Work on the hydraulic cylinders of the Anderton Boat Lift will start in mid-November. The caissons will be detached from the hydraulic rams and propped up to allow the 20-year-old cylinder seals to be replaced. The ceramic rams will be re-polished and 12,000 litres of hydraulic oil will be changed. The work to ensure that the guillotine gates are safe is taking longer than anticipated, but each of the lift’s ten gates will have two new ‘fall and arrest’ safety systems installed. The new designs have been engineered, approved by English Heritage and manufactured. When all repairs have been carried out, there will be two- to four-weeks’ recommissioning and it is anticipated that the lift will re-open for boats at the end of March 2023. The lift also requires the introduction of a wireless computer control system to bring it up to current operating standards, and targeted steelwork repairs and a full repaint. CRT has applied for a £5 million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and should hear whether it is successful before Christmas. If the bid succeeds, the lift will close in autumn 2024 for an 18-month programme of works, reopening again in spring 2026.
The stoppage notice is here.
Ken Hylins summarises his work for NABO over the last year.
This year has been a busy one for me: I have been contacted for help on several occasions, be it for advice or to actually get involved to resolve boaters’ issues and concerns. There has been a common theme to all of the issues I have dealt with: a boater tells the respective navigation authority’s welfare and support officer of a problem and there seems to be no resolution. Then I contact the same people and tell them exactly what the boater has said, and then we get to solve their problem with NABO’s intervention. The other issues are a lack of trust by boaters of the respective welfare officer, where I, on behalf of NABO, advise them of how to proceed with their issue and what resolution they should expect.
There has been a long-running case involving an eighty year-old boater, who in my mind was not treated with the dignity and compassion he deserved. However this case has now been successfully resolved and he is getting the care and support he needs. A second case I have been supporting is still active; the boaters in question were treated badly and had lost all trust in the managing authority. Their health is slowly deteriorating and I am active in monitoring their treatment and supporting them through each step. The strangest case of the year was when I had to represent myself. This was a stressful exercise, but it demonstrated to me how problems can arise when your health changes. There was a lack of compassion in my view but again we have resolved the issues.
I still have concerns about dual enforcement (emails that are centrally generated and those from regional officers, which sometimes give conflicting messages), which I keep going on about. I advise people to challenge the messages, as they become a marker on their record for when they renew their licences.
My other area of concern is the process of putting boaters on a six-month licence when it is clear that they are ill, disabled or getting old. This causes a lot of distress to the boaters and, as they are often protected under the Disability Act, in all cases I have got them a full licence again, with CRT reasonable adjustments. There have also been cases when a welfare officer sends a boater a message to say that there is an issue about their cruising pattern. Then the officer is on a two-week holiday and the boater has to wait, adding unnecessary stress before the issue is resolved. I have raised this with a local welfare officer to tell his manager of this issue.
I think that in the coming months I will be helping many boaters with financial issues and I have kept up to date on the costs of boating so that I can give accurate advice. I also keep constantly up to date on the benefits available to help boaters where these are needed.
CRT have today announced a further hike in licence fees to take place from April 2023.
This a is a 9% hike and folows the increase in October making 13% by their own figures.
You can read the text here
Apparently they think we are made of money. No consulation of course.
So it’s goodbye from me and .....
After 12 years Peter Fellows hands on the baton of editorship.
Another varied set of articles to end the year, with Helen Hutt describing her trip to the Medway on the 75-year old paddle steamer, Waverley, and my article on the unbelievable attitude of a local council towards restoration of the historic stable block at Pelsall in the West Midlands. I’ve also included details of NABO Council, including new members, Alan Douglas and John Sadler – welcome to both – together with Fly on the Wall’s view of Council meetings in October and November. Mike Rodd addressed the AGM to give a summary of the highs and lows of 2022: the highs being the active work by council members in many different ways to improve the lives and welfare of boaters; the lows being the lack of consultation by navigation authorities, especially the EA over changes to the Thames’ management, which he details in correspondence with the Agency. Ken Hylins also reports on work he is doing with boaters who are disadvantaged by age, infirmity or ill-health, to help them in the face of navigation authority obduracy. Paul Monahan struggles with the figures in CRT’s Annual Report and, as an accomplished poet, he has also written a timely Christmas ‘Carol for the Trust’ and a paean to NABO – ‘For those in Peril on the Cut’ – both are most welcome!
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