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Navigating and living on the waterways of Great Britain & Ireland and news of canal developments.
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TOPIC: National Inland Navigation Forum 28 March Meeting

National Inland Navigation Forum 28 March Meeting 29 Mar 2020 15:40 #114998

  • Andy Soper
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I joined a conference-call meeting of the National Inland Navigation Forum chaired by the Gen Sec Michael Stimpson. This group comprises representatives of national boating organisations with an interest in Canal and River Trust waters and meets twice a year. Present active members include AWCC, NABO, GOBA, HNBC, CBOA, IWA, RBOA and ourselves.

We discussed the issues related to the current Covid-19 outbreak. All were agreed that we should be discouraging any non-essential use of the waterways as any breakdown or emergency could divert front-line resources from essential virus control work. We agreed, that this was not the time to seek a refund of waterway licences.

Attempting to look positively toward the future, but recognising that the present crisis would both be with us for longer than presently anticipated and also would inevitably impact on the years ahead, the situation regarding the future funding by government for all waterways authorities meant that we, as the representatives of most boating organisations, needed to be seen to be joined up and getting behind the bids by CRT and EA. Part of this had to be via direct contact with MPs and local councils, and once again it was felt that all bodies should be able to attend all meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways, as it appeared that most had not been invited to recent meetings. The General Secretary would contact IWA about this failing. It was also agreed that having a separate Parliamentary Group covering the Thames was probably unnecessary and a dilution of impact.

It was noted that it is likely that CRT will be strong armed into taking over EA Waterways when their grant comes up for renewal in about five years time.

Red Diesel - it was agreed that while the use of red diesel for recreational boat propulsion was originally vetoed by the EU and is now proposed to be banned by HMRC the kneejerk reaction has been transposed into a climate change initiative! Consultation has been stalled by the current crisis and we must be ready to ensure a safe waterside supplies of diesel and a satisfactory implementation period.
The question of additional residential moorings being created was discussed in some detail and members strongly supported the view that this was to be encouraged, especially given that the (only?) growth in the number of boats being purchased was where their use would be as prime residences. Indeed, this probably was the reason why many boat builders were still in business!! The Gen Sec will write to DCLG and DEFRA seeking a route for changes to planning advice.
It was also agreed to support the recent changes regarding the use of smokeless coal and properly seasoned wood by banning the sales of products that do not satisfy these requirements.
Once again the issue of short term boat rentals (mainly via Airbnb) was highlighted and it was agreed that NINF would support all attempts by the navigational authorities to regulate this where possible. It was noted, however, that some marina operators were actually encouraging the present bad (and questionably illegal) practice!
This meeting continues to be a useful platform for the various bodies to exchange views.

There is a further copy of these notes in the Library.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Bob Marsland, Pete Clark, Balliol Fowden

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Best Wishes
Andy Soper
DBA Director Representation and Treasurer
mv Neeltje
Coookham
0044 (0) 303 666 0636

You don't need a barge to join - a dream of boating in Europe will do'. See www.barges.org
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