NABO writes to MPs in the APPGW

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NABO has written to the MPs who are members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Waterways about the licence terms and conditions.

We have also sent out a press release to Towpath Talk, Waterways World, Canal Boat and Narrow Boat World. The latter have just published a pro NABO comment encoring readers to invest £25 in joining - well done our new publicity officer Anne 

 

The text of our letter reads

 

Canal and River Trust seeking powers beyond those granted in the 1995 Act

 

The Canal and River Trust (CRT) is seeking to revise its licence terms and conditions further through a consultation process with private boat licence holders. The National Association of Boat Owners (NABO) believes that there is one proposal of sufficient concern that it should be brought to your attention. Namely, CRT is seeking to exceed the powers granted to it by Parliament in the British Waterways Act 1995.

 

To obtain a licence, a boater has no choice but to agree to CRT’s Terms and Conditions. NABO strongly believes that boaters should not be required to agree to terms that are not required by the relevant Act of Parliament.

 

CRT is proposing that the following is added to the end of clause 3.1 of the existing Terms and Conditions: 

“The cruise must be a genuine cruise. Minimal or repetitive movement along a short part of the Waterway or Waterways without use of the Home Mooring (nominal use of which shall be disregarded for these purposes) will not be accepted as a genuine cruise.”

 

This change appears to be an attempt by CRT to extend its powers beyond the 1995 Act. There is no authority in the 1995 Act for CRT to decide how a boat must travel in order to comply with the requirement to be used for proper navigation. The requirement is simply as per s17 (3) (c) (ii) of the 1995 Act – the boat must not have remained continuously in one place for more than 14 days, unless reasonable in the particular circumstances. A boat remaining in a small area or not travelling a certain distance does not thus contravene the 1995 Act, which appears to be what CRT is driving at with the reasoning given for this change.  NABO, supported by our legal advisers, believes that CRT should be required to act in accordance with current legislation and not require boaters to agree to Terms and Conditions that exceed those required under the 95 British Waterways Act.

 

Quite apart from the legal aspect, there is the question of proportionality. CRT has been unable to quantify the size of the problem it is trying to address nor provide a definition of “genuine cruise” or “minimal” in this context. The reasoning given is “ensure all boaters get fair access to the whole of their network, as presently some boaters with a home mooring remain in a small area, not returning to their home mooring, preventing others access to mooring space.” This could best be addressed by the provision of mooring spaces of varied durations in popular areas and the enforcement thereof,which is available under the existing legislation.

 

We hope that the members of the All Party Parliamentary Working Group for Waterways will consider the points we raise above and make appropriate representations to the directors of the Canal and River Trust.

 

Best Wishes

Mike Rodd
Chair, NABO

 

In detail Section 17 (3) of the British Waterways Act 1995 states as follows:

Notwithstanding anything in any enactment but subject to subsection (7) below, the Board may refuse a relevant consent in respect of any vessel unless—

End of quote

 

We have also sent out a press release to Towpath Talk, Waterways World, Canal Boat and Narrow Boat World. The latter have just published a pro NABO comment encoring readers to invest £25 in joining - well done our new publicity officer Anne 

We have also published on our Facebook site and made reference to our activities on the canalworld forum , leading to a healthy debate on both. Over the coming days we will be putting a formal response to the consultation to CRT and also publishing some wider concerns on CRTs date protection policies and the readability of its wider terms and policies.

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