NABO Responds to CRT’s Auction of Towpath Moorings Consultation

The National Association of Boat Owners (NABO) discussed this at the recent meeting of NABO Council and reviewed earlier submissions . The overwhelming  answer to the  question "Has anything changed since we previously responded to British Waterways on their proposal to auction long term moorings" was NO!

To be specific we would draw your attention to the letter written to Robin Evans of BW by David Fletcher the Chairman of NABO dated 26 November 2009 building on our detailed 2008 submission to the last consultation the link to which is :

In particular we would like to query the following statement in the consultation document "In addition, in charity law terms, our long term moorings confer a private benefit on individuals (i.e. the exclusive use of an area of waterway and towpath for a fixed period). The Trust should not be using its assets to effectively subsidise this private benefit by offering its moorings to customers at a rate below market value." Is this not exactly what the Trust currently does with the Winter Mooring Permit which for a subsidised rate allows a boater "the exclusive use of an area of waterway and towpath for a fixed period". This process does not require an auction nor should the marketing and selling long term moorings.

In addition we would suggest that with the appointment of a Welfare Office consideration be given to a small number of Trust long term moorings be reserved for the use of vulnerable boaters (as defined by the Welfare Officer) who through medical or financial reasons would be aided by being moored in this way and thus have access to social and medical services. The cost of the mooring could be set by CRT but possibly/probably met by benefits that the boater would be entitled to. The auction system specifically prevents a boater who would perhaps be entitled to access benefits that might assist them in paying for the mooring.

In conclusion as the above two earlier NABO documents suggest we believe that a waiting list where moorings are sold at a fixed price – it should be relatively easy to create an agreed formula based on a percentage price based on the services provided compared with the nearest equivalent marina berth is the fairest way forward and will not involve CRT subsidising any private benefit.

Mark Tizard

NABO Vice Chair & Moorings