NABO has today made a Press Release clarifying its position on the whole question of mooring regulations on the waterways managed by the Canal and River Trust. The Trust has recently issued a consultation document that outlines its plans for the South Eastern part of the Waterways and many of their proposals have enraged the boat owning community in general.
The NABO Statement
NABO is aware of concern being expressed by boaters at the recent consultation document issued by the Canal & River Trust (CRT) and so has issued a Press release to clarify its views and its ongoing dialogue with CRT on this and other issues.
NABO has raised the following generic questions:
. What is the problem?
· Does the evidence support the definition of the problem?
· How will the proposed solution solve it?
· Is the implementation of the solution practical?
· Is the solution fair and reasonable, and who might be disadvantaged?
· Has the solution been discussed with representative groups?
· Is the solution consistent with other areas/regions?
· What is the legal basis for the proposed solution?
. What is the penalty for not conforming to the rules?
Specific issues raised
There has been little detailed information on defining the extent of the mooring problems. NABO do not deny there are problems: we agree there are hot spots, but we do not wish to see widespread rules that are not required. We already hear evidence of enforcement officials picking on soft targets, rather than tackling the worst cases. This practice will cause enormous resentment and lack of support. We would like to see rigorous enforcement of existing regulations in the hot spots.
There should be a range of mooring durations in towns and popular areas. CRT picking one blanket time period in a place because it is economical to manage is not a sound justification. There should always be some moorings which are (free) for 48 hours and some of longer duration, 7 or 14 days.
NABO would like to see general enforcement of the visitor mooring durations and the 14-day rule in hot spots. We will get nowhere until boaters can expect to be asked to conform with this basic requirement; at the moment to a significant extent, they know they will not.
We do not agree with community mooring/roving mooring permits, and do not think they will work. We have said so consistently for many years.
CRT want to have ‘no return’ rules and we do not agree. There is no specific power for this known to NABO and we know that BW were refused these powers in the build-up to the 1995 Act. NABO has not seen a satisfactory explanation of the need for this. CRT can expect to be challenged. Share boaters, and those who cruise locally from their home mooring, will be disadvantaged by no return rules. However boaters who return to the same moorings with the intent of avoiding a home mooring are in NABO’s view not ‘bona fide navigating’ (bfn), and CRT should use this as evidence in a prosecution. Are hire boats to get preference? Why is this fair? There is the suspicion that hire trade is exerting influence.
NABO understands that CRT is empowered to charge for services and facilities and this could include visitor mooring. The overstay charge is suggested be in some areas at £10 per day, but South East £25 per day. Are we to have different solutions in different regions? This is confusing and inconsistent. £10 per day may well be perceived by a court as “reasonable” to stay on a visitor mooring for an extra day. £25 however is at the moment shown as a “penalty” on the old BW notice boards on the K&A. NABO have pressed CRT to sort this out in the Courts and get a ruling.
We believe that as in all contracts and rules, the consequences of not conforming need to be spelt out and demonstrated to be within legal powers. NABO questions whether CRT has the powers to remove a licence for non payment for services such as mooring.
Boaters are urged to respond to the CRT consultation process ‘Refreshing signage and rules for South East visitor moorings sites’. It can be found here. The consultation closes on 1st March 2013.