The Waterways Ombudsman and the Waterways Ombudsman Committee issue Annual Reports for 2022/23.
This is the forth annual report of the current Ombudsman, Sarah Daniel.
She reports: This year I opened five Investigations and closed eight. There were four investigations open at the start of the year, one of which was completed in April, one in May and two
in June 2022. One complaint remained open at the end of April 2023 which was closed in May 2023. Although the numbers do fluctuate, this is lowest number of opened
investigations in a year. I think this may be maybe due to the number of complaints referred back to the Trust, which they took ownership of and resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction.
This year seven of the eight concluded complaints came from householders who live next to the canal. Two were about the refusal to grant an end of garden mooring, one
complaining the canal eroding his garden, one said that the canal was leaking into the property, one about an overgrown tree overhanging the garden and one about failure
to upkeep the towpath backing onto a garden. There was one complaint from a resident about an overstaying boater burning toxic smoke and affecting his enjoyment of his
garden and finally just one from a Boater who complained about the Trust’s new towpath vegetation and mowing regime.
This reflects a change from previous years when more complainants were boaters and maybe reflects an improved relationship between the Trust and Boaters. Complaints
from householders can be emotive as they live with a constant reminder of the problem which is literally on their doorstep and they generally have no previous or ongoing
relationship with the Trust.
Of the eight concluded complaints, one was upheld and one was partially upheld, both were accepted by the complainant. Six were not upheld, one was accepted and five
were declined by the complainant. The Trust was required to take some further action in the accepted complaints and all the remedies were fulfilled in the permitted timeframe.
The annual report of the Waterways Ombudsman Committee and the Waterways Ombudsman for 2022-23 is now available online at: woc-annual-report-2022-23.pdf (waterways-ombudsman.org)