Virtual news from CRT

At a short, combined CRT Council and AGM in November, last year’s annual report and accounts were accepted. Topics of particular note included:

  • Application for renewal of the Defra Grant – which accounts for about a quarter of CRT’s income – will be submitted on 6th December; whilst the Government is under no obligation to extend the grant beyond 2026/7, CRT feels that a solid case is being made for increased funding. A decision is expected in July 2022.
  • Covid-19 continues to throw up challenges but winter works should proceed unhindered and the impact on income is estimated at -10%. A special fundraising appeal, launched the previous day, drew 450 responses in the first few hours. However, Friends numbers have fallen nearly 7% over the year.
  • T&Cs consultation: CRT reports a ‘net positive’ result so far, whilst acknowledging some proposals need more clarity ….. that doesn’t seem to chime with what we see and hear!

A special Boaters’ Reps meeting was convened on 20th November to discuss the London Mooring Consultation, following concerns that we raised. Boat sighting numbers 2010 – 2020 were queried: we were assured that exactly the same stretches of waterway were covered. The 2020 figures were dubious as Covid-19 restrictions had impeded counting. There was much discussion over whether numbers had now stabilised after rising for 8 years – so was the premise of ‘foreseeing continuing increases’ correct? Head of Boating, Matthew Symonds, said: “We are not trying to reduce numbers but we do need to control the situation in future”.

Why not see out the 2018 strategy first to counter criticism that nothing is being done to deal with the impact of so many boats in London? There should be major improvements under the 2018 strategy in 2021, but these alone would not address the overall situation. When questioned, Matthew emphasised that CRT did not intend to introduce any additional fees or mooring zones, and that there was no pre-destined outcome. Six Zoom sessions had been held so far, with around 100 attendees in total, and 400+ written responses received. Reps will consider the results of the preliminary consultation in January and hope to have some input into the ensuing proposals, which will then go out to boaters for another consultation.

Helen Hutt