In my initial response to the moorings consultation I have decided to take it at face value. At some future point I will examine the proposals in their social context.
Starting from this statement;
thank you so much for your prompt reply to my previous email.
I would also like to thank you for your invitation to take part in the consultation. One can only hope that it will result in the preservation of the culture of cruising boats both in the Bath area and nationally. I am sure that the legal framework that is so clearly set out in the 1995 Waterways Act 17 (3) protects those who have chosen to undertake this way of life and that BW have a responsibility to ensure that adequate mooring is accessible to such boaters and their vessels. At the risk of repeating points in my previous e-mail, I think that the vibrant culture you have helped maintain amongst cruising boats is to be commended and will form part of your personal legacy from your tenure at British Waterways.
I am confident you would share my concern that some of the proposals to limit mooring (in the Bath and other trial areas) represent an impractical and immoral attempt to limit legitimately licensed cruising boat’s access to vital services that they have come to rely on over many years.
On your point of the reduction of the hire boat fleet by 40%, I must admit this comes as a surprise to me. The general perception in the Devizes to Bath area is that the fleet has expanded vastly over the last decade.
Amongst those who boat the stretch regularly it is felt that each summer there is a glut of hire boats which are, on occasion crewed by inexperienced and inept parties who cause congestion at locks, are rowdy, speed and leave litter. Experienced cruisers have become tolerant of this phenomena and will even come to the aid of such parties when they get themselves into difficulties.
Can you confirm that the 40% figure you use reflects this area? Is the 40% a national figure? If it does not reflect the growth/decline of the hire boat fleet in the Devizes to Bath area, please could you let me know a figure that does.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Thank you for your e-mail of the 3 November.
We have launched a moorings consultation that we hope will result in a consensus on a fair set of rates and regulations for managing moorings on our waterways. If there was universal contentment with the existing arrangements, we would not be seeking a change. The reality is that a lot of people – boaters, neighbours, councils – have all expressed concern about different aspects of the current system on different parts of the network.
It will be important for you to contribute to the consultation and ensure that your view that the current arrangements in Bradford-on-Avon work well. We will also learn whether others agree or disagree.
I assure you, and the consultation document is very clear, that we welcome and encourage cruising boats. I agree boats that are moving are one of the great attractions of the waterways.
I should point out that the hire boat fleet is not growing. There are 40% fewer hire boats than there were 20 years ago. Hire boats play an important role in attracting new people to the waterways and they make a substantial contribution through their licence fees which are much higher than individual licences.
The whole point of our proposed mooring strategies is to establish evidence and create a plan that proves the best balance between differing legitimate interests. I hope you will support this and contribute to the consultation.
A reminder of the meeting next week – you do want to be there don’t you? Email if you want a lift or can offer a lift.
Questions that require a written answer should be submitted in advance of the meeting to the new Kennet and Avon manager Mark Stephens, firstname.lastname@example.org and it would be advisable to get them in sharpish.
This is the law British Waterways quote as their sole authority for the proposed fines for overstaying on moorings.
As quoted in BW’s reply to NABO’s complaint.
It was pointed out to me today that you can’t get in touch because there’s no contact email on the site.
Well there is now
Let us know what you think, what you love about boating and the canal, what you think about the goings on, about BW, about this site…
in fact anything at all….
….except where to buy viagra or how to make our penes larger, we have some very nice people in Russia who have already promised to do this.