Meeting with the Waterways Director for Wales and the South West.

Wales and the South West Region

Mike Rodd reports on the latest meeting with the Waterways Director for Wales and the South West.

On 3rd December, Phil Goulding and I had another of our regular meetings with Richard Thomas, Director of the Wales and South West region, at Devizes. Richard had agreed to meet NABO representatives on a three-monthly basis and this again proved to be a most valuable session. It was clear that Richard has become aware of the urgent need (and value to CRT!) to improve communications with waterways users and he said that he was pleased with the attendance at the recent user forum.

I stressed how valuable the smaller boaters’ representatives meetings are, which are held on the Mon & Brec, and the detailed information sharing that goes on at these meetings. Richard responded that he is anxious to find ways of ensuring that the knowledge and experiences of active boaters is captured by CRT. Of particular interest was his response to the serious problems that had been caused on the K&A when the winter works’ closures were announced without consultation with users. In fact, an earlier notice had been sent around for comment, but those proposals were then radically changed by the CRT central staff responsible for the works’ delivery – changes which had not been checked with Richard’s team. I pointed out that these changes had caused major problems for the K&A Canal Trust’s public boats.

Richard stressed CRT’s commitment to working with schools and he was looking forward to a new appointment to take the lead for him in this area. I stressed that much work is going on in this area at Crofton, together with industrial partners, and I was sure that this work can all be done in collaboration with CRT. Phil and I were delighted to see that Richard was determined to work with the ‘coalface’ canal users and we look forward to the next meeting.