Mike Rodd’s 2020-21 Annual Report to the AGM
This has been a particularly interesting year and especially a real joy to be working with so many new members of your Council, even if the bulk of meetings have had to be via the internet. It has also been encouraging to see a small increase in membership – largely, I am sure, because of the issues we have been tackling, which have a direct impact on most boaters.
What has been the most worrying development, however, has been the seemingly growing feeling that both CRT and the EA are actively ignoring the views of their prime customers, us boaters. Yes, at times we have publicly opposed some of their actions and/or proposals, but we have consistently said that we aim to fill the role of – and indeed must always remain – their ‘critical friends’. And with both of their agreements regarding government funding coming up soon, they need more friends than ever right now – and especially the boaters, who care more than anyone else about the waterways!
Editor, Peter Fellows, has a varied selection of articles for the last issue of the year.
At the last Council meeting of the year, councillors thanked Mark Tizard for all his efforts to promote NABO over many years and welcomed Anne Husar as the new Vice-Chair and John Devonald the new General Secretary. New Council member Carolyn (CJ) Green will now be looking after our Twitter account. Mark’s contribution to this edition summarises what he thinks boaters should be ‘shouting from their cabin tops’ about.
As Mike Rodd says in his annual report to the AGM, NABO continues to maintain its membership, where some other boating and waterway organisations are losing members. Certainly, the letters that I have received from members during the year strongly support what NABO is doing. We think that this may include the stance that the association is taking on CRT’s terms and conditions, the loss of waterway heritage, and more recently the problems that boaters are experiencing with Calor Gas supplies. David Fletcher gives an update on the Calor situation, with a complaint being sent to the Competition and Markets Authority. Anne reports on yet more sales of listed waterside properties by CRT and Ian Hutson provides his own inimical take on how CRT could repurpose some of its unused properties and earn an income from quirky holiday lets.
This week our hard working NABO team noticed that the private boat Terms and Conditions document from CRT has been changed in November 2021.
You would be hard put to notice the changes because:
Here is a copy of the last version marked up in green with the recent changes. Not much there really, probably just a tidy up, but it needs study. CRT obviously thought it needed changing to their advantage, or they wouldn't have done it. So we are right to be suspicious.
The link to the CRT web site is here. Be careful. The files are the same name from previous versions, though the file reference changes. It is easy to get them mixed up or overwritten. The new version only applies to licences bought when this is on display, we assume since the start of November 2021. So for most people this doesn't apply to you until you buy or renew your licence.
The June 2021 terms are here. (After the false start)
The terms prior to the May rewrite, which applied since 2015 are here.
Given where this is going, we will try and maintain a library of all the versions and get it up on the web site soon.
We recommend that you download the Terms and Privacy documents that apply when you buy your licence so that you know what you have agreed to.
The Environment Agency has today published its final decisions on boat registration charges on its waterways for the next 3 years: These have resulted from the 8 week consultation launched in July relating to its initial proposals.
Following feedback from boater representative organisations (including NABO) and individual boaters regarding the changes which included a proposed increase of 6% in year 1, 4% in year 2 and 0% in year 3, the new charging scheme will now see increases of 4% in 2022; 4% in 2023; and 2% in 2024.
Also, the proposals included a new charging mechanism for boats based on the area of a boat across all their waterways, but it says it has listened to its customers and will now continue with the current charging mechanisms for each waterway.
The EA has also advised its NNUF (National Navigation User Forum), attended by NABO on the 1st of December, that it will set up user-based advisory groups to work with its staff on various aspects of its operations.
Boat registration renewal notices will be sent out to customers using the Environment Agency’s Thames waterway from next week, with those registered on the Medway and Anglian waterways following early next year.
For more information see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/environment-agency-navigation-charges-consultation-outcomes
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