Boaters action group next meeting 13th August in Bath

The K&A Boaters’ Action Group will meet next on Monday 13th August at 7.30pm in Bath. If you have time to do a bit of work over the next few months (or longer) defending our rights as liveaboards; doing constructive things like towpath tidies; engaging in dialogue with CRT/BW, etc, then we would like you to be in the group.It was formed in May 2012, and currently meets on the second Monday of every month in different places, so far in Pewsey and Bradford on Avon. A short summary of the June minutes is below.

If you want to join, please email info@boatingcommunity.org.uk or text/ ring 07928 078208. Hope to see you there. Please tell any boaters who you think would be a valuable member of the group, especially if they don’t have internet access.

Summary of K&A Boaters Action Group minutes 5th June 2012

1. BW target since June 2011 of putting all boats travelling less than 30km during contract period into enforcement process. Found out through Freedom of Information. Not publicised by BW – partly because it is to BW advantage for people not to know how to avoid enforcement, so as to pressure them to take moorings. Policy is unlawful because s.17 3 c ii of 1995 British Waterways Act does not specify any distance, only that test for compliance is 14 days.

2. About 10 boaters met with Mark Stephens on 14th May. Still waiting for Mark to OK the publication of some of the key points discussed and agreed. A positive meeting though not clear how much action will result from it. Still no sign of temporary Elsan disposal at Dundas but pump-out now usable.

3. Report back from K&A User Group meeting at end of April. Report already published on K&A Boating Community web site.

4. Reportedly, BW enforcement staff regard  overstaying a few days here and there by boaters without home moorings as not much of a problem and unlikely to lead to enforcement action in itself.

5. Brief report back on meeting between boaters without home moorings (3 people, from Macclesfield, K&A and London) and Lynne Berry, Deputy Chair of CRT Trustees. Lynne Berry was non-committal about many issues but listened to our concerns. Subsequent discovery of document by Trustees listing issues to be considered, including “problem of continuous moorers”. Letter of objection sent to Lynne Berry demanding to be present at the Trustees’ meeting where it is discussed. No response received as yet.

6. Local Mooring Strategy consultation delayed because of Houseboat Certificate consultation. Still no sign of it.

7. Boaters without Home Moorings including National Bargee Travellers Association have forthcoming meetings with DEFRA and Waterways Minister regarding BW Transfer, and with DCLG regarding parity with caravan dwellers for protection from eviction.

8. Nick Brown Judicial Review of BW’s Guidance for Boaters Without a Home Mooring now waiting outcome of application for an oral hearing.

9. K&A Boaters’ Code of Conduct being drafted, including window stickers.

10. Boaters’ Voices filming to take place soon, followed by Equality Impact Assessment. Already reported on our web site.

11. It was agreed that the group should be called K&A Boaters’ Action Group because “that’s what we do” and also to ensure that people feel it is an inclusive group, open to new members. Best to communicate with boaters by text, with email and posters (with web link) in boat windows as well.

12. Minutes would be sent to each member for agreement before being finalised, and a summary published on our web site. It was agreed to circulate a draft agenda before each meeting.

13. It was agreed to meet on the second Monday of each month in different places. Date of July meeting:  9th July, at the French Horn, Pewsey Wharf, 7.30pm.

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