this stage, to go ahead with the proposal for CRT to take over EA’s navigational responsibilities.

EA Registration Charges Increase...

The EA consultation ran for six weeks in July and August 2018 and the results were published in November. There were 441 responses (from a boating population in excess of 34,000 – a response rate of around 1.3%). Unsurprisingly, 86% of respondents kept their boats on EA waters, with the majority (64%) owning motor cruisers and 17% owning narrowboats.