- CRT’s annual lockage report for 2020
The headline figure, comparing 2020’s lock use with the previous year, is that there was a reduction of almost 33% across 172 comparison sites. In the week before the first lockdown in March, there were some 3,500 weekly lock counts, which fell to fewer than 1,000 during lockdown. From early July, when boaters were able to cruise freely again, lockage numbers soared to more than 12,000 per week and remained at this level for most of the summer, with a peak of 13,700 in mid-August. As in previous years, the twinned Hillmorton Locks 2 and 3 on the North Oxford Canal were the busiest with 5,933 lockages, a drop of 29% on 2019. Next was Cholmondeston Lock on the Shroppie with 5,346 lockages (also down 29%), followed by Woodend Lock on the T & M at 4,450 lockages. The least-used lock was Graving Lock, which links the Shroppie to the River Dee, with 28 lockages for the year. The report can be found at https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/lockages.
Every so often, something happens that brings home the dangers closely associated with our way of life and hobby. Preventing carbon monoxide (CO) accumulation has been in the forefront of the fight to make life on a boat safer, with compulsory CO meters, adequate ventilation and a programme to make boaters more aware of the dangers. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has just released the findings of an investigation into the deaths of two people on a cruiser in York, which makes sobering reading. The link to the full report is given below and I really would recommend that you read it, but the following is a short synopsis.
The summary from the MAIB is as follows:
‘At about 2000 on 4 December 2019, the bodies of two men were discovered in the cabin of the privately owned motor cruiser, Diversion, which was moored to a quay in the centre of York, England. The bodies were those of the boat owner and his friend, who had spent the previous evening in the city centre socialising with former work colleagues and were spending the night on board. Both men had died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. The carbon monoxide had leaked into the cabin from the boat’s diesel-fuelled cabin heater exhaust.’
Mike Rodd reports on the work of an active NABO Council.
At last – back on our boat for a week – it was wonderful; and good to see the hire fleets starting to operate again. Of course, being based in Wales, we were always slightly out of line with England, but at last the lifting of the two sets of lockdown restrictions overlapped! And with the spring blossoms bursting through, even though a bit chilly still, it was a lovely time to be out on the water.
The NABO Council is busier than ever – everywhere we look, we see matters that need our attention – but thankfully, with a full Council again and with the very energetic new folk joining us, the load is well spread and we are coping – even if our teleconference-based meetings are getting very long.
We wait, of course, with bated breath for CRT’s next version of the proposed new Terms and Conditions for private boat licences. I hope that by the time you read this, we will know where we are, although the report given at the National Users Forum seemed to indicate that there would be few changes – except (to our delight) that the T&Cs would be far more readable! As we (and our lawyers) have consistently said, we are positive about many of the proposed changes. But there are some proposals that we (and again, our lawyers) believe are contrary to the underlying Waterways Act and the T&Cs simply cannot be allowed to create such a conflict. To this end, you will have seen that our colleagues in the NBTA (National Bargees and Travellers Association) are also taking legal advice, and we have agreed to assist them.
Simon Robbins concludes that limited progress has been made.
NABO’s response to the London congestion consultation was that CRT is seeking to introduce new changes without first implementing, and assessing the impact of, the changes promised in the 2018 strategy. Here, Simon, a former NABO Council member and London liveaboard boater, reports in detail on what has actually been achieved.
In 2012, arising out of the huge displacement of boats from East London for the Olympics, and the less than sensitive approach by BW/CRT to dealing with that, came the ‘Better Relationships Group’. The name reflected the fact that even BW recognised it had upset a lot of boaters along the way and now wanted to be seen to be trying to build bridges, coincidentally coinciding with the launch of Canal and River Trust. That group lumbered on painfully, with relationships barely improving for many months, reported in 2014 and then nothing much happened.
In 2013 the Greater London Authority became involved through Jenny (now Baroness) Jones, and the GLA produced the ‘Moor or Less’ report. This was a genuinely independent report which highlighted the need for improvements in facilities for boaters on the London Waterways.
CRT then went round the circle again, eventually launching the London Moorings Strategy, starting in 2016. The final report was finally published in summer 2018. So, to the present: in late autumn 2020, CRT announced a new consultation on London Boating based around the Moorings Strategy. Awkward git that I am, I wrote to CRT asking how much of the existing 2018 Strategy had been implemented. In mid-February, a few days shy of four months after asking, and after the consultation meetings, CRT finally disclosed its assessment of how much of the 2018 Moorings Strategy it has implemented so far. Here we go!