NABO News Editorial December 2013

A breath of fresh air

Those members who were unable to attend the AGM in November missed a real treat. Not only an interesting and enjoyable presenta­tion from Adam Comerford, CRT’s Group Hydrology Manager, but also an opportunity to feed our opinions into proposals for new water man­agement strategy. Richard Parry, CRT’s new Chief Executive, spent the day with us and received some fairly critical ‘home truths’ from members—especially about CRT consultations—during the open ses­sion. I for one was impressed with his openness and willingness to lis­ten to boaters’ opinions; something of a new turn of events for BW/ CRT and a breath of fresh air that I hope he can translate into a new ethos throughout the whole organi­sation. Mark Tizard reports a similar view after he and other Council members met Richard in November. NABO has been saying for years that it would like to be a ‘critical friend’ to CRT but until recently much of NABO’s criticism and questioning, especially on the legality of some recent changes, have been largely ignored. The planned meeting be­tween our legal representative and CRT’s legal team early next year is a good step in the right direction. NABO News has carried comment and articles that are critical of CRT and will continue to do this if it is necessary—see our responses to the SE visitor moorings and K&A con­sultations and the note on K&A bol­lards. The EA is not immune—Louis Jankel reports on problems on the Thames. The last issue also carried articles and an editorial complain­ing about the proposed treatment of community boating organisa­tions and I am pleased that CRT has decided to not alter the licensing structure for this group of boaters, although there is no mention yet of fundraising restrictions or mooring rents. Rebecca Bruce, who contrib­uted one of the articles said: “How fantastic and very well done for all the part that NABO has had to play in this and for having more faith than I did that CRT would eventu­ally listen to people—there is hope!”

I also give CRT credit where it is due—following the recent report of repair work to the Wolverhampton locks, in this issue, George Ballinger, CRT’s Head of Engineering, gives an update of the work going on behind the scenes to minimise the negative effects of HS2 on the canals. Finally, farewell to Richard and Simon, who have left the Council but will remain as Secretary and reps and welcome back to Trevor Rogers.

Enjoy the Christmas break and wishing you happy boating in 2014 from all at NABO News