Archive for April, 2011

That judgement – again

Monday, April 25th, 2011

For real this time;

B E T W E E N :






Read more…

Mooring Strategy: BW’s Loss Leader?

Monday, April 25th, 2011

According to BW figures obtained by a London boater in a Freedom of Information Act request, the Lee and Stort Mooring Strategy will make a loss. At a time when BW’s grant from DEFRA has just been cut by around 10%, do they honestly think it is reasonable to embark on a policy that is not only unlawful and unjust, but is financially unsound as well? Here are BW’s income and cost projections:

Read more…

Boater reports from new K and A Partnership Board

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Liveaboard boater Andrew Harry was recently selected to be a member of the new Kennet and Avon Waterway Partnership Board. This Board is a pilot for the establishment of local community partnership boards to run waterways locally when (and if) BW becomes a charity. He has sent us this report:

Read more…

Dog Loo

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

We have received a message from Simon Greer who says:

A new BW Van design

A Simon Greer Creation. BW were invited to advise on what they are doing about this massive problem. They have responded as below. Toxocariasis is what makes you blind. Perhaps BW have it?

BW saw this spoof advertisement on 19 April and Simon Salem of BW responded the following day. He advised that BW cannot sort out this problem because they do not have the necessary legal power. Instead they have a voluntary code. I have asked why BW cannot use the space on the side of their vans to pass on an important public message. I have proposed:

Read more…

Support the London Boaters

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Here are some of the ways you can express support for the London boaters threatened by the draconian mooring proposals of British Waterways.

Please sign up to the Facebook page:

If you are on Twitter, here is draft tweet that you can use for your followers:
Stop the destruction of London’s boating communities #londonboaters Please retweet

Please sign the online petition:

The impact of the recent court judgement

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Paul Davies has emailed us with his latest thoughts on the way that the recent court judgement will affect his lifestyle and cruising patterns.

Read more…

Wanted – Boat to rent

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Mature woman with funds looking to rent a boat.

Contact Indian Pete 07787 993140

“I wish to rent a boat to live on in order to find out if I would like to go ahead and buy one, having never lived in one before it seems the sensible option.
I am not too fussy but obviously would like the best I can get! Space enough to sleep 2 minimum, hopefully more, although it will be single occupancy. I am willing to look at anything that is on offer… the easier it is to run and keep dry and warm the better. I would like to reside outside Bath. I am thinking of about 6 months and I do have money to cover my rent within reason. I am extremely responsible and will contribute positively to any community I live in, am also into looking after our Mother Earth, am female, 58yrs old, and just returned from living in India.”

Satisfying the board – an analysis of the judgement

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

The original post

Minos describes his post “…this is only an attempt at an objective analysis by an interested amateur”.

It is reproduced here without comment, suffice that we think it important to examine all possible implications of this judgement.

From the judgement:
“in general terms section17 of the Act required all vessels used on the waterways either to have a permanent mooring site or to be used bona fide for navigation throughout the period of the licence. This was achieved by making the issue of licences conditional on the Board being satisfied either that the vessel would have a permanent mooring site or that it would be used bona fide for navigation throughout the period of the licence.”

From the text of the Act, subsection (3) (c) (ii)
“the applicant for the relevant consent satisfies the Board that the vessel to which the application relates will be used bona fide for navigation throughout the period for which the consent is valid without remaining continuously in any one place for more than 14 days or such longer period as is reasonable in the circumstances.”

I’d not looked closely at this before, but in legal terms it is explicit: the British Waterways Board are empowered by the Act to judge for themselves what constitutes ‘bona fide’ navigation and what doesn’t. Not only that, but by using the legal term ‘bona fide’ in the Act, the intention of the person is more important than their actions. This is explained in para. 13 of the judgement. In effect, it means that BW are entitled to refuse a licence because they don’t like the look of your application – and it is up to you to prove that they are being unreasonable.

On the detail:
From Bouvier, with referencing removed:

The law requires all persons in their transactions to act with good faith and a contract where the parties have not acted bona fide is void at the pleasure of the innocent party. If a contract be made with good faith, subsequent fraudulent acts will not vitiate it; although such acts may raise a presumption of antecedent fraud, and thus become a means of proving the want of good faith in making the contract. In the civil law these actions are called (actiones) bonae fidei, in which the judge has a. more unrestrained power (liberior potestas) of estimating how much one person ought to give to or do, for another; whereas, those actions are said to be stricti juris, in which the power of the judge is confined to the agreement of the parties.

(And before anyone complains that Bouvier is an American source, the US and the UK share a lot of common law, and this is one principle shared by both.)
This definition of ‘bona fide’ is the basis of the defence claim that ‘The defendant’s deliberate compliance with the law could not deprive his actions of good faith.’ It is also the justification for BW’s actions.

Anyway, back to the point. What this means is that the BW authority is legally entitled to judge for themselves whether they think that an applicant is acting “in good faith.” Given his misconduct described in para. 6 of the judgement, he clearly gave them every reason to believe he wasn’t – not least because of his navigational, professional and social ties to such a small geographical area. They also concluded that he did not act ‘in good faith’ in para. 10 of the judgement.

BW chose to concentrate on the definition of the word ‘navigation’ – and they are empowered Parliament to use that emphasis if they so choose.

The bit that I am really interested in is this part of para. 15 of the judgement:
“It is possible to envisage use of a vessel which fell short of the Board’s concept of continuous cruising but which still qualified the vessel for a licence under section 17(3)(c)(ii).” In effect, the Judge acknowledges that genuine continuous-cruisers may very easily fail to adhere to the letter of BW’s guidelines but still adhere to its spirit in good faith – bona fide.

Put it all together and it seems to me that the implication is that while the movement of your boat on the water matters, what you do on land seems to matter more.

User Group Meeting: “Not a good time to become a charity” says K and A Manager

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Several of us attended the User Group Meeting in Devizes on 4th April. The meeting covered local management issues and briefly touched on national BW matters. Functions such as enforcement are now done by a centralised team which is not managed from Devizes, so little information was provided on these matters. Waterway manager Mark Stephens gave a brief update on national developments and their impact on the K and A.

Read more…

Equality officer advises Mooring Strategy Steering Group

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Sharon Brookes, Wiltshire Council’s Equality Officer, gave a presentation to the local mooring strategy meeting on 1st April explaining the duties of statutory bodies such as BW to carry out equality impact assessments of their policies. Under the Public Sector Equality Duty in the 2010 Equality Act, BW is required to do an equality impact assessment of the local mooring strategy. This includes an obligation to analyse the impact of new policies on human rights.

Read more…