National Inland Navigation Forum Meeting, March 2020

NINF met via a teleconference on Saturday 28th March 2020 with most member bodies represented, together with the General Secretary, Michael Stimpson. This Forum continues to be a useful meeting point bringing together navigational bodies involved in CRT, EA and other waterways.  Present active members include DBA, AWCC, NABO, GOBA, HNBC, CBOA, IWA and RBOA.

Attempting to look positively toward the future, but recognising that the present crisis would both be with us for longer than presently anticipated and also would inevitably impact on the years ahead, the situation regarding the future funding by government for all waterways authorities meant that we, as the representatives of most boating organisations, needed to be seen to be joined up and getting behind the bids by CRT and EA.

Part of this had to be via direct contact with MPs and local councils, and once again it was felt that all bodies should be invited to attend all meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways, as it appeared that most had not been invited to recent meetings. The General Secretary would contact IWA about this failing. It was also agreed that having a separate Parliamentary Group covering the Thames was not necessary.

The question of additional residential moorings being created was discussed in some detail and members strongly supported the view that this was to be encouraged, especially given that the (only?) growth in the number of boats being purchased was where their use would be as prime residences. Indeed, this probably was the reason why many boat builders were still in business!!

It was also agreed to support the recent changes regarding the use of smokeless coal and properly seasoned wood by banning the sales of products that do not satisfy these requirements. It was also agreed to monitor the red diesel situation noting that the proposed changes could have serious impacts for many users, including commercial boats. Once again the issue of short term boat rentals (mainly via Airbnb) was highlighted and it was agreed that NINF would support all attempts by the navigational authorities to regulate this where possible. It was noted, however, that some marina operators were actually encouraging the present bad (and questionably illegal) practice!

Once again, a useful platform for the various bodies to exchange views.

Mike Rodd