NINF met at the St Pancras Cruising Club on Saturday 28th November 2015 and unfortunately, on a cold and very wet day, only NABO, GOBA, AWCC and CBOA representatives were able to be present, together with the General Secretary, Michael Stimpson. This Forum, with its 11 member organisations, is a useful meeting point especially as it brings together bodies involved in CRT, EA and other waterways.
Naturally, much discussion surrounded the EA funding cuts and the consequences for the already highly-reduced maintenance etc. Whilst other organisations support the taking over of EA’s navigational responsibilities by CRT, NABO is more concerned than ever about the impact this could have on CRT financially. NABO also believes that CRT should first prove that it can manage its present portfolio before taking on additional responsibilities.
The meeting discussed matters of mutual concern relating to the lock safety on the Thames and NABO reported the action it had taken.
The meeting welcomed the proposed changes to hire boat BSS requirements – the public consultation on which has just been completed and the positive support received was noted.
Problems relating to towpath safety caused by speeding cyclists was another topic for discussion but it was pointed out that with Sustrans and local authorities putting in much funding to improve towpaths, CRT was caught in a difficult and conflicting situation! The meeting however agreed that yet more signage was not the answer!!
Finally, good news was reported from Ely where at long last problems with the abuse of the limited visitor moorings have been resolved with the local Council providing wardens who will oversee the strictly enforced 48 hour visitor moorings, with a Thames-style £100 per day overstaying charge.