NABO’s latest meeting with CRT to discuss legal issues

Notes on meeting between CRT and NABO on the 31.03.14

Present: Richard Parry (RP), Jackie Lewis (JL), Mike Rodd (MGR), Mark Tizard (MT)

This meeting was arranged to discuss feedback from CRT following the earlier meeting on the 14th January 2014 at which NABO had provided CRT with the legal advice it had received from its solicitors on many current issues.

JL expressed CRT’s appreciation in receiving this, and mentioned that she found the papers useful and informative. She was personally intrigued that discussions on RMP had gone on so far back.

Starting with the issues of the maximum number of days stay at visitor moorings in a month and the imposition of non-return rules, RP and JL stated that their legal advice was that that section 17 of the British Waterways Act 1995 and section 43 of the Transport Act 1962 work together, with section 43 enabling CRT to impose terms and conditions on the licence granted in accordance with the provisions of section 17.

However, they appreciated that NABO’s legal advice is that that section 43 of the Transport Act 1962 does not enable CRT to impose licence terms and conditions which go further than what is set out in section 17 of the British Waterways Act 1995. It is clear that CRT and NABO will have to disagree at this stage. NABO would in its forthcoming paper make its members aware of this disagreement.

CRT confirmed that regardless of both parties legal position they would rather be pragmatic and adopt solutions that involved the consensus of boaters where possible. A suggestion raised by NABO was that at identified hotspots boaters could be encouraged to breast up by signage and volunteers rather than the implementation of rules that could be difficult or costly in practical terms to enforce

On the issue of enforcement both CRT and NABO are anxious to ensure that the 14-day requirements are clear and well understood. Both are happy with the interim 1-year arrangement on the K&A. CRT now plans to introduce national guidance to clarify its interpretation of what it means to move from one “place” to another “place”. This guidance will be supplemental to the existing “Guidance for Boaters without a Home Mooring”.

In terms of overstaying “charges” CRT agree that this cannot be a penalty, rather it is a charge for the benefit of staying longer with the charge representing the extra administration involved in monitoring those who overstay.  These charges are implemented in areas where there is clear evidence of abuse or congestion. CRT acknowledges the difficulty in implementing any such charges but are persuaded by evidence from the South East that they constitute an effective deterrent to overstaying. They will apply them sparingly when necessary.

NABO considered that boaters should be able either to prepay or to pay at the point of requiring a particular service (even if that service had been provided free the day(s) before).

The NABO representatives were then concerned that it would thus be necessary to differentiate fairly between:

•       the cost of a service that is being offered to a boater who is happy to pay, and

•       the additional cost of enforcement for  those who those who overstay without paying, and are therefore potentially subject to enforcement.

Winter moorings were briefly discussed and it was agreed that the present system is working and should be continued.

The question of new legislation was discussed again and, as desirable as this is in the long term, NABO understands the inherent difficulties in terms of cost and time and uncertainty.

MGR advised CRT that the NABO legal review which has been prepared and presented at the earlier meeting would be sent to members with the next issue of NABO News. A brief summary overview relating to our discussion with CRT would be added and CRT was invited to add their comments.


Note: CRT has agreed with these meeting notes and recognises that on some issues they take a different view to NABO and have not necessarily added any comments where the notes reports NABO’s views. Thus the absence of any alternative CRT view should not be read as implying that CRT necessarily agrees with NABO’s views.

7th April 2104