What a time to take up the challenge of editor! Following an experienced editor of many years, I have a lot to learn, not least hundreds of new acronyms. At first sight there seems to be innumerable committees and guidance groups, each with their own agenda and abbreviations.
I have some experience of inland boating starting around thirty five years ago, first with cruisers and for the last seventeen years by narrowboat. Although we did take the last cruiser onto the narrow canals we were always worried by the large steel vessels, although it was enough of a taste to get us hooked!
When we first started boating the River Severn and Sharpness Canal were still in regular commercial use by grain barges from Healings at Tewkesbury and timber vessels. We enjoyed mooring on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal for many years although winter cruising was limited by the River Severn level. Sometimes we even had to wait for the level to drop before embarking on our Spring and Summer cruises. No electronic display of flashing lights then, you just looked at the river level, tide timetable and took the advice of the lock keeper. Partly to avoid the climate change affected Severn, we moved house and boat to the Shropshire Union a couple of years ago. A delightful canal and a house with an end of garden mooring!
There are some serious issues facing us this year; many of the articles are quite long because of the complexities. I have done my best to contain the maximum information in the minimum amount of words.
Looking back to Peter’s column of February 2022 it seems that most of the significant issues of 2022 have been transferred to 2023. The future of the waterways being somewhat dependent on the outcome of the DEFRA review of CRT, we are still anxiously awaiting a decision. It is difficult to feel positive about this when central government is limiting or cutting its spending in all areas. I share Peter’s opinion that it’s time for the national asset side of waterways to be separately and securely funded by a mixture of funds raised from mooring, licensing and government grant. The non-waterway expenditure would then be less of an issue to boaters with the future of the canal infrastructure secure.
Fly on the Wall’s view of the Council meeting in January observed discussions on the need for progress, detailing some of the deficiencies in the activities of CRT to protect the network. The selling off of assets continues to be a concern. There seems to be confusion over mooring periods; summer as per the blue notice boards, any change for winter ??
I offer my sincere thanks to NABO Councillors for their support, for both me and NABO News. I would like to thank Chris Pink for continuing to offer his excellent design skills. I would also appeal to association members, to keep up your involvement and contributions – please keep them coming.
Best wishes for the forthcoming season,