In the Chair
Effects of ‘bonfire of the quangos’ start to hit home
Mike Rodd analyses how DEFRA policy is driving the change in emphasis by CRT and the EA away from boating.
We’ve seen many intriguing responses to our appeal for members to write to their MPs asking for support for CRT to continue to receive government funding, at least at the current level. While we have always been the first to highlight the many shortcomings of CRT, we are also only too well aware that they will simply not be able to cope if they do not receive this support. The original Cameron model (now being re-energised by the infamous Rees-Mogg) was that the so-called ‘quangos’ should be taken out of government departments and made into charitable organisations that would then be able to attract charitable funding. Experience has shown, though, both in CRT’s case and elsewhere, that although charities may find it slightly easier to attract funding for projects, boring old maintenance just doesn’t excite donors in the same way…
Many of those who have objected to our suggestion feel that the only way ahead is simply to revert to the original BWB model! That simply will not happen, I’m afraid – especially with all the other current pressures on the Government.
Having had virtually unbroken sunshine since the last issue, the waterways have been at their busiest so far this year. But the increased lock usage, coupled with lack of rainfall and reservoir issues, means that it is only a matter of time before we’ll start to see restrictions appearing on some of the more vulnerable canals (like the Chesterfield, L&L, Macclesfield, Peak Forest and Huddersfield Narrow). This is in addition to closures caused by lack of maintenance, as highlighted on the K&A by Mike Rodd in his Chair’s column.
Andy Soper of the Dutch Barge Association and NABO Member, reports on this meeting: I attended a meeting of the Thames Navigation Users Forum on Wednesday 13 April. Some 25 people attended with about 15 from user organisations including all of the principal boating user organisations (RBOA, NABO, RYA, ATYC, TMBA, IWA ) along with British Rowing and Canoe England.
Less than a week before EA circulated 46 pages of papers for consideration at this 2.5 hour virtual meeting (EA not embraced face to face meetings yet). Many attendees expressed disappointment at the expected range of topics but welcomed the delivery of papers before the meeting.
Annual BSS report of incidents and accidents
This report covers incidents recorded over the year from 1st January to 31st December 2021. In total there were 70 incidents on the inland waterways. There were 28 fires and CO incidents. Of these, the cause of 16 incidents (57%) is unknown/not conclusive/to be confirmed. In nine of the 28 incidents, the boat was used intensively (i.e. for residential or extended use). Despite the high number of unreported causes of fires on boats, there are six recorded incidents involving solid-fuel stove fires, which makes these the single largest factor in known causes for 2021. A summary of the main findings in the report is:
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