CRT has begun the first phase of its three-stage consultation on how boats are licensed on its waterways, using the independent charity specialising in public engagement, Involve. In stage one; representatives of the main boating organisations are being interviewed to find their views on how the consultation should work and what it should cover. In the second stage, from April, a series of in-depth workshops will be held with boaters who reflect the diversity in the boating community. The final stage will consult all boat owners to find their views on the options developed during the first two stages. The aim is to find the fairest and simplest boat licensing system to address the financial contribution made by different types of boats. Ian Rogers, customer service and operations director at CRT, said: “The current licensing system has been in place for over 20 years. Boating has changed a lot in that time and the Trust wants to ensure the licensing structure is fit for purpose. Feedback from boaters suggests that many feel the current licensing is overly complex and can be perceived as unfair, and this consultation seeks to discuss these areas of concern.” See https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/national-consultations for how to get involved.
From dark arts, via 100 feet-wide locks, to volunteer lock-keepers
Editor Peter Fellows introduces a packed issue
We emerged from hibernation in March and a group took our shared narrowboat out for the first time this year, to introduce a new shareholding family to the joys of the cut. Although it was a fine, warm(ish) day, there were very few moving boats - possibly just as well while the new family got to grips with the tiller! I was surprised at the amount of floating debris in the Coventry Canal, presumably from storm Doris a few weeks before, and we had several stops to clear the prop. CRT contractors had also been out on the job, removing large trees that had fallen across the canal. In her column, Chair Stella is also emerging from the winter, with a myriad jobs that need doing come spring.
Consultation and funding - a lack of both for some
Editor Peter Fellows compares navigation authorities
Following the complaints throughout last year over lack of vegetation management on the South Oxford Canal, it is good to see that CRT is spending the winter putting the situation right. And it is also good that CRT is consulting widely on a proposal by Birmingham City Council to pay for widening of the towpath through Edgbaston Tunnel. This would reduce the width of the canal, enforcing one-way passage of boats through the tunnel. In NABO’s view, it is totally unacceptable to compromise the navigation in this way and disadvantage boaters (who pay for the waterways’ upkeep) for the benefit of speeding cyclists (who pay nothing) and who could simply be told to dismount and walk through the tunnel.
‘Peer-to-peer’ boat rentals
Mark Tizard examines some of the implications of CRT’s proposed new licence category currently under review.
In recent years, it has become increasingly common to read of boats available to rent in Central London and on the Kennet and Avon Canal, and the practice is spreading to other areas. Yet, to obtain a licence to rent a boat out to others, you currently need a hire-boat licence and a hire-boat level boat safety certificate. It is also a stipulation that the boat must have a home mooring.