NINF AGM and meeting, February 2016

The National Inland Navigation Forum, NINF, met at the St Pancras Cruising Club on Saturday 21st February 2016. 7 of it 11 member bodies were present 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.

In the AGM, the General Secretary reported that the Forum’s finances were sound and sustainable. Michael Stimpson was unanimously re-appointed to his position. Also, minor clarifications to the constitution were approved with a view to emphasising that the Forum existed to discuss navigational issue relating to all relevant waterways.

Much discussion surrounded the possibility of the EA’s navigational responsibilities being taken over by CRT and it was reported that formal discussions to this end were again underway. Whilst the members organisations are not in total agreement about the value or otherwise of this, it was agreed that any settlement must be financial viable for CRT.

It was reported that the EA had backed down on proposals relating to the removal of portable ladders and fire extinguishers at locks on the Thames. It was also noted that the EA had experienced a setback in its moves to ensure that all boats on the Thames were registered and paid the appropriate fees. The Forum supported the EA in seeking a reversal of the recent court decision which did not support EA’s action.

There was a discussion relating to the selling-off of waterways properties by CRT and/or its’ related companies. Whilst it was appreciated that CRT needed to increase its income, it was stressed that Forum members should ensure that aspects of the waterways system that had special heritage value were not lost.

Finally, member organisations were urged to try to ensure that boaters reported all waterway problems to CRT or the other navigation authorities! It was no point in just moaning about issues without ensuring these were drawn the attention of the relevant bodies!

Mike Rodd