New Year, new Council roles

Editor, Peter Fellows, has a varied selection of articles for the last issue of the year.

At the last Council meeting of the year, councillors thanked Mark Tizard for all his efforts to promote NABO over many years and welcomed Anne Husar as the new Vice-Chair and John Devonald the new General Secretary. New Council member Carolyn (CJ) Green will now be looking after our Twitter account. Mark’s contribution to this edition summarises what he thinks boaters should be ‘shouting from their cabin tops’ about.

As Mike Rodd says in his annual report to the AGM, NABO continues to maintain its membership, where some other boating and waterway organisations are losing members. Certainly, the letters that I have received from members during the year strongly support what NABO is doing. We think that this may include the stance that the association is taking on CRT’s terms and conditions, the loss of waterway heritage, and more recently the problems that boaters are experiencing with Calor Gas supplies. David Fletcher gives an update on the Calor situation, with a complaint being sent to the Competition and Markets Authority. Anne reports on yet more sales of listed waterside properties by CRT and Ian Hutson provides his own inimical take on how CRT could repurpose some of its unused properties and earn an income from quirky holiday lets. 

Mike has been reporting on the deteriorating relationship with the EA for many months and, when he was unable to participate in an on-line ‘Teams’ meeting about the Thames, Andy Soper of the Dutch Barge Association stepped up and sent me his report of the meeting – clearly showing the frustration that he and members of other organisations are feeling about the EA. Fortunately, not all organisations are so uncommunicative and David gives a summary of changes that have recently been introduced by the BSS to its examination check procedures.
Elsewhere, Paul Monahan reflects on what he sees as the three ages of the waterways, with a call for present-day boaters to actively resist any attempts to set one group of waterway users against another.

In Techies Corner, John Devonald reviews a trial that compared traditional diesel engines with different types of hybrid electrical propulsion and the use of hydrotreated vegetable oil instead of red diesel. And Phil Brooke-Little is a strong proponent of lithium boat batteries instead of the conventional ‘lead-acid lumps’.
I have also included a report from Ken Hylins on his work as Welfare Officer to counter discrimination against disadvantaged boaters, and regional reports from Mike on the K&A and Peter Braybrook in the West Midlands. I would like to wish Howard Anguish a speedy recovery from a recent illness and, although I have stepped into his Rewind shoes for this issue, I hope he will return to the fray very soon. Finally, you may have spotted the yellow ‘bags for life’ that have recently been appearing on broken paddle gear around the system. Of course, they should read: “It might get repaired when we get round to it” or “I’m here until the other one fails”.
Enjoy a very happy Christmas and my best wishes for 2022.