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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 17 October Meeting

National Inland Navigation Forum 17 October Meeting 18 Oct 2020 21:32 #119093

  • Andy Soper
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National Inland Navigation Forum 17 October Meeting

I joined a ZOOM 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. Active members present included AWCC, NABO, HNBC, CBOA, RBOA and ourselves.

London moorings:
The recent CRT consultation has raised some concerns – especially as the consultation document ends with 'July 2021: Implement mooring zone proposals' ! It is a thinly veiled attempt to introduce congestion charging. This consultation does not reflect recent figures – London moorers have not increased in the last couple of years, COVID and more working from home has probably resulted in a drop in numbers as moorers have spread out into the suburbs – Lea valley and Grand Union. The economic reasons for living on boats in London is not going to go away. The real solution is to find more affordable residential moorings and sites such as the gravel pits in the Three Rivers catchment could possibly be part of the solution. The Chair will discuss with Richard Parry (CEO CRT).

CRT – new Terms and Conditions consultation:
It is the season for consultations! We agreed that all organisations should be writing to CRT management and sharing our responses with each other – as well as getting our members to respond. The Chair will discuss with Richard Parry.

CRT Widebeam licence fee increases:
The chairman led off with the statement that it was good start but didn't go far enough. This brought an expected response from me! While accepting that CRT are only implementing the previously signalled increase, 'voted' for by the narrowboaters that was more than sufficient and further increases should be resisted. We discussed the new phenomenon of wide beam craft being used on narrow canals as house boats and there was general agreement that mooring was one thing but navigation was an unacceptable risk to the infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels especially as some of these new-build had no tumblehome on their cabins and resembled (or actually were ) containers on pontoons.

District Enforcement (DE) on the Thames :
The awarding of the mooring enforcement contract to DE was discussed especially as CRT are watching developments with interest. It was generally agreed that a contract that depends on penalty charging for income is unlikely to be an effective mooring management scheme. Members with Thames interests will be attempting to interrogate EA at or after the next TNUF meeting on Tuesday.

Shared Ownership Boats:
Users had flagged up to CRT that there were issues with multi user boats on the system – particularly with Airbnb and other less legal renting arrangements. We agreed that there was no issue with boats with appropriate BSS standards and insurance. Unfortunately CRT have turned their attention to legally constituted shared ownerships – and easy target – but not the intended one! The chairman will be raising this with Richard Parry.

This meeting continues to be a useful platform for the various bodies to exchange views.

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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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