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:
NABO’s regular meeting with CRT
On 7th February 2022, Mike Rodd and Anne Husar had their regular meeting with CRT’s Matthew Symonds and Rachel Howard and, on this occasion, Sean McGinley, who covered the situation regarding the Ferrybridge fish deaths and suspension of freight movement.
Concerns over facility closures: the facility block at Sutton Cheney has expensive problems with fly tipping, costing nearly £100,000 to service this site. CRT is proposing to relocate the services to Market Bosworth. In Marple, the development of the site started sooner than expected and the facilities were closed at short notice. The regional team is working to put alternative provision in place. At Barbridge, the bridge has been damaged and bins can’t be serviced while it is being repaired. A review of facilities is currently taking place, which will result in an agreed standard and best use of the budget for service facilities (e.g. replacing buildings which are vulnerable to vandalism with more robust open-air facilities). NABO raised complaints by London boaters about the facilities (closed bin sites, broken Elsans, distance between facilities, rubbish not collected at Little Venice). CRT replied that it has issued an update to the London Mooring Strategy proposals, which includes details on more sites for additional facilities and it will consult on specific proposals for additional facilities at Steel Road. In response to a question about future sites allowing recycling, CRT replied that Biffa has some segregated waste at source, but it normally separates waste off-site.
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