CRT’s is pressing ahead with plans that will affect liveaboard boaters without a home mooring, mostly by making the lives of our community more difficult. Firstly CRT is developing plans that were announced in its 2017-18 Review of Boat Licensing.
CRT’s interim Regional Director for Wales and the South West, Jon Horsfall, confirmed on 18th July 2019 that CRT remains “committed to delivering” the strategic programmes that were devised by former regional director Richard Thomas in conjunction with User Group Forums in 2018 and 2019 and a study day in which the liveaboard boating community was significantly under-represented despite efforts to persuade the former director to include us.
Canal & River Trust (CRT) is holding its Annual Public Meeting in Birmingham on Wednesday 26th September 2018 at 10:30 to 12:30. All boat licence holders, customers, waterway users and members of the public can attend. The meeting will be held at the Kingston Theatre, Austin Court, 80 Cambridge Street, Birmingham B1 2NP.
CRT announced on 6th March 2018 that it would not increase licence fees for boats without a home mooring. However there will be fee increases for widebeams and significant reductions in the prompt payment discount, which together will result in more liveaboard boaters struggling to pay the licence fee, more boats becoming unlicensed and more people losing their homes.
CRT’s report on the year-long consultation also stated that “a further review will be undertaken to establish how the significant growth in demand from boats without a home mooring in key locations can be addressed, to fairly reflect the benefit experienced by those boaters without a home mooring in London and other highly popular locations”. CRT stated that these ‘highly popular’ locations include Bath.
Following a complaint to K&A Manager Mark Evans, CRT has reduced the 48-hour visitor moorings below Seend bottom lock (lock 17) to the length recommended by the Kennet and Avon Visitor Mooring Review – Bath to Foxhangers in March 2015.
Despite a number of boaters contacting CRT about this, it took more than 7 months for the error to be corrected. The error was first reported to CRT in July 2016.
Earlier in 2016, CRT put up signs at the visitor moorings below lock 17 that extended these 48-hour visitor moorings by approximately 200 metres westward from the western end of the purpose-built length of visitor moorings right up to the culvert.
This was contrary to the Visitor Mooring Review, which recommended that this length of visitor mooring should be shortened so that it only covered the stretch with mooring rings. The remaining space should have reverted to 14 days in July 2015 for a trial period until September 2015.
This was done without any consultation with users which is contrary to CRT’s Short Term Moorings Framework for Change dated March 2015, which states on page 1 that before making any changes to visitor moorings, waterway managers should:
“Conduct quantitative monitoring of craft that use the mooring and local area over a length of time, taking into account various factors including time of day, time of year, weather and other such influencing factors
Consult with all those potentially affected by any changes, from local & visiting boaters to local retailers including marina operators and the hire boat industry
Pilot the potential changes over a period of time gathering data and feedback, allowing the proposals to be amended as required
Inform visitors and those affected of any changes in a meaningful, clear and consistent way that ensures confusion is avoided”.
There was no evidence that any of the above steps had been followed by CRT before making the change.
Although the complaint has been remedied, CRT has yet to explain either why the Short Term Moorings Framework for Change was not followed or provided proof that these steps were followed and that the evidence gathered justified the change that was made last year.