In mid-2020, CRT commenced a consultation on the private boat licence terms and conditions. They did not invite comment on the whole document, but limited the consultation to nine items of change.
On 24th May 2021, CRT announced the publication of the results of the consultation. This comprised a press release, a close out commentary on the consultation and a first version of the 2021 terms document. CRT said: ‘The consultation received widespread support, with 78% of respondents in agreement across all nine proposals, ranging from 63% to 88% for individual proposals. The consultation was completed by over 3,300 individuals, around 10% of our boat licence holders. The changes will come into effect from 1 June 2021 and will be applied to renewals and new licences from that date.’
On 27th May 2021 NABO Council met to review the documents and consider our immediate responses.
Mike Rodd compares and contrasts the BSS with navigation authorities.
I must be terribly naïve! In my simple mind, if I were applying to the Government to continue/extend a multimillion ongoing annual grant, I would want my most influential and committed customers to be supporting my application and giving it as much positive publicity as possible. Not so, CRT or EA, it appears.
As will be known from previous editions of NABO News, both CRT and EA will be applying for further government funding in the next five or six years. In both cases, however, they seem to be hell-bent on ignoring the views of most of the boater representative organisations.
The present situation regarding CRT’s current revisions to the Terms and Conditions for boat licences is a classic case. Yes, there was a public consultation – well, sort of, as long as you had good internet access (which of course many boaters don’t, denying them the chance to comment – but hey, they are only boaters, so why worry?).
Editor, Peter Fellows, considers an alternative to
the present CRT structure
Two aspects have dominated NABO’s work since the last issue: CRT’s new licence terms and conditions and the threats to the waterway heritage. The T&Cs continue to exercise people who realise the significance of the changes – unfortunately not the majority of boaters. I’ve included correspondence between Mike Rodd and CRT’s Head of Customer Service Support, and David Fletcher gives a ‘blow-by-blow’ account of events over the weeks from the end of May. Anne Husar has written a letter to members, outlining the four areas where NABO is unhappy and asking for your feedback. The new T&Cs made Mark Tizard look back over changes in CRT’s enforcement policy for movement of boats without a home mooring, concluding that the vast majority of continuous cruisers are boating below CRT’s enforcement radar.
I’ve been banging on about the loss of historic buildings from the CRT portfolio for years. In this issue, Anne Husar calls on CRT to better care for our historic canal system and its structures. Several members share their disquiet at the loss of heritage: Mark Sullivan and Peter Caswell write letters concerning the Toll House at Pontymoile and the multiple small losses that go unnoticed until their cumulative effect hits you by their absence, and Allan Richards clarifies what is a protected operational asset. The two most recent proposed sales – Pontymoile’s toll house and the Stop House at Braunston – seem different: CRT withdrew the former from auction and is looking for a tenant for the latter. Let’s hope this is some sort of epiphany for CRT and from now on it will take its heritage responsibilities more seriously.
Elsewhere, Ken Hylins recalls his own experiences of needing help from medical and care providers while living on a boat and he looks at the impact of moving around on finding care. Matthew Symonds, National Boating Manager, has written to clarify CRT’s support for disabled boaters and those with access requirements. In Techies’ Corner, John Devonald looks at some of the reasons that boaters give for not installing solar panels on their roofs. David has updated his article from last year on CRT’s mowing regimes, asking you to use mowing maps when out on the cut so that we can recommend improvements to specific areas. Ian Hutson also offers some views on towpath vegetation in his own idiosyncratic style and a letter from Ann Street describes the lack of vegetation management on the Llangollen. This month’s Rewind recalls that, despite BW’s ‘veg pledge’, lack of vegetation management was still a problem 15 years ago. Howard Anguish also finds that in 2006 the world was in the grips of the highly contagious Bird Flu disease, triggering fears of a pandemic - plus ça change!
Finally, I’ve included nomination forms for the autumn AGM – if you want to keep your paper copy of NN intact they can be downloaded from the NABO website.
Happy summer boating.
During the last century, British Waterways began the sale of canalside properties, listed or otherwise, and this has been continued over the years by the Canal and River Trust (CRT). Although a recent Freedom Of Information request asking how many listed buildings have already been sold was denied, seasoned boaters and canal enthusiasts could easily compile a list of exceptional buildings that have already been sold off, to the absolute detriment of the UK’s historic and unique canal system.
So much has been sold that the reality is that only the really iconic properties are now left and so they have become threatened too. Two recent examples that illustrate CRT’s lack of care towards the heritage they are supposed to be cherishing are the Stop House at Braunston and the Toll House at Pontymoile. How shameful that the campaign group Save Britain’s Heritage felt it could add the iconic Stop House to its ‘at risk’ register. The future for this historic canalside building remains uncertain. Social media pressure was such that the equally important Toll House has been withdrawn temporarily at least from auction but again, its future has not been decided.